There were so many dates being bandied about at this month’s meeting we were all in a whirl by the end of the evening, trying to remember whether we had put our names on the right list and made a correct note in our diaries. Talking of diaries, would you believe it, if our members wish to have an official W.I. Diary for 2014 they had to have their name noted on yet another list this month – otherwise it would be too late!
So what are we planning I hear you all cry? Well on 2nd May we are hoping, weather permitting, to have a farm tour at Trinley Estate, on 9th May it is the Supper Club, there was a choice of dates for the Cinema Club the following week (tbc), the walking group are rambling on 11th May and there was talk of meeting in a layby near Ludgershall, but probably better not to delve too deeply into those arrangements. The reading group will be discussing their latest literary selection on 14th May and the coffee morning will be on the 21st – that one took several attempts before a date could be agreed upon.
Not much was said about June and July, but the summer outing will be on 08th August and we are travelling east again, this time to Amberley Museum and Parham House. Not a whisper of September, although I am sure something will be planned, but a Craft Day has been organised for 19th October in the Village Hall.
A report was given of the inaugural meeting of the newly combined Anton Danebury Group – it had taken the form of a social evening so everyone could get to know each other. Our members were too busy organising the refreshments to have time to participate, but the joy of a larger group means that task will not roll around again on the rota for some time.
Our speaker for our April meeting was local businessman Ben Walton; although hailing from Kendall in the Lake District, Ben did live in Abbotts Ann for much of his childhood and has fond memories of the village. He cut his teeth working for his parents’ drying clearing business and widened his experience for a while in London, but returned to Andover to open his own business in the town centre.
He is known locally as the “ironing man” due to his fund raising exploits, including ironing whilst on the roof of The Guildhall. This started as an attempt to get his company in the public eye, but in a way that benefited others. In the early days he raised funds for Children in Need. However, it became more personal when his first child Zak was born prematurely in late December 2007 weighing just 2lb 2oz.
Ben strives to give back more than he receives and it is estimated that he has raised over £80,000 over the years for a variety of different charities, latterly for those who have helped his family. He spoke warmly of the care Zak received in Southampton & Winchester Hospitals and of the Princess Royal Trust for Carers who, without hesitation, helped them when they needed an especially adapted buggy for Zak that cost in excess of £2,000.
He has run marathons in London, the Isles of Scilly, New York and Paris. He has climbed Snowdonia and Ben Nevis and cycled from London to Brighton. He has a Guinness Book of World Records certificate for ironing, although he has recently relinquished this tile and he had the honour of being selected to carry an Olympic torch last year in Salisbury.
Our members were delighted to meet Ben.
On 30th May it is our Annual Meeting & Resolution – we will be discussing the state of our High Streets.
02 May – Farm Visit (weather permitting)
09 May – Supper Club
11 May – Walking Group
14 May – Reading Group
21 May – Coffee Morning
25 May – Lunch Club (to be confirmed)
30 May – Meeting 7.30 p.m. in the Village Hall – Annual Meeting & Resolution