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WI Newsletter – March 2006

A new member for Tetbury W.I. made the headlines this month. It was announced that The Duchess of Cornwall was to join her local Institute. Inspired by meeting the much admired Calendar Girls; you may remember we hosted an Evening with Angela Baker last April, HRH has obviously decided that she has a lot in common with us and would like to be associated with the largest women’s organisation in the UK. Many other women obviously share this view, as there is renewed interest in the WI nationwide with many new Institutes being formed, including Hampshire. Let us hope this trend continues.

Now back to more local matters.

Abbotts Ann was well represented at the Danebury Group Spring Meeting in Goodworth Clatford. When you think of Gertrude Jekyll, does an image of a rather serious elderly woman come to mind; well you might be surprised to discover that she was in fact very much ahead of her time. Guest speaker, Marion Emery, in another of her well-researched talks, revealed to us a talented artist, who used her love of colour in her innovative planting schemes. She is, of course, particularly well known for her partnership with the Architect, Edwin Lutyens.

Then we were off to Portsmouth, where the morning session is used to keep members up-to-date with all that is happening both in Hampshire and nationwide. However, in the afternoon, it was time for us all to relax, and our guest speaker was Lars Tharp known for his appearances on the Antiques Road Show. A born entertainer, he had us in stitches, as with much affection, and great accuracy, he imitated his fellow presenters on the programme and shared with us a few behind-the-scenes stories, one of which was just a little risqué.

For our own meeting we were delighted to welcome Baroness Arlington, who has recently come to live in the village. The Baroness explained how the hereditary title had unusually been granted to the female line of her mother’s family some 300 years previously. However, it had fallen into abeyance for some years, as the more senior title of the Duke of Grafton took precedence through the male line. Nevertheless, in 1997 with the agreement of her aunt and sister (also eligible) and encouragement from her father-in-law and various other friends and contacts, she started the exhaustive procedure to secure her place in the House of Lords, being one of the last to achieve this feat. She gave her Maiden Speech on 18th October 1999, notwithstanding the fact that her husband, who had helped to prepare it, had unexpectedly died a few days earlier. For a number of reasons, Baroness Arlington made the headlines at the time and members were able to watch a selection of video recordings and read a variety of newspaper clippings and various documentation.

Prior to this, as always, members were kept informed on all forthcoming events, plans for our tabletop sale on 13 May are well in hand; please get in touch if you are interested in hiring a table – 10.30 a.m. in the Village Hall. Please do come and support us.

Forthcoming Events:

27 April: Maureen Rose – 30 years Couturière to Her Majesty the Queen

13 May: Table Top Sale – 10.30 a.m. Village Hall

25 May: Resolutions & Social Time

01 June: Visit to Porton Down

29 June: Garden Meeting : Poplar Cottage

05 July: Visit to Osborne House & the Isle of Wight

Are you interested in hearing how the Queen chooses what to wear, well next month Maureen Rose will be sharing with us her memories of being Couturière to Her Majesty for over 30 years – don’t forget 27 April in the Village Hall – 7.30 p.m.

Sharon King

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