Secretary’s Report 2015




Good Evening Ladies,

Well what a year we have all had as members of the WI, monumental just doesn’t sum it up.

We started the new committee’s year in November, with an interesting and amusing talk from Neil Sadler, entitled A Policeman’s l,ot. It was very pertinent to Bognor Regis as this is where he had started his career on the beat, about 40 years ago. It was amazing to see how much the role of women in the police force has changed during that time, from being mere assistants – complete with sensible shoes, seamed stockings and handbags – to today’s fairly equal members of the force.

In December the wonderful Rosemary Moon proved unequivocally that the female of the species can multi task, as she kept us amused, while teaching and cooking her lovely seasonal foods at the same time and also managing to plug her new book….several times.

The New Year began with us joining Twitter. Since then our account has gained several hundred followers, and we have even been re-tweeted by Sir Lenny Henry. A growing number of our members have embraced this medium, and it’s proved to be a great way of raising our profile and making new friends.

However the biggest happening of the WI was that 2o15 was the NFWI Centennial Year!

Lesley with The Cake
The wonderful cake was created by our President, Lesley.

DSCF8479Thanks to our President and her determination to do something to mark the arrival of the Centenary Baton in West Sussex, we all gathered, with other local WI’s, at Jeneses for the first birthday party of the year. All those present had an opportunity to touch the Baton, and the fabulous cake  which our President produced, it was much admired before being consumed.


Our speaker for the January meeting was again police related, but this time it was not a light hearted talk as in November, as this concerned scams and frauds, and I for one found it really disturbing.

February’s guest, Jennie Rayment, proved to be one of the most flamboyant speakers of the year. Where else could you put stripping and quilting in the same sentence and it make sense? I’m sure she had evoryonc going home with bruised ribs from laughing so much.

March was a much more sober meeting, although very interesting, with a talk frorn our own Yvonne Price on Women Pioneers in Science and Medicine. It was inspiring to see how hard they had to work and how far these women had to go to compete in a man’s world.

April saw most of us up on the floor, line dancing. It was hilarious to take part in and I have been told by those members looking on, that it was even more hilarious to watch.

May was a more serious affair, as it was the WI Resolution Debate and Vote. Thanks must again be given to Sue Austen for opening up and sharing her life with us, giving us an insight into the difficulties experienced by a full time Carer. I am sure I speak for all present to say how moving we found it. The Resolution, however, was not carried and our representative, Jan Marsden, was instructed to take our vote to the Annual General Meeting.

Our speaker for June was Grahame Payne who talked to us about local Artists and Poets, and June was also the month of the WI’s Picnic at the Palace (Buckingham Palace that is). Sue Austin in the garden of Buckingham PalaceAfter the emotional talk she gave us in May, we were delighted that Sue Austen was picked from the hat to be our representative. She shared the experience with us with a very funny talk.

July brought us a talk by Yvonne Fenter from Brent Lodge about the trials and tribulations of running an animal sanctuary. Members donated tins of cat and dog food for the sanctuary, and I’m sure they will be much appreciated by the injured inmates.

Of course August is a time for rest and relaxation…..though, not where the BRWI is concerned. The Bognor Regis Duck Day 2o15 on the sea front, organised by ourselves in partnerchip with the Bognor Regis Town Council, in support of the Little Yellow Duck Project was a great success and helped to promote the worthy cause of organ donation.

Then there was the summer social. AII enjoyed the lovely buffet, but the event will be long remembered for the sight of Barbara Foster and Sue Regan running hell for leather, in their finery, in the finals of the horse racing. Barbara just pipped Sue at the post to win the trophy.

September was another busy month starting with a talk from John Davey about the mystery of the Piltdown Man hoax. Personally I think Chipper was framed. A week later, on the actual birthday of the WI, 16th September, many members celebrated at the Felpham Golf Club with a wonderful meal, enioyed by everyone there.

Towards the end of the month it was our WI’s turn to host the South Rife Meeting, and Jeneses was again the venue. The speaker for this meeting was Simon Brett, the well-known local author. As hostesses we provided a sumptuous tea to which all our members contributed.

Running alongside all the ‘official doings’ throughout the year, were the sub-groups and other activities. I have already mentioned the Little Yellow Duck Project but we also took part in the Grow Wild Projeci with Kew Gardens. Our different groups continued to provide social and instructional interest to members: the art group, book group, craft group, dining-out, gardening, knit and knatter, jewellery making, the Theatre group and the walking group – and of course the SCIFFLe group, which as far as we know is the only WI science-fiction group in the country.

Our WI has also experienced phenomenal success this year in the field of WI competitions, proving that we have some very talented members. At the South of England Show Barbara Foster walked away with a 1st place, while Jan Marsden was highly commended for her entry.

That in itself is amazing but then Jan, Sheila Farmer and Lesley Guppy combined their talents to bag first place for BRWI at the ‘WI 1oo Not Out!’ competition at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum at Singleton. Well done to all of them!

The country in general seems to have gone WI crazy, with TV series, travelling plays and even as a question on University Challenge about the WI Centenary, how do we top all this? This coming year will be a challenge but I know we will all rise to it.

Hopefully the agenda for this next year will continue to amuse, interest and educate us. I hope everyone has eujoyed this special year and we can all now look folward to the next 1oo years.

Written by Annie Smith
On behalf of the 2o14-15 Committee of BRWI

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