Hot Topics October 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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