Secretary’s report – 2013

It has been a Herculean task to condense the activities of the past year into a report that is not over long. So where to start…

Within our monthly meetings we have been educated, entertained and inspired.  We have discovered more about our local university with Vice-Chancellor, Clive Behagg and been fascinated by the war time memories of Betty Houghton as she reminisced about her work with the code breakers of Bletchley Park. Rosemary Grindle gave us an insight into the work of the ‘Send a Cow’ charity and Rosemary Moon inspired members to eat locally and seasonally with her funny and informative cookery demonstration. We all had the chance to watch and then emulate the cake decorating skills of Jenni Jamieson of the Bognor Sugarcraft Guild (with varying results!) and have enjoyed being entertained by and singing along with the Arun Sounds at our Christmas party. Members have shared their specialist knowledge with us as Jack Owen invited us to eat healthily at Christmas and gave us the information to do so and Karen McCreedy shared the fascinating stories of actors at war – reel to real heroes. And amongst all this there have also been quizzes, a treasure hunt, a resolution meeting that gave us much food for thought and a chaotic but hugely enjoyable beetle drive. The annual summer event was a super lunch held at the Rowland Rank centre catered by members and set off with Pimms and a jolly raffle. There was a wonderful atmosphere and it was much enjoyed.

Outside of the formal meetings there was even more activity. The Book Group read and discussed a wide range of novels, the Walk Group strode purposefully through the beautiful Sussex countryside, the Craft Group tackled projects from a ‘Stitched and Painted landscape’ to patchwork items, a fabric cacti, and 3D fabric flowers, a good number of members went to the Minerva theatre and the Picturedrome with the Theatre group, the Gourmet group dined out and the Knit and Natter group knitted and nattered in doubtless equal quantity. And a new group –SciFFle – was also formed  (Science Fiction and Fantasy Ladies) definitely proving that the WI is very much more than just jam and Jerusalem!

Outings included a trip to the open gardens at Selsey, visits to both the Turner Exhibition at Petworth House and the Chichester Cathedral Embroidery, a visit to the RNLI station at Selsey and a coach trip to Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey). Other members enjoyed County and National events and courses most notably the Bowls and two members spent an enjoyable day serving in the WI tea tent at the South of England show.

The profile of the WI in general and Bognor Regis WI in particular was raised by our stall at Hotham Park Country Fayre which created a good deal of interest as well as raising welcome funds and our involvement with the inaugural Big Bite event – also in Hotham Park – at which members invited the public to taste some of the results of using gluts and left-overs with recipes then being made available. As part of this initiative several members were also involved in a bread making demonstration and talk at St. Mary’s primary school and it is hoped that these links with local schools will increase and strengthen as we try to be a positive force in our local community.  On this theme, members also contributed a small mountain of food for the local food bank at the September meeting.  A further community activity was a crazy golf tournament run by the Lions Club.  We entered four teams.

Bognor Regis WI also scored some spectacular successes during the year:-

  • 4 entries in South of England Show – with Barbara gaining 1st for her Indian cushion and a highly commended for Jan’s African sunset painting.
  • 4 teams entered Federation Quiz with one winning.   Another came 2nd in the table quiz that ran throughout the whole evening.   The winning team will represent Bognor Regis WI in a County final.
  • Earlier in the year, a Bognor Regis team, represented West Sussex Federation in a regional quiz in Winchester and did very well with just  1 point separating  them and the winners!
  • For the first time, we entered the County Craft Award and Gilchrist Cup which had a Mad Hatter’s tea party theme.   Bognor Regis WI won the County Craft award with Barbara’s exquisite fabric box and the Gilchrist Cup gave us the chance to work together as a team on a show exhibit. Thanks to Christine Harris, Lesley Guppy, Angela Mitchell and Jan Marsden.

And finally this year, as in preceding years Bognor Regis WI has exemplified the spirit of the wider Women’s Institute movement providing fun, laughter, support and sisterhood as well as the opportunity to learn and to grow.

Gina Fitch-Roy (Secretary)

30th September 2013

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