A Dip and A Drink …. or 2

A final look back to our summer events 

As a WI by the sea, it’s inevitable that some members may swim. Our yearly swimming social was this year named A Dip and A Drink or Two. Gina once again invited us to her home on the prom in Felpham and members braved choppy waters to swim before enjoying Gina’s wonderful hospitality. The Foodbank also benefitted from generous donations of food and money.

Sue Harris

Here are a few photos of the event, more can be found in our photo album.

Fizz and Float

A July evening saw a social get together in Gina’s garden, backing on to the prom in Felpham. Following in the tradition of previous year’s Gin and Swim and Pimms and Paddle came our Fizz and Float.

11 intrepid women left the safety of Gina’s garden, on to the prom, and into the sea for a swim.  After an initial chill when we got in, we had great fun swimming and floating around in the choppy waters.

Check out our video on YouTube – proof that we actually did get in!

Then back to Gina’s garden for fizz, nibbles and a long overdue catch up. 

The evening not only benefited members but also our two local charities with £80 raised for Sage House, and two boxes of donated food for the Bognor Foodbank.

Looking forward to next year already.

Words Sue Harris

Photos and Video Joyce Aird and Gina Fitch-Roy

Tents in Kent – WI Camp August 2019

9 members of Bognor Regis WI had a fun filled, slightly damp weekend camping near Tunbridge Wells at Adamswell Scout camp – this is what the campers had to say  ….

This was my second W I camp very different to the first.  The location was lovely in the Kent countryside with the railway track running along one side and a stream on the other.

Highlight for me was the steam engine running one way and a diesel the other pulling carriages, two of which, Kate and Dora, appropriately named for Katie and Dora the Explorer, known to many as Jan.

With not so many planned activities and a more casual approach to events made for a relaxed atmosphere.  We spent time as campers together sitting, chatting, discussing, laughing, playing games volleyball, Chinese shuttlecock, giant bubble blowing and a brilliant walk on the Saturday breaking at Groomsbridge railway station for coffee before walking back across fields.

It was a brilliant weekend, despite the wet start with good company, food and companionship.  Thank you campers.


I was slightly apprehensive about camping; having long ago thought I’d packed my tent away for good.  However, I had forgotten how much fun camping could be, especially when in the company of other women. We chatted and laughed the whole time, played games, ate cake and drank gin, with the odd craft activity or informative talk thrown in.  Perfect weekend.

No thanks to me, our camp was amazingly well organised, having every comfort of home and I was well fed across the whole weekend. Who knew that an inflatable mattress could be so comfortable!! Even the rain didn’t stop us having fun.

I would like to thank my fellow campers for being such good company and for their brilliant camp building skills. I look forward to next year.



Knowing we were going to get rain did dampen my excitement I must admit, but once Jan arrived at my house and we filled my little TARDIS – away we went.

‘Tents in Kent’ was a little underwhelming, but BRWI base camp was brilliant. Great food (thanks Jack) great company (thanks everyone) great fun we had a blast!!

Here’s to next year!


Although I secretly hoped Kent WIs would cancel the camp, due to the wet weather forecast for most of the camp weekend, I am so pleased they did not.

Initially, full of enthusiasm, following a brilliant camp in East Sussex last year, my commitment was dampened by the threat of rain – lots of it.  My thoughts about camping changed from excitement to thoughts of an endurance challenge.  However, I should never have doubted the encouragement of my companions – what a brilliant time we had.

I still chuckle to myself about exiting my tiny tent backwards, on my knees with my rear in the air, and the fact, even as our WI walk leader for nine years, I went to camp without a map!  I like my new name though – Dora the Explorer.

The best bit for me was everyone being together – brilliant – now I know we can overcome anything.  Oh, and the fact my new wellingtons kept my feet dry!

Well done campers – loved every minute of it.   Thank you.


So my tent has been cleaned and dried, my duvet aired, clothes washed and mud removed from my wellingtons. Camp is over for another year. We all survived despite the heavy rain and wind on Friday night.

There were not many activities on offer that I wanted to join in with but I was pleased with the Flower Crown I made with fresh flowers, and hopefully will remember how to make one in the future.

Our walk from the campsite to Groombridge, without the help of a map, took longer than we had anticipated. (We set off in the wrong direction) But a cup of coffee at Groombridge Station was most welcome as indeed were the toilets.

The highlight of the w/e was our performance in the Tents in Kent talent show. We were the ONLY entry. Did I ever think I would spend an evening with 8 other lovely ladies all dressed in shower caps, swimsuits, wellies and raincoats singing together in front of 40+ other WI members. That is why we are BRWI. We love a challenge. A WI member from Worthing said, ‘I want to come to your WI, you obviously have a lot of fun.’  And we do.


My highlight was the camaraderie and grit that BRWI showed in light of the rain and general rubbish changeable weather. It was a joy just to spend time with the squad – whether whilst walking, experiencing an activity or just chatting under the gazebo whilst getting wet. Also the cakes – obviously!



Pimms & Paddle

After the hottest day of the year, it was a bit of a disappointment and worry when the weather changed the next day and rain was forecast. As we walked down the prom to Gina’s house the sea didn’t look too inviting, BUT we are WI and, in true WI fashion, we strode out of Gina’s back garden in our costumes and on to the beach. 10 members and 2 guests braved the waves and seaweed and swam. Other members watched!! Once you were in, it was lovely and we even had our first attempt at synchronised swimming. Sadly no photos of that….I blame the members watching.

pimms and paddle 10

After the swim (only wimps paddle) it was back to Gina’s garden for Pimms, and more Pimms. A great time was had by all and, thanks to the rain gods who kept the rain at bay. Biggest thanks to Gina for her hospitality….we will be back next year for Fizz and Float.

For all the photos, click here.

Words:  Sue Harris

Photos: Georgette Budhram (guest) Karen McCreedy and Debbie Brookes


West Sussex WI Federation visits

Some of our members joined in with other WI members from across West Sussex on three events run by our WI Federation Public Affairs and Environment sub-committee this summer.

Warnham Nature Reserve Outdoor Talk and Walk – pond-life and plant-life was described to members by the wardens at this nature reserve near Horsham with passion for conservation.   What a gem – a public space hidden just off the A24 near Horsham – well worth a visit.

In a Spin …. on a July summer evening – was held at a delightful venue at Field Place in Durrington.   WI members, friends and family, were able to reflect the impact micro plastics may have in our oceans, and consider ways of reducing the detrimental effect on wildlife and potentially human life.    An informative and thought provoking evening, with speakers from National WI Federation, Southampton Oceanographic Centre and Southern Water.

Barfoots of Botley Farm Visit – Barfoots’ farmers treated a total of 80 members from WIs across West Sussex to tractor trailer tours of their local farm at Pagham.   They explained the workings of the farm, from planting through packaging and marketing the vegetable produce.   It was impressive: the way Botleys balance environmental challenges with the need to produce our food was remarkable.  To be given such a close insight into modern farming practices was an honour.

Each event was rewarded by good weather, good company and good speakers – reminding us how we can expand the value of our WI membership by  joining in events put on by our WI Federation, advertised each month in the West Sussex News.
Words and photos:  Jan Marsden

West Sussex Recycling



On 18thMarch, 14 members went along to Ford Materials Recycling facility for a very interesting and informative afternoon.

I think we all thought we were all pretty good ‘recyclers’, but soon realised we could probably do more.

All Recycling collected from our homes in West Sussex is taken to the Materials recycling facility known as MRF, where it is sorted into separate materials using state of the art technology, ready for reprocessing and manufacturing into new goods and products.

Most of the visit is spent in the education centre with a talk given by Jo Norman, Education and Communications officer for Viridor, who was happy to answer all our questions and queries.


We then donned safety clothing and headgear to stand out on the viewing platform to watch this incredible machine at work.

It was well worth a visit and I would highly recommend to other groups in West Sussex, as it gave us all food for thought and was not at all RUBBISH.

Words:   Sarah Greenway

Photos:  Dinah Barrand

Many Thanks to Sarah for organising such an interesting ‘bit on the side’.

Ending Plastic Soup

On October 31st, Kate and Gina set off to the WI End Plastic Soup Conference at the Abbey Centre in Westminster. The speakers – Bruce Newport from The Environment Agency,  Stephanie Wright from Kings College London,  Arturo Castillo of Imperial College London, Rachael Miller of The Rozailia Project and  Natalie Welden from Glasgow University –  were erudite and passionate about their subject and the information provided frighteningly demonstrated the importance of this WI campaign.

So, what is the issue?

Picture1Microplastic fibres are small plastic fragments (5mm or smaller) that are shed from synthetic clothes when laundered and end up in the sea and wider environment. The scale of the problem is large: millions of people wash their clothes every week, shedding these tiny particles that are too small to be caught  by the machine’s filters, flowing into the sewage system and eventually into the ocean.

Due to their small size microplastic fibres are readily ingested by aquatic life, filling up their stomachs which can eventually cause death. We also know these fibres can end up in the food we eat – the long term effects of which are not yet clear.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has predicted that by 2050 there could be more plastic in the sea than fish. Urgent action is needed to raise awareness of the issue: the campaign is about educating communities and raising awareness amongst members and the wider public to put the issue on the public agenda and encourage greater action.

In light of the facts that were presented to the conference, it was hard not to feel pessimistic but Rachael Miller of The Rozailia Project was more upbeat with suggestions on how as a group and as individuals, we could make a difference.

Actions that could be taken included: washing at a lower temperature, ensuring that clothes were only washed when necessary rather than when half dirty, reducing the length of the wash cycle and ensuring that washing loads run at capacity. It was also suggested that members might wish to invest in a fibre catching device such as the Cora Ball for use in washing machines.

Cora Balls

The Cora Ball does not solve the problem completely but claims to remove about 30% of microfibres released in the washing cycle.

After the academic speakers, three members of Selby Swans WI (together with mannequin Adelaide dressed completely in clothes made from unrecyclable plastic) gave an inspiring talk. As a fairly new WI they had really grasped the nettle with this campaign and shared with the conference the many ways they had worked to spread the message to their local community and the encouragement given to members to pledge to make a difference.

It was a hard act to follow but the representative from Isle of Wight Federation spoke about this campaign and the way in which they had linked it with the move to reduce the single use plastic. The Federation is working hard with other IOW stakeholders to really make a difference.

The floor was then opened up and members had a number of excellent ideas and suggestions about how the WI could be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

Gina and Kate came away feeling that the issue was a really pressing one and that efforts needed to be exerted on government and businesses to take steps to reduce the sea of plastic which is threatening to compromise our health and environment.  There is however much that we can do as members to make a real difference.

  1. Learn more and raise awareness– watch ‘A Plastic Tide’, Sky’s documentary looking at the scale of ocean plastic waste and how it is entering the food chain.
  2. Use the NFWI’s postcard and write to your favourite clothing retailer asking them what they are doing to tackle the issue of microplastic fibres (available in the NFWI report – In A Spin – on pages 20 and 21 and also available to download on My WI).
  3. Use the NFWI’s template MP/AM letter to highlight the report findings and ask for commitment from Government (available to download on My WI).
  4. Think about ways in which you can cut back on single use plastic. One delegate recommended the book ‘No. More. Plastic.: What you can do to make a difference’ by Martin Dorey.  The book is available in West Sussex Libraries.
  5. Consider the laundry suggestions outlined above on how to minimise microplastic pollution
  6. With Christmas rapidly approaching, think about where presents and wrapping paper may end up. Each Christmas alone the UK generates the weight of 3.3 million Emperor Penguins in plastic waste. And 227,000 miles of wrapping paper is used each Christmas in the UK alone – enough to go around the globe 9 times! Metallic wrapping paper and paper with glitter on is NOT recyclable and glitter is actually a microplastic so best avoided in all it’s forms.  Maybe think about a different way of wrapping (non-plastic) gifts:- https://www.1millionwomen.com.au/blog/how-furoshiki-japanese-fabric-wrapping/
  7. Pick up plastic from the beach – we’re in a perfect place to do that.
  8. Consider buying second hand clothes occasionally.

Words:  Gina Fitch-Roy

Photos:  Kate Claisse