President’s report 2019

One of the things I’ve repeatedly heard said about our WI over the last couple of years is,

‘What an active WI you are.’

And I have to agree. If we take last week as an example: the Theatre group went to see Macbeth, the Art group met twice and there was the monthly coffee morning. The cinema group enjoyed the film ‘Judy’ and the weekly Walking netball group played at the Arena centre. Both Book groups had their meetings, as did the ‘Sciffle’ group and the walking group went to Dell Quay. The week was supposed to end with several members taking part in a Park run but rain stopped play.

The range of activities is a huge strength of our WI and they continue to grow. This year has seen even more sporting activities – croquet, bowls and walking netball. Netball is thriving – it’s open to all and is doing so much to improve players’ fitness and confidence. I know there are plans to do more bowls and croquet, and if anyone wants to start up another sport I’m sure there’ll be members wanting to play.

We’ve become more environmentally aware and shared ideas on how to live in a more eco friendly way and reduce our carbon footprint. Your generosity at fund raising events has been exceptional.  Our ‘Bit on a Side’ has given us the opportunity to take part in a range of activities from ghost walks to camping. It’s lovely to see more members getting involved in organising outings and activities, hosting coffee mornings and submitting things for the website.

Our sub groups continue to flourish and I’d like to say a big thank you on behalf of us all to all the organisers. I can’t recommend strongly enough the benefits of being involved in a sub group. They give you the opportunity to get to know other members better by doing things together rather than just sitting chatting – which is obviously important too.

I’d like to thank the four Committee members who are taking a break. Barbara, who added to our sporty summer by organizing the croquet and for all she does to encourage craft within our WI.  And to Gina, who didn’t realise when she offered me a lift to the 2017 South of England Show that she’d end up on the Committee. I took the opportunity of a captive audience and not only did she say yes but also brought Kate along with her. I’m so grateful to both of them for their support over the last 2 years.  Kate does an amazing job keeping the website up to date (which she’s agreed to continue to do) and produces a lengthy Buzz every month – collecting, coordinating and editing the contributions. Gina has ably managed the Competition and written fantastic reports of our meetings for the website – how you remember so much detail and get it beautifully written before I’ve woken up the next morning I’ll never know. Thank you both you’ve been superstars.

Talking of Superstars – Katie – you’ve been a joy to work with and such an efficient Secretary.  You’re an amazingly creative, kind, funny, caring human. I’ve so appreciated your support – with WI and personally. It’s been a delight to work with you and I’m sure everyone has appreciated your hard work.

And finally a big thank you to all the Committee especially my right hand man Sue – I couldn’t have done it without you. It’s been special working and drinking wine with you all.

The other thing that is often said about Bognor Regis WI is:

‘It’s so friendly and not at all cliquey’.

I felt it the first time I walked into our WI. There was such a lovely, supportive atmosphere. You make visitors and new Members feel welcome and are always willing to help when needed. I think we truly reflect the WI values of friendship and female empowerment. Together we can do anything.

I’ve been honoured to be your President and loved every minute, but I’m quite looking forward to sitting in the back row next meeting – no heckling I promise.

I’ll finish by wishing us all a very Happy 10th Birthday and here’s to the next 10 years. I’ve no doubt we’ll continue to go from strength to strength.

Ooh – one last thing – as this is my last opportunity to bend your ears and you know how I like a little poem here’s one I found online – it’s a toast to you all.

May you always find your treasure 
In the blessings that life sends
In the beauty of each season
In the company of good friends.
May you grow in grace and wisdom,
Gather strength from every storm
May you always have a smile to share
And someone to keep you warm.
May each path you choose bring promise
Of the things you’re dreaming of
May your world be filled with peace and joy,
And your heart be filled with love

Dinah Barrand