Visit to Tuppenny Barn

On May 29th a group of us visited this organic smallholding in Southbourne.   Tuppenny Barn provides learning experiences for children and adults to promote organic growing, healthy cooking and eating, and sustainable horticultural practices.

First we had a talk about the history of Tuppenny Barn, then a tour around the grounds, a cream tea, and a visit to the shop.  It was a very interesting and pleasant afternoon.

Many thanks to Dinah for arranging this.

click here to find out more about Tuppenny Barn

and click here for more photos of our visit.

photos & words: Katie and  Kate


South of England Show Ardingly 2019

Thank you Bognor Regis WI for your contributions to the South of England Show at Ardingly in June: help with making cakes, entries to the Craft Competitions and stewarding or help with catering on the day.

The South of England Show is a key opportunity for the WI to showcase itself.   Thousands of people visit the 3 day event from across the south and beyond, and many make their way to the WI Tent for refreshments – renowned for quality homemade cakes and cheery atmosphere.

Sarah ‘doing her bit’ in the catering tent

This year was no exception and, despite wet and windy weather causing disruption on occasions, it seems refreshment sales went very well.   The exhibited crafts impressed and inspired, as people looked on admiringly and voted for their favourites.    Bognor Regis WI came away with two first rosettes.

The Show brings East and West Sussex WI Federations together – joining forces to take part.   The team-work between the two Federations appeared exceptional and camaraderie ensued.    Without question, the Federations’ South of England Show sub-committees work extremely hard on our behalf.   The WI reputation for cakes, crafts, and friendliness was upheld.   If you get the chance to take part, in any way, next year, take it with open arms as it is rewarding and feels great to be part of our wider WI organisation.

Jan Marsden

… And didn’t Bognor Regis do well …

The report above is from Jan with her Federation hat on.  She is being rather modest, probably because she won one of those first red rosettes.  We had 3 entries this year and all were exceptional (although we say it ourselves!)  and here they are …

Shawl by Lesley Guppy, which received positive comments from the judges
‘End Plastic Soup’ wall hanging by Jan Marsden, awarded a FIRST rosette!
Doll by Sarah Greenway, awarded a FIRST rosette!

click here for all our photos from the craft tent.

Kate Claisse







The May meeting of Bognor Regis WI started in a swirl of colour with President Dinah Barrand sporting her new striped dungarees made from recycled fabric and supplied by a fair trade African company. This set the tone of the meeting which focussed on the Resolutions put forward by the National Federation of Womens’ Institutes but with an overarching theme of how all members could make a difference to our world by making small (or bigger) changes to their lifestyles.



Mandy receiving contributions for the Food Bank


First, however, Dinah introduced Mandy, the Deputy Co-ordinator of the Bognor Food Bank. She described how most food banks (Bognor included) come under the aegis of the Trussell Trust, a charity which aims to end hunger and poverty in the UK and to campaign for change to end the need for food banks. Mandy talked about the circumstances which led to people needing short term help including delays/changes in benefit payments, redundancy, pregnancy and domestic violence.  Bognor Food Bank relies on donations of non-perishable food from members of the public and clients need a voucher from a referring agency such as CAB, Radio Respect, My Sisters House etc. This system allows the referring agency to work with the person, providing ongoing support to hopefully improve their circumstance


As well as providing food, however, Bognor Food Bank provides care and compassion and ensures that all clients are valued, listened to and cared about. The Food Bank has also provided courses on budget cookery and tries to give extra help in the summer holidays – when school meals are not available – and special Christmas bags. Sadly, the need is growing with 3,000 people being fed last year – an increase of 33%.

After a very warm vote of thanks both for Mandy’s talk and for the excellent work they are doing, the meeting moved on to a quiz and vote on the potential resolutions. These were the provision of additional council funding for public bus services and encouraging more women (including young women) to have regular smear tests. It was agreed by a clear majority that both resolutions were worthy of support and the delegate to the national AGM in June will vote in accordance with the wishes of BRWI.

During the extended refreshment break with Prosecco and cake (including the delicious vegan cupcakes – to view the recipe – click Vegan Ginger Cupcakes) members had the opportunity to explore the displays on green living set up by the Committee.  These included a clear demonstration of what items can be put in the recycling bin and what can be recycled elsewhere, green replacements/substitutions for household products including homemade beeswax food covering and pan scrubbers, making the move to a plant based diet and the resources available to do so, reducing or eliminating the need for single use plastics, recycling and upcycling materials to make bags (and the examples included some unlikely raw materials!) and making rich and friable compost from garden and kitchen waste. To see all the ideas click here  Lots of questions were asked and many pledges made to try something new; it was inspiring to see how the members really wanted to make a difference to the lives of the local community and the wider world.

Later in the month, twenty members will be making a visit to Tuppenny Barn a sustainable living education centre in Southbourne, and three members will be joining lots of other WIs – and many other groups concerned about climate change – when they go on the Time is Now mass lobby of Parliament. This summer the Government will decide whether to end the UK’s contribution to climate change by committing to a net zero emissions target. They will also have the chance to end nature’s decline by committing to a strong Environment Bill. The Time is Now on June 26th is hoped to be the largest mass lobby for climate and the environment that the UK has ever seen.  The WI is very proud to be part of it!!

Click to display the Record of May 19 meeting

Words: Gina

Photos: Katie and Kate

Arundel Walking Tour No. 2


You may remember that last year we went on a Walking Tour of Arundel with our postman guide Martin?  Well last week we joined up with Martin for another tour, this time mainly along the lower part of the town near the river.  Martin regaled us with  tales of Arundel when it was a busy port with ships sailing along the River Arun to the sea 5 miles away.  Many of us had never been in that part of the town and were impressed with what is a rather pretty area.  Martin had many old photos of Arundel to illustrate the stories he had to tell.

One thing that made us laugh was a wall that we came across.  This was built by a man, famous in his day for selling all sorts of bits and pieces – I guess a sort of rag and bone man.  He built this wall and basically included all sorts of odds and ends, including false teeth – which you may spot in the photo below…


Many thanks to Celia for organising what was a very pleasant and interesting tour.

words: Kate Claisse

Photos: Kate and Dinah


Small is Beautiful

The craft group, after finishing their Easter tree decorations, this month moved onto a new challenge….making a decorated mini picture that was only an inch square!!!!!!

Amongst chat, laughter, chocolate cake and Easter bunnies they all succeeded brilliantly.
Once several have been completed, they can then be framed as a picture, for cards or even key fobs.

We learnt a lot from each other and next months meeting will see us extending our Lilliputian art works even further.
Many thanks to Chris Hutchins for hosting.
New members always welcome.
Barbara Foster

Something to Shout About

OYEZ, OYEZ, OYEZ!! “Greetings to the lovely ladies of Bognor Regis WI and God save the Queen!” 
This was the stentorian greeting to the 50 Members and one visitor to BRWI, from the speaker; Jane Smith, Bognor’s own town crier.
In full regalia and sporting the crests of both Bognor Regis and the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers, Jane gave a fascinating insight into the history of town criers, the various duties of the town crier and, two years into the role, her own experiences. Having explained that it was illegal to heckle a town crier and also an offence to harm a town crier – the penalty for the latter being death – Jane addressed a very well-behaved audience!
Believed to date back to 7BC, the main qualification for the job was to be literate as they had to pass on proclamations, news and messages as they travelled on horseback from village to village. Jane gave a number of interesting snippets about town criers one being the fact that they feature on the Bayeux tapestry and another that Edward the Confessor was carried to his funeral by two ‘bellmen’ (criers) and that is where the phrase ‘dead ringers’ comes from.
The meeting was told that town crier qualifications now include a voice of good volume, diction and inflexion and that there are some 200 town criers in the UK, some employed by town councils and some self-appointed, of which 10% are women. With a background in amateur dramatics, Jane described her own appointment as town crier and the events and functions which she has attended including a number of town crier competitions.
A warm vote of thanks was given by Katie who noted that it was always good to have a positive example of ‘girl power’.
After refreshments, including 6 delicious cakes, the Easter themed raffle was drawn and the competition winners announced.
The competition ‘Something to Shout About’ was judged by Jane Smith, with Chris taking first place with her poem and arrangement on the horrors of plastic pollution, and Annie snaffling second with a poem about the irritations of bad driving behaviour in the supermarket carpark.  Jack took third place with one of her old school reports; it was encouraging that her trampolining skills were much improved!
President Dinah brought the evening to a close, thanked everyone for their donations for Bognor Regis food bank, and milk bottle tops for Sage House, and wished all members a happy Easter and a safe journey home.
Words:  Gina Fitch-Roy
Photos: Katie Lyne and Kate Claisse
To view a record of the meeting, please click here …

Our March meeting in North Berstead Hall

Our March meeting was very much enjoyed by all who attended it… and it was so simple … a talk by one of our chosen charities, a short business briefing, and then some social time aiming to get to know each other a little more.


One of our charities for this year is a Dementia Support charity based in Tangmere, called Sage House.

Nicki Clarke and Natalie Burchett from the marketing and fundraising teams at Sage House came along to give us a very interesting presentation about dementia and the charity.

The umbrella term ‘dementia’ is used to describe a collection of symptoms associated with a progressive decline in cognitive function, largely amongst older people. While it can be considered a ‘mental health’ issue, it is caused by physical disease – affecting the structure and chemical workings of the brain, and resulting in a loss of memory, reasoning and communication skills.  Some significant statistics they quoted were …

Every 3 mins someone is diagnosed with dementia

1 in 6 over 80 has dementia

14,820 people in West Sussex have dementia

Their pop-up banner includes most of the services they provide, as it says they aim to bring all dementia services under one roof.  The plan of Sage House below shows the various activities in the house…


Our members found the presentation very interesting so there were many and varied questions at the end.  We look forward to more contact with Sage House during the year.  Since the meeting Natalie has sent us a letter of thanks for the twiddlemuffs, teddy and bunting members gave her at the meeting.

Following refreshments we had a great icebreaker game, called People Bingo.  Everyone was given a page containing a grid of possible personal data – I’ve been on TV; I have 2 brothers; I have 3 sisters, and so on.  We then had to discover members who fitted each description and get them to sign each box.  The ensuing game was great fun, if rather chaotic (perhaps our glass of Prosecco during refreshments had something to do with that!)   The winners were Annie Smith and Leslie Guppy who managed to fill every square bar one … surprisingly for Bognor Regis WI, there was no-one present who could say … I was born in Bognor Regis. o



The evening ended with the draw for our unusual raffle – or Jarbola.  The committee had supplied lots of decorated jars filled with many different ‘small things’ – sweets, cosmetics, packets of seeds, etc etc – it was rather exciting to win a prize and then see what we had won.  We will probably adapt this idea for a children’s jarbola on our Hotham Park stall in August.

Many thanks to the 39 members who attended in the temporary hall – back to the Garden Centre next month.

Kate Claisse