OCTOBER 2011 to OCTOBER 2012

I took over the role of Secretary from Jan Marsden with great trepidation I might add, Jan having done a great job in the role. However, at the new committee’s first meeting in November, both Sarah Greenway – the other “new girl” and myself, were made to feel very welcome, the glass of wine probably helped! The seven members of the Committee being Janet Perkins, President, Kate Claisse Treasurer, Lesley Hiley, Sheila Booth, Gina Fitch-Roy, Sarah Greenway and myself as Secretary.

This year in Bognor Regis W.I’s history has been a memorable one in more ways than one. We have celebrated the Olympics and Paralympics and celebrated our Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Who can forget the night when we enjoyed a Jubilee cream tea whilst racking our brains over the jubilee quiz superbly compiled by Sheila and Lesley.

Our speakers this year gave us an insight into how to garden in winter, the fascinating adventures with NASA Skylab, a trip back in time to the war years when ENSA entertained the troops, to the geology of our local area and to the wonderful work carried out by Stone Pillow, our local charity for homeless people.

Our visits gave us the opportunity of seeing the wonderful work carried out by Canine Partners in Heyshot when a group of members visited their training centre. Likewise, when we visited Stone Pillow’s house in Canada Grove to meet those who had created a garden from plants, tools and all manner of gardening equipment donated by Bognor W.I. members. Members also enjoyed a visit to North Lodge for a tour of the building and a visit to the wonderful costume department, and, on a beautiful sunny evening our members enjoyed a guided tour of Chichester followed by a ploughman’s supper at North Lodge.

Thanks to Gina a number of members visited Dando Engineering where we were given a very interesting talk on the drilling rigs they manufacture and ship to parts of Africa. I don’t think any of us could quite believe the size of these rigs and their complexity when we had a tour around their factory.

The month of August saw our Picnic In the Park where members enjoyed their own picnics and refreshments with a jolly good natter.

West Sussex Federation activities not only helps members to try things we may not have done before but introduces us to others in our W.I. family. Once again 17 members entered the WSF skittles competition which always proves a good day out apart from those members who spent the whole day picking up the skittles after each team and had the aching thighs to prove it. However Bognor W.I. were given recognition for their efforts by the County representative. Well done girls especially as one member from Bognor was in the winning team for the skittles competition.


The Federation Quiz held this year at North Mundham, once again proved popular with those members who enjoy “taxing their brains” and one of our four teams gained 3rd prize well done!

Individuals developed their craft skills through Federation workshops covering embroidery, botanical painting and crochet and were pleased with their own pieces of work and the high standard of tutor’s skills.

West Sussex Federation celebrated the Queen’s Jubilee with “A Romp” Through History attended by 2 of our members. A stunning jubilee cake designed by stood proudly amongst the other cake exhibits.

The month of June soon arrived and our thoughts turned to NFWI Annual General Meeting at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Lesley Guppy was our delegate and was joined by 3 other members. This meeting of all W.I.’s across England and Wales provides an opportunity for over 5,000 members to enjoy the emotional experience of what we, as an organization can achieve. The Resolution under discussion this year was the Employment of More Midwives which after discussion and voting, was passed with a 96% majority. This year saw a large number of members knitting a chain in W.I. colours, a feat to be recorded in the Book of Records and one which our members also contributed to. Thank you Lesley for attending on our behalf and reporting back to us at the following meeting.

Our own groups have had a busy year also. The walking group has covered 74 miles in 19 walks from Kingley Vale in December with coffee and mince pies at the top and the beautiful virgin snow on the route from Flansham to Barnham. Spring saw the group tacking Houghton and Amberley and the coast walks took them from Littlehampton to Selsey (a few miles at a time) and challenged them with one of their wettest walks. The highlight of this year’s walks was their longest to date of 6 miles through The Beeches, a patch of trees just off the Southdown Way above Steyning planted in 1969 by West Sussex Federation of W.I’s to celebrate 60 years of W.I.’s in West Sussex. The group have walked through sunshine, rain, snow and heat with special wonderful memories of new horizons and made all the more enjoyable with good company laughter and conversation

The theatre group have enjoyed such productions as Kiss Me Kate – the group always enjoy a good musical, A Marvellous Year for Plums – made all the more enjoyable by the introductory talk before hand and Absurd Person Singular – the Christmases from Hell we can all identify with. How lucky we are to have such a wonderful theatre on our doorstep.

The book group has enjoyed reading in the past year Dissolution by C J Samson and to Kill a Mocking Bird. They have also had a couple of meetings when they have read their own choices and are currently reading The Kindness of Strangers by Kate Addie, certainly a wide and interesting choice of books.

Knit and Natter has provided an excellent opportunity for those with knitting expertise and beginners alike to get together whilst putting the world to right.

The craft group has painted glass, ……………….

However the talents of Bognor W.I. surpassed itself when three of our members entered competitions at the County Show at Ardingly in June. I am pleased once again to congratulate Sue Austin who came second in Key To the Future, Jan Marsden who came 3rd in Reach For The Stars and Barbara Foster who was equal 4th with Finishing Touch. Karen McCreedy also entered the The Denman Cup Competition for “My Moment of Glory” which Karen read out to us all. Well done ladies.

This year we have received invitations from North Bersted and Middleton on Sea to visit their W.I.’s and we in turn have sent invitations to Barnham and Rose Green to strengthen our links with neighbouring W.I.’s. It is gratifying to hear from members from other institutes how much they have enjoyed evenings at Bognor W.I.

We also received an invitation from Arun Sounds who invited us to a Charity Fashion evening in aid of The Snowdrop Trust where Sue Austin was one of the models “strutting her stuff” on the catwalk! Great fun.

We have settled well into our new home at the Methodist Hall. The bigger room has enabled us to spread out for such events as the Christmas Party with groups of members at tables making table decorations as well as the Jubilee party. It also enabled us to split into two large circles for the Laughter Workshop run so ably by Mary Stanley. I shan’t forget in a hurry watching Mary encouraging members to “throw” laughs at each other, it was a sight for sore eyes and one of those occasions where I wished I had had a video camera! We also enjoyed the evening of the Treasure Hunt for those of us who walked around the town looking for clues whilst some of the members stayed inside in the warm also answering the quiz, once again compiled by our super quiz masters Sheila and Lesley.

Have I missed out anything in this report I ask myself? I hope not and apologies if I have but it is only when I looked through past minutes I realized just what we, Bognor W.I. have seen, made, visited and enjoyed and compiling this report has brought back many happy memories and can say yes, I do believe this year HAS been a memorable one.

But before closing this Annual Report, I would like to take this opportunity to give my personal thanks to Janet, Lesley, Sheila and Sarah who are retiring, and Kate and Gina for their hard work and enthusiasm in making Bognor Regis W.I. such an enthusiastic and successful W.I. It has been my pleasure to be on the committee with them all. Thank you.

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