WI Newsletter – April 2012

I have been writing these newsletters for some years now and each month I ponder on what to write, to keep repeating our monthly cycle of events, no matter how much we enjoy them, can be a little repetitive. Although this month I could mention the walking group’s unfortunate experience, whilst not present myself, I am told they went a little off course, on a rather wet morning and took a long detour before finding themselves back in the pub for welcome refreshments.

Of course, we were delighted to have Muriel Spanholtz, a former President, back amongst us this month, as she was making a return visit to the UK from the USA where she now lives to be near her family. Muriel was able to attend our meeting, coffee morning and lunch as well enjoy the hospitality provided by her many friends in Abbotts Ann.

Sue Hancock had kindly undertaken to give the programme planners a rest and offered to organise the speaker for this month’s meeting and persuaded her neighbour and friend Colonel Paul French to talk about his experiences of running the London Marathon – 15 of them – both with his twin brother and latterly his two grandsons. Paul’s family obviously has the running gene in abundance as he along with his two brothers and cousin started when they were very young and before it became so popular. He and his twin are very competitive and each likes to win, but quite frequently cross the finishing line together. He gave us an insight into the logistics of the organisation of the London Marathon and how it has changed through the years. Although he no longer runs marathons, having celebrated a milestone birthday in 2008, he does still run, just not so far or as quick.

Should I make it brief and stop here?

No as Then came 29th April – last year we were all glued to the TV watching that wedding, which took place on a lovely spring day. This year the day dawned very wet, very windy and rather cold. Not the ideal day to be out walking, but undaunted four of our members, Gill Page, Sharon King, Carol Taylor and Jill Reynolds (& Jill’s husband Mike) still turned up at the Hampshire Golf Club suitably clothed for the unkind conditions to take part in a charity walk, organised by Carol & Derek Grimston in aid of the ACWW (Associated Country Women of the World). The 29th April is ACWW day and this year the plan had been to have women (and some men) walking at some point during the day all over the world. Were we unwise to set off in the wind and rain, not sure but we did make it back eventually, rather bedraggled and rather cold, but we did feel a sense of achievement once we had stripped off our outer wet layers (should I mention the damp inner ones, probably not!). (It is just before 5 p.m. on the same day that I sit at my laptop and guess what – the sun is putting in an appearance, alas too late for us to feel the benefit).

So what is ACWW? It is the largest international organisation for rural women and is active in over 70 countries, offering mutual support, friendship and practical help. It actively supports a whole range of development programmes in rural communities. Membership is made up of individuals and groups (including the NFWI). More information can be found at www.acww.org.uk

Next month’s meeting is our Annual Meeting. Up until 2010 in Hampshire these took place in November, but changes have been happening and from this year they will take place in May so our committee and officers have served for 18 months. It will be an opportunity to reflect as well as look forward and we would very much like our committee membership to increase and we also need a new Secretary as Wendy Casson has decided to relinquish her role.

Diary Dates:

09 May – Farm Visit (Trinley Estate) weather permitting.

12 May – Walking Group

15 May – Reading Group

22 May – Coffee Morning

26 May – Lunch Club

30 May – NFWI AGM (the Albert Hall, London)

31 May – Annual Meeting – 7.30 p.m. in the Village Hall

Sharon King