WI Newsletter – May 2005

This month, over a glass of wine, we took the opportunity to review the format of our meetings. However, it would appear that our members are happy with the way we are doing things here in Abbotts Ann – which is a great relief.

Earlier in the evening, we had discussed the two Resolutions which will be debated at the AGM next month. The first one, presented by Jill Liddell was about Farmgate Milk Prices; we were also fortunate to have present local farmer, Judy Fergusson, to give us the benefit of her expert knowledge. The second, presented by Julia Jenkins, was on the care of our environment, something that Julia feels passionate about, nevertheless she did give us a balanced argument. After some discussion, members voted in favour of both resolutions. Our delegate, this year from Goodworth Clatford WI, will therefore vote accordingly on our behalf on 08 June at the Royal Albert Hall.

As the largest women’s organisation in the UK, the WI does have a voice, one that is respected and listened to, as with nearly 215,000 members, the WI is widely recognised as being a powerful force for positive change. The 2004/2005 campaign year, saw members of the WI reach and influence more decision makers, be they MPs, AMs or MEPs, than ever before.

Although we are of course a non-political organisation, a delegation of WI members returned to Brussels for a second time in January 2005 to lobby MEPs on safer chemicals. Members also travelled from around the Country to Westminster to stage a powerful lobby of their MPs on the issue of GM Food and Farming in April 2005.

Members also ran an all night café in London in support of the Global Week of Action against poverty. Disappointingly, I had to turn down the chance to take part in this event, as it was the same date as our Angela Baker evening on 15 April.

Unusually for us, May has, otherwise, been a quiet month, although our Secretary, Shelia Lockhart, did attend a Super Secs Day at Four Marks. This was an opportunity for WI Secretaries across the County to be told how much they are appreciated, as well as having the chance to chat amongst themselves and swap ideas.

However, we did finish the month on a more energetic note, as we continued with our 90 miles for 90 years. Progressing along the Test Way, five of us walked 3 miles from Chilbolton to Stockbridge in the morning. Following a pleasant lunch, Christine Fell and I were given a lift to Mottisfont, whereupon we walked back to Stockbridge, probably another 5 miles. Of course, there is still a long way to go before we clock up 90 miles each!

Christine Fell, Sue Hancock, Muriel Spanholtz, Helen Stuart Sue, Muriel & Helen striding out along the Test Way – Christine and I are leading the way!

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08 June – A.G.M. at The Royal Albert Hall, London

13 June – Danebury Group round of Federation Quiz – Abbotts Ann

20 June – Visit to Denman College

30 June – Garden Meander, finishing at the Village Hall for refreshments etc at approximately 8.30 p.m.

28 July – Desert Island Discs – 7.30 p.m. Village Hall

29 September – Chairman’s Challenge with Helen Creese – 7.30 p.m. Village Hall

01 October – Clarence House visit

For our next meeting on 30 June we experiment with a garden meander. Instead of meeting in just one garden, we have the opportunity to look round seven gardens, all within about 5 minutes walk of the Village Hall. The idea is to enjoy the best of the summer evening, returning to the Village Hall around 8.30 p.m. for refreshments, followed by news and events. If you would like to take part in this event, then please give me a ring (01264 335630) or come along to the Hall just before 7 p.m. when we will let you know which gardens are open – there will be a very modest charge of £2 to cover refreshments.

Sharon King