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

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

Going For a Song


Forty two members (including two new members) and five visitors – three from the
newly formed Eastergate WI – came to the February meeting of Bognor Regis WI.
Many of the attendees were wearing green or sporting a green heart to ‘Show the
Love’ in fighting climate change and during the evening each member was invited to
pledge one action, however small, that would make a difference; these ranged from
buying an electric car to using bar soap and a range of behaviours in between.
Additionally, members had brought a huge number of items of pet food as requested
by the local food bank and bottle tops for Tangmere Dementia Hub, both charities
that will be supported by BRWI during 2019.

After a warm welcome from President Dinah Barrand, Debbie introduced
MusicSmart. Hilary and Paula from MusicSmart are passionate about introducing
more people to the joys of music in general and singing in particular and, amongst
other initiatives, run five community choirs and run ‘Singing Saturdays’ themed
workshops. Having outlined the physical and emotional benefits of singing, it was
time for BRWI to be put through their paces. Starting with a simple melody, the group
progressed to a Tina Turner number (with body percussion) and then the theme from
The Greatest Showman’. We were simply amazed at the sounds such untrained
voices could produce; it was great fun and many members were inspired to enquire
about joining the choirs. Before the warm thanks from Debbie, Hilary and Paula
drew the winning MusicSmart raffle and to her delight Jack won two places on one of
the Singing Saturday workshops.

After refreshments and the opportunity to catch up with friends and sign up for one of
the many activities on offer in the coming months, Dinah brought the meeting back to
order and ran through the business of the meeting. Members were reminded about
the need to register earlier for the WI Camp in Kent as places are limited and to buy
tickets for the South Rife meeting on 13th March – another musical encounter but this
time with a ukulele band. The meeting was also updated on the results of the
Resolution Vote with ‘Stop the Decline in Village Bus Services’ garnering the most
votes. This decision will be sent up to NFWI. Members were also asked to think
about donating cakes and preserves for the BRWI/Aldwick Revival stall at the
Hotham Park Country Fair to be held in August.

After the raffle, Hilary and Paula selected the competition (My Happy Song) winners:
first was Anne Winter with ‘Pretty Woman’, second was Annie Smith with ‘Vincent
and Chris Hunter was third with ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’.

It was a really enjoyable evening brought to an end when Dinah, having reminded
members that next month’s meeting will be held at the Jubilee Hall in North Bersted,
wished all members and visitors a safe journey home.

To read the full meeting record click on Record of February 19 meeting

Words:  Gina Fitch-Roy

Photo & meeting record:  Katie Lyne

Members Meeting – 13th November


On World Kindness Day President Dinah Barrand warmly welcomed members and three visitors to the November meeting.  Dinah pointed out a jar of sticks, each with a RAOK – Random Act of Kindness – printed on it, and members were invited to take a couple and try to do them in the coming weeks.

Debbie Brooks then introduced the speaker, Claire Cole. Claire gave the meeting an excellent talk on Mindfulness including the history, evidence and practice in the UK. Mindfulness stems from the Buddhist tradition and was embraced by an American doctor who developed its use to treat chronic pain.  It was then taken up by three Cognitive Behavioural Therapists in Cambridge in the 1990s, who developed an 8 week course in Mindfulness CBT for those suffering from depression. After extensive studies and following NICE guidelines, mindfulness is now available on the NHS.

The practice concentrates on ‘being’ not ‘doing’ and Claire pointed out that we are rarely in the present moment but often looking back – rehashing – or looking forward – rehearsing – stressing ourselves over thoughts of  ‘if only’ or ‘what if’.

The meeting was then invited to do a short breathing exercise and asked to consider how this made them feel and Claire talked about the fact that physical changes take place in the brains of those who practise regular mindfulness.  In coping with difficult interactions with other people, Claire described what she called 50:50 practice which centres on giving half your attention to the other party and half on staying grounded and aware of yourself.  This, she explained, helps in allowing you to respond rather than react and allows you to choose not to react negatively to triggers in the conversation. Members were then asked to consider what depletes and what nourishes them and how they personally achieve a balanced life. The talk ended with another session of centring and breathing and a now very relaxed Dinah gave a warm thank you to Claire for an interesting and helpful talk.

Following a refreshment break  in which members had the opportunity to drink tea, eat cake, sign up for future events, buy raffle tickets, vote on the competition entries and catch up with friends Dinah called the meeting back to order.


Warm thanks were offered to all those who took part in the Act of Remembrance Parade on Sunday’s 100thanniversary of the Armistice at the end of WW1. She spoke of how proud she and the other 10 members were to be part of such a special and moving occasion and thanked Katie for suggesting and organising the WI’s involvement which is hoped will continue in subsequent years.

The new Committee were then presented to the members with each Committee member introducing another.  So Dinah, Katie, Sue, Barbara, Kate, Joyce, Debbie, Sarah and Gina were formally welcomed and Jeanette and Celia were presented with presents and cards to thank them for their sterling work on the previous Committee. Celia’s involvement with the running of the WI will continue as both she and Lesley Guppy volunteered to be BRWI representatives on the South Rife Group.

IMG_2665Vice President Sue Harris reminded members to take an envelope containing their renewal forms home with them to return them at the December or January meeting and also invited them to think about charities for BRWI to support next year – bearing in mind that it has been good to provide practical help to both Stonepillow and Friends of Bognor Hospitals. Dinah echoed this, pointing out the huge mountain of hats, gloves and socks that members had brought in for Stonepillow.

The meeting was then invited to vote on the fixings for the name badges for members and visitors and it was agreed that lanyards rather than pins or magnets will be provided.

Picture1Lesley Guppy then gave a really informative description of her experience as a delegate at the recent WSFWI Annual Meeting in Worthing. She described how the various reports given on the day presented a picture of the positive and robust nature of WSFWI with many new WIs being opened, the finances in a stable state and lots of future plans. She also gave the meeting a taste of the afternoon speakers – Jane Robinson Social historian and author of “A Force to be Reckoned With” – a history of the WI and her latest book “Hearts & Minds,” the Untold Story of the Great Pilgrimage and How Women Won the Vote and Lady Emma Barnard Chatelaine of Parham House and High Sheriff of Sussex 2017 – 2018. Interestingly, Lady Emma was also the great great niece of Lady Denman so had a clear link to the WI both nationally and locally.  Lesley also noted the presence in an official capacity of BRWI’s Jan Marsden who was recently elected to be a Trustee, and in turn Jan (and the whole meeting) thanked Lesley for such an excellent picture of a full and interesting day.  Lesley also showed members one of the very first, and very rare, books to be written about the WI (in 1943) and invited them to take a look.

To read Lesley’s full report please click here.

Picture1Gina then briefly described the conference she attended with Kate on the WI Resolution on Plastic Soup. She spoke about the appalling scale of the problem as it was presented by the various speakers but, more positively, also talked about what we could do as a national organisation, as a local WI and as individuals to make a difference.

After this, Annie was invited to talk about the fun she had had playing walking netball – with social and physical benefits along with lots of laughs – and exhorted others members to give it a go.

The financial budget is still a work in progress and will be presented at the next meeting. Dinah did however inform the meeting that the recent (very well attended) quiz had raised £409. Excellent!

IMG_2664This month’s competition ‘I tried something new’ attracted seven entries – hurrah! – with Annie and Barbara sharing first place and Pam taking third. We were treated to a real reflection of members’ initiative, resourceful and willingness to take a risk. Well done to all who entered. Next month’s competition will be ‘Craft a Cracker’ – hopefully using recyclable materials.


IMG_2666The super raffle prizes (Happy Hampers) were won by very lucky Rosemary Coleman and Jeannette.

Finally Dinah reminded members of the December meeting when we will be entertained by Dawn Gracie  – Dress to Impress and bring something for Secret Santa which should be a (pre-loved) book which you have enjoyed. Please wrap it and attach a label explaining why the book was special to (anonymous) you.

The very full and enjoyable meeting ended with Dinah wishing all members a safe journey home.

Words:  Gina Fitch-Roy

Photos:  Kate Claisse


2018 Annual Meeting & 9th Birthday

Thirty seven members attended BRWI’s Annual Meeting, together with WI Advisors Melanie Careless and Maxine Gregory.  President Dinah Barrand extended a warm welcome to everyone.

Debbie Brooks, having spoken about the money raised by Sylvia’s tea party, then introduced Jane Ramage, a Trustee of the Friends of Chichester Hospital who presented a formal Certificate of Appreciation for the monies received. Jane then described the equipment for the colo-rectal unit it had helped to buy; an insufflator that will greatly assist the surgical teams and improve patient outcomes.  She then gave an interesting insight into the general work of the FoCH, how funds were raised and the equipment it allowed them to buy.

A short break followed when members were invited to browse the display of photographs that captured the high points of the year,  look at the list of candidates for election to the Board of WSFWI trustees, Guess the Weight of cake, vote on the competition entries and sign up for future activities.


The formal part of the meeting commenced with the singing of Jerusalem followed by the approval of the minutes of the September meeting, the demonstration of the poppy wreath beautifully made by Katie with the various poppies made by members and a vote on the adoption of the BRWI logo (unanimous). Dinah then spoke about the proposed move from the Methodist Church Hall to the Gordon Centre outlining the reasons why this had been considered and the advantages it would bring. The downside would be the change of meeting date from the second to the third Tuesday in each month but having listened to the case for a move, members voted overwhelmingly for the change of venue.

An invitation was extended to two members to attend Tangmere WI’s 29thbirthday celebrations.

The Financial Statement having been read out, proposed, seconded and approved the members were then treated to the Committee Report which gave a witty overview of activities over the past year:

A   is for Arty Afternoons at Lynn’s – from colouring in to entries for the County show. Lynn shares with us her love of art and her yummy cake. A is also for the Arundel history walk led by a postman, organised by Celia and enjoyed by 12members.

B   is for our 2 Book Groups organised by Flo and Celia – a library of books have been read and we’re hoping to do some joint events next year.  It’s also for our Back to School Summer Social – we enjoyed reliving our school days at the Rowland Rank

C   is for our part as Calendar girls in the Bognor Carnival – it was great to take part in a community event. It’s also for the Chichester Canal trip back in March and the Competition cup – last year’s winner was Karen.

D   is for the Desert Island Discs themed members meeting, which took place in July instead of April. Thanks to members who shared their ideas of a ‘must have item’ and to Sue for hosting members on her island. D is for the drama group ‘Acting Up’ possibly the shortest-lived sub group but thanks to Jan for trying.

E    is for the Eating Out group organised by Lesley. Many meals have been enjoyed in a variety of restaurants and pubs            

F    is for Flick Chicks Cinema visits organised by Karen. F is also for the lovely Fundraising Tea in aid of St Richard’s Hospital in Sylvia’s garden and for the Flower Festival in Chichester cathedral where Sheila managed the WI display.

G   is for the Gin and swim evening at Gina’s in July. It was a great success and hopefully to be repeated next year as ‘Pimms and a paddle’ to include those not so keen on full immersion in the sea.        

is for Hawks. In June we enjoyed an evening in the company of many different Birds of Prey. They seemed at home swooping around the hall and landing on unsuspecting members heads. H is also for our homeless charity – Stonepillow –a big thanks for all the generous donations.

I    is for the inspirational talk about Suffragettes by Diane Atkinson at Denman based on her book ‘Rise Up, Women’ that 5 of us went to on a snowy day in February.

  is for Jan’s Walks, which many of us have enjoyed throughout the year. It’s also for Jam, cake and crafts for Hotham Park Country Fair stall in August. A big thank you to everyone who donated so generously and helped on the stall.

K   is for Knitting. Whether it’s enjoying the Knit and natter group organised by Rosemary or knitting Twiddlemuffs for our charity Friends of Bognor Regis Memorial hospital.

L    is for Summer Lunch at Lynn’s. On the last Saturday in June 20 of us enjoyed a delicious meal in the sunshine in Lynn’s beautiful garden              

M  is for our new monthly coffee mornings in Hotham Park. A great suggestion from Rosemary.

N  is for nights at the theatre organised by Mandy. It’s also for our Nordic walking taster session in February.

O  is for the Out of This World  Sciffle Sci-Fi group organised by Karen

P  is for the Processions event in London that Katie organised so well for us. 6 members took part in the national event put on to celebrate 100 year anniversary of the Representation of the People Act.  P is also for poppies – over 100 crafted at our September meeting                         

Q   is for Quiz Nights. A record 5 teams took part in the Federation Quiz in August and we had a winning team. We’re looking to forward to our Quiz on Friday                        

R    is for the screening of the Royal Wedding in Hotham Park, the sun shone and the fizz flowed.

S  is for the Swishing event at our May meeting which supported the 2017 Plastic soup resolution – trying to reduce the amount of microfibers in our oceans. S is also for Suffragettes – 10 of us enjoyed a Walk and Talk around Westminster with Diane Atkinson and a visit to the Voice and Vote exhibition at Westminster Hall.

T    is for the tour of Goodwood House followed by an Afternoon tea in April

is for how ‘you’ see yourself as a peg doll. A sort of ‘This is Us’ display celebrating the diversity of women in the WI. They were used to decorate a window for Christmas in the Church

V    is for the Victorian Xmas Fair at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. A highlight of which was the carousel ride.         

W   is for Wildforest Falls Adventure golf in Hotham Park in May where Debbie putted a hole in one.

X    is for Xmas Carols sung enthusiastically in a very chilly Chichester Cathedral

Y   is for Yeeha and Howdy Partners  – we kicked 2018 off in style with line dancing. Thanks to Barbara and Alan for stepping (literally!) in when our planned Jive session was cancelled. Another Y was Yes to the 2018 resolution ‘Mental Health Matters’ at our meeting in May.

Z   is for Zip Wire, abseiling, archery and much more at the Women Go Wild camp in June. A memorable weekend where new activities were tried, new friendships made and old ones strengthened.  We certainly hope to have another camping trip in 2019.

The President’s Report followed and was warmly received, and in the subsequent vote for this year’s President, Dinah was unanimously elected to head the new Committee of Joyce Aird, Debbie Brooks, Kate Claisse, Katie Lyne, Gina Fitch-Roy, Barbara Foster, Sarah Greenway and Sue Harris. Warm thanks were offered to Celia Janering and Jeanette Clark who step down this year after years of sterling service.

The winner of the competition for carving a vegetable was announced with Annie Smith in first position and Jack Owen in second and the Guess the Weight of Cake competition was won by Gina, who was presented with a delicious mini cake by cake baker extraordinaire Jack, with Gill Lowden a close second.

After a hearty rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’, the beautiful cake in Suffragette colours and decorated with nine candles (is it really nine years since the start of BRWI?) was then cut and thoroughly enjoyed after hot dogs, tea and coffee.

Just enough time was left for Dinah to wish all members a safe journey home.

For all the photos, please click here

Words:  Gina Fitch-Roy

Photos:  Kate Claisse


Wartime Remembrance


At our September meeting we made poppies – lots of them – out of different materials – silk, felt, the bottoms of plastic bottles, and wool (knitted and crocheted).  These will be used to build a wreath, that we will carry in the Centennial Remembrance Day procession in Bognor Regis in November.  It was great to have a creative evening … and lots of chat!

To see all photos, please click here.

Many thanks to Katie for her imaginative felt, silk and plastic ideas, to Celia for finding the knitting patterns, and to Lesley G for designing an original crochet pattern.

The competition this month was to bake a wartime recipe.  There were 8 entries, both baked goods and some interesting history too.  The baked items were tasted and  judged by members during refreshments.  The winner was Dinah with joint seconds Jack, Annie and Kathryn, and Karen, Lesley G and Trish will receive one point towards their totals for the annual cup.  (There was also a recipe for potato scones but, as a naff competition organiser, I didn’t get a name for those, so if someone would like to come forward they will also get a point!)

For all competition entries (photos and recipes)  please click here.

Sue organised a very attractive raffle with all prizes in red and including a packet of poppy seeds.

Words and Photos:  Kate 




July Meeting – on a Desert Island

image1With inflatable palm trees, parrots and seagull the ambiance of a desert island was set in the hall for the July meeting of Bognor Regis WI, much helped by the current tropical weather.

President Dinah welcomed members (including three new members) to the meeting and recapped on the events of last month including the Arundel history walk, the Chichester Walls Walk, the walking netball taster session, Lynn’s summer lunch and the Women Go Wild camp – the last of which was enthusiastically enjoyed and endorsed by the participants.


Dinah then handed over to ‘Kirsty Young’ (our very own Sue Harris dressed as a castaway) who entered the hall to the strains of the theme tune of Desert Island Discs. ‘Sleepy Lagoon’ was written by Eric Coates as he looked over the bay to Bognor from his home in East Selsey.  The first castaway was Gill Lowden who instead of choosing an item to take to the island, described the shipwreck adventures of one of her ancestors, Uncle Charlie. From his letters home, Gill described the wrecking in 1871 of his ship, the HMS Magaera, a troop transport ship on passage to Sydney. All the crew survived but then had a sojourn of some three months on St-Paul Island, the top of an active volcano, where they survived on a diet of fish, unsweetened cocoa and rainwater until they were rescued. The picture below shows the HMS Magaera on St-Paul Island.

HMS Magaera

The second castaway was Debbie who chose to take a Synth – a highly developed robotic servant – as her luxury item. She considered that the Synth would be able to take on all the practical tasks, help keep her safe, provide good conversation and, possibly, some more interesting diversions!

Gina was next and she chose All I Want’ by Joni Mitchell for her desert island disc.  She described how evocative the music was as it brought back memories of the late sixties/early seventies and the optimism of the time.

Karen was the next castaway and she, rather sensibly, chose an axe as her luxury item because of its versatility; she could use it for chopping, killing, digging, as a plough share and even as a cooking implement. Roy Plomley may have turned in his grave as he insisted that luxury items were to have no practical use but, as Sue explained at the beginning – ‘her island and her rules!’

Stella was next and she wanted to take her grandfather clock as her luxury item.  The clock was made in 1825 in Mayfield, East Sussex and, to the best of Stella’s knowledge, had been in her family since that date and remained as a constant presence in her childhood. In 1948 however, her parents wanted to emigrate to South Africa and needed to sell the clock. Newly married Stella, not wishing to see it go out of the family, was able (with the help of her in-laws) to raise the money to buy it and since then, it has moved with Stella wherever she went and, newly restored, is still with her now.

Finally, Lesley Hiley wanted to be cast away on a Dorset Island and talked about her chosen book while dressed for the Dorset weather – sunhat and rain coat. Her book was The Famous Five, the first of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books and Lesley described both the story, peppered with boats, shipwrecks and treasure and the joy of reading it as a child.  In addition, Lesley chose a luxury too – lashingsof ginger beer! It was an excellent end to an enjoyable interlude.

After refreshments when members had the chance to sign up for a wide range of activities from walking to swimming, from the Summer Social to the autumn Quiz, the notices were given.

The member forum included the exciting news that the first volume of Karen McCreedy’s trilogy ‘Unreachable Skies’ will be published in August by MirrorWorld Publishing and members were given a sneak preview of the book cover. The author will be available for book signings!


Besides a book and DVD sale and a Produce table, there were two competitions this month: Painted Pebble was won by Barbara, with Sarah and Annie Smith sharing second place. There was a tie for first place for the Dream Desert Island Companion between Annie (who wanted to take Ray Mears) and Jack who opted for her teddy.

President Dinah brought the meeting to a close, sharing a wonderful inspirational quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson on the meaning of success and wishing all members a safe journey home and a wonderful August until meetings recommence in September.

Words: Gina Fitch-Roy

Photos: Katie Lyne

BRWI Meeting – 12th June

For our June meeting, we invited Kevin from Hawking About who brought along five of his beautiful birds.

We met Buzbee the Barn Owl, the beautiful baby Tawney Owl Fern, Kestral Midge, Toby the African Spotted Eagle Owl and Luna the European Eagle Owl with his massive wing span. Kevin gave a very informed talk and it’s clear he is passionate about his birds.

We could have all listened to him all evening, but we had to get on with business. Katie and the 12 Calendar Girls told the Members about their experience at the Bognor Regis Carnival and Katie, Sue Harris, Jan, Jack, Sheila and Karen recounted their experience in London at Processions 2018.

Words & Photos: Katie Lyne

Our winners in this month’s competition were …

1st place, Annie Smith
2nd place, Lesley Hilley
3rd place, Lesley Guppy




 IMG_2319President Dinah Barrand welcomed members and two visitors to the May meeting while sporting (as were all the committee) one of the new BRWI teeshirts with the distinctive beach huts logo. The teeshirts have been designed and commissioned by Katie and are available to all members for £7.50.



After the business section of the meeting, members were invited to consider the one Resolution on which delegates will be voting at the National AGM: “Mental health matters as much as physical health. The NFWI urges all WI members to recognise the importance of parity between mental health and physical health, and take action to make it as acceptable to talk about mental health issues as much as physical health issues, and to lobby government for better support for mental illness”.

Committee Member Gina Fitch-Roy gave a talk on the scale of the problem and some of the arguments both for and against the proposition. The following is from a briefing paper issued by NFWI.

Each year, around 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem and almost all (9 out of 10) will face discrimination and stigma including from friends, family and at work. This can worsen someone’s mental health problems and delay or impede their getting help and treatment, and their recovery. The Mental Health Foundation estimates that around 1 in 10 children and young people are affected by a mental health condition such as depression, self-harm and eating disorders. However, 75% of people with mental health conditions do not have access to the care they need. Research also suggests that access to services and waiting times can vary significantly depending on where you live.

In 2011, the Government set out a strategy to improve mental health and wellbeing, ‘No Health Without Mental Health’. This was shortly followed by a strategy for mental health and wellbeing in Wales. In April 2013, the Health and Social Care Act 2012 came into force, enshrining the strategy for England into law and introducing an explicit recognition of the Secretary of State for Health’s duty towards both physical and mental health. This Act placed a legislative requirement on the health service to address the disparity between mental and physical health through a concept known as parity of esteem. Parity of esteem recognises that mental health impacts on physical health, and vice versa, and therefore they should both be treated together and equally. A key aspect of implementing this parity is an equal distribution of resources, as well as equal consideration given both aspects of health when commissioning services. Mental health services were given a boost in the 2015 coalition government budget when the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, announced he had secured £1.25bn to enable the NHS to treat more than 100,000 young people by 2020. The announcement built on Clegg’s 2014 announcement of the first waiting-time standards for mental health treatment and £120m funding for service improvements designed to put a stop to ‘discrimination against mental health’.

 Since then, the Government has continued to take action to tackle the stigma associated with mental health and improve the provision of mental health services. In January 2016, the Prime Minister announced investment of £290 million in specialist care for new mums, £247 million in mental health services in hospital emergency departments and £400 million in community-based services. This was followed by the announcement in January 2017 of a package of measures, targeted at schools, the work place and local communities, to ensure that children and young people receive the support they need for mental health conditions. These included:

  • offering all secondary schools in the country mental health first aid training;
  • reviewing children and adolescent mental health services, led by the Care Quality Commission;
  • publishing a green paper on children and young people’s mental health;
  • partnering with employers to improve mental health support in the workplace;
  • building on the availability of community-based support services for mental health;
  • expanding digital services for mental health.

In July 2017, the Health Secretary announced plans to create 21,000 new posts in mental health services in order to treat an extra 1 million patients by 2021. However, the NHS Confederation and Royal College of Nursing have raised concerns over whether there is enough time and funding to deliver this. Campaigners have also warned that local authorities are not spending enough of their public health budgets on mental health services. On average, this is less than 1% according to figures obtained by Mind. A number of local and national campaigns have also been launched aimed at breaking down the stigma associated with mental health and encouraging people to talk about their experiences. These include Time to Change and Heads Together.

Arguments for the resolution

  • Many health problems are hidden, especially with women around child birth. A WI campaign could help to extend the reach of mental health awareness and encourage more people to seek help.
  • Action to tackle the stigma associated with mental health can be taken by anyone. It can be as simple as listening to a friend without judging.

Arguments against the resolution

  • There has been a continued focus on mental health amongst policymakers and the health sector, with a number of recent announcements aimed at further improving access to treatment.
  • There are already a number of national campaigns focused on this subject – is there more the WI could add?


The meeting then split into small groups to discuss the issues and to share views and, during refreshment time, members had the opportunity to cast their vote either for or against the resolution.

During refreshments the garments that members had brought in for ‘swishing’ were unveiled having been sorted by size. For each item of clothing donated, a raffle ticket was given which could then be exchanged for ‘new-to-you’ clothes.  Members were invited to browse before the start of swishing was signalled by the ringing of the President’s bell.  In the absence of a mirror, members were dependent on the honesty and critical judgement of their fellows!  In the event most garments were exchanged – happy members and less discarded clothes destined for landfill!  Result!

During this time, Katie also demonstrated the dress code for the forthcoming Bognor Carnival where BRWI will be entering with a theme of Calendar Girls.  She and Dinah both modelled the different types of sunflower accessories which could embellish the black dresses/teeshirts.


Our selected charities were not forgotten – More very colourful twiddlemuffs were brought to the meeting for Bognor Hospital, and Jeanette brought in a marvellous selection of bedding for Stonepillow.

At the end of the meeting, the results of the Resolution vote were announced with a majority voting for the Resolution, and also voting to allow a discretionary vote to the Delegate.


The competition this month was for a VE Day flag and this was won by Sarah Greenaway’s splendid jigsaw with Karen McCreedy and Annie Smith sharing second prize, Annie with a 3D collage including a number of national flags and Karen with a stitched Union Jack flag exhorting God to Save the King.



Well done! Next month’s competition is for the most lovely home grown sunflower and seeds were given to members to start the process.

The meeting drew to a close with Dinah wishing all members and visitors a safe journey home.

Words by Gina Fitch-Roy

Photos by Katie Lyne