President Dinah Barrand welcomed members to the first meeting of Bognor Regis WI of 2018. Over the Christmas break, members had been invited to select a charity for this year and the joint winners were Friends of Bognor Hospitals and Stonepillow. Brian Knight from the Friends was present to explain a l
ittle about the history of the hospitals (there were once two), and the sterling work undertaken by the Friends to provide additional resources for patients and staff. The Friends also have a band of some 200 volunteers, of whom Anne Simmonds, one of our members, is one. She gave a wonderful insight into the work she undertakes, the comfort it gives to patients and staff, and the personal satisfaction and joy she gains from the role. There are volunteering opportunities for WI members, and Brian also invited members to knit ‘twiddle muffs’ for elderly patients – a pattern will be sourced and circulated.
On then to the energetic part of the meeting! Sadly, the leader of the scheduled jive session had had to cancel, but Barbara Foster and her husband stepped into the breach with a wonderful session of line dancing. Teaching us all some beginner steps and with the backing of some catchy country music, everyone had the opportunity to show off their prowess – or lack of! It was a wonderful active and hilarious start to the New Year, finishing with a masterly demonstration by Barbara and Alan showing how it should be done. A very warm vote of thanks was given to Barbara and Alan for both saving the day and giving all members a splendid work out.
Refreshments followed during which members had the opportunity to visit the ‘bring and buy’ stall, to vote for their favourite competition entrants and to sign up for a wide choice of ‘A Bit on The Side’ activities which will be available during the year. These ranged from a trip on the Chichester Canal to gin tasting at the Festival Theatre and everything in between.
After refreshments, Jan Marsden ably led the meeting through the five possible Resolutions for the WI AGM in Cardiff this year, with members being invited to vote for the one they felt was both most socially pressing, and towards which WI members both individually, and as a body, could make a real difference. The issues were diverse: the ending of female genital mutilation, raising awareness of mental health issues, ending modern slavery, promoting oral and thus bodily health, and encouraging positive body images in a technological era. Voting slips were distributed, collected and the results will be fed up to NFWI.
The draw for the two education bursaries of £100 each was then held, the winners being Jeanette Clark and Jane Sedgwick. Hopefully, they will enjoy spending the money on improving old, or learning new, skills and feeding their experiences back to members.
Members were then invited to share any special news with the meeting and Karen McCreedy announced that she had recently signed a contract with a publisher for one of her novels. The book will not be published until later in the year, but many congratulations to Karen who hopefully will sign our copies when it is available.
This month’s competition of Recycled Christmas attracted seven entries. It was a tie for second place between June Salter (origami sweet bags from wrapping paper) and Sarah Greenaway with decorations made from Christmas cards. First place however, went to Anne Winter with her two much loved elderly Christmas cards, and the moving story behind them. Well done Anne.
After that the Competition Cup for 2017 was awarded. In third place was Annie Smith, second was Anne Winter and in first place – if a publishing contract was not enough! – was Karen McCreedy. Honour heaped upon honour. The theme for next month’s competition will be My Inspirational ‘Sister’
The meeting ended with Dinah advising members about the South of England show in June, the next meeting of the South Rife group, the fundraising stall Bognor WI will be having at the Hotham Park Country Fair in August together with Aldwick Revival WI, the possibility of a royal themed party later in the year, and the proposed monthly coffee mornings hosted by a different member of the Committee. The first of these will be held on Tuesday 23rd January at Hotham Park Café and will be hosted by Sue Harris.
The meeting ended with warm wishes for a safe journey home.
For more photos please click here.
Words: Gina Fitch-Roy
Photos: Katie Lyne