Committee 2017/18

The committee for 2017/18 salute you ….

Dinah Barrand (President)

I’ve lived in Bognor Regis for a couple of years and love being by the sea. I joined the WI as a way of getting to know people but it’s turned out to be so much more than that. I’d just retired from teaching and I was looking for ways to feel a sense of belonging. I must admit that my first visit to BRWI was a bit daunting – so many women and all talking so very loudly! But the lively atmosphere won me over and I’ve enjoyed being a member for the last 2 years. I joined several of the sub groups and got to know lots of interesting lovely ladies. I’ve most enjoyed making new friends, the range of activities with like-minded people and the supportive atmosphere that’s encouraged me to try painting for the first time. I’ve also enjoyed several courses run by West Sussex Federation.

It wasn’t long before I took on the role of Secretary and now find myself as the President. I looked up the National Federation guidelines about the characteristics required of a President (I should probably have done that before the election!) and I’ll do my best to emulate them

‘She should be enthusiastic and decisive, yet approachable and friendly in her manner, interested in her members’ views and ready to listen to their suggestions.’

I used to tell my classes ‘You have two ears and one mouth so please try to listen twice as much as you speak’. I’ll do my best to follow my own advice.

Overall I think that BRWI is a fantastic group of spirited women and I look forward to another year with you all.

Sharon Sams (Secretary)

I have been a registered nurse for 34 years and moved to Bognor 23 years ago.

The WI was recommended to me by a friend and, out of curiosity, l came along to find out more. The evening l arrived the room was buzzing.  I received a warm welcome and met some very inspirational ladies.  I was sold on joining, there and then.
Now, nine months later I look forward to taking on the role of secretary and working closely with the rest of the team.

In my spare time I enjoy running and recently completed the Brighton Marathon, raising money for charities close to my heart. I also enjoy creative arts, amateur gardening and have just started cycling.


Celia Janering (Treasurer, South Rife Rep)

When my husband and I retired, we knew we wanted to go and live by the coast. But where to… ? With our love of sailing and walking, Bognor Regis was an ideal spot with Chichester Harbour and the South Downs on the doorstep. Not knowing anyone in the area, I wanted to join some groups in order to meet new people. From the information given on the BRWI website, it appeared to offer what I was looking for. So I went along to a meeting and received a really warm welcome. That was 3 years ago. Now I am on the committee and have the responsible role of Treasurer. I recently started the WI Bookworms, a group who discuss all genres of books. I also belong to the walking group, theatre group and eating out group.

Sue Harris (Vice President, MCS Rep, Welfare officer, Welcome Desk)

Joining Bognor Regis WI was part of my ” big adventure”.  I’d lived in West London all my life and in 2013, following separating from my husband, I decided it was time for a change. I took early retirement from the Civil Service and decided to fulfil a lifelong ambition of living by the sea. I had spent many happy family holidays in Felpham in the 60s and when I moved here in 2014 it seemed like coming home.

The only difference from home was I knew no one!! Friends had suggested I joined the WI but, as I didn’t sew or knit and had never made jam, I was a little sceptical. However, I decided it was worth a look and found the BRWI website. What a revelation!! Many groups that ticked my interests.

I visited in Nov 2014 and was totally taken by the warm welcome, the buzz of the meeting, and the array of opportunities to get involved in. I duly joined up in Jan 2015.  Having joined I found friendship with a large group of like minded women and began to appreciate that there was a lot more to the WI than cakes and jam.  I had found somewhere I belonged, in an organisation that I was proud of.

Joining the WI had given me the friendship and activities I had been looking for and, as a way of giving something back, I joined the committee in Oct 2015.  I became  responsible for updating the national membership system, becoming the welfare officer and meeting and greeting members at the meeting, something I love.  For the last year I have also been Vice President.

Being on the committee has given me an insight into the WI at local, federation and national level, and the opportunity to work with a group of ladies committed to do their best for the membership.  I also gained great support from the committee during a health scare in 2016, in fact being on the committee helped save my life!!

I look forward to another busy year full of different activities , challenges and lots of fun and friendship. Also, having recently turned 60, perhaps it’s time to learn to knit or make jam!!

Katie Lyne (Programme secretary, social media)

In 2013 there was a lot of press regarding the resurgence of WI’s and their relevance to younger women. I had always assumed the WI was for retired middle class ladies, so I was intrigued to read articles about tattooed thirty somethings joining the sisterhood. Being a tattooed thirty something, I wanted to investigate and visited and joined Bognor Regis WI in 2014. I appreciated the community spirit of the group and particularly enjoyed the monthly competitions, where I was able to craft to my hearts content.

Being a working mum of two I’m not able to attend as many sub groups as I’d like, but that’s what I love about our WI; you can come along to one meeting a month or be active every week! It’s totally up to you, your availability and interests (and if there isn’t a sub group for you – start one up!).
Last year I set myself a number of challenges that would normally be outside my comfort zone: I ended up on the committee and going to a WI camp in Essex on my own.
I am a very proud WI member and am gaining my confidence on the committee.
I want to be a part of moving the WI forward and appealing to younger women, whilst retaining the traditional values that have attracted so many ladies for so many years.

Jeanette Clark (Refreshment Co-ordinator, Visitor Liaison, Suggestions Box, South Rife Rep)

Growing up in a very small rural community in Northern Ireland, I can still remember asking my mother “Why don’t we ever seem to move house?” I think I was really looking for some small adventure but was still too young to fully appreciate the value of being part of a long standing way of life and found it more and more irritating that news of anything I said or did seemed to magically find its way back home before I did.

Several years and many moves later my husband and I found ourselves in Bognor Regis and I very quickly realised, that knowing absolutely no one here, I had to find a way of becoming part of this new community.
One day whilst looking online I came across the web page for Bognor Regis WI. Liking what I read I decided to go along to a meeting. Standing nervously outside I was asked by a lady (who I later learnt was a WI advisor)  if I was looking for the WI. “Just go through that door and follow the noise”, she said. Well that turned out to be the best piece of advice I have ever had. Inside the hall I found a very vibrant, enthusiastic and friendly group of ladies who made me feel truly welcome. I joined straight away and a few months later I was asked to go on the committee, a role which I continue to enjoy.
I am responsible for Visitor Liaison, answering website enquiries and welcoming new members. I am also Refreshments Co-ordinator. These roles happily combine my love of conversation with meeting new and interesting people, a match made in heaven I think.
My main interests are the theatre, reading, knitting, sewing and craft, all of which I can indulge through our various sub groups. I also enjoy Eating out group and  Art group.  Leonardo I am definitely not, but I can explore my love of Adult Colouring.
Through the WI I have been encouraged, challenged and found many dear friends whilst having fun through shared interests. I love the campaigns and debates giving members a voice, but most of all I enjoy belonging to a large democratic organisation which seeks to educate, support and empower all women.

Chris Hutchins (Treasurer’s Assistant, WSN co-ordinator)

I joined the Bognor WI earlier this year because I had recently moved into the area and wanted to get to know people and be involved in a group.

Everyone was very welcoming and I knew almost as soon I entered the room that I would like to join.

Bognor WI has a varied programme of talks, trips  and lots of activities which I have tried to be a part of.

I volunteered to be on the committee because I like to get involved in organisations I am part of and hope that I can contribute as part of the ‘team’ for the benefit of the whole WI.

Kate Claisse (Web & Buzz Editor)
 What I love to do is learn something new, and if possible pass that on to others.  Since joining the WI  I have learned how to build and maintain a website, helped other WIs to do the same, taken up knitting and crochet, showed school kids how to bake bread rolls, learned more about organ donation and now help promote it.
As a founder member of Bognor Regis WI, I am very proud of what it has become.  We’re a group of ladies of different ages, skills and interests – bound together with friendship, kindness, and a will to learn.  So glad I am a member.


Gina Fitch-Roy (Competitions secretary, Press Officer)

Recently retired giving me more time for cycling, walking, gardening, vegetarian cooking, reading, theatre, knitting, family and friends.

Love the ever evolving WI in general and Bognor in particular- sisterhood at its best! 💪

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