Blog Archives

Hot Topics June 2019

Fiona welcomed 68 members and 1guest

Fiona and Lesley both reported on the NFWI AGM in Bournemouth which they attended with 2 other members on 5th June. They thoroughly enjoyed the event, speakers and camaraderie and encouraged members to go next year (likely to be at Royal Albert Hall, Thursday 4th June).  We have received a report from Janette who was our designated delegate to attend the AGM.

Fiona mentioned that sometimes photos are taken at meetings and on outings to be used on our website etc. Should any member not wish their photos to be used could they please let us know.  Fiona also reminded members that we have a Wimbledon WI Facebook page which can be seen only by our members. Please let us know if you would like to join this page as you need to be “invited”.

Fiona reminded us to start thinking about making produce (cakes, jams, chutneys etc.,) for the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Open Day on Sunday, 8th September as the July meeting will be the last meeting before this event. Cakes etc., can be made in advance and frozen. Not all members like baking so if they would like to donate the cost of the ingredients other members are quite happy to bake cakes on their behalf. Also please let us know if anyone would like more jam jars.

Future Outings/Events:

Gillian reported that trips to see the Strictly Come Dancing Costumes and Brunswick House, Vauxhall are now full but there are still places for:

Wimpole Estate, Cambridge, Wednesday, 26th June (£37)

Chatham Dockyard, Friday, 27th September £37

As usual please let Gillian know as soon as possible if you would like a place

Wimbledon Crafty Ladies: The next Crafty Ladies meeting will be held on Friday 5th July in the upper restaurant at Ely’s Department Store in Wimbledon from 2.30pm to approximately 5pm.  Members are welcome to come to every meeting or just to attend now and again.

Hampstead Walk – Friday 14th June – (Liz reports) 11 members set off from Hampstead Tube Station for a walk in yet another shower that hadn’t been predicted! Anyway, this didn’t dampen our spirits and we continued on our way through this attractive London suburb of Hampstead and Hampstead Heath, stopping at various points on the way to look at Georgian streets, churches and beautiful houses where many a well-known person had lived, as denoted by the abundant Blue Plaques.

We continued to the top of the hill and then across the Heath to the Pergola and Hill Garden which originally belonged to The Hill, the house of Lord Leverhulme. This is a delightful ‘secret’ garden which was a surprise to all of us and well worth a visit. The house has now been turned into ‘expensive’ apartments!

After a coffee stop at The Old Bull and Bush pub we continued on over the Heath to another area called the Vale of Health where we saw one of the famous ponds and yet more notable houses.

We finally stopped for a welcome lunch in The Burgh House and Hampstead Museum Cafe. This venue was given 4* by the group, but unfortunately it isn’t always open!

We eventually got back to the Tube station at about 3pm. Everyone appears to have enjoyed themselves and requested another ‘London’ walk in the future.

Essie, music teacher, actor, leader of The Singing Mertones and our entertainer for the evening soon had us all up and singing. First we warmed up by doing some exercises with a few funny ones included. The song Essie had chosen and well known to all of us was “Mamma Mia” by Abba. After singing the song through a couple of times we were then divided into three groups so harmonies could be included. Essie was very encouraging and a delightful teacher and by the end of the evening “Mamma Mia” was sounding pretty good. Everyone went home having had a very enjoyable evening with Mamma Mia running through their head.  Essie did an excellent job, getting us all singing and enjoying ourselves – eat your heart out Gareth Malone!!

“We’ll Meet Again” – Following on with the choir theme, several of our members will be singing with Wimbledon Community Chorus at this concert. Along with The Central Band of The Royal British Legion and conducted by the two times BAFTA award winning David Cole, a programme of well-known band and choral favourites will be performed for Armed Forces Day. The concert is at 7.00 pm on Saturday, 29th June in the Holy Trinity Church, Beaumont Road, SW19 6RJ. Ticket prices £15-£10 concessions. Click link for further details and tickets

Hot Topics May 2019

Fiona welcomed 67 members, 1 new member and 2 guests.

Fiona said the trip to Chiltern Valley Winery was a very enjoyable day. She also thanked Jeanette for organising the Covent Garden walk and Fiona has thanked Jan Young for arranging the morning at the National Gallery both of which were enjoyed by those who attended. And thanks to Angela for the netball practice – although it would be lovely to see a few more members joining in!

Lesley asked members to vote on the two Resolutions to be put forward to the NFWI Annual Meeting in Bournemouth in June. Members were in full agreement with both resolutions going forward – “Decline in Local Buses” and “Don’t Fear the Smear”.

Lesley also said she has received a “thank you” from NFWI for supporting the sale of their raffle tickets.

Future Outings/Events:

Gillian reported that the trip to see the Strictly Come Dancing Costumes is now full but there are still places for:

Wimpole Estate, Cambridge, Wednesday, 26th June (£37) 

Brunswick House, Vauxhall – Friday 26th July, £15 (15 maximum)

Also if there are enough people interested in visiting Chatham Dockyard in September, she will investigate a possible trip.

As usual please let Gillian know as soon as possible if you would like a place

“The Embroidered Home” Exhibition: We have provisionally booked a Talk and Tour of this Exhibition at the Royal Needlework School Hampton Court at 2pm on Tuesday, 16th July which will cost £16. This comprises a 30 minute talk and then an hour in the exhibition. We need a minimum of 8 people but they can take up to 24 people. If you would like to come please email Eileen by Friday 24th May so that we can secure the booking. Please see website for more information

Walk – Friday 14th June 10.30am: Liz will lead a walk through Hampstead featuring the Georgian Streets, the Pergola and Hill Garden and part of Hampstead Heath. This circular walk of approximately 5 miles includes hills. Meet at 10.30am at Hampstead Tube Station. There are several places to eat at the end of the walk.

If you are interested in joining the walking party please contact Liz.

Wimbledon Crafty Ladies:  These will be monthly meetings of ‘Crafty Ladies’ in the upper restaurant at Ely’s Department Store in Wimbledon from 2.30pm to approximately 5pm. The next meeting is on Friday, 7th June.  Members are welcome to come to every meeting or just to attend now and again.

“The Time is Now”: Reminder from London WI Advisors – With just five weeks to go, there is still time to join “The Time is Now” lobby for the climate and environment on 26th June from 1-4pm at Westminster to ask MPs to protect our climate, nature and people. We know that MPs view WI members as trusted messengers in society. This is your chance to highlight that we need them to take the lead in safeguarding the environment for future generations. It is crucial that as many members as possible join the day to push government for action on climate change and plastic pollution.

Hundreds of WI members have already registered their interest, and they will be joining supporters from sports, nature and faith organisations to let MPs know how much they care about these issues. For further details and to register your interest visit

Green Bowling: There is an Open Day at Wimbledon Park Bowling Club on Saturday, 25th May between 11.00 and 5.00 and free tuition sessions from 11.00 – 12.30 every Saturday until September.

Supreme Bowling Club (Kings College Sports Ground) also has an open day on Sunday, 26th May between 10.00 and 1.00. All welcome.

Bollywood Dance Fitness Class on Tuesdays 10.00am -11.00am £9 at Hot Yoga Studio, 7 Elm Grove, Wimbledon, 

Peter Blundell, Artist, our guest for the evening, soon had us all practising hatching, cross-hatching and shading in readiness for our attempts to draw an apple. Peter was very encouraging, patient and a good teacher. A very enjoyable evening all round with some seriously good outcomes but for the majority a fun attempt at something we haven’t done before. Well done budding artists and thank you Peter.

Plant Sale: Thank you to the members who brought in plants to sell and to those who bought them. £95.00 was raised for our funds. Well done.

Hot Topics April 2019

Fiona welcomed 64 members, 3 new members and 2 guests to our meeting on Monday 15th April, 2019.

Fiona encouraged everyone to say hello and chat to one another, especially guests and new members.

Eileen has taken over the running of the Facebook page to show what we are doing in our group. There is also a members’ only part of the site to which you can apply and Eileen will enable you to enter the site. News will still come to members by post in hard copy if required.

Lesley spoke to members about the trustees who we voted for last month. Resolutions: – smear tests and bus services were both strongly supported. If accepted these resolutions will become part of the WI campaign. Briefing notes are available on the website. We will vote on the resolutions at the next meeting

Lesley mentioned the initiative which will take place on 26th June concerning climate change. Organised by the Climate Coalition there will be a mass lobby outside Westminster from 1.00pm to 4.30pm to speak to MPs about protecting the climate and environment. More information on

Fiona asked members to be sure to tell the committee if they have any particular activity or outing that they would like us to organise.

Fiona spoke to members about possibly capping our membership at 110. We currently have 100 paid up members (the hall can seat 140 maximum) – following a discussion it was agreed not to cap the membership.

Margaret advised members that beginning on Friday 3rd May at 2.30pm to approximately 5pm there will be a monthly meeting of ‘Crafty Ladies’ in the upper restaurant at Ely’s Department Store in Wimbledon. Margaret encouraged members to bring along any hand held craft they wish and they will be welcome to come to every meeting or just to attend now and again.

Wendy has advised that the amount raised at the Quiz held at Merton Park Church Hall for our chosen charity, Jigsaw4U, is £972.74.

Book sale/Jigsaw swap – members gave books and bought books and Jigsaws were swapped and a total of £61.70 was raised.

Guest Speaker: Our speaker, Jan Young (Art Expert), gave a fascinating talk about ‘Looking at Art’. Jan told us that studies have shown that on the whole people only look at paintings in Art Galleries for approximately 2 minutes. They tend to spend longer looking at the label beside the paintings than they do actually looking at the work of Art.

Jan tells us that young people today tend to look at moving images more than still images and unless they learn to look and ‘read’ a still image they will eventually lose the ability to do so.

Jan showed us, and explained, how to identify materials, signs, colours, shapes and symbols within paintings that tell us about what we see. Jan explained to us about the juxtaposition of the people in the pictures and how to interpret their dress, their expressions and gestures and what these all tell us about what is happening and what the artist wishes to convey.

Jan mentioned that all of the pictures that she showed us this evening are part of the collection which is hanging in the National Gallery and she encouraged us to go there and see them for ourselves.

Jan took us through discoveries and developments in paint over the years and the gradual improvements in brush manufacture. She also explained about the growth of understanding of colour, the use of colour and the relationships between various colours. Jan is so well informed and she gave us such an entertaining and thought provoking talk that the evening flew by. We all felt that we had learned a lot from Jan in a thoroughly enjoyable way.

Jan ended her talk by inviting members to visit the National Gallery and look at the paintings with her in the week beginning 13th May 2019. Details will be circulated before then so that members can sign up to this visit.

Fiona advised members that at next month’s meeting we will have a talk from an art teacher from Sutton College who will instruct us all in how to draw a still life picture. Also please bring along any plants/seedlings/spare seed packets etc. for the plant sale. Thank you.

Hot Topics March 2019

Fiona welcomed 67 members and 3 guests. Before introducing our guest speakers, Fiona mentioned how Jigsaw4u, our charity of the year, is so poignant to her at the moment as it is helping counsel the children of one of her friends who has recently died at only 38 leaving two boys aged 7 and 10.

Fiona informed us of the sad news of the death of Jane Purchase. As well as being a WI member Jane has been associated with scouting for many years, in a number of capacities both at the 4th Wimbledon and the 19th Wimbledon. Most recently she was a member of the Scout Executive Committee, standing down only last year after 29 years. She was also a much loved teacher at Hollymount School. She will be missed.

Dates for diary: Fiona mentioned 2 dates to put in your diaries:
Sunday, 8th September when we will have a stall at the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Open Day – it is never too early to start making preserves etc., and cakes to freeze.
The second date, which is a bit nearer, is our Quiz on 6th April. It is never too late to get tickets – just contact Gillian (details below). Even if you are on your own, come along and join a table of no more than 8 people. There will also be a raffle on the 6th.

Members’ suggestions: Fiona said that we have taken members suggestions for speakers/activities on board and have booked a Tai Chi session for next year. A few members have asked for a craft session so please could we have your ideas of what you would like to make/do etc.

Resolutions: Lesley informed us that there will be two resolutions going forward to the NFWI AGM in June and they are Decline in Local Bus Services and Don’t Fear the Smear.

Royal School of Needlework have sent us their booklet for this year and if enough people are interested we would like to arrange a tour/taster session. Further information will be sent out when we have more information and dates.

Future Events: There are places for the following events.
Quiz, Saturday, 6th April (£14 includes Ploughman’s Supper)
Chiltern Valley Winery, Tuesday 23rd April (£35)
Covent Garden Walk, Thursday, 16th May (£10)
Wimpole Estate, Cambridge, Wednesday, 26th June (£37)
Please let Gillian know as soon as possible if you would like a place.

Crafty Ladies: Anyone interested in joining a WI Knatter Group for knitters, crocheters, embroiders etc., please contact Margaret as she is collating a list of people and their preferred days.

Wimbledon WI Facebook Page: A “closed group” has been set up within the Wimbledon WI Facebook page which is only accessible to our WI members. If you would like to join the group please visit
Then click on the sub heading “groups” to request to join. Once you have done this, a message is sent to the moderators of our group and your request will be accepted. We will only accept members of Wimbledon WI so members can message each other or post things of interest without non-members seeing it. You do need to have a Facebook account to do this.

Salvation Army: Our first speaker for the evening was Emma Scott who is an officer with the Mitcham Salvation Army. Emma gave us a potted history of how the Salvation Army was started by William and Catherine Booth in 1865 when they moved to London and were appalled by the conditions people lived in. They aimed to help as many poor people as possible but particularly women who had fallen into prostitution. As The Salvation Army became established women were given leadership responsibilities. Catherine Booth fought to expand the role for women in church and public life, advocating better conditions and pay for women workers and to have the woman’s voice heard. This commitment to equality remains today. Unfortunately domestic abuse is on the increase and in spring 2016 The Salvation Army set up The Link Café (TLC) to help women, who have left their abusive partners, to link to other services in the community. Working with Merton Borough Council and other volunteer agencies, the Salvation Army sought to fill a perceived gap. The Salvation Army have also secured funding to help women who do not qualify for Legal Aid (due to the change in the law if they are named on any house purchase document they are not entitled to it). We asked Emma how we could help. She said due to the lack of storage space they are unable to store items and they have to acquire items as and when they need them, for instance they are in desperate need of a micro wave. The best way is for them to contact us as and when items are needed. At the end of the meeting, Katharine had the brilliant suggestion of all members donating a £1 to buy a microwave and the following is the email we received from Emma.

“Firstly, a huge thank you for allowing me to come and share a little of what we do with you all tonight and for the beautiful surprise that now means we can provide a microwave for someone who needs it. If you would like any further information either about volunteering with us or to donate goods then you can contact me. We are in the process of a new mobile number as the landline isn’t always available. Thank you again and I look forward to the fair in September!”

Paracise: Our next speaker, Alison Kirk, introduced us to Paracise which is a new exercise designed to enhance and enrich your life by a gentle but effective workout that improves mobility, flexibility and balance and maintains or improves quality of life. Lack of fitness, age, injury, physical and mental illness can affect our well-being and staying fit and positive can help us to ease those symptoms. Alison soon had us up and joining in with the gentle and enjoyable exercises. For more information visit the website

Below is information received from theatre groups:

Kemp’s Jig, Tara Theatre Earlsfield : As part of the week long celebrations of Shakespeare’s birthday at Tara Theatre, a one man show is being produced on 22nd and 23rd April. The show is “Kemp’s Jig” and tells the tale of Shakespeare’s clown, Will Kemp and his Morris Dance from London to Norwich. It’s a fun and irreverent piece, and perfect material for a group outing. We have the support of Greensleeves Morris Men on the Monday and Dacre Morris (a ladies’ side) on the Tuesday so there’ll be lots to see and the added bonus of being relatively local. Full details are on the link below

Emilia, Vaudeville Theatre,Strand 8 March to 15 June 2019
Emilia tells the story of the trailblazing Emilia Bassano, one of the first female English poets to be published in 1611. A contemporary of Shakespeare’s, thought to be the ‘dark lady’ of his sonnets, she was herself a talented poet, teacher, mother, writer, wife and lover. Now in a play full of music and song, an all-female company bring Emilia’s story to life and through one woman’s story, celebrate women’s voices across the centuries.
Special Offer: To book a Band A ticket for £30 / £35 (usually £50 / £55 from 22 March) call 0330 333 4814, This offer is valid for Monday to Friday performances at 7.30pm and Wednesday matinees at 2.30pm from 8 March to 18 April, subject to availability.
Complimentary Playtext Group Offer: If you would like to organise a group outing, the 8+ Group Rate is £32.50 (Stalls / Dress Circle) or £25 (Grand Circle) and you will also receive a complimentary play text with each ticket purchased. This rate is valid for Monday to Thursday performances from 8 March to 18 April, subject to availability. Please call 0330 333 4817.

A Christmas Carol, Middle Temple Hall: We have been sent details about Antic Disposition’s much-loved musical adaptation of the Charles Dickens festive classic A Christmas Carol which returns to the spectacular Elizabethan setting of Middle Temple Hall in central London. It will run from Saturday 21 – Monday 30 December 2019 with daily performances at 3pm and 7.30pm (11am and 3pm on 24 December; no performances on 25/26 December). They are able to offer us a 10% discount for groups of 15 or more. With this reduction, reserved seats are £40.50 (normally £45) and unreserved seats are £31.50 (normally £35). This offer is not available on their website. For further details visit

Diary Dates:
Saturday, 6th April. Quiz Night
Monday, 15th April Meeting – Jan Young, Art Expert. Book sale/jigsaw swap
Wednesday, 5th June, 2019. NFWI AGM, Bournemouth
July 12-14th Surrey WIs at Denman
Sunday, 8th September, Wimbledon and Putney Commons Open Day
Monday, 7th October. Surrey Federation of WIs Autumn Meeting

Hot Topics February 2019

Fiona welcomed 70 members and 3 guests.
Subscriptions: These are now overdue. If you have been unable to make the last 2 meetings and still want to join again this year, please notify Wendy. As we have to send all subscriptions in at the end of March, any members who have not paid or made contact by then will, we assume, no longer wish to be a member and will be deleted from our database.

Future Events: There are places for the following events.
The Clink Afternoon Tea, Wednesday, 6th March (£18 includes gratuity)
Quiz, Saturday, 6th April (£14 includes Ploughman’s Supper)
Chiltern Valley Winery, Tuesday 23rd April (£35)
Covent Garden Walk, Thursday, 16th May (£10)
Wimpole Estate, Cambridge, Wednesday, 26th June (£37)
Please let Gillian know as soon as possible if you would like a place.

The 39 Steps: We have been asked by one of our members to inform you that the Sutton Amateur Dramatic Club’s next production will be The 39 Steps. It is being performed from 20th-23rd March at 7.45pm at Adrian Mann Theatre Ewell KT17 3DS. Tickets cost £13. For further details and bookings, please visit or

Cygnet Players – Kiss Me Kate: We have been asked by Cygnet Players, an amateur, non-profit theatre group, to inform our members of their next production, Kiss Me Kate. It is to be performed 20th-23rd February at the London Oratory School, Fulham. Tickets are £16 each or for groups of 6+ £10 (for Wednesday and Saturday) or £12 for groups of 6+ (for Thursday and Friday). Box office 07941 448 689

Suggestion Box: Fiona reminded members we have a suggestion box for ideas for speakers/activities etc. The committee try to create a programme which is varied and interesting and appreciate that they can’t please everyone all of the time. They are already planning programme/ideas for next year so if there is anything members would like to be considered, please let the committee know.

Green Hearts: Beautiful things can happen when you make, wear and share a green heart this February. We can protect the places, people and things we love from climate change. The changes needed to protect our world have begun. We can have 100% clean energy within a generation – but it needs us to show our love to make it happen. Together, we want a world powered by clean and secure energy within a generation. So wear your green heart and show people that you care about climate change.

Guest Speaker: Our speaker, Mary Forlenza, gave us a very entertaining and enjoyable talk on Great Lovers. She gave us an insight into some intriguing romances from Romeo and Juliet, Edward VII and Lilly Langtry, Bonnie and Clyde, Dr. Crippen and Cora Turner, Mussolini and Claretta, Frankie and Johnny and our very own Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton, who despite all her wealth and riches during her marriage to Lord Hamilton, died destitute in Calais. Mary ended on two personal, but nonetheless, fascinating love stories regarding her Italian husband’s acquaintances.
Jigsaw4u Representative: Jenny Harwood gave us an introduction into what Jigsaw4u, our chosen charity, does in the community. Jigsaw4u is a charity that provides a wide variety of services across the London Boroughs of Merton and Sutton. They are not only known for their bereavement counselling but also for Home School Links, support for individuals and families who have experienced domestic violence or offering specialised support for victims of crime aged 11 to 17. They also work with the missing persons unit so that they can conduct a Return Home Interview to gain insight why the young person “went missing”. These are just a few of their projects. For further reading visit Jenny finished with a very poignant video of 2 families going through bereavement counselling proving that this is a very worthy charity.

Quiz: Fiona reminded everybody that our Quiz Evening on 6th April at St. Mary’s Church Hall, Church Path, Merton Park will be for the benefit of Jigsaw4u and urged everybody to try and make the evening. It will not only be a fund raiser for our charity but also a fun evening. Tickets are £14 which includes a ploughman’s supper and there will be a paid bar. You can either make up a table of 8 or come on your own and join a table. Everyone welcome. Please contact Gillian if you would like a ticket.

LOST PROPERTY: A grey scarf was left behind at the last meeting. Please let the committee know if it is yours.

Diary Dates:
Monday, 18th March. Surrey Federation of WIs Annual Council Meeting. Dorking.
Monday, 18th March Meeting – Alison Kirk, Paracise
Saturday. 6th April. Quiz Night
Monday, 15th April Meeting – Jan Young, Art Expert. Book sale/jigsaw swap
Wednesday, 5th June, 2019. NFWI AGM, Bournemouth
July 12-14th Surrey WIs at Denman
Monday, 7th October. Surrey Federation of WIs Autumn Meeting

Hot Topics January 2019

Fiona welcomed 84 members and 3 guests and wished everyone a Happy New Year. Before breaking into small groups to discuss this year’s resolutions, Fiona gave us an interesting presentation on how to “stay safe online”. A majority of us have had menacing emails from unknown sources asking us to send money or to click on a certain “link”. The best advice is to do nothing and Fiona gave us a few tips on how to check if sites are secure. Most emails are not encrypted which means they could potentially be read by others whilst in transit and can sometimes be “hacked” – they appear to come from a person you know and ask you to click on a link which usually contain a virus (free virus protection software is available online). Fiona also mentioned that “Whats App” is encrypted, making it safe. For further information please visit the following sites:
For parents/carers and children

Subscriptions: Subscriptions for 2019 were due at Monday’s meeting for everyone and are £42 for full membership and £20.50 for dual member (to their second WI). If you were unable to attend Monday’s meeting and want to renew your membership please bring your subscription to February’s meeting or, alternatively, post it to Wendy. If you are not renewing for any reason, please let us know and we will not chase you for payment!

Bring and Buy Sale: Thank you for all the donations for the Bring and Buy Sale – £185.45 was made so well done everyone and thank you to the ladies who manned the stall.

Quiz Night: Fiona mentioned the forthcoming Quiz Night on Saturday, 6th April at 7.30 St. Mary’s Church Hall, Merton Park. This is always a good evening and once again; Agnes’ son has kindly offered to be our quiz master. So do come, either on your own or, if you can, make up a table of 8. Tickets are £14 which includes a Ploughman’s Supper. There will be a cash bar and profits will go to our charity, Jigsaw4u. Please contact Gillian if you would like a ticket.

2019 Resolutions: After some interesting and really thoughtful group discussions on the six shortlisted resolutions, the one Wimbledon WI would most like to go forward for further discussion and final voting at the AGM in Bournemouth is Decline in Local Bus Service.
The result of the voting is as follows:
1 Improving Plant Bio Security 10
2 Trees, Improving the Landscape 6
3 Pelvic Floor 8
4 Suffering in Silence 3
5 Decline in Local Bus Services 39
6 Don’t Fear the Smear. 12

Future Events: The Postal Museum trip in February is now full but there are spaces on the following events:
The Clink Afternoon Tea, Thursday 7th March (£18 includes gratuity)
Quiz Night, Saturday, 6th April (£14)
Chiltern Valley Winery, Tuesday 23rd April (£35)
Covent Garden Walk, Thursday, 16th May (£10)
Please let Gillian know as soon as possible if you would like a place

Surrey WI News: From 1st January, Surrey WI News (SWIN) is available on the internet. When the current SWIN financial year ends in May, WIs will then be required to pay for access to it but until then it is free to everyone. Members need to be registered on MyWI to be able to access this online. Visit Surrey Federation of WI’s for more information

Diary Dates:
Monday, 18th Feb. Wimbledon WI Meeting
Monday, 18th March. Surrey Federation of WIs Annual Council Meeting. Dorking.
Saturday. 6th April. Quiz Night
Wednesday, 5th June, 2019. NFWI AGM, Bournemouth
July 12-14th Surrey WIs at Denman
Monday, 7th October. Surrey Federation of WIs Autumn Meeting

The Committee

Our 2019 Local Charity

Jigsaw4u is a well-established and respected SW London based Children’s charity, working with children and young people affected by significant social and emotional issues and bereavement. Jigsaw4u has a remarkable breadth and depth of services and over the last year has reached 4000 children young people and their families.

Hot Topics December 2018

Fiona welcomed 74 members and 6 guests and before being entertained by Santa’s Elf aka Tony Harris, a few matters were discussed.

Wimbledon Masterplan Consultation: Eileen hoped everyone had had a chance to read the proposed response from Wimbledon WI regarding the Future Wimbledon Masterplan Consultation to be sent to Stephen Alambritis and a copy to Stephen Hammond. She asked if anyone had any objections or would like to add anything. A show of hands was then taken to see if everyone was in agreement to this letter being sent and the outcome was unanimous.

Future Events: Gillian mentioned that the Postal Museum trip in February is now full but there are spaces on the following events:
Fullers Brewery, Chiswick, Wednesday, 23rd January (£18)
The Clink Afternoon Tea, Thursday 7th March (£18 includes gratuity)
Chiltern Valley Winery, Tuesday 23rd April (£35)
Covent Garden Walk, Thursday, 16th May (£10)
Please let Gillian know as soon as possible if you would like a place.

Mindfulness: Melanie Lewis who gave a very interesting talk on Mindfulness in July has a few places on her course. If anyone is interested in attending please contact.

Surrey WI News: From 1st January, Surrey WI News (SWIN) will be available on the internet. When the current SWIN financial year ends in May, WIs will then be required to pay for access to it but until then it is free to everyone. Visit Surrey Federation of WI’s for more information

Entertainer for the evening: Tony Harris certainly had us all engaged with his very interesting and comical facts about pantomimes. He has a wide knowledge about how pantomimes came about etc., and has himself played a “panto dame”. This led him into some amusing anecdotes about his acting history. A very light hearted and entertaining evening which set us up nicely for Christmas.


Hot Topics October 2018

Fiona welcomed 78 members and 1 guest to our special 10th Anniversary meeting. A few notices were read out before we all had a lovely evening socialising, being entertained by Theo the Magician, partaking of a glass of Prosecco or two, indulging ourselves in a tasteful buffet, completing a celebrity picture quiz and enjoying a slice of Agnes’ wonderful birthday cake.

AGM next month: Lys reminded us that the November meeting will be our AGM and the re-election of committee members. Please let us know if you would be interested in joining the committee. Anyone can join – no experience needed. So if you have the time, we would love to hear from you.

NFWI AGM: Next year this will be held in Bournemouth on Wednesday, 5th June and members can apply for tickets. Please let us know if you are interested in going.

Social Events:
Kew Gardens (Christmas Lights), Thursday, 22nd November 6.00pm (£16.50) – Now full, waiting list only.
Christmas Meal at Taste Restaurant, Tuesday, 4th December (£30) – A few places available.
Fullers Brewery, Chiswick, Wednesday, 23rd January (£18)
Postal Museum, Thursday, 14th February (£13.50)
Afternoon Tea @ The Clink, Thursday, 6th March (£18)
Please let Gillian know as soon as possible if you would like a place on any of the above.

Development of Wimbledon Centre: Eileen wanted members to know that Merton council have just published “the Future Wimbledon Masterplan which has been prepared to create a long-term vision for the future of development of Wimbledon town centre.”
It includes, amongst other things, a proposal to change Wimbledon’s designation from a Major Centre to a Metropolitan Centre, like Croydon and to attract large office developments of 14-16 floors in the town centre and eastern end of the Broadway. This, together with changes to road layouts and pedestrian areas means that Wimbledon town centre is likely to have a very different character in the coming years.
There is a very basic Survey which people can complete to register their views of the plan but this “consultation” is only open until December 7th. A decision on the plan will be made in Spring 2019.
The plan can be found here:
This is the link to the Facebook entry from Friends of Wimbledon Town Centre which gives a good resume and overview of some of their concerns

Merton Council want to turn #Wimbledon into a mini Croydon 😨🏢🏢🏢🎥 Find out more in our short video 👩 Come to our public meeting on 12 November🗣️ Tell us your views💻 Respond to the Council's consultation

Posted by Friends of Wimbledon Town Centre on Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Christmas Gifts Collection: Lesley said she had been in touch with the Salvation Army and they are thrilled to know that we will be collecting presents for children ranging from small babies to teenagers. Please send in your gifts unwrapped, although rolls of wrapping paper would be appreciated. The suggested price to spend on gifts is £5 but vouchers would also be really appreciated as mothers could then actually buy the present their child wants. Toiletries for the mothers would also be appreciated.

Wimbledon 10th Anniversary:
Lesley read out a lovely letter from Katharine, who couldn’t make Monday’s meeting as she is on holiday. Katharine just wanted to say how much she has enjoyed being a member of Wimbledon WI, the various events, running the Wine Club and making new friends

Sheila, our first President, gave a short speech of how Wimbledon WI came about and how she and Lou worked very hard to get it set up. Sheila mentioned a few of the many speakers, outings and experiences that have happened over the last 10 years and said that Wimbledon WI had gone from strength to strength and wished it all the best for the next 10 years.

Fiona then gave out “SFWI Centenary Mugs” to all the founder members who joined in October 2008 and are still members.

Drukshan, one of our members, shared with us a beautiful, black cocktail dress – similar to the style worn by Marilyn Monroe – she had made to help raise funds for St. Raphael’s Hospice. Thank you Drukshan and we are delighted to say from this £332 was collected.

Remembrance Sunday: Once again, we will be laying a joint wreath with SW19 WI on Sunday, 11th November, at Wimbledon Memorial in Wimbledon Village. It would be lovely if you could join us. We will meet at 10.00 at Belvedere Road, Wimbledon Village when we will process with other community groups.
Bronzefield Bee’s WI are holding a Coffee Morning and Craft Fair on Wednesday 7th November and welcome members to attend. There will also be a raffle.
Their Fair will start at 10 am but could members arrive between 9.15 and 9.45. All visitors will be required to have a biometric (numerical finger print) check and one form of photographic ID (passport or photo driving licence). Because of their security measures each visitor will need to be booked onto the internal system. Please let Dee know by Monday 5th November if you would like to attend.

2019 Charity: We will need to be thinking about our new charity for next year. If members have any nominations for our charity of the year, please let us know as soon as possible. Please note, the charity has to be a local one.

Subscription 2019: The NFWI Board of Trustees has set the membership subscription for 2019 at £42. Dual members will pay £20.50 to their second WI. Payment will be due from members in January 2019.

Festive Treats’ – Saturday, 17 November 2018, 9.30am – 1.00pm: The London Surrey WI Advisors have notified us about this event.
This course is strictly limited to 12 places. For £30 you will have the opportunity make a menu comprising a chocolate log, peppermint “face” sweets, a biscuit mix in a jar (we supply the jar), and a small Christmas pudding (half pint bowl). ALL Ingredients and recipes will be provided. The course will be held at Ark Putney Academy.

Hot Topics September 2018

Fiona welcomed 63 members back and 5 guests and hoped everyone had a good summer. She opened the meeting with a few notices:

We have had a letter from the Chairman of Surrey Federation thanking us for our contribution to the Pollinator evening at RHS Wisley in June which was a great success.

There is ‘The March of the Women Community Day’ on Saturday, 24th November (10.00 – 4.00) at Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking. Tickets are free but please book online at or phone 01483518737.

London Surrey WI Advisors had a meeting at Sherwood Grange Care Home about how the residents could be involved with local groups. It is felt this could possibly work if the WI could take extra activities to the care home i.e. craft group, coffee morning, games afternoon etc., on a regular basis. Please let us know if you have any ideas or could help in any way.

The 2 summer fairs we were present at i.e. Morden Family Fun Day and Wimbledon and Putney Commons Open Day were both a great success and we raised over £1,100 – we would have raised more at the Open Day but, unfortunately, we ran out of cakes by lunchtime!!! Fiona gave bouquet of flowers to Veronica and Angela for all their hard work.

Next month’s meeting, 15th October, will be our 10th Anniversary when we will be having a social evening including finger food, drinks, birthday cake, entertainment and an auction of a handmade dress.

Once again, we will be laying a joint wreath with SW19 WI on Sunday, 11th November, at Wimbledon Memorial in Wimbledon Village. It would be lovely if you could join us.

The November meeting will be our AGM and re-election of committee members. Please let us know if you would like to stand – it would be lovely to have you.

We will be having Henry VIII back for our December (17th) meeting but this time he will coming as a Christmas Elf so, no doubt, it will be a fun evening.

One of our guests today, Mirella, is a volunteer at the British Red Cross charity shop in Wimbledon Village. They are looking for volunteers to help in the shop. Please let us know if you can help when we will put you in touch with Mirella.

Social Events:
Watts Gallery, Friday, 19th October – PLEASE NOTE THIS TRIP HAS BEEN CANCELLED
Kew Gardens (Christmas Lights), Thursday, 22nd November 6.00pm (£16.50) – Now full, waiting list only.
Christmas Meal at Taste Restaurant, Tuesday, 4th December (£30) – A few places available.
Fullers Brewery, Chiswick, Wednesday, 23rd January (£18)
Please let Gillian know as soon as possible if you would like a place on any of the above.

SW19 WI are holding an Autumn Village Fair on Saturday, 22nd September from 12.00 to 4.00 at Emmanuel Church, 24 Ridgway.

Send Inspired WI – Tea Party Invitation: We have been invited to the next tea party “Once upon a time” at Send Inspired WI, to be held on Friday 2 November. Send Inspired WI is one of our prison WI’s, and if you wish to attend then please contact Dina and please arrive by 1.15pm and have photo ID with you, and £1.00 for the raffle.

London WI Advisors: We have been asked to let you know that on Friday, 30th November 2018, Surrey Federation are planning a trip to Greenwich market, a blue badge guided river cruise to Westminster pier, a coach guided trip round the lights in London and then supper at the Strand Palace Hotel. This costs £49 all included.
This is a fantastic value trip and the London WI Advisors have arranged for members who live in London to meet in Greenwich without having to travel out to the Surrey pick up points i.e. meet the rest of the group in Greenwich and leave them after the Strand Palace Hotel. Please contact us for further details etc.

It has also been suggested that, if enough members can meet at Greenwich beforehand, a local history guide is arranged to show members round for an hour before the Surrey members arrive.

Queen’s Birthday card: An opportunity to design a card for the Queen’s Birthday. The final design should be A5 size and be completed by 1st March 2019. Anyone interested please contact us for further information.

Craft News: Another consignment of dresses, teddies, jumpers, hats etc., will be going out to Kenya in November. So just to let you know, if you have any please bring them to the October meeting. Thank you for those received already.

Book Sale: £19.50 was made at Monday’s booksale. Thank you to everyone who brought in books to sell and to those buying them.

Salvation Army: Eileen and Lesley met with Emma of Mitcham Salvation Arm. They run a cafe every Tuesday morning to support ladies who have left abusive relationships and are making a new start. We discussed how we could offer support. They do require things like kitchenware and bedding etc., but they have limited storage so we agreed that they would contact us when they need items. They also have volunteers who accompany the ladies to court hearings etc., to give support. We also discussed the possibility of donating our Christmas toy and present collection to them this year. They ask for donations and then hold a session where the mothers can choose the presents, wrap them and give them to their children in their name.
As this was an initial meeting, the committee will discuss further and we hope that Emma might be able to come to talk to us about their work in the New Year.
We will give further information when we have it.

2018 Charity: Catriona and Raymond, representatives of our chosen charity, Carers Support Merton, were delighted to receive our cheque for £1440.54 and thanked us all for our efforts and said that some of the money would be spent on outings for the young carers; some of whom are only 5 years old.

William French, speaker for the evening, certainly gave us an entertaining time on Monday with his resume of his life and work. After getting his brother to forge his mother’s signature on his sign up papers, William joined the Royal Navy at 15. He trained as a chef but soon realised he wanted to be “on show” and retrained to become a No.1 steward. He later graduated to personal steward to a senior office at NATO HQ where he saw action in the Falklands aboard HMS Battleaxe and HMS Broadsword. After the conflict he worked as a Leading Steward for a short while before attending a 6 hour interview and subsequently being appointed Royal Class Steward on the Royal Yacht Britannia. This opened up a new world for William as not only was he serving the Queen and Prince Philip, the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of York, he went on many of the royal tours around the world. Later he moved to Kensington Palace as ‘breakfast butler’ and he was at the Ritz Hotel in Paris on the night of Princess Diana’s tragic accident.
William was also serving on Royal Yacht Brittania on passage to New Zealand for Royal Duty in Jan 1986 when fighting between the Government and rival Marxist factions had broken out in the former British Colony of Aden. With the full agreement of Her Majesty, Britannia proceeded to the Aden area and prepared to evacuate British and Commonwealth nationals. Before she resumed her voyage to New Zealand Britannia had rescued 1,082 people of the overall total of 1,379 of 55 nationalities saved by the British ships.
William went on to work for the Rothschild family, Lord Rothermere in Eton Square, Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, Robert Redford, Sean Connery to name just a few. William also had a few saucy tales to tell us and probably knows a lot more he couldn’t.

We have just heard from William that £158.60 was raised on Monday in donations for Medical Detection. His fee also went to that charity.