Bognor Regis Member’s Meeting/Annual Meeting 21st March 2023

In preparing for this meeting I was aware that this was to be my last meeting as President having made the decision to step down after 3 and a half years in that role and a further 4 years on committee undertaking various roles, which put be in good stead for being President.

The meeting was to be a meeting of 2 halves, the Annual Meeting, business, and then a bit of fun with members voting in our Lambtastic Spring Show which challenged members to make a lamb in any medium.

As with any WI Annual Meeting, we kicked off with a rousing rendition of Jerusalem acapella style. To hear us – click here (NB this will bring you to YouTube in a separate tab).

Jen our Secretary then presented the Committee report, reflecting on the previous year. I was very touched that the report was presented under the headings of my WI values Friendship, Support, Respect, Encouragement , Fun and Being Kind. The report reminded all of what an active WI we are , offering something for everyone.

Next the turn of Lorraine our Treasurer to present her report and remind members how secure our finances are. Click here for the Treasurer’s Report.

Then my turn to give my President’s Address, a chance to thank all of those who give something to our WI. That was quite a list, a bit like an Oscar speech but without being wound up or slapped.

At this stage my carefully crafted agenda was interrupted by the arrival of Dinah who presented me with a beautiful bouquet and a mystery box which turned out to be a photo album of my years with WI. I have to say I was a little bit taken aback at that point, not expecting that and for once a bit speechless. Dinah doing the presentation meant a lot, as her Vice President for 2 years I’d learned how and how not to be a President.

I then handed the meeting over to Sue Carter our West Sussex Federation WI Adviser to undertake the election of the new committee and President. As only 6 members had put themselves forward for committee Sue advised there was no need to hold an election for committee and we welcomed Jen, Lorraine, Jack, Sarah W, Fleurie, and Clare as our new committee. I was delighted when Jen accepted the nomination to be our new President. Jen has been our secretary for the past 2 years aka my left hand woman. I could think of no one better to take over, her enthusiasm, creative ideas and sense of fun will bode well for the future of our WI.

There followed the ceremonial hand over of the Presidential bell and a WI President doll.

Business over it was time for tea, cake, and voting for the Spring Show. There were an amazing flock of lambs to chose from and to complement them, Jack our Queen of Refreshments had concocted some interesting mint based drinks.

The voting over, Joyce and Fleurie counted up and Sarah G, Katie and Sarah W were pronounced as winners, each receiving a bunch of tulips.

I chose to close the meeting with a very personal statement which encouraged members to take risks, not to leave this world with any “what ifs?” and to BE KIND.

I had wondered how it would be received but the standing ovation said it all.

It’s been a privilege, with lots of fun and laughter, some tears, the challenge of a pandemic but all so worthwhile and life -affirming.

Sue Harris

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