Wow, what a year we have had!
Launching “Another Dimension” (the activities committee plan and organise beyond the programme each month) appears to have paid off, as members can access a wider variety of activities both within and outside a meeting. It was on the back of one member saying to me “You know what our WI needs, it is another dimension.” So, as in the words of another member, “Careful, what you wish for” as your committee could implement it. We could be on the moon before you know it!
I frequently hear ……
“I would not have done that if I had not been in the WI” or
“I have made so many friends since I joined Bognor Regis WI” or
“I have learnt how to knit” or
“I love coming to WI, as it is for me”.
I am happy that our WI pleases so many of you, as it certainly has me. Selsey Lifeboat visit, with those hunky men, and Highclere Castle of Downton Abbey fame were highlights for me.
In my eyes, the year, however, has culminated in the biggest accolade, extending ourselves further into the community by taking part in the Big Bite Festival. Going into the Schools and working with young people, was such a delight, and helping at our Taster Stall put us in touch with so many local people and other community groups. Bognor Regis WI stands proudly amongst them, as our article in the Bognor Regis Observer showed.
We are encouraged to celebrate the diversity of WI’s across the nation. It is acknowledged that each WI has its own personality and reflects the members in the individual WIs. And what a personality we have!
Before I move forward it is important that I thank each one of you for making my year as President enjoyable – I mean that, as we reflect back and see what we have achieved in this year, it is so rewarding.
Thanks, of course, go to your committee. Not only do they work hard to bring your ideas to fruition, they stand up to my lead and keep me on the straight and narrow, just as you would want them to for the good of our WI. I do not always get my own way! We came in on budget (more or less) thanks to Kate, there are pages and pages of finance. Our meetings are always well planned and recorded thanks to Gina – she is so prompt and seems to be up at 6.30 a.m. (or something like that) writing the notes. I always have them by 8.30 a.m. the following day. Kate and Gina are standing down from committee this year, to make room for more of you to have ago, and we thank them sincerely for their work on our behalf over the last 3 years or so.
So many people have taken on responsibility for making things happen this year – it is difficult to name and probably not right as I would be sure to miss people out – my memory is not as good as it used to be! So to emphasise a few thanks and without names, but you know who they are. One member took on our raffles this year, and once again made a great success of our stall with all of you at the Hotham Park Country Fair in August. Thank you Janet. (whoops no names). Highclere Castle trip was organised with such aplomb, even down to the organiser (and you know who that is don’t you (Flo)) introducing members to each other despite the fact they had known each other for years – that is efficiency for you. Thank you also goes to one of our craft experts, not only has she gained Bognor Regis WI kudos by winning two County Competitions, she held a patchwork day and shared her skills with several members making log cabin cushions – if you don’t know who that is it is Barbara – sshhh, oh dear another name!
It is not only the bigger things that matter – I have been struck by the kindness shown by members to me and to each other, and by example at the last meeting some of you looked out for visitors that appeared to be alone. Well done and thank you. Befriending and looking out for each other is key to being a successful WI. We may have missed some, and know we can improve on that so please keep in touch if you are not able to make a WI meeting or feel poorly – we have had more that our fair share of ill health with members and members’ family this year – it is important not to forget.
I also want to extend my thanks to all of you for laughing at meetings. We had had some amusing moments and as another member told us a while ago at a laughter workshop, laughing is so important. On a serious not though – our WI keeps growing in its strength and personality and that is only down to you – so THANK YOU ALL.
To the future
This year the NFWI, as well as a revised more modern constitution, launched the WI Guide – tips and ideas to create and maintain a corporate image of the the WI across the nation, whilst not losing individuality in WI’s – it reminded me of the responsibility we have as a WI as part of the largest women’s organisation in Britain, and the trust others put in us as a WI. Just because we are the WI – people believe they know what we stand for – excellence in home cooking, craft, calendars and friendship. We know it might, or might not be that – but in fact is more than that – we are learning all the time, not only new skills or things that matter in the world today, but things that we can put to good use, and benefit the community we are part of.
Each of us takes out of our WI want we need, and put in what we can or want to. Let us continue to grow and move forward in a way that makes us think carefully about our surroundings and what is important to us. Let’s keep making friends, let’s keep learning and let’s find more ways of getting involved with our communities. A personal ambition for me is for our WI is to encompass the technology available to us – let’s use IT, let’s get to know the NFWI website and let’s teach each other computer skills where it is wanted.
I look forward to the next year in our WI.
Once again – THANK YOU – without you – we would not be where we are today!
30th September 2013