Forty four members (including one new member, Christine) arrived at the Gordon Centre to find a buzzing festival atmosphere with bunting, tables decorated for competition entries and lots of fizz to drink.
Also welcomed was Janet Perkins the very first President of BRWI and WI Advisor Melanie Careless. While members displayed their entries for the autumn themed competition, three ex-Presidents, Janet, Jan and Lesley together with Melanie commenced the judging of the cakes – judging having to be completed so the members could enjoy them in the refreshment break. This done, everyone rose to sing Jerusalem and thus the tenth Annual meeting of Bognor Regis WI began.
Following the Treasurers Report the outgoing committee, channelling their inner Spice Girls, introduced themselves and each of their descriptors covered an aspect of BRWI life over the past year. The ‘Spice Girls’ were Supportive, Adventurous (some of us had even braved the wilds of Bournemouth!), Sporty, Crafty, Community Minded, Fun, Green, Cultural and Friendly and these assertions were borne out by the number of activities and subgroups within the WI. Members have enjoyed book groups, eating out, theatre and cinema trips, sci-fi and fantasy fiction, coffee mornings, walking groups, croquet, bowls and walking netball, knit and natter, art and craft and much, much more. They have also looked outwards, supporting Sage House, the Food Bank and ACWW among others. To see all our activities click here.
Dinah, our outgoing President, spoke movingly about the welcoming and friendly nature of BRWI and how it embodied the values of friendship and female empowerment which should inform all WI’s. For her full report click here.
This was echoed by Melanie Careless who, having been instrumental in the formation of BRWI ten years ago felt that it was one of the very best in West Sussex – vibrant, welcoming and above all fun.
Following on from this was the announcement of the new committee and the vote for the new President. The meeting was thrilled to know that Sue Harris will be stepping into Dinah’s shoes.
Following this a hard core of WI campers (those that could hold their gin!) stepped out of the hall to prepare for a brief entertainment and during that time. Sue told the meeting that the recent tea party held by Dinah in aid of Sage House had raised in excess of £200. At this the campers returned in their wet weather gear to sing the camping song that had won the talent contest at the last Tents in Kent camp. It is understood however that they were the only entrants although the slick move from rainwear to swimwear at the end would have made Simon Cowell’s (and Bucks Fizz’s) hearts beat faster! (click here to hear their song!)
Finally, the winners and runners up of each of the competitions was announced with
- Jack coming first with her autumn cake and Chris H. coming second.
- June S. came first in the autumn accessory category and Chris H again took the runner up slot.
- For the floral display in a jam jar, Gill L. took the honours with Sheila F. coming second
- For the 10th birthday card, Jack again came first, and Sarah G. took second place.
- Jan A came first in the picture competition and Mandy W. was runner up.
Congratulations to everyone who entered!
The meeting ended with an emotional send-off (and a bottle of Sussex gin) for Dinah who has been a brilliant President for the last three years. As Sue Harris put it to her she has brought enthusiasm, energy, passion, hard work and a sense of humour to the role and the WI are in her debt.
click here for more photos
words: Katie Lyne
photos: Katie and Kate