WI Newsletter – June 2004

We have hardly had time to breath this month, with so many events. At the beginning of June, three of us travelled to Hatch Warren WI for their 11th birthday celebrations, which had a rabbit theme. The hard work and enthusiasm of this young, small Institute resulted in a very successful evening. Their trump card was the presence of National Chairman, Barbara Gill.

Although no one from this Institute attended the NFWI’s Annual General Meeting at the Hallam Arena in Sheffield on 09 June we were represented by our link delegate. All three Resolutions debated at our May meeting were voted on; the one on the funding of the air ambulance service was narrowly defeated, but the others about gm crops and human trafficking were passed.

The following week some of our members were fortunate to meet one of the original Calendar Girls, Angela Baker when she came to Andover. A weekend of fund raising organised by the Methodist Church’s Lamplighters group began with an excellent supper, for which two of us were lucky enough to secure tickets. Despite the sad circumstances in which Angela has found herself in the spotlight, her warm vibrant personality shines through, as she revealed some of the humorous moments that have arisen since the idea of a nude calendar was first suggested. Several of our members also helped with the coffee morning the following day.

On the 17 June, twenty-four of us spent a pleasant evening enjoying the grounds of Amport House and a private tour of the Museum of Army Chaplaincy, guided by the Curator, David Blake. This is a fine tribute to those dedicated men and women who obviously work so hard and tirelessly, but often with little public recognition.

Earlier that day, I appeared on Radio Solent. Following an approach from a Producer of the Nick Girdler show, I found myself agreeing to be interviewed live, by telephone. Armed with many notes, and with Shelia Lockhart our secretary, sat by my side for moral support, I waited with some apprehension for the telephone to ring. However, once I started it was difficult for Nick to get a word in edgeways, but I was determined to be enthusiastic about the WI and Abbotts Ann in particular, and convey just how much fun being a member can be.

The 24th of June saw us crowding into Judy Wickham’s conservatory for our monthly meeting. We should have been outside in the garden, but the heat wave of early June had disappeared. However, the cool windy conditions did not deter us and we all enjoyed the informality of the evening. Some members did eventually venture out to walk round Judy’s pretty garden.

During the evening, I was able to report that I had finally collected our Institute’s Banner which has now been repaired/restored and although the members have yet to see it, I was able to show them photographs taken during the process.

The last day of the month saw our long planned Midsummer Madness evening; as the weather was not improving, we did feel we were mad to embark on such an event, but as always it was “alright on the night”. Everyone who came joined in with the games and activities, which were located altogether in a rather grand gazebo in the grounds of the Village Hall. This was followed by a splendid buffet provided by the excellent cooks amongst our members. We were delighted to welcome Sue Atrill, Hampshire Federation Chairman and Eryl Thompset our WI Adviser. The evening culminated in a summer raffle and the results of the popular word quiz, in which Sandra Newland had scrambled the letters of 20 Hampshire Institutes.

Once again, a successful evening thanks to the efforts of our talented members.

July is not quite so busy, and our monthly meeting on 29 July has a holiday theme, several members are going to share some past holiday memories and the idea is for members to wear their holiday clothes, if by then the weather has warmed up, some of us have even promised to wear our shorts. Visitors are warned!

Sharon King