Yearly Archives: 2013

Hot Topics November 2013

birthday-partyThere were 85 members, 2 new members, and 2 visitors present for our Annual Meeting and 5th Birthday celebrations. We also welcomed Sally Dampney, Jill Elliot, members from Fulham and SW19 and Bea Oliver of Morden.

The draw for our Denman College Bursary for 2013/14 was held and Alison Frow and Katie Worsley were successful. We hope they enjoy their time at Denman.

Members were once again generous with their donations to both the Food Bank and with Christmas gifts to our Charity of the Year 2013 – Carers Support Merton.

Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting began with the presentation of the Financial Statement for the year, by the Treasurer (Janice Beale). This was adopted by members. Ann Dolphin (Secretary) read out the Committee’s Report for 2012/13 covering some highlights of our programme and activities. Agnes Fox as President addressed the meeting, thanking both the members for their support throughout the year, and the Committee for all the work and planning that goes into providing such a varied programme of events. She thanked Janice and Eileen Smith who were both standing down this year from the Committee. She also thanked Veronica Smith (for her organising of our Wimbledon Village Fair) and Angela Maher (for allowing us to use her premises for the preparations, and other activities).The Committee’s Annual Report was adopted.

Our new Committee members for 2013/14 were announced as follows:-

Margaret Brotherton (new),
Joanna Cardwell (new) responsible for our Website and Vice President,
Ann Dolphin – Secretary
Dulcie Edwards – MCS Representative,
Agnes Fox,
Fiona Gerdes-Hansen – Vice President,
Gillian Kitcherside – Social,
Christine Mayne (new) – Treasurer,
Daphne Monk – Catering & Theatre,
Jennifer Wright – Minutes/Agenda.
Agnes will serve as President for another year.

Tess Corrigan gave thanks on behalf of the members to the President and Committee for their work in the preceding year.

5th Birthday Celebrations

Once business was out of the way, we moved onto our 5th Birthday celebrations.  These included light refreshments and drinks (our thanks to Gillian and Julia Whiting and others who helped organise these).

Members had the opportunity to talk to each other and see/hear about some of the activities of our WI over the last 5 years.  Dulcie and Eileen had prepared a slide show with highlights of our activities since our inception.

We were pleased to welcome guests from the Federation (Sally Dampney and Jill Elliott) and representatives from some of our neighbouring WIs, Carers Support Merton (our Charity of the Year 2013) and Merton & Morden Guild (our Charity of the Year 2014). The celebrations culminated with the cutting of a Birthday cake jointly by Sheila May and Lesley Challacombe (our 2 previous Presidents) together with Agnes. The cake made by Dulcie and decorated by Jennifer gained many plaudits – our thanks to them both. Sally, Sheila, Lesley and Agnes all said a few words. Sheila in particular gave a brief description of setting up our WI with the help from Sally, and encouraging us in future to become more involved with the local community.


Whitechapel Bell Foundry

We all met out outside the foundry, which in fact looked like a small Victorian shop and gave no indication of the industry behind.

Once inside we were shown round by a very informative guide who told us that this foundry was the oldest manufacturing company in Britain, having been established in 1570 (during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I) and being in continuous business since that date. It has made the bells for Bow, St Clements, Big Ben, the Liberty Bell and the very large bell used at the 2012 London Olympics at the opening ceremony.

We were told of the process of manufacturing bells, from casting the moulds to tuning the bells to ensure the perfect match in tonal and pitch quality for each individual project.  By a wonderful coincidence the bells that had just been cast were commissioned by St John’s Church, Spencer Hill, Wimbledon.

I’m sure Wimbledon WI members will be following the bells’ progress and eventual hanging (Especially Dulcie, whose daughter is getting married in that church in the spring (? not sure of the date).

We were then shown round all the various departments including the area where they make the bell frames that the bells are hung from.

We were then taken up some very steep and rickety old stairs to the areas where  the smaller handbells are finished and leather handles fitted.
Everyone had a very interesting and enjoyable tour and all came away very much more knowledgeable about bells of all sizes and the way they are made.

Thanks to Lou Collis for the description and photos

Hot Topics October 2013

74 members, 4 guests and 4 new members were present to hear a very enjoyable talk by Clare Walker about the “Spitfire Women” of World War II.  That war had given women fliers their first opportunity to work as pilots.  Britain led the world in January 1940 when the first 8 women were employed to fly military aircraft in the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) that ferried many types of planes, including the Halifax, the Hurricane and the Spitfire between various locations.  164 women from Britain and 7 other countries flew with the ATA.  During its 5 years existence, 14 women (including Amy Johnson) lost their lives; and 11 women received honours.  From 1943 the ATA women earned equal pay with the men.  This was the first time that the British Government gave its blessing to equal pay for equal work, within an organisation under its jurisdiction.  Clare’s descriptions of the Spitfire Women’s experiences stimulated a lot of interest and questions.  Clare works with the Royal Aeronautical Society, including its Women in Aviation and Aerospace Committee.  After a career in national newspapers and magazine publishing, Clare obtained her pilot’s licence at the age of 50.

  • Agnes Fox reminded members that our November meeting would be our Annual Meeting & 5th Birthday celebrations.
  • Agnes congratulated Angela Maher & Tess Corrigan on winning at the Surrey Federation’s Croquet Taster Day at Surbiton Croquet Club and Julia Whiting for winning one of the Surrey Federation’s Bursaries to Denman.
  • Agnes thanked Frieda Willis and Katie Worsley for running the Theatre Group.  Due to other commitments, they could no longer continue.  She also thanked Gillian and the Social Group for taking over responsibility for organising theatre outings.
  • Ann Dolphin made a further plea for more members prepared to join our Committee, particularly those who would like to be Treasurer or assist with Treasurer work.  With the Annual Meeting due in November, members interested in being on the Committee were asked to contact her by Monday 4 November.
  • Surrey Federation Autumn Meeting – Ann said the information she obtained from Dorking on 30 September was included on the Notice Board.
  • Wimbledon WI at Denman Monday 7 April 2014 – Ann invited members to sign up quickly if they wanted to attend.  There would be 2 workshops (maximum 12 per workshop) covering Vegetable Container Gardening & Bead/Wire Jewellery making.
  • Wimbledon WI – Draw for Denman College Bursary for 2013/14 – Members had the opportunity to apply for 2 bursaries up to a value of £250 each to help contribute towards the cost of a member attending a course at Denman College.  The draw for the winners will take place at our November meeting.

Ann encouraged members to have a look at the Notice Board.  Among the new material put up this month:-

  • Surrey Federation 300 Club An annual subscription and regular draws for cash prizes.  Application form from the Secretary, Ann Dolphin  Closing date 6 November.
  • NFWI AGM Leeds 7 June 2014– Application form to be delegate or observer from the Secretary, Ann Dolphin.  Closing Date 6 January.
  • Surrey at Denman 12-15 June 2014 – Application form/booking details from the Secretary, Ann Dolphin.  Application should be made asap to Surrey and by no later than 17 January 2014.
  • Dress a Girl around the World – Ten dresses were delivered to the Utange orphanage in Mombassa by Julia Whiting earlier this month.  Eileen thanked those who had made the dresses.  We will be able to send more dresses to the orphanage next March so do have a go at making one.  (For details see September meeting Preview and this website –

  • Tables at Craft Fairs – Eileen explained that we are sometimes approached by organisers of Fairs to ask if we wanted to take a table to sell craft goods or produce. If any members would be interested in joining together to take a table and sell things they had made, please add your name to the signup sheet at the next meeting so we can set up a network group.
  • Remembrance Day Poppies – a big thank you to all who used their craft skills to produce poppies, and our members who dug deep in their pockets with their Royal British Legion donations, which will be commemorated at a War Cemetery in France. We are pleased to announce we managed to raise £330.
  • Second-hand book sale – a big thank you to Annette Osborne and the Book Club for arranging this and to members for supporting the sale.  We raised £60 for our WI.
  • Voting for Charity of the Year 2014 – After explanations from Diana about First Touch and Val about Merton & Morden Guild, members voted for their preference which was Merton & Morden Guild for  our Charity of the Year 2014 and the proceeds from the voting will go to them.
  • The Refuge says a big thank you for all the contributions.  They now have stocks to last until January, so please can you hold on to anything until after Christmas, as Lesley will not be taking anything else until then.
  • The Foodbank is low on stock, so anything that you contribute will be gratefully received.  There will be priority lists again soon, but for now anything goes! – full list at  More and more people are now being referred so their stocks are not lasting as long.  Once again a big thank you from them.

We look forward to seeing you in November for our Annual Meeting and a social event to celebrate our 5th Birthday.

Don’t forget also we will be collecting suitable gifts for Carers Support Merton (our Charity of the Year 2013).  The possible gifts (not wrapped) you are invited to bring are

  • vouchers for cinema/toys r us
  • girls and boys toiletries
  • electric toothbrushes
  • annuals – football teams. ben 10, pop bands
  • stationary/art supplies
  • sport gear footballs, tennis racquets
  • craft kits
  • lego
  • beads – make a bracelet.

Reminder about Date change for December Meeting – Originally scheduled for Monday 16 December – to be held on Monday 9 December.

Dress a girl around the world

“Imagine a World where every little girl owned at least one dress! What if that dress was made by you?”

dress a girl around the worldDress a Girl Around the World is a charity set up in America with the aim of sending dresses to girls living in poverty across the world.
We thought this was a great idea.  Some of us got their sewing machines out and Julia, one of our members, took 10 dresses to Utange, Mombasa where a charity works to provide needy children with an education. We are hoping to get photos of the girls wearing the dresses soon.

We are going to continue to make dresses and will be able to send more out in the spring when another visit to Utange is planned.

If you would like to make a dress, the following links should give you the information you need.
All the information on the links is quite clear and the only comment we would make is that the minimum width bias binding should be 5/8th inches (16mm) anything narrower might not stand up to the wear the dress is likely to get. (20mm works well.) Also, although they are called pillowcase dresses, you don’t have to use pillowcases. Any rectangle of fabric is OK and probably easier to work with than a pillowcase.
Introduction, photos etc

Tutorial and full instructions

Video tutorial giving step-by-step instructions

Information about sizes, material needed etc.

If you are not able to make a dress but have fabric you are able to donate for others to sew with, please bring it along to one of our meetings. (Any pieces of cotton, pillowcases or duvet covers would be fine. Also any bits of lace, ribbon etc.)

Armhole pattern

Dress a Girl armhole patterns

Handmade Poppies

Wimbledon WI have been busy sewing, crocheting and knitting poppies to sell to raise funds for The Royal British Legion.  They will be recreating a ‘Flanders Field’ of poppies at the historic Menin Gate, Ypres on Armistice Day and a poppy from the Wimbledon WI will be placed there in commemoration. Our ladies made over 120 poppies which were sold at our meeting and to family and friends and together we were able to raise £330 for the British Legion.


Poppy making evening


The Poppy Making event at Angela’s bakery last Wednesday was very successful and enjoyed by all. Everyone went away having made a lovely poppy either crocheted, knitted or sewn. If these ladies or any of you who couldn’t make the evening, would like to make poppies to sell at the next WI meeting, that would be wonderful. The money raised will go to the Royal British Legion.

Download patterns

Crocheted Poppy pattern

Knitted Poppy pattern




Hot Topics September 2013

74 members and 6 guests were then entertained by Joan Cottle who spoke about the suffragette movement and our very own Wimbledon suffragette Rose Lamartine Yates.  Rose had lived in Dorset Hall, Kingston Road and had been an active member of the Wimbledon branch of the Women’s Social & Political Union (WSPU), becoming its treasurer and organising secretary in 1910.  The Wimbledon branch was renowned for its militant suffrage campaigns.  It opened its shop on the site between the Odeon and Morrisons.  She gave a most interesting and informative talk in which she described the history of the Votes for Women movement, including the horrendous conditions which the jailed suffragettes had to endure being violently force fed when they went on hunger strike.


Jenny Cairns made a short appeal for people to provide temporary overnight emergency accommodation for young people (18-25) through a charity called Night Stop London

Annette Osborne talked about the 2nd hand book sale planned for our October meeting and asked members to provide books which were in reasonably good condition – fiction and biographies normally sold well.  Monies raised would go towards WI funds.  Members were also asked to let her know if members knew of any outlets which would welcome any books which remained unsold at the end of the evening.

Eileen Smith spoke about the Crochet/Knit/Sew Poppy Evening on Wednesday 18th September 7.30pm and about the Dress a Girl around the World  Information about both these was included in the Meeting Preview Notices.

Agnes Fox referred to a letter from Carers Support Merton thanking us for the monies we had raised at the Super Raffle.  Also about the list of possible children’s gifts to this Charity which we normally collect at our November meeting.

  • vouchers for cinema/toys r us
  • girls and boys toiletries
  • electric toothbrushes
  • annuals – football teams. ben 10, pop bands
  • stationary/ art supplies
  • sport gear footballs, tennis racquets
  • craft kits
  • lego
  • beads – make a bracelet.

Members were invited to nominate any local Charity which they would like to see considered to be our Charity of the Year 2014.

Agnes also appealed for members to come forward to stand for the Committee.  Several current members would be standing down in November and more help was required to run the WI.  The next Committee meeting was on Monday 14 October and members were invited to attend to get a “taste” of what goes on.

Ann Dolphin gave a report on her evening on Patrol with Wimbledon Police – the prize she had won in the Super Raffle.

NFWI AGM 2014 will be held in Leeds on Saturday 7 June. Application forms to be a representative (delegate) or observer should be available at the October meeting.

Subscription Rates for 2014 would be £34.70, with dual members paying £15.80 to their 2nd WI.

Members were asked to look at the Notice Board, including WI campaigns about saving our high streets/town centres and reducing usage of plastic bags.

Members were invited to sign up if they were interested in attending the Christmas Meal (being organised by Julia Whiting) provisionally scheduled for Monday 25 November (7.30 for 8 pm) at the Railhouse (previously The Rock), Raynes Park.  Further details would be available at our October meeting.

2014 WI diaries – Those members who had ordered copies but were not able to collect them from Janice Beale at this meeting would be able to do so at our October meeting – they are £3.60 each

A boat trip on the Thames and a visit to The Savill Garden July 2013

A cloudy start, but we were pleased it wasn’t raining. 26 of us filled a small coach to Runnymede.
Here we boarded the Lady Margaret Anne boat owned by French Brothers.  We had a delightful trip down the Thames looking at the lovely houses fronting on to the river and also the wildlife (ducks, swans, cygnets, geese, heron, grebe and yes, I’m sure I saw a kingfisher!)
Beryl Reid’s honey pot thatched cottage was pointed out to us. She lived here with up to 13 stray cats. Our guide also pointed out Albert Bridge and the Bells pub with the mystery of what happened to the bells destined from Oxford back in Henry 8th’s reign.
Also the bridge which wasn’t strong enough to support bus and passengers, so passenger s had to get off the bus, walk over the bridge and get back on, and Black Pott’s bridge named because of the black soot that gathered on people’s faces!
We had a ploughman’s lunch on board together with optional wine. Then after good views of Windsor Castle and Eton College chapel, back to Runnymede where the coach took us on to Savill Garden. Savill garden is a beautiful garden of35 acres of interconnecting gardens and woodland. We saw the azalea walks, the summer gardens which included magnificent herbaceous borders, the hidden gardens and the lake and the beautiful perfumed rose garden with its dramatic walkway rising over the centre.
We had a welcome cream tea in the restaurant before making our way back to the coach. Our lovely driver Ray got us back to Wimbledon in plenty of time for us to return home in time to see Andy Murray recover himself against Verdasco to gain a place in the semi-finals.
A really good day out. Thank you Gillian.

Wimbledon Village Fair 2013

From our fantastic Village fair co-ordinator Veronica:

I feel sure you all would like to know how our 5th year having a WI stall at the Village Fair went.

village-fair-2013From the application date in February this event takes 5 months in the planning. Our stall is our main fund raising event of the year and is important as funds raised go towards the hiring of this hall, paying for speakers, etc.  Other fund raising events (e.g. bring and buy, raffle and plant sales) raise funds towards your chosen charity – this year it is Carer Support Merton. 

The day of the Village Fair was a day of strong gusting winds throughout the day, as those who gallantly offered to help man our stall, or came to support us, will know.
 My lasting memory was seeing a rota of two ladies constantly holding the gazebo down.  Louise had 9-10 slot until I realised that she had become a permanent fixture still holding the gazebo – 3 hours later.

The produce flew off the table, not due to the wind thankfully.  We had an excellent position this year as requested.  Our stall was on the path leading to Cannizaro Road which means we had a good chance of being seen as people arrived, and better still customers were reminded to buy on their way out.  The disadvantage of this position meant we were blasted more than most from the wind hitting our rear from the pond and then our side once our neighbours gave up and left. 
In spite of our gallant effort to stop our gazebo taking flight, we did sustain some damage which we hope will be repairable.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who helped make our WI Stall not only successful but most enjoyable for all of us who took part.

Thank you to the COMMITTEE who helped me so much in co-ordinating our stall and for tolerating all my emails and attachments throughout the process.

A very special thank you to Angela who has so generously offered the use of her bakery, equipment and premises over the years to enable us to have a drop off centre prior to the packaging that takes place throughout the Friday before the Fair.
Sadly Angela will be unable to offer her premises again so if anyone knows of a centrally located, large kitchen that we can use next year, please contact Agnes or a Committee member.
 Thank you to the Friday team who worked from 10am to 7.45pm packing and labelling all your lovely produce, and to Dulcie and Gillian who did an excellent job labelling an even larger selection this year of your preserves.  And also to Val and Phil Barnes for providing the transport.

 And finally a big thank you to all the wonderful ladies on the Stall Volunteers Rota List for the day, and to all who contributed with cakes, biscuits, and preserves.
Many of you provided far more than expected – Rosie Hickson excelled making 12 banana cakes!!

I have had some lovely emails from you and I am so glad none of you sustained injury while preventing our possible flight.

Thank you everyone and put in your Diaries the 2014 that Village Fair next year will be on Saturday 21st June.

From a willing helper:

In spite of the weather it was a “different” Saturday.  It was so encouraging to see so many people supporting the Fair so that the weather really didn’t matter.
I think we shall have to think of something to stabilise the gazebo – more tent pegs might be the answer – (or longer armed people?)
Anyway the end result – of the money we collected –  was very encouraging and I certainly enjoyed being part of the organising  on Friday/Saturday.
A big thank you to Veronica for all your effort.


Hot Topics July 2013

59 members and 5 guests came to enjoy a very funny and interesting speaker – Richard Selby speaking about ‘Women I have married’!! Some members had Googled his name and so had a clue that he was a registrar but he managed to surprise a few.

Date change for December Meeting – Originally scheduled for Monday 16 December.  As this date was so close to Christmas now to be held on Monday 9 December.
NFWI AGM Report – The July/August issue of WI Life contained various reports about the NFWI AGM in Cardiff.  Members were given a summary of the report from a member of Ham & Petersham WI who was our delegate at the meeting.
Denman Designer day – Members were asked why there was so little interest in this proposed event.
Denman Flower Festival – Friday 16 to Sunday 18 August 2013.
Denman Bursaries funded by Surrey Federation – 4 Bursaries available to WI members by Ballot.  Closing date at Surrey Federation WIs for applications for one is on 31 August and the rest before 30 September.  Details available from Ann Dolphin (Secretary) or
Denman Christmas Fair & Real Jam Festival 7-8 December
Surrey Federation Autumn Meeting Monday 30 September in Dorking.  Speakers included Bill Tidy and the Chief Constable of Surrey Lynne Owens.  Information about this is on the Notice Board.  Tickets £12 per person.  Contact Ann Dolphin (Secretary) for further details and application form.  Closing date 9 August at Surrey Federation WIs.

August – There will be no centrally organised social event this year due to poor weather in previous two years and many members being away in August.  Members were encouraged to get together with fellow WI members in smaller groups.  Suggestions about possible activities were on the Notice Board.  Members planning an activity or attending an event were invited to ask other members to join them.  Anyone wishing to do so should provide us with the details (proposed activity, date, time, where to meet, contact details etc).  We will try to arrange to put an electronic message around to members to drum up further interest for you.

Wimbledon Village Fair –  Thank you!

Dear All.

Thank you for all your help both in the build up to and during the Village Fair.
I feel we should all be really proud of an excellent result, inspite of the horrendous weather conditions on the day.
I do hope our gallant team insuring the Gazebo remained grounded throughout the gales are not too exhausted or put off to help next year.

We sold everything bar 6 jars of chutney and made £876.50
Inspite of the weather the Fair attracted a huge number of people and we were kept busy all day.
I can tell you that we did really well and although not all our members contributed those that did excelled in the amount they produced.
If everyone one had produced as much we would easily have hit the £1000 pound mark.