We had our Christmas lunch at the Ashley Wood Golf Club; good company, more appalling cracker jokes and accompanied by our very own local musician/lyricist Liz Rawlings. She performed a song that she had written especially for our Blandford Evening W.I.group. The lyrics can be found on the About us page under Our Song.
Our redoubtable leaders of the WI Crafting group, Peta Lys and Vicky Watkinson, set out a well stocked Tombola stall at a recent Thursday market in Blandford Corn Exchange. The table was decorated and set out to their usual high standard and they were able to earn £127.00 for Blandford Evening WI funds.
We made an excellent early start to the Christmas celebrations with our Annual Party. As in the past, members supplied a first rate shared supper with all sorts of savoury and sweet delights. Our entertainment for the evening was provided by Claire and Colin Fletcher, dressed in Victorian costume. They were both in good voice and Colin was super on his guitar. During the performance Colin gave an interesting background talk about the origins of religious and secular carols and also explained that the more traditional popular carols frequently originated from the Victorian era. Members enjoyed a 'sing-a-long' of nostalgic old time favourites and much fun was had trying to remember the words and actions that accompany 'The Twelve Days of Christmas'. It was time for tucking into a splendid supper during which time members told their 'worse and best' Xmas jokes (just as well we'd had our bubbly by then! This was followed by the cutting of our President's beautiful Christmas cake (the brandy was generous in the making) and the draw for the many, generous raffle prizes.
Blandford Remembrance Parade
A wreath was laid on our behalf by Simone, our President. Some of our members were also on hand to provide refreshments for members of the parade and visitors.
On Cigarette Papers
Group Meeting at Sturminster Newton
Thank you to Sturminster Newton W.I. for a splendid job of hosting the group meeting. First was a surprise speaker Simon Hoare M.P. talking about climate change which gave for a lively Q & A session. Then was Pam Zinnemann-Hope,author of 'On Cigarette Papers'it was very moving and the rhythm of her poetry and prose was excellent. The spread was delicious and plentiful; enough to have our fill and take some home! When it came to the raffle first out of the bag was County Chair, and her table began sweeping the prizes but then one of our members won a prize and the last number out was that of our President!
Quiz Night at Tarrant Gunville
Ten Blandford Evening W.I. members joined ladies from Sixpenny Handley at a Quiz night put on as a fund raiser by the Tarrant Gunville W.I. in their superb village hall. A closely fought competition, full of fun and some delectable catering made for an excellent evening. Thank you Tarrant Gunville ladies.
Open Social Evening
Our Open Social Evening
Blandford Evening W.I. held their own Open Social Evening in the Parish Rooms to reach out to individuals and organisations with a view to multi group co-operation. In attendance were Abigail Longley, Digital Eagle, from Barclays Bank, giving answers on all things IT and digital you have ever wanted to ask, along with Sheila Cherry,the Branch Manager. On the creative side there was Louise Davies of the Half Moon Bead Shop, Poundbury,displaying some of her products and beautiful work. As entertainment lovely Liz Rawlins gave us two of her comic songs which left us laughing over our tea and cakes. She has promised to write one just for us in time for Christmas. It may end up as an alternative to Jerusalem!
It was an opportunity for us to launch our Welcome leaflet for new members and thanks were given to Sheila and Jane for their invaluable help. Due to the success of our float at the Blandford Carnival, where we won two prizes, special thanks were given to the Carnival Committee and helpers for all their hard work in putting together such an excellent entry. An enjoyable evening for everybody with the added bonus of prospective new members.
This year our theme was 'the Mad Hatter's Tea-Party'. All was going very well until the morning of the Carnival and it rained and it rained! Once it had decided to stop we had only a few hours left to get the lorry and ourselves ready, and with help from Bea as our face- painter and our honourary WI members, we did it! Plus, we had the pleasure of the Beckermet WI President accompanying us as the March Hare. In the months leading up to the day an enormous amount of prep work and time went into our Carnival float; stitching, sewing, sourcing items, knitting, painting, cutting, sticking, stapling, nailing, etc! And, we received generous support from local businesses; Chris Miles for the use of his vehicle, Sydenhams in Blandford for the generator, Paint Direct in Gillingham for paints, Blandford Furniture Bazaar Bed Shop for the sheets of plastic, and the Blandford Recycling Centre for all sorts of bits and pieces.The result for all this was to be awarded first in our category, (making this a hat-trick) and, new for us, we also won best local entry.
Anderson Manor Gardens
On a grey, grizzly evening in June the ladies of Blandford Evening WI visited the lovely Jacobean Manor Gardens of Anderson Manor at the special invitation of the owner, as a thank you for all the hard work and service they had given during the National Garden Open Days earlier in the month. The visit started with a tour of the distinctive Church of St. Micheal, where a brief history of the house and occupants was given. Some members took an interest in the grave stones and names of the interred. Although the roses were past their best the displays were still quite impressive, as were the lilies and wisteria. Members took great delight in wandering around and recognizing plants they had in their own modest gardens. Some even found cuttings and roots that needed a home! At the end of the visit a cheque for £410.12 was presented to the owner being half of the monies raised by providing teas and cakes at the two Open Days. The Ladies then retired to The Greyhound at Winterbourne Kingston for a tasty supper and convivial evening.
Simone represented our W.I. at the Mayor's inauguration on May 13th
The retiring Mayor, Steve Hitchings, gave out several achievement awards and cheques to chosen charities. An emotional address was given to mark the end of his Mayoral year before the new Mayor Cllr Jackie Stayte took up office. Simone also represented our W.I. at the Thanksgiving Service and the Gurkha Freedom of the Town Parade.
Ladies holding posters
Our Resolutions Meeting
This year W.I. members have chosen two resolutions. The first submitted by Snailbeach W.I. Shropshire concerning supermarkets and food waste. The second, from Norley W.I. Cheshire regarding more flexible hospital access for carers visiting patients with dementia. During our May meeting, Blandford W.I. debated both issues and our decisions together with results from all other W.I.’s will be taken by delegated members to the National AGM to be held this year at the Brighton Centre on the 11th June 2016 for further debate and final vote. If passed, the N.F.W.I. Public Affairs Office will take up the campaign/s and lobby government on members behalf. In addition, they will distribute papers containing suggestions for action that can be taken by individual WI’s at national and local level. Outcome will be discussed and recorded at our next main meeting.
At the Priest's House Museum
Priest's House Museum
We met just inside the museum, in what had originally been the courtyard, before spreading out through the museum. A couple of members did get a bit way-laid because they also sold books! And these had to be looked at before moving off - would have been rude not to! There is plenty to see and hear about the building and its occupants over the centuries. And, of course, the special 'For Home and Country' exhibition celebrating 100yrs of the WI; our teacup and saucer with embroidered napkin were there as our contribution. We then ambled through their walled garden for refreshments from the new cafe, and then ambled back through the museum to find we were the last ones out.
We were there at the crack of dawn getting the Woodhouse Gdns Pavilion ready for the throngs of Fayre goers. After much mirth, and acrobatics our newest banner was eventually secured to the large iron garden gates. Inside tables were laid with all our linen, and decorated with posies of flowers, members poised blue-gloved and sporting matching aprons, cakes assembled, cups all neatly lined up awaiting their brews, raffle prizes at the ready and publicity boards standing proud. And, then we were off and continued going throughout the day!
Spring Group Meeting
The 2016 WI Spring Group Meeting was hosted by Shillingstone WI at Stallbridge Village Hall on Thursday 21 April. The meeting commenced with the singing of Jerusalem in order to celebrate the get together. Christina Jeavons, joined by her daughter and son, provided lively entertainment with songs from musicals and shows as well as some rousing WWII memories. The entertainment was superb, and Christina's singing and dancing was a joy to experience.
A sumptuous buffet was provided by the Group ladies - for which our thanks. A good number of Blandford WI members joined in with the party atmosphere, including dancing 'the twist', hips and knees allowing!
There was a draw for a £250 Bursary for Denman College and this was won by Sandy Disney of Blandford WI. Congratulations to Sandy.
The National Anthem was sung to commemorate the Queen's 90th birthday and a memorable time was had by all
At the meeting
Blandford A.G.M April 2016
There was no speaker this month as the meeting concerned the election of the president and committee for the coming year, the presentation of the annual report and the Statement of accounts for April 2015/16.
There were two nominations for the post of president and after a secret ballot Simone obtained a unanimous vote and was re-elected. A quorum of the current committee agreed to continue but the post of Vice President remains unfilled and one or two more committee members would be very welcome.
The annual report was presented. This gives the opportunity to reflect on the wide range of our past events and undertakings, which can be found on the website.
Our Treasurer's report confirmed for members that we have a financially sound position, particularly commendable as we have purchased most of what was required during these early set up years.
Simone expressed her thanks to all the members and made special reference to her committee and sub committees for the personal support she had been given and for their unstinting efforts.
Visit to Blandford Fashion Museum
The visit began with an extremely interesting and informative talk on the origins and ethos of the museum, the educational links and the displays for the new season given by Mr Gordon Boutelle.The ladies were then able to walk around the exhibits, marvel at the beauty,delicacy and workmanship of the older costumes, giggle at recognising items they themselves had worn in the Retro display and admire the design and materials of the interwar years. To complete the afternoon, delightfully decadent cream teas were served in the museum tea rooms.
Marnhull 90th Party
Marnhull's 90th Birthday
Blandford Evening W.I accepted Marnhull W.I's invitation to celebrate their 90th Birthday with them on Saturday 27th March 2016. Marnhull's hospitality was superb, and a fantastic display from their archives dating from 1926. The lunch was lovely; the main choices were chicken breast stuffed with stilton butter, salmon in dill sauce or courgette bake all served with fresh veg and potatoes. Desserts were equally impressive; chocolate torte or fruit pavlova both with cream and then coffee with chocolate mints and shortbread. The table was decorated with fresh flowers, beautifully penned place names, and of course bottles of red wine, presseco and fruit juices. Thier birthday cake was stunningly decorated with intricate sugar-crafted flowers, it was a shame to cut it. But, it was by their long serving member and their youngest member, and it tasted as good as it looked. Afterwards we were entertained with live music and dancing
Our gift to them was the book 'Ingenious Women' by Deborah Jaffe, forward by Sandi Toksvig.
Blandford W.I 3rd Birthday
An excellent birthday cake, made by our President Simone in celebration of our third year was enjoyed by members with a glass of 'bubbly' and of course cups of tea and much lively chatter!