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!



Organ Donation Week 2019

This week (w/c 2nd September 2019) is Organ Donation week.  This is the week when we remind everyone about how important organ donation is.  One organ donor can save or transform the lives of up to 9 people.  Tissue transplants can also significantly improve a person’s quality of life.  This might be a cornea to help someone see again, a replacement heart valve to treat a heart defect, or skin to treat severe burns.

From Spring 2020 all adults in England will be considered to have agreed to be an organ and tissue donor when they die, unless they recorded a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups.  This is commonly referred to as the ‘opt-out’ system.

However, even after this change in the law, on your death you family will still be involved, so it is still very important that you have a conversation with your loved ones so they know your wishes.

I took these photos in St Richard’s Hospital yesterday.  They show Lesley, and our new volunteer Angela, proudly showing our displays around the hospital.  Besides the bunting, they have leaflets urging people to join the NHS Organ Donation Register and explaining the change in the law.

If you are not registered and would like to … click here.

Kate Claisse


News from our Craft Group

10 of our members learnt a new technique using polymer clay and extruders to make jewellery, key fobs, coasters, buttons and hair grips, in the style of Gustav Klimt.
Various coloured clay sticks were sliced, put together to make a cone and put through an  extruder tool, emerging as long strips of patterned clay.   The strips were stacked, cut, and re-stacked twice.  The stack was cut into slices, massaged together and cut into the shapes required.   The combination of colours and tiny patterns melted our creative hearts, and we all fell in love with the technique.
I had used my WI bursary money to learn the craft and pass on the skill to others – money well spent I would say.  Thank you Bognor Regis WI.
Jan Marsden

Our Stall at Hotham Park Fair

On Sunday 4th August BRWI manned a stall at Hotham Park Country Fair.

In the run up to the day members had been busy making cakes, preserves and
filling and decorating children’s Jarbola jars.

On the day we had 120+ Jarbolas, nearly 50 jars of yummy preserves and cake
and more cake!! The Jarbolas were a great success and sold out first. The
preserves also sold well (especially as we had a chap nearby selling them
for a lot more). Nearly all the cakes were sold and those leftover were
given to the Hotham Park volunteers.

Everyone involved did BRWI proud – it’s great to take part in a community event.

For all the photos, click here.

Words:  Sue Harris

Photos: Sue and Manuela


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

Twiddle Muff and Twiddle Mat Charity Day

14 of our WI members built up a collection of 8 knitted twiddle muffs, 2 knitted twiddle mats, 7 fabric twiddle mats and 2 twiddle marble mats on Monday 29th July 2019 for one of our 2019 WI charities – Sage House.   There are more in the pipe line, as some needed a bit more twiddling and fiddling before being ready to add to the pile!

Thank you WI members for helping make the Charity Sew/Knit-In Day fun.   We all laughed, exchanged ideas and skills, and shared tools and fabrics – and of course we had tea and cake.

We also collected £24.40 for Sage House.

To see all the photos click here.
Words and photos: Jan Marsden
 (…. and lots of thanks to Jan for organising!)

Sea Glass

Dinah, our President, intended to read a poem at our July meeting, but there was no time.  I agreed to add it to the previous meeting report … and, of course, I forgot!

So … here is what we missed – a lovely poem, which I find very peaceful and pleasant, perhaps because I am a lady of a certain age ….

Kate Claisse


Sea Glass


I want to age like sea glass. Smoothed by tides, not broken. I want
the currents of life to toss me around, shake me up and leave me
feeling washed clean. I want my hard edges to soften as the years
pass — made not weak, but supple. I want to ride the waves, go with
the flow, feel the impact of the surging tides rolling in and out.

When I am thrown against the shore and caught between the rocks
and a hard place, I want to rest there until I can find the strength to do
what is next. Not stuck — just waiting, pondering, feeling what it feels
like to pause. And when I am ready, I will catch a wave and let it carry
me along to the next place that I am supposed to be.

I want to be picked up on occasion by an unsuspected soul and
carried along — just for the connection, just for the sake of
appreciation and wonder. And with each encounter, new possibilities
of collaboration are presented, and new ideas are born.

I want to age like sea glass so that when people see the old woman
I’ll become, they’ll embrace all that I am. They’ll marvel at my
exquisite nature, hold me gently in their hands and be awed by my
well-earned patina, neither flashy nor dull, just the right lustre. And
they’ll wonder if just for a second, what it is exactly I am made of and
how I got to be in this very here and now.

And we’ll both feel lucky to realise, once again, that we have landed
in that perfectly right place at that profoundly right time.
I want to age like sea glass. I want to enjoy the journey and let my
preciousness be, not in spite of the impacts of life, but because of

Bernadette Noll


July Meeting

Picture 1

Dinah welcomed Members and (retired) Fire Officer Ken Lloyd on a beautiful Summer’s evening. Ken retold the events of over 30 years ago when Uppark House caught fire, and  fire crews from across Hampshire, West Sussex and Surrey bravely tackled the difficult blaze.  They saved many of the House’s paintings, rugs, tapestries, antiques, chandeliers, china and curtains, despite the difficulty they had in finding a substantial and reliable water supply.

Then Jan Marsden gave us all an account of the recent polymer clay workshop she attended whilst on holiday in the Isles of Scilly, before we all enjoyed refreshments, had the opportunity to buy NFWI raffle tickets, perused the variety of sign-up sheets and competition entries, and enjoyed some social time.

In Gina’s absence, Debbie announced the results of the “what would you save in a fire” competition (judged by Ken Lloyd):

1st– Chris Hunter (box of memories)

2nd– Karen McCreedy (Baby and teddy picture)

3rd– Gina Fitch-Roy – (Stiletto shoes)

Additional entrants who all receive a point: Annie Smith, Joyce Aird and Jack Owen.

This is an extract from Katie’s record of the meeting.

To download the full record click on Record of July 19 meeting


Anyone for Croquet!

Over the years I have seen people playing croquet and I have always thought it looked easy and a bit boring.  How wrong I was!

Last week I was part of a group trying it out at Bognor Regis Croquet Club, aided by two kind and patient ladies from Westergate WI.

My initial impression was how heavy the balls were, and how difficult to hit with the mallet over a reasonable distance and in the right direction.   Then when we finally got near to the hoop, getting the ball through in the right direction was not easy!

However, over two games we all definitely improved and I absolutely loved the strategy involved.  We played in pairs and had to be very conscious of where the balls were in relation to the hoop, if necessary knocking an opponent’s ball out of the way, for the sake of our partner – very satisfying!

After our games we had a lovely cuppa in the clubhouse with delicious homemade cake.  A great afternoon and one most of us would like to repeat.  Many thanks to Barbara for organising and supplying such a lovely tea.

For all the photos, click here.

Words:  Kate Claisse

Photos:  Kate and Barbara