Annual Review 2011

Wimbledon WI celebrated it’s  third Birthday last month.  We still have 35 of the original 45 founder members. We are still in this lovely hall, and the only change this year  is that we have moved our starting time back to the original 7.30.

We have had a busy year with lots of activities, and I shall now remind you all of them!

Last November we held our second Annual Meeting, assisted by Sally Dampney, our Surrey WI Federation Adviser.11 members of the existing committee put themselves forward for re election, we had one new committee member Eileen Smith, and Sheila May was re elected President for a final year.

Because several members of the existing committee will be standing down this November, it was decided to offer  two members the opportunity to attend a Committee meeting each month from January to the following October, to see how the committee works.

Chase and St Raphael’s sold Christmas cards.

It was decided that each year members would be asked to donate Christmas gifts for disadvantaged or sick children. Members were very generous and a large selection of toys and games was sent to CHASE, which provides Hospice Care for Sick Children.

The December meeting was to have been Line Dancing, but the freezing conditions meant that our teacher could not travel from Tunbridge Wells, and so 50 of us braved the snow, and had a lovely evening drinking Mulled wine and eating mince pies, and generally chatting amongst ourselves.

In January our member Katharine Blakemore, with her colleague Jenny Ridgewell talked to us about how eating habits had changed over the past 40 years, followed by a quiz, which made us realise how little we we actually know about what we eat!

We also held a Bring and Buy sale to raise funds for St Raphael’s Hospice, our Charity for this year.

Val Barnes. The walking club had it’s first walk  from Kingston Bridge to Hampton Court.

Joanna put Wimbledon on Twitter and Facebook, and Elaine, our Public Affairs committee member, started a group called ‘Stand up and be Counted’ to discuss local and national issues.

February saw Sue Prichard,  the V&A WI president and Curator of Textiles at the V&A, tell us how she put together the wonderful Quilts Exhibition which was a highlight  of the V&As programme last year. She illustrated this with a selection of images from the exhibition.

Members of several London WIs attended a special viewing of this, with wine and canapés, the previous year.

We also had a fascinating guided tour of the Houses of Parliament, organised thought the office of our local MP and the Walking group walked from Leatherhead to Dorking.

In March we had advice from Jill Anderson, who explained how to create a beautiful garden by putting the right plant in the right place. Just the thing to know before we start planting for the spring.

We visited Dennis Severs House in Spitalfields, which was a very atmospheric experience!

The Theatre group went to the Orange Tree Theatre to see Mary Broome.

The members agreed to send a donation of £200 from funds to support the Association of Country Wide Women’s appeal for the Sustainable Food and Water Project.

In April we voted to to support both  of the two resolutions being put forward for the NFWI AGM in Liverpool, the Closure of Local Libraries, and Proposed Megafarms.

After which  Salme Naylor, ably assisted by her sister Ella Brockbank, gave us a demonstration of Salsa dancing , and then got us all up and moving to the Salsa beat. We had a very energetic evening!

We also had plant sale which raised £60 for our WI.

Sheila and Lesley attended the Surrey Federation meeting in Dorking Halls, taking with us envelopes containing your pound coins for entry into the raffle for a bursary for Denman College, but unfortunately we had no winners. However, Wimbledon WI offered 2 Bursaries for Denman which were decided by a draw, and two lucky members received bursaries to the value £350 , for a course or courses of their choice.

Although Julia Whiting’s card did not win the competition for the Surrey Federation wedding card for the Royal Wedding  we sent it anyway on behalf of Wimbledon WI, and later received a letter of thanks from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

A number of members had a very successful visit to Lambeth Palace, and the Theatre Group saw Cause Celebre at the Old Vic.

In May there was an excellent turn out to hear Camila Batmanghelidjh speak about the wonderful work that her organisation Kid’s Company is doing for vulnerable inner city children and how we could help by writing to our MP to draw attention to the problem.

We also held a Super Raffle, with many prizes donated by local businesses, which raised £360 for St Raphael’s Hospice.

There was a visit to the Stanley Picker House in Kingston to see the collection of sculptures and paintings, and to tour the 1960’s house and garden.

There was a theatre visit to see The Lion King, Eileen Smith held an Olympic Pennant Making Workshop, for members wanting help in making Pennants for next years Olympiads, and there was a jam making class, where jams ans marmalades were made and later sold at the Wimbledon Village  Fair.

We were all sent down memory lane in June when author Anne Sebba recounted the highs and lows in the life of Laura Ashley, after which she signed copies of her book, the proceeds of which she donated to Help the Heroes Charity.

We also co opted 3 new members on to the committee,  to bring our number back up to 12. These members had all attended a committee meeting on a ‘taster’ basis, so knew what they had let themselves in for!  We visited Denbies  Vineyard and had a train tour of the grounds, and then a trip round the cellars, followed by a wine tasting.

Some members went to the National Theatre to see Rocket to the Moon.

Despite the wind and rain, and our gazebo blowing away twice we had a very successful time at the Wimbledon Village Fair. Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our members we raised over£ 1000.00 for our WI from the sale of cakes and preserves.

In July we were entertained by Sam Peacock,a local artists who explained his mixed media techniques, showed us examples of his techniques, and sketched a still life in charcoal to demonstrate perspective.

Joyce Pountain also told us about Abundance Wimbledon, which is a project to prevent fruit in Wimbledon going to waste. A team of volunteers will harvest the fruit, process it and hold a Fruit Day in September to distribute the result.

A cheque for £460  was handed to a representative of St Raphael’s Hospice our chosen charity this year, from the proceeds of our fundraising activities.

We had a lovely day at Eltham Palace, with a guided tour of the House in the morning and the Gardens in the afternoon.

Traditionally we do not meet in August, but a picnic was arranged in Cannizaro park for those members wishing to attend. Unfortunately our August weather ultimately forced a retreat to a local hostelry, where a good time was continued to be had by all.

Highgrove continues to be a popular excursion, and we were fortunate that Agnes once again managed to obtain a booking for us this month.

September saw us back in the Hall for for our usual Monday meeting, when Paula Lamb, also known as Mrs Fixit explained how she became involved in the DIY  business, and how no job is too small for her company of  skilled craftswomen. She did admit however to sub-contracting out heavy work to a trusted team of male muscle.

Madeleine Rhodes and Jill Evans told us how much they enjoyed their course, ‘Cooking with Alcohol’ at Denman College as a result of winning one of the Bursaries.

Members have been very generous with donations of towels and linen to Merton Women’s refuge. They are very grateful for his, and will be talking to us next year about the work they do .

October was our third Birthday, which we celebrated with a Christmas craft workshop, and a sale of Wimbledon WI Christmas cards, designed by 6 of our members.

We also agreed that we should donate £200 to the Friendship Fund. This is a fund used by Federations to help new WIs form, and to help those WIs in financial difficulties. Now that Wimbledon is in a secure financial position we can repay the sum that was given to us when we set up 3 years ago. A coach took a group to Denman for a Taster Day, which was enjoyed by all.

We have a number of clubs available

There are 2 book clubs running, one on Monday and One on Thursday. A Sunday lunch club, Bridge for both beginners and more experienced players. A knit and natter group. Theatre club, walking group and a wine club.

If I have missed anything or any one out, my apologies. If you let me know I will add it to the online version and it will go into the records.

We continue to maintain a healthy membership, and whenever members leave for any reason, there is usually somebody waiting to take their place, to keep our numbers up.