We were back in the Village Hall for this month’s meeting following our summer break and our President Lynne Lucas welcomed all those attending. We started with a Minute’s silence in memory of our dear late Queen who sadly died on 8th September. Her Majesty had been a WI member for many years and, since the death of her Mother, had been President of Sandringham WI. She will be much missed. Members were given the opportunity to sign a card which will be sent to Hampshire Federation for inclusion in a memory book.
Lynne went on to report that the WI Refreshments at the Village Fete had been very successful. Our surplus was just in excess of £800. A brilliant effort and everyone who contributed was thanked. Unfortunately, we don’t get to keep all of that – we wait to see what we are awarded in due course by the Fete Committee.
Our speaker, Wendy Davis, was a familiar face as she has lived in the village for 40 years, and she was pleased to recognise many ladies in the audience as well. Wendy was a primary school teacher who subsequently specialised in Environmental Education in schools in the Andover area.
Wendy became a driving force behind Andover Trees United whose aim was to plant 10,000 trees in 10 years. The project is known as Harmony Woods and comprises 12 acres sitting within a 44-acre site, originally just a field forming part of a larger farm, located on the northern side of Andover. Together with 16 acres located near Basingstoke it is one of 60 60-acre woods created to celebrate her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. It is a worthy memorial to her, not only being completed during the Platinum Jubilee year, but also as she has so sadly died since so many of us joined in the celebrations during that memorial June weekend.
ATU works with local schools and young people to create opportunities for them to learn about biodiversity and the environment. In addition to learning to identify native tree species, they also learn about how nature evolves including rewilding the site and the resultant abundant wildlife. ATU is a volunteer group and works hard to secure funding from various organisations, including most recently The National Lottery as well as holding many local fund-raising events. They are currently midway through the construction of an on-site classroom, so that schools can continue to educate children even when the weather is not so kind. There are plans for solar panels and composting toilets. There are volunteering opportunities for adults – please see their website for more information.
Wendy had given us a brilliant PowerPoint presentation and she took many questions from her audience who were obviously keen to hear about this wonderful amenity. There is public access to the woods. Our walking group may well be planning a route to visit this site in the coming months.
This month they walked around Chilbolton Common – itself a site of special scientific interest. There was some blackberry picking along the way, before adjourning to the Abbotts Mitre for a delicious lunch.
Our coffee morning this month was particularly successful with over 20 attending.
Our next meeting is on 27th October at 7.30 p.m. in the Village Hall. Our programme tells us that we have “Bollywood Dancer” as our speaker/entertainment. Will there be an opportunity for audience participation? Come along and find out.
08 – Walking Group
13 – Coffee Morning: 10.30 a.m. Sports Pavilion (refreshments from £2) open to non-members
20 – Supper Club
25 – Halloween Coffee Morning – 10.30 a.m. Village Hall (Children Welcome)
27 – Monthly Meeting – Abbotts Ann Village Hall : 7.30 p.m.