WI Newsletter – April 2003

First I will explain as to how we have come to take up so much space on the Village website, for some time we have had a page on the Hampshire Federation’s Website (link?) which up until recently has just had a brief paragraph about our Institute and our Programme for the year, but space and content is very limited. However, when updating the page recently to include a photograph I took another look at this site, only to discover how much information was available. In response to my email asking whether we could possibly have a newsletter on this site, the very helpful webmaster said we could have what we wanted – and this is the result. He may well live to regret this statement.

So apart from the meetings in the Village Hall once a month, what else do we get up to, here is a resumè of what we have done so far this year.

In response to an invitation from Vernham Dean W.I. four of us attended their open meeting in January to hear Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean talk about her role in the House of Lords and the Government, she spoke most eloquently and informally, with very few notes, and gave us an insight into her very busy life. She was, in fact, due to leave for the Middle East the following day, and had been detained in London in order to speak to both the Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister before coming down to Hampshire, we were so pleased we made the effort and had very enjoyable evening. It is just one example of the type of opportunity that is available thanks to the W.I.

In March the Danebury Group had their Spring Meeting hosted by Wallop W.I. and again we were fortunate to hear an entertaining speaker named Maggie Shredder who had been a Vernons Girl and although now in her middle 60’s she still has the figure and energy of someone half her age. She told us how she got started in Liverpool, eventually moving down to London, all the girls were strictly chaperoned, and how in the years that followed she was fortunate to work with many stars including the late Adam Faith and Benny Hill, as well as Bruce Forsyth and Sir Cliff Richard and many others, far too numerous to list here. She finished her talk by explaining that she had worked a great deal in television providing the backing vocals to various game shows and advertisements and asked her audience to join in singing some of the more well known jingles. Some of us were too young to remember all of them. Once again an amusing entertaining evening.

Two members attended the Federation’s Spring Council Meeting at The Anvil in Basingstoke at the end of March, this is an all day event and the guest speaker this year was Norman Willis formerly of the TUC, his aim was to have his audience in stitches as he was there to talk about his hobby – cross stitch. Yes, that’s right cross stitch, apparently he causes a few raised eyebrows and smiles of amusement as he has a habit of needle working whilst travelling, including whilst on a train or in a plane.

Earlier in the month our skittles team took part in the semi-final of the County Skittles Competition, unfortunately without success.

We are now planning well ahead and have organised an outing to Arundel Castle on August 07 and if anybody is interested in coming along, please do not hesitate to contact us (details on Committee for 2003 page). We have an open meeting planned for July – this is when we invite members of other Institutes – as well as other non-W.I. members from the Village and our fund raising event this year is to take the shape of a walk and lunch on Friday 31 October with a Halloween Theme. We have yet to make all the arrangements, but if anyone knows of any ghostly happenings in the village please let us know.

Our April meeting was our Members Meeting, which is when the Committee get an evening off and all their tasks were completed by non-Committee members. Helen Stuart is kindly organising the event this year and Julia Jenkins was the speaker, she showed slides of her trip down memory lane last year, when she and her husband went to India.

Traditionally May is when we debate the Resolutions which are taken forward to the I.G.M. (this year to be held at The Royal Albert Hall) ,however, we have some light relief as well as John Barlow is going to confess to us about being a frustrated actor.

I am indebted to Keith Saunders for all his help and am grateful to Sandra Newland for her assistance, not only in putting these pages together, but also for taking our digital photographs.

Sharon King