Presidents Report 2021

I would like to briefly take us back 2 years to the 2019 Annual Meeting when I was proud accept your nominations to be President.

After the meeting Melanie our WI adviser asked me if I had a copy of the Handbook? I did have a copy but didn’t realise I would have to be re writing that Handbook 5 months later. 

This meeting should have been my 22nd face to face meeting as President whereas it’s my 7th

In so many ways this past year has been more challenging than my first year. This past year has seen 2 lockdowns, a cancelled Christmas and ever-moving and changing restrictions.

Zoom became a day to day, week by week part of our WI, not for everybody I appreciate but it was encouraging to see so many of you embrace it. Before last November’s scavenger hunt, I was worried about what I’d do with those members who didn’t take part. I’d forgotten how much you all liked a challenge. When I said go, off you all scurried and I was left looking at a raft of empty chairs. You came back carrying an array of objects, pets and numerous bottles of wine. You then all happily talked us through your haul, for some it was the first time you’d spoken on Zoom. Well, done and thank you to you all.

This past year has been a challenge and I couldn’t have done it without the committee. 

Joyce, whilst staying on committee, steps down from the role of Treasurer having taken up the role at very short notice whilst having only been a member for a short time. It’s not an easy role but Joyce has done an excellent job and provided clarity to this “accounts averse” President.

Lorraine takes over as Treasurer having been Assistant Treasurer for the past year preparing to take over from Joyce. Not an easy task when it’s not been a normal WI business year but I have every confidence in her. In addition, she’s revived the Eating Out Group, we do like to eat and drink.

Kathryn must have read my mind when volunteering to take over as Buzz Editor before I’d had the chance to ask her.  She’s done a brilliant job reinventing the Buzz and puts up with me always missing her deadline for articles. She also has a great knack suggesting small changes which make what I’ve written sound better.

Sarah, our Crafty Queen was totally averse to Zoom when we started Zooming as a committee, not even wanting to look at the screen. But this past year has seen her embracing technology with her craft Zoom sessions and her Zen Tangling introduction has been a revelation to all who signed up. So proud of you.

Jen answered my call to arms in April having in her own words “only sat round a table once and then did some drawing!!” Her lack of knowledge of all things WI is far outweighed by her energy, enthusiasm and sense of fun. I always say that new committee members bring fresh ideas and experience to a committee, and she is a brilliant example of that.

I thank you all for your input, hard work and support putting up with my madness, indecision, stress and tears. I couldn’t do this without you.

To all those who came up as your name was called, I thank you and to all those absent this evening you are missed and thanks to you as well.

Special mention to Jan Marsden who came up with and literally led us through the1000mile Walk Group Challenge not only financially benefitting Sage House but both physically and mentally benefitting all those who took part.

Joyce’s brilliant idea to deliver a small pot of daffodils to all members at Easter. A simple idea which brought so many kind messages from the recipients. I loved making my deliveries and having a doorstep chat as did all the other bunnies.

Your decisions to renew after a challenging year were both heart-warming and reassuring. The rewritten Handbook was working.

The run up to our return to the Gordon Centre in July was a very stressful and worrying time.  So much to plan to ensure the safety of members and would members feel comfortable enough to return. 

Each made their own decision, but it was so good to see so many much-missed faces walk in that evening and to see their joy in meeting up with old friends. Standing in front of you ready to hit the bell was a really emotional moment for me, no longer the virtual President.

 Each month we see a few more faces return and welcome visitors from our waiting list who by end of the evening decide they want to join

New members are the life blood of our WI bringing with them new ideas, experience, and enthusiasm.

The 2022 programme is a work in progress and I hope we can finally once again offer you the full Bognor Regis WI Experience, monthly meetings with speakers, activities and demonstrations. Bits on The Side activities which are fun, educational and offer something for everyone.

The committee and myself will continue this quest BUT as I so often say this is your WI and we need your input, suggestions and support.

I’m not a great fan of the word Institute I see us a community who share the values which I feel are key to our WI friendship, respect, support, encouragement, and fun.

It just leaves me thank Jen for presenting our Committee Report and ask for any questions on the report. I therefore propose the report is adopted and ask for a show of hands for your agreement.

Sue Harris

October 2021