Hot Topics December 2017

Fiona opened the meeting by welcoming 65 members and 1 guest. Before introducing our regal entertainer for the evening, the following notices were mentioned:

Wimbledon Village Fair: We have heard from Wimbledon Guild that after 25 years of organising the annual Village Fair, they are unable to keep pace with the operating costs and it is no longer financially viable. As Wimbledon Village Fair is our biggest fund raiser, we are therefore looking for similar events where we can sell our homemade produce. So if any member knows of such events, please could they inform the committee. But in the meantime, don’t stop making your wonderful preserves etc.

SFWI Centenary: Fiona mentioned the list of events happening next year to celebrate SFWI Centenary. A copy of this is on the noticeboard but one date to put in your diary is Saturday, 9th June, when London South West WIs will be having their own fair at Barnes Green Centre between 11.00 and 3.30. Each WI will run a stall – unfortunately, homemade produce has already been taken! Imogen is our liaison officer and will keep us informed of developments.

Events: There are still places for the Afternoon Tea at St. Pancras Hotel on Saturday, 17th March (£38) and for the Brands Museum, Saturday 20th January (£12)
Please contact Gillian if you would like to go. Please note, to secure a place for an event, payment has to be made at time of booking (preferably by cheque).
Denman: Special Offer – Taste of Denman, March 10-11 (£155). Email Dulcie for details.

Volunteer for Age UK Merton: We have been contacted by Age UK Merton who are looking for volunteers to help with their organisation. As “Link Together to Alleviate Loneliness” is one of our resolutions passed in 2017, we are happy to pass on this information.

“Volunteering is a fantastic way of making friends, developing skills and giving back to the community whilst having fun. Age UK Merton delivers a wide range of services and activities, and volunteers are at the heart of this. If you can spare just a few hours each week we’d love to hear from you! Our volunteers support all our services including: Befriending, Reception, Health & Wellbeing, Activities Centre, Out & About and Admin Support.
Help us make a huge difference to the lives of older people living in Merton.”
Apply today
020 8648 5792

Entertainer for the evening: We were all thoroughly entertained by Tony Harris and his “larger than life” impersonation of King Henry VIII. Tony in full regalia as King Henry gave a very detailed and fascinating insight into King Henry’s character and personality. Tony who is extremely knowledgeable about this fascinating monarch’s life not only quizzed his audience about his many wives but was able to portray Henry in such an amusing and enjoyable way that a lot of us learnt many more interesting facts surrounding his eventful reign.

Denman Bursaries: King Henry kindly drew the two Denman Bursary winners. Congratulations to Gillian and Janice.

JANUARY MEETING: This is one of the important meetings of the year, so please try to attend if at all possible. Amongst other things will be:
Subscriptions: Collecting your subscriptions for 2018 which are due in January for everyone and will be £41 for full membership and £20 for dual member (to their second WI). Please make cheques payable to Wimbledon WI and put in an envelope with your name, (please also make a note of any change of address, telephone numbers or email details on envelope so we can keep our database up to date). If you are not renewing for any reason, please let us know and we will not chase you for payment! If for any reason you cannot attend this meeting and you know someone who is, ask them if they would mind bringing your subscription in an envelope as well.
Guest Fees: Will increase to £5 for 2nd and 3rd visit – 1st visit is free.

Vote on Resolutions: Please keep your November/December issue of WI Life which gives you information on the resolutions which might be considered at the 2018 NFWI AGM in Cardiff. We will be discussing these at our January meeting. So don’t throw away your copy, study it and bring the resolution selection form with you to complete at our January meeting.

Bring and Buy Sale: We will be having a Bring & Buy Sale to support our 2018 Charity of the Year – Carers Support Merton. Please bring all your unwanted presents and any new, unused items and of course some money to buy something so we can start this year off with a good donation to this worthwhile Charity.

Our 2018 Local Charity

Our chosen charity for 2018 is Carers Support Merton.
Their work includes working with families to improve Young Carers lives in the following areas:
Understanding their caring role
Reducing feelings of isolation
Improving emotional well being
Making healthy decisions

Hot Topics November 2017

Fiona opened the meeting by welcoming 70 members and 2 guests.
Gillian mentioned that afternoon tea at St. Pancras Hotel has been arranged for Saturday, 17th March (£38). Also there are still places for the Brands Museum, Saturday 27th January (£12) Please contact Gillian if you would like to go. Please note, to secure a place for an event, payment has to be made at time of booking (preferably by cheque).
Denman: Special Offer – Taste of Denman, March 10-11 (£155). Email Dulcie for details.

Fiona gave us a light hearted account of her recent stay at Denman:
I’d like first of all to thank you all for the opportunity of having the ‘Denman experience’. From the beautiful surroundings to the delicious food and fascinating company, it was something that I shall never forget.

I took advantage of the shuttle service Denman organises, so I was picked up from the station at 4.00pm. At 6.00pm about 100 people taking I think 8 courses gathered to be introduced to their tutors. During the welcome speech we were encouraged to help the funding of a new stair carpet for the main house by patronising the bar freely! Two minutes later our tutor said that as our Cryptic Crosswords was ‘an intellectual course’ we shouldn’t have too many glasses of wine before the evening session!

This statement was met by stunned silence from the audience, but as I was a little apprehensive about being able to keep up with the course, I was more than happy to heed that advice. I therefore joined the others after dinner ready for our first session.
Brian was at pains to assure us from the start that, although he accepted the course might be quite challenging he did want to make sure we had a few laughs too. He couldn’t, he said, send us away after a day and a half ready to do any crossword we attempted, but he wanted to teach us at least how best to approach them. And I can say that I do now feel better equipped to recognise strategies and have even attempted The Times (‘Quick’ – shh!) Crossword!

And Brian was true to his word – he had no end of amusing anecdotes from his very varied experience. This one he saved till last: his parents were members of the Salvation Army, and encouraged him to join the brass band. After attempting and failing to master the cornet and tuba, he was finally told to take charge of the percussion section. One evening he was performing in a concert and, getting carried away at the back on a rostrum, didn’t notice that his kettle drum playing was vibrating the staging so that his music stand crept away and eventually fell off the edge of the rostrum, hitting the trombonist in the back of the neck so that his slide shot out and took out the first row of violins!

Katharine, on behalf of everyone who attended, thanked Fiona for arranging the courses (Jewellery and Introduction to Floristry) at Sutton College, followed by a talk on James I and the English Witch Hunt. They were enjoyed by everyone.

Chosen Charity for 2018:
Tracy, Representative from Carers Support Merton informed us about their work with Young Carers in the borough. She said they work with families to improve Young Carers lives in the following areas:
Understanding their caring role
Reducing feelings of isolation
Improving emotional well being
Making healthy decisions
She also said they work with families by advocating on their behalf, offering them emotional support and by giving Young Carers opportunities to take part in new, informative and fun activities. Tracy then thanked us all for the collection of Christmas presents we had brought to the meeting and for choosing Carers Support Merton as our charity for 2018.

December and January Meetings:
Fiona mentioned that next month we would be having a royal visitor – King Henry VIII will be entertaining us at our December meeting when mince pies and mulled wine will be available. In January we will be voting on Resolutions so keep the Resolution Selection Form in your November issue of WI Life to bring to that meeting.

Hot Topics: Fiona mentioned that Hot Topics are a way of informing members and recording what has happened at our meetings as minutes were not taken. Everyone should receive a copy of Hot Topics either by email or by post.

Wimbledon WI AGM:
Appointment of tellers – none required
Secret ballot for committee – not required

Chris is standing down from the committee at this time. Fiona presented Chris with a bouquet of flowers and she thanked Chris for all of her hard work as treasurer in past years and for sharing her knowledge of rules and regulations with her fellow committee members. Following a show of hands, indicating WI members’ approval, the remaining committee members will continue as before with the addition of Angela.
Wendy – Treasurer
Lys – Secretary
Lesley – Assistant Secretary
Linda – Committee meeting minutes
Gillian – Vice chair and outings/entertainments organiser
Margaret – Crafts
Dulcie – MCS Preview Notes/Hot Topics and Crafts
Daphne – Catering
Sheila – Charity Liaison
Angela – new member

None of the committee indicated that they would like to stand as President. Following a further show of hands, indicating WI members’ approval, Fiona will continue in her role as President.

Wendy presented her Financial Statement for the past year. The Financial Statement was audited and passed by the Surrey Federation auditor who complimented Wendy on having presented the best set of financial records that she had seen to date. Fiona proposed the adoption of the Financial Statement. The proposal was seconded by Gill and members indicated by a show of hands that the Financial Statement was accepted by all present.

Lys gave a report of the speakers, outings and events that we have enjoyed over the past year. Fiona thanked Gillian and her team for all their hard work of planning and organising the programme. Fiona proposed that the report be adopted and Ann seconded this proposal. The members indicated their agreement by a show of hands.
Fiona said how much she enjoys being part of our WI and she said she is happy to continue in her role as President. Fiona thanked the committee and all members who have supported her so well over the year.

Speaker for the evening:
Wayne Watling, Counter Terrorism Focus Desk Supervisor. Wayne told us that he has spent the past 22 years working with the Metropolitan Police, mainly in a uniform role. For the past two years he has been the supervisor of the Counter Terrorism Focus Desk (CTFD), working in partnership with Transport for London. He compiles Counter Terrorism (CT) messaging, presents a number of corporate and bespoke CT products to increase CT awareness and reassurance. Wayne said that it was highly unlikely for anyone present tonight to encounter a terrorist attack, however, the threat is still there and the importance of staying alert and aware. The National terrorism threat level is still “severe” and has been since 2014 and it is important to have eyes and ears on the ground as 550 cases are being handled at one time.

The aim is to reduce the risk to the UK and it’s interest overseas from terrorism so that people can go about their daily lives freely and with confidence
Pursue: stopping terrorist attacks
Prevent: stopping people becoming terrorists or supporting violent extremism
Protect: strengthening our protection against attack
Prepare: mitigating the impact of attacks

Wayne explained that the cordon distances are a lot larger than the general public think being:
• 100 metres for a minor explosive risk – rucksack
• 200 metres for a moderate explosive risk – car
• 400 metres for a serious explosive risk – lorry
Wayne also mentioned the HOT principles on unattended items:
H – Hidden – has it been concealed or hidden from view
O – Obviously suspicious – Does it have wires, circuit boards, batteries, tape etc.
T – Typical – Is the item typical of what you would expect to find in this location.

Wayne also mentioned the Stay Safe principles:
RUN – Escape if you can, insist others leave with you, leave belongings behind.
HIDE – If you cannot run, hide. Try not to get trapped, be quiet, barricade yourself in.
TELL – Call 999. Informing of location, where suspects were last seen and description.

And he left us with one last message. Be vigilant, our behaviour can reduce threats to the organisation, be security savvy. The Anti-terrorist Hot Line is 0800 789 321.

Thank you to everyone who either helped to make the poppies or bought them. We raised £255.65 to send to the Royal British Legion. A joint wreath was also laid on Remembrance Sunday with SW19 WI at the Wimbledon Village War Memorial.

Next Meeting:
18th December – King Henry VIII. Mince Pies and Mulled Wine but before then
Christmas Dinner at the Taste Restaurant, South Thames College, Morden, on Wednesday, 6th December, at 6.30 for 7.00.

The Committee

Hot Topics October 2017

Fiona welcomed 47 members and 2 guests.
2018 SFWI Centenary celebrations:
One of our members, Imogen has agreed to be the liaison officer for the celebrations next year and we look forward to hearing what is to be proposed for May and June 2018. In the meantime you can write Thursday, 28th June in your diary for an evening event at RHS Wisley. Fiona thanked Sheila and Miriam for their contributions towards the History Record of Wimbledon WI. This, together with Eileen’s creative craft work has been forwarded to SFWI for inclusion in the Centenary Commemorative Book.

Wimbledon WI 10th Anniversary:
We are hoping to arrange something special for our 10th birthday which will probably happen after July 2018. A show of hands voted for an evening event rather than a Saturday afternoon for our own celebrations. Further information to follow.

Chosen charity for 2018:
Members took a vote on the following charities to choose our charity for 2018:
Carers Support Merton – 20
Merton Vision – 9
Lantern Arts Centre Merton – 5
Christian Care – 5
Merton Talking Newspapers – 3

There are still a few spaces for the Brands Museum and Christmas Dinner and one place left for the jewellery workshop at Sutton College (Saturday, 18th November). As usual, please contact Gillian if you would like to go. Please pay for events booked at the next meeting or send a cheque to Gillian.
Surrey Residential Designer Taster, Saturday, 10th March – Sunday, 11th March (£155) – An overnight stay followed by a day of “taster” workshops. If you would like further information and application form, please contact Dulcie.
NFWI AGM, Wednesday, 6th June, Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff. Please let us know if you are interested and we will send you an application form.

Resolution – End Plastic Soup:
In relation to one of this year’s WI resolutions Fiona, one of our members, drew our attention to an item she has recently heard on the news. A Sea Bin has been launched from Portsmouth, where the micro fibre research was being done. Apparently it can gather micro fibres of about 2mm, as well as plastic bottles and bags etc. Great News. Further reading can be found on

November Meeting:
Next month will be our AGM when we select our committee. A few committee members may be stepping down so we are looking for volunteers to put their name forward. Anyone can join – no experience needed. So don’t be shy, if you have the time, we would love to hear from you.

Subscription 2018:
The NFWI Board of Trustees has set the membership subscription for 2018 at £41. Dual members will pay £20 to their second WI. Payment will be due from members in January 2018.

Monday night was a particularly successful evening with members socialising, playing games, answering various quizzes and eating chocolates! A relaxing and enjoyable evening was had by all.

Next meeting:
20th November – Matt Bryan, Counter Terrorism. AGM. Christmas Gifts Collection. Charity Rep.

The Committee

Hot Topics September 2017

Fiona welcomed 66 members and 2 guests and hoped everyone had an enjoyable summer.

Lesley mentioned that there are now Campaign Action Packs for the two resolutions passed at the 2017 NFWI Annual Meeting. For further reading on “End Plastic Soup” and “Link Together to Alleviate Loneliness” please click on following links

Copies of these can be found on the noticeboard.

Healthy Living and Wellbeing Week 11th – 15th June 2018:
The aim of this week is to encourage members to try new activities that relate to the subject “Healthy Living and Wellbeing”. If you have any ideas that we could do this week to inspire our members to take steps towards leading a healthy and balanced lifestyle, we would love to hear them.

Our WI, Our Future – Membership Survey May 2017:
This makes for interesting reading and a copy of it will be on the noticeboard.

My WI Website:
Quite a few of us have still not had instructions or logon details for the new My WI Website. To request access to the site online simply go to and press the ‘Request Access’ button or call on 020 7371 9300 and select option 0 to get set up over the phone.

Future Events:
Gillian mentioned that there are still places left for the following events:
Waddesdon Manor Thursday, 23rd November to visit house, garden and Christmas market (£26)
Christmas Dinner, Taste Restaurant, Wednesday, 6th December (£29.95)
Brands Museum, Saturday 27th January (£12)
Supreme Court, Friday 2nd February (£5)
Hat Factory, Tuesday 10th April (£27)
Please contact Gillian if you would like to go to any of above.

Sutton College:
Fiona has arranged with Sutton College who will run two workshops and a talk on Saturday, 18th November for Wimbledon WI. They are Jewellery and Introduction to Floristry which were the two most popular. These will be held concurrently between 1.00 and 3.00 followed by a talk on James I and the English Witch Hunt. Spaces are limited for the workshops but the talk is open to all members. Please contact Gillian to add your name to workshops.

2018 Charity:
Sheila mentioned it is time to start thinking about a local charity for next year. If members have any nominations for our charity of the year, please let one of the committee members know.

SFWI Centenary Celebrations:
Fiona thanked both Imogen and Eileen for their beautiful needlework creations for the Surrey Federations Centenary Celebrations next year. Eileen’s piece will be forwarded to Surrey for inclusion in the Centenary Record Book. And Imogen’s will be framed and displayed as part of our own 10th anniversary celebration next year. Congratulations to them both.

Book Sale:
At Monday’s meeting £44.50 was made from the book sale which was organised by the Book Club and the funds will go to Wimbledon WI. Thank you to members who brought in books and jigsaws.

Croquet Day:
“As a new member of Wimbledon WI, I was presented with a copy of Surrey News. In it I spotted an advert for a tuition Croquet Day at Surbiton Croquet Club. I thought that this sounded a fun thing to do in August and that was how it turned out. About 30 members of Surrey WIs attended and were separated into pairs for the day. Male members of the club then demonstrated the basics of golf-croquet and started off games with 2 pairs against each other. The object was for one person from each foursome to get a ball through a hoop; scoring a point for their pair. The game ended after 6 hoops with the points declared. During the morning 2 games were played. The rain came down while we had a delicious lunch in a marquee but stopped for everyone to play an afternoon game. Unfortunately a storm started and that prevented everyone having a 4th game, apart from the 2 pairs with the highest scores, playing each other in the rain, to decide the winner of the prizes. The games were played in a friendly spirit and the refreshments during the day were greatly appreciated”. Rita.

Speaker for the evening:
Melvin Rees gave us a talk on “My Family and Other Setbacks” which was a very light hearted and comical view of growing up in South London, raising 3 children, coping with ageing parents and having a passion for trains!!. Many of his anecdotes evoked memories of our own childhood and child rearing. Further reading about Melvin and his books can be found on this link

Dates for Diary:
15th October – Last day to use £1 coins as they will no longer be accepted after this date
16th October – SFWI Autumn Meeting at Dorking
16th October – Next Meeting – Social and games evening. Choose Charity for 2018

The Committee

Hot Topics July 2017

Fiona welcomed 74 members and 2 guests. She also reminded everyone about our Summer Picnic on Saturday, 19th August and hoped a few more will sign up as it is a lovely afternoon where we have the opportunity to enjoy lovely food, have a drink and get to know each other – friends/partners welcome.

Sutton College
Fiona said that as part of being a WI member is about educating women she had been in touch with the Principal at Sutton College who has kindly agreed to run 3 workshops and a “talk” for our WI in October. In order to ascertain which workshops and talk is the most popular, members were asked to tick 3 of 5 workshops and 1 talk and we would go with the most popular.
The outcome for workshops is:
Painting – watercolours 14
Creative drawing 17
Wildlife and nature photography 24
Introduction to floristry 27
Jewellery Workshop 35
The outcome for the talks is:
Salvador Dali 23
James I and the English Witch Hunt 34

Resolutions and Proposals for 2018:
Lys went on to mention that at the NFWI Annual Meeting in June delegates voted to pass two resolutions, End Plastic Soup and Alleviating Loneliness, which will both now form the basis of new NFWI campaigns.
Submissions for the 2017/18 resolutions process are now open! Any member can propose a resolution for consideration – simply complete a submission form by hand or online, and remember to read the guidance notes! So if you feel inspired to submit a resolution on an issue that you feel passionately about please click on link below for further details. A range of other useful resources can also be found to support your submission. Closing date for resolutions to be submitted to the NFWI is 15th September.

SFWI Centenary:
Lys mentioned the 100th anniversary of Surrey Federation of WIs which happens next year. They are inviting every WI in the federation to produce a double page entry for the Centenary Record Book. We have the written history page of our WI covered but would like members to produce a page showing a craft work representation. It can be created in pastel, charcoal, water colour (not oil), pen and ink, fabric, needlework (no raised work e.g stumpwork, beads, buttons) or photography. PLEASE NOTE special acid-free paper and photographic paper has to be used for artwork and photos (please contact Lys (020 8946 7248) for this special template paper which has 35mm border). To ensure consistency all work should be the size of H227mm x W140mm (portrait orientated) and un-mounted. We know we have some very talented members and hope you will take part – all entries have to be in at or before our September meeting when we will vote for the winning entry.

Lifts for members:
Lys mentioned that she had had a good response from members offering lifts to those who find it difficult to get to our meetings. So please let us know if you would like a lift to and from our meetings and we will do our best to arrange this. Similarly, if you are able to offer lifts, we would like to hear from you too. Thank you.

Gillian mentioned that in September there will be a board in the foyer about forthcoming events so members can see at a glance what will be coming up and lessen the congestion around the booking table. At present there are places for the following;
Wimbledon WI Picnic, Saturday, 19th August (£10) partners/friends welcome
Charterhouse, Clerkenwell Saturday, 23rd September (£15)
Masonic Lodge, Covent Garden, Thursday, 5th October
Waddesdon Manor Thursday, 23rd November to visit house, garden and Christmas market (£26)
Christmas Dinner, Taste Restaurant, Wednesday, 6th December (£29.95)
Please contact Gillian if you would like to go to any of above.

Grenfell Tower:
Gothic Valley WI in solidarity with Grenfell Tower asked WIs to knit and crochet yellow hearts. The colour yellow is internationally recognised as a symbol of the missing and many people in and around the Grenfell site have adopted this to represent those that they have lost in the fire. Local residents started to tie ribbons around trees and fence posts to remember those in the community who they have lost. Gothic Valley asked for yellow hearts so that they could be added to the area to bring about a feeling of love and, above all, support.

These hearts had to be in by Sunday 2nd July so that they could be attached to fences, light posts, trees etc on the evening of Monday 3rd July. This was so they could be seen by the residents when they awoke on Tuesday, 4th. There was no time to put out a request but a few members from both Wimbledon WI and Morden WI managed to make some and Eileen sent them off. See report on link below
Speaker for the evening
A Talk on: “100 years of the WI: The acceptable face of feminism”. Professor Maggie Andrews talked about some of the key campaigns and concerns of the Women’s Institute, from its origins in the First World War to the 1950s when, with half a million members, it was firmly established as the largest women’s organisation in Britain. Maggie is a Professor of Cultural History at the University of Worcester; she has published widely on women, domesticity and the home front in 20th century Britain. See following link for more information

Diary Dates
Next meeting 18th September – Talk by Mel Rees – “My family and other setbacks”. Book sale and jigsaw swap (you don’t need to bring in a jigsaw to swap).
Edenbridge & Oxted Agricultural Show – Sunday 27th and Bank Holiday Monday, 28th August.
NFWI AGM 6th June 2018 Cardiff

We wish you all a lovely summer until we meet again in September and hope to see a lot of you at our picnic on 19th August (contact Gillian for details).

The committee

Hot Topics June 2017

Fiona welcomed 58 members and 5 guests.

SFWI Centenary: Fiona went on to mention the 100th anniversary of Surrey Federation of WIs which happens next year. They are inviting every WI in the federation to produce a double page entry for the Centenary Record Book. We have the written history page of our WI covered but would like members to produce a page showing a craft work representation. It can be created in pastel, charcoal, water colour (not oil), pen and ink, fabric, needlework (no raised work e.g stumpwork, beads, buttons) or photography. PLEASE NOTE special acid-free paper and photographic paper has to be used for artwork and photos (please contact Lys for this special template paper which has 35mm border). To ensure consistency all work should be the size of H227mm x W140mm (portrait orientated) and un-mounted. We know we have some very talented members and hope you will take part – all entries have to be in at or before our September meeting when we will have a competition to choose the winning entry.

Members’ Open Day: The NFWI will be hosting two open days on 22nd and 23rd November at the headquarters of the WI in London. The days will be hosted by the NFWI chair and a member of the NFWI Board of Trustees and will give members the opportunity to find out about the work of the NFWI, have a tour of the building and to meet the staff.

Summer Party: This year’s summer part will be held on Saturday, 19th August at the Ursuline School and will cost £10 – partners welcome. Fiona reminded us that it will be our 10th year next year and we will be planning a garden party to celebrate.
Christmas Meal: We have booked the ‘Taste’ restaurant at South Thames College in Morden Park again for our Christmas meal as everyone enjoyed it so much last year. The date is Wednesday, 6th December (£29.95)
Library and Museum of Freemasonary, Covent Garden: Thursday, 5th October.
Waddesdon Manor, Thursday, 23rd November: For a 26 seater coach the cost would be £34.00. For a 53 seater coach the cost would be £26.00.
There will be sign-up sheets for all the above at next meeting but please contact Gillian in the meantime if interested.

2018 Diaries: Next year’s WI diary order needs to be in by the end of next month. They cost £4.60. There will be a sign-up sheet at July’s meeting or you could let Wendy know if you would like one.

St. Raphael’s Hospice: Sheila welcomed Lucia Heard a Representative from St. Raphael’ s to our meeting when she handed her a cheque for £1,403.28 being the monies we have raised this year for this worthwhile charity.
Cheam Open Garden: Gillian T also thanked everyone who made cakes for this event and those who helped on the day when £379.22 was raised for St. Raphael’s Hospice.

Downview Dames WI: Eileen mentioned the visit she and Dulcie made recently to the coffee morning held by the newly formed Downview Dames at Downview Prison in Sutton when they were selling their craft work. We have received a lovely letter thanking us for attending and for all the donations made by our WI. We were both very impressed with how creative the Dames are and what they have achieved in such a short time.

Wimbledon Fair: Fiona said a big “thank you” to Veronica for all her hard work to make the stall so successful. Veronica mentioned that she also wanted to thank everyone who helped towards the day both on the Friday and on the Saturday and for all the wonderful produce. We had a very good day, albeit very hot, and the final figure made is £1,037.15 – so well done everyone.

My WI: My WI is a brand new website that was launched on 12th June and is exclusive to WI members, to help them get the best from their membership. It includes the latest NFWI information and advice for running your WI, to campaigns actions, inspiring cookery, craft and floral design projects that have been specially designed for members. My WI is a one-stop-shop for everything a WI member needs to know. Some of our members have already received an email from NFWI MCS2 entitled “Welcome to the Digital WI, please find your login details below” but a few of us have not – please check your “spam” boxes. If you haven’t had this email, please let Dulcie know who will take it up with SFWI .

Speaker for the evening: Fiona then introduced Kath Start who gave us a talk on Oral History. Oral history is the systematic collection of living people’s testimonies about their own experiences – it is not folklore, gossip, hearsay, or rumour. Oral historians attempt to verify their findings, analyse them, and place them in an accurate historical context. Kath proceeded to show us many examples of books published from Oral interviews ranging from a Brighton Fishing Community to Debs at War. When Kath was Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, she recognised that there was little visible evidence of the nurses who had trained or worked at St. George’s Hospital. So a project was undertaken to capture the narratives of three prestigious London hospitals. More than 300 interviews were generated for the project, featuring nurses and midwives who trained or worked between 1929 and 1990 at one of St.George’s Hospital, Guy’s and St.Thomas’ Hospital or St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. The project set out specifically to provide an account of the developments and changes within nursing and to produce a collective narrative of nursing viewed through the memories of those who worked there. Hospital histories have traditionally concentrated on buildings and celebrated physicians and surgeons. The treatment of patients so often unremarked in official accounts of the institution can now be told. Kath said volunteers were offered the opportunity to conduct interviews as well as be interviewed, with full training in oral history interviewing provided. Many topics were mentioned ranging from battle-axe matrons, uniform, recruitment/selection, Christmas and living arrangements. These interviews brought about many emotions and feelings for both former nurses and volunteers and it was obvious a duty of care was needed for the volunteers. It was a long process as often the interviews were over an hour long and would take another 4 hours to transcribe. The aim of the research was to create a collection of memories in order to compare and contrast experiences of individuals at these hospitals during a period of great social change. We found Kath’s talk very interesting and realise how important it is to have history, such as this, documented. As an afterthought and on searching the internet, in the 1950’s, the Matron included the ability to play tennis in the list of attributes required of potential St. George’s Nurses – how times have changed!

Next Meeting: 17th July. Professor Maggie Andrews talking on: “100 years of the WI: The acceptable face of feminism”.

Hot Topics May 2017

Fiona welcomed 73 members and 2 guests. Fiona went on to mention that next year will be Surrey Federation of WI’s centenary year but more importantly, it will be Wimbledon WI’s 10th year and the plan is to have a garden party to celebrate this with food, wine and entertainment. Further details to follow. Fiona said she knows it is too early to mention Christmas but to save disappointment we intend to book Taste again for our Christmas meal as everyone enjoyed it last year.

Surrey’s Centenary: Lys said that the SFWI is inviting every WI in the county to produce an A4 page showing a craft work representation of their WI – for example a small copy of their emblem or logo in either pastel, charcoal, pen and ink, fabric, needlework or photography (no oil paintings or any raised embellishments i.e. buttons, beads etc.) As we can only send one entry we thought it would be fun to have a competition and the winning entry would be sent to Surrey in October. More details about this at the June meeting but in the meantime get your thinking caps on!

Wimbledon Village Fair: Veronica mentioned that this will be the last meeting before our biggest fund raiser of the year and encouraged members to sign up to make produce for our stall at Wimbledon Village Fair or to help on the day. Veronica mentioned there will be emails sent to all members with details about produce and where to deliver them etc. Please note preserves and jams need to be delivered to Dulcie before 7th June Thank you.

Food Matters: This campaign was launched following the “Avoid food waste, address food poverty” resolution which was passed at the WIs 2016 Annual Meeting. The resolution calls on supermarkets to sign up to a voluntary agreement to tackle food waste and to pass on surplus food to food charities. The 19th – 21st May is the WIs food waste weekend of action which will be an opportunity to draw attention to our key campaign asks. More information and details can be found on this link

Resolutions: Lys asked for a show of hands for the Resolutions to go forward at the NFWI in June. The results were:
Alleviating Loneliness – 8
Plastic Soup – 10
Votes for both of the above – 48

National Federation of WIs AGM: Please note there is a free ticket going begging for the NFWI AGM in Liverpool on the 7th June. Please contact Fiona if interested.

Sutton College: Fiona has been in touch the with Principal at Sutton College regarding craft sessions and they are happy to host WI events at the college. More details to follow.

Downview Dames WI: We have received a lovely letter from the Downview Dames WI, thanking you all for the craft donations. This is on the notice board for all to see.

“My WI Website”: This dedicated members’ only, new website which will be launched at the NFWI Annual Meeting in June, will be linked through the MCS (Membership Communication System) to ensure that the site is only accessible to members. Please ensure that we have a valid email address entered in our records as this will be the address that your password is sent through to when you first start using the site.

Lifts for members: Fiona mentioned that some members are not able to make meetings due to restricted mobility. Please let us know if you are finding it difficult to get to our monthly meetings plus also let us know if you would be willing to help with transporting members. Thank you.

Plant Sale: £140.25 was raised for St. Raphael’s Hospice at the plant sale on Monday. Thank you all, particularly all the helpers. Also many thanks to the members who brought in knitted items and material to cover the jam jars.

Future events: Bevis Marks Synagogue Thursday, 15th June (£5)
Charterhouse, Clerkenwell Saturday, 23rd September (£15)
Proposed event to Waddesdon Manor Thursday, 23rd November to visit house, garden and Christmas market.

Knit and Natter: For those who wish to attend, Knit & Natter continues to be held at IKnit at Lower Marsh, London Waterloo, on the first Wednesday of the month – next one 7th June. For those going from Wimbledon, please meet Margaret at the station at 17:30 to make your way up to Waterloo. Should any member be working in Central London please make your way to Lower Marsh as folk meet up any time from approximately 18:00 until the store closes at 20:30.

Guest Speaker: Pat Mitchinson, gave us a very interesting talk on how the television programme “Who Do you think you are?” came about. At its inception no one was sure if it would be successful – would viewers want to watch a programme about the family history of celebrities? The presenting of the programme to Head of BBC2 to get funding was difficult enough but trying to get celebrities on board proved a lot more difficult. In fact, the first celebrity to sign up was Bill Oddie and then with a lot of persuasion other well-known TV celebrities took the plunge. The criteria was if the programme didn’t have over 2 million viewers in the first few episodes, the programme would be axed. But now with over 6 million viewers and in its 13th year the programme is as popular as ever and continues to be a huge success. Also more than 10 international adaptations of the show have been produced. Pat mentioned because of the programme there is now a lot more interest in genealogy. She gave us a few tips on how to get started and as a reference mentioned the following BBC link

Dates for Diary:
17th June Wimbledon Village Fair
19th June – Next meeting – Kath Start – Oral History
23rd June – 2nd July Raynes Park Summer Festival

Hot Topics April 2017

Fiona welcomed 63 members and 2 guests.

National Open Garden Scheme: Jan thanked members for their contribution of cakes etc., to go towards the National Open Garden Scheme to be held on Monday, 29th May at 15 The Avenue, Cheam, SM2 7QA. She will be pleased to see anyone who can make it and all proceeds will go to St. Raphael’s Hospice which is our chosen charity this year.

St. Raphael’s Hospice: Fiona was pleased to report that the Quiz Night was very successful and we raised over £800. She thanked everyone who came and those who helped. Also members who brought and bought books on Monday – another £82 was made, thank you.
A representative from St. Raphael’s will be attending our June meeting when they will be presented with a cheque for around about £1,200, being money we have raised for this worthwhile charity.

SFWIs Centenary: Lys has recently had notification from Surrey Federation of WIs that they will be celebrating 100 years next year. They are inviting all Surrey county WIs to produce an entry for inclusion in the Centenary Record Book. Amongst events planned is a ticketed evening event at Wisley on Thursday, 28th June 2018 with music and entertainment, a Centenary Garden Party on 16th September, 2018 and a series of Centenary walks by WIs. Details of all these to be confirmed.

Wimbledon Village Fair: Veronica reminded us that we need to start thinking about making preserves and cakes etc., for the Wimbledon Village Fair as there is only one more meeting before the event.
Please note preserves and jams need to be brought to the May meeting or delivered to Dulcie before 7th June. A Wimbledon Village Fair email will be sent out shortly with all the relevant information.

Future events: There are still places for the following events
National Theatre Backstage Tour, Saturday, 20th May (£8.95). (Please note this will now start at 12.00).
Bevis Marks Synagogue Thursday, 15th June (£5)
Rotherhithe Walk, Thursday, 6th July (£8)

Recovery Café: Eileen wanted to bring members’ attention to a Recovery Café which has recently opened in Wimbledon Chase. It is called Sunshine Recovery Café and is opposite Wimbledon Chase Train Station. It is a cafe offering a safe, inclusive and welcoming space for people who are experiencing difficulties with their mental health and feel unable to cope. It is open from 6.00pm – 11.00pm Monday – Friday and 12 noon to 11.00pm Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays. Please share this information with friends and family.

Speaker for evening Joyce Meader: Joyce gave us a very interesting talk on Historic Knitting which was not only very educational but extremely amusing. Joyce had an amazing collection of knitting patterns and artefacts and together with her funny anecdotes had us all in “stitches”. Joyce is a historical knitting expert and owns an extensive collection of commercially printed knitting patterns dating from 1817 which is thought to be the largest in Britain outside a museum (around 10,000 at the last count). She has knitted clothing from many of these patterns, and brought quite a selection for us to see. As well as being of historical interest, many of Joyce’s historic garments have featured in films, TV programmes and re-enactments.

Next Meeting will be on Monday, 15th May when we will be having a plant sale and making the final vote on the Resolutions. Our guest speaker for the evening will be Pat Mitchinson whose talk will be on “Who do you think you are?”

Hot Topics March 2017

Fiona welcomed 86 members and 2 guests. Before the main event of the evening the following notices were mentioned.
Speakers: Fiona mentioned that she and Linda had been to “New Speakers Auditions” where they got to listen to some interesting talks amongst which was a manager of a donkey sanctuary, a physicist, an ex-wife of a celebrity and a very lifelike King Henry VIII. Watch this space as some were so impressive we hope to be booking them.

Surrey WI News: Fiona also mentioned there is a sign-up sheet for “Surrey WI News” – the informative magazine that tells us what is going on in the Surrey Federation – and only £5 for 12 copies. There will be another chance to sign up for this at the April meeting.

NFWI Raffle Tickets: Lys mentioned that she has these for sale at £1 each – various prizes to be won.

Wimbledon Fair: Fiona reminded us that the Wimbledon Fair isn’t that far away and we should be thinking about produce, particularly marmalades and jams etc. The fair is on 17th June and is our biggest fundraiser of the year.

Surrey Prison WIs: Eileen told us that she had received a very grateful letter from Surrey Federation thanking us for the wonderful donation of craft items you all made last month. These will be distributed to the three prisons within the county – Bronzefield Bees WI at Ashford, Send Inspired WI at Send and the recently formed Downview Dames WI at Downview. With regard to Downview Dames WI, two of our members have subsequently been invited to their first open event – Coffee and Craft on 5th May – and Eileen and Dulcie will be attending this time.

Crochet and Chat Evening: Tuesday, 18th April has been set for our “Crochet and Chat Evening” to be held in the family room at the Hand in Hand Pub, Wimbledon Common at 7.15pm. Come and try your hand at crochet, bring a piece you are working on or just come for a chat – we look forward to seeing you.

Volunteers: One of our members, put out a request for volunteers to help at an event on Monday, 29th May. It is part of the National Open Garden Scheme and will be held at 15 The Avenue, Cheam, SM2 7QA. Gillian said she had sign-up sheets to help on the day between 10.30 and 5.00 and a sign-up sheet for cake donations to be brought to the April meeting when they will be frozen in readiness for the day. All offers of help and donations gratefully received as all proceeds will go to St. Raphael’s Hospice which is our chosen charity for this year. If you missed the chance to sign up, just bring in a freshly made cake with details of ingredients to the April meeting, thank you.

Future events: Rotherhithe Walk, Thursday, 6th July (£8) and National Theatre Backstage Tour, Saturday, 20th May (£8.95)

For your information, the recent resolution selection results are as follows:
Resolution title Selections
Alleviating Loneliness 23218
Plastic soup: Keep microplastic fibres out of our oceans 21208
Supporting women’s refuges 15672
Equal access for all who need specialised maternal mental health services 12985
FGM: More Awareness for More Action 11968
Provision of appropriate welfare and safe spaces for women and children in refugee camps 6336
Total 91387
Alleviating loneliness
This meeting calls on every WI and the NFWI to work alongside health and social care providers and their local community to raise awareness of the causes and impacts of loneliness, thus ensuring better identification of lonely people in order to be able to offer them the appropriate assistance and support.
Plastic soup: keep microplastic fibres out of our oceans
Microplastic fibres are shed from synthetic clothing with every wash and are the main contributors to microplastic contamination of our oceans. The NFWI calls on Government and industry to research and develop innovative solutions to this problem in order to stop the accumulation of microplastic fibres in our oceans

Host Families: We have been contacted by GF Work Placements which organises work experience placements in the volunteer sector for young Italians (16/17/18 mainly) who are looking for host families in the Wimbledon Area. Host families are paid £130 per week for each student (bed, breakfast and evening meal). Please contact if you are interested.

Handbag, Scarves and Underwear: Thank you to everyone who brought in handbags and scarves to sell and thank you to those who bought. We made £157 for St. Raphael’s. Also thank you for the overwhelming donation of your unwanted bras and pants – fantastic response.

Fine Cell Work: An extremely enlightening talk was delivered by Cherry Conway-Hughes, a volunteer with Fine Cell Work. She also had some wonderful examples of the work created plus a slide show. Fine Cell Work trains men and women in prison to do high-quality, creative needlework in their cells and textiles training in prison workshops to foster hope, discipline and employability. Their aim is to enable them to finish their sentences with work skills, money earned and saved, and the self-belief to not re-offend. They also seek to guide them towards training and support on release.

Prisoners are taught by experienced volunteers before continuing their work in-cell. Having the opportunity to work independently helps them to regain control of their lives and allows them to maintain dignity. Prisoners gain a sense of connection to the world outside prison through the sale of their work. It also helps them establish a work ethic, and allows them to send money to their families or save for their release

Currently working in over 30 British prisons with a work force of up to 500 prisoners each year, Fine Cell Work specifically addresses key issues affecting prisoners’ offending behaviour: establishment and reinforcement of work skills, building relationships, and mental resilience.

“Fine Cell Work has given me back my sense of pride in myself, my self-esteem and self-worth” – FCW stitcher

Further information on Fine Cell Work can be found on this link

Quiz Night is this Saturday at St. Mary’s Church Hall, Merton Park. Please arrive 7.00 for a 7.30 start. Ploughman’s supper provided and a bar to buy drinks.
April meeting will be on the 4th Monday i.e. 24th April when Joyce Meader will be talking about “Historic Knitting”. Plus a Book sale and Jigsaw swap.
The clocks go forward this Saturday so we lose an hour’s sleep.
Just a few months ago the ‘new and improved’ five pound notes were released into circulation and we have now got just weeks to spend the old ones or take them to the bank before they become worthless. On 5th May the old fashioned cotton paper notes will no longer be legal tender.
On 28th March the new £1 coin, dubbed “the most secure in the world” due to its many security features, will start finding its way into your purses. So, if you have any old £1 coins, make sure you start spending them as they will cease being legal tender on 15th October.