At our annual Christmas Party members enjoyed a first rate buffet which included a cake made by our President, Simone. There was plenty of bubbly on hand to help keep the evening jolly! Besides a Christmas Quiz, sing-a-long music was provided by Mr Chord
and there was a very amusing song written and performed by Liz Rawlings about a harassed housewife on Christmas Day. The evening ended with a draw for the many generous raffle prizes.
A festive air prevailed on the coach taking our members to the Winchester Christmas Market which had many ideas to help the creative among them, seasonal food and warming beverages to keep warm. A very enjoyable trip at this time of the year.
On the 12th December 2017, twenty-one of our members celebrated the forthcoming Christmas season by meeting together for lunch at the White Horse Inn, Stourpaine. After drinks, the usual cracker pulling, silly hats and motto sharing we all enjoyed a wide
variety of well cooked food in congenial company. After lunch much hilarity was caused when members donned their elaborately decorated Xmas spectacles in a light heated competition. Judged by members of the catering staff, our President Simone was
nominated the winner despite raucous protests from other would be winners ! The food was excellent, the surroundings very pleasant and members thoroughly enjoyed what proved to be a most happy occasion.
There are special people in our lives and Heather Croston, our dear friend, who was one of the founding members of the Blandford W.I. will always be remembered. A year has gone by since her passing and members wished to pay tribute in some way to commemorate
her life and the important contribution she made. On the 4th November 2017 a group of our members gathered at Anderson Manor Gardens with the owner Rosemary Isaac, who was a close friend of Heather, to plant a W.I.Centenary Rose in her memory. Heather's
religious beliefs were important to her and one of our members, Sandie, said a short eulogy to bring the event to a close.
On a chilly Sunday afternoon members of Blandford Evening WI mixed with the large crowd in the Market Square of Blandford Forum to remember the Fallen of over a hundred years of conflicts our Forces have been involved in around the world. Quite a number
of our members have either served themselves, are married to ex-servicemen or are from service families. A wreath was laid on behalf of WI members by the President Simone Walls- MacDonald, who then took part in the march past with our vice president
Sheila Chapman. The previous week on a damp cold 5th November at Blandford Cemetary, Simone, in the company of our WI stalwart Sandie Disney, also attended the British War Graves Service. Held amongst the graves of the war dead it was a stark reminder
of the sheer waste of war, especially as they were stood next to the grave of a 18 year old soldier who died on the 5th of November 1918.
The start of the autumn for B.E.W.I, after a very busy summer, was the Open Evening on 26th September. Five prospective new members turned up and were quite impressed with their welcome, our planned activities and the current clientele. Hopefully we will
see them at the next meeting and they become active members. The W.I. ladies who were there seemed to enjoy the time to have a really good natter over a cup of tea and cake as we are sometimes not able to do this at our monthly meetings because we
have so much going on.
Blandford Carnival is the end of the summer activities for the BEWI. It is the culmination of feverish design and build activity starting in the spring, peaking in August and ended this year with the Blandford Evening W.I.winning one cup, two shields
and a certificate for their float entry in the carnival. The theme was 'The Wizard of Oz'. A dainty Dorothy, a very chic Tinman, a rudely rustic Scarecrow, a scruffy out of breath Lion, a glitzy Wicked Witch and a blancmange pink Good Fairy followed
the Yellow Brick Road to win again. Well done to everyone who worked so hard including our Auxiliary Honoury members.
A group of our members and their guests went on an evening boat trip from Poole Harbour to Wareham Quay. There was a commentary from the skipper telling of places of interest that could be seen as the boat travelled along including Brownsea Island, where
Robert Baden-Powell held the first boy scout camp, and Arne, which is an expanse of open heathland with a variety of special wildlife. The boat made one stop on the way to pick up the evening's supper of fish and chips and this was eaten on the journey.
At Wareham there was time to visit the town or stroll along by the river or enjoy a drink in one of the local pubs before re-embarking on the boat for the trip back to Poole. It was a very sociable evening and one that was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
A group of our members spent a day visiting the gardens at Highgrove House which is owned by Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales. They were taken on a tour of the gardens by a very informative and knowledgeable guide and amongst the gardens that they
visited were the Cottage garden and the Sundial garden. All agreed that it had been a very enjoyable day.
Blandford Evening W.I. have become a firm and popular fixture at the Fayre dispensing well prepared beverages with quality cakes and savouries to the many and varied visitors who descend on our lovely town at this time of the year. Early on the 1st May
saw the ladies assisted by their honorary (male) members setting up shop in their new venue of the Parish Rooms. This year there was an added bonus in the form of Mr Chord, a busking band consisting of Jo, Alan and Mike who entertained with local
songs and music which kept the feet tapping and hands clapping. As usual the ladies worked hard and were rewarded with a good boost to the fundraising for the year.
It was Blandford Evening Women's Institute pleasant duty to organise this year's entertainment and refreshments for the four W.I's situated in our particular segment of Dorset. Stalbridge, Sturminster Newton, Shillingstone and Marnhill were
all well represented and together with our own members amply filled the Corn Exchange. James Feaver, our speaker for the evening, gave an illustrated and amusing talk on foraging which included why we should forage, safety, sustainability and the
law. We took a delightful tour through the seasons to look at the wild food that can be found and what can be eaten. James' title for the presentation 'Food For Free' was most apt and we were constantly surprised by the variety and dietary
benefit wild food offers. James was shown warm appreciation in the usual way and accepted an invitation to stay to supper. Blandford members served a super mixed vegetable soup with an assortment of bread rolls, most delightful and imaginative 'ice
cream 99 cakes' and a variety of refreshments. Our visitors offered enthusiastic thanks; the raffles were drawn and thus ended a very happy, successful and informative evening.
Our April meeting was held in two parts consisting of the usual Business Agenda, making arrangements for summer fundraising and other up-coming events, followed by the A.G.M. The Annual Report was presented by our secretary June. This provides a summary
of events and activities undertaken over the past year and recognises the considerable effort and achievement made by individual and group members. Our Treasurer Abi, give an excellent resume of the end of year financial statement, copies of which
were available for questions and /or comment. Members were surprised and pleased at the success of their fundraising and catering efforts. Following the Presidents' address wherein she offered sincere thanks to the committee and members for their
unstinting support, the process of a new committee for the coming year commenced. Outcome:- Seven committee members were agreed. Simone re-elected as President - unopposed Sheila C elected Vice President - unopposed. June re-elected as Secretary
- unopposed Abi elected as Treasurer -unopposed The following members were elected to the committee unopposed Marilyn, Jane and Sandy. The newly appointed Presidents' enthusiastic address predicted an exciting and busy future. This was
warmly received by all members. It was then time for our social evening. Members enjoyed hot cross buns and refreshment and exercised their brains with a vegetable quiz which was won by Vicky, Dianne and Emily. The Easter competition 'Everything
Eggs' was won by June with her W.I. egg lady.
On a pearl grey spring day in the depths of rural Dorset representatives of the 107 Women's Institutes of the Dorset Federation met at the grand location of Herrington Hall to celebrate the 100 years of the W.I. in the county with an afternoon tea, complete
with hats, fascinators and posh frocks in the company of the Lord Lieutenant of the County, Angus Campbell. Ladies from all over the county had started arriving early and all were seated at designated tables by 3.00p.m. As the BEWI's representative,
I was grouped with ladies from Ferndown, Milbourne St Andrew and Sandiford Orcas W.I's. There were speeches from the new County Chairman, NFWI Chairman and the Lord Lieutenant, who was looking definitely nervous amongst so many capable women. A toast
was raised to the federation in the usual fashion followed by a classic tea. The speaker was, to our delight, none other than Trish Lewis (our March speaker) giving a very accurate interpretation of a 1960's institute President conducting a monthly
meeting. Copious amounts of tea were drunk, lots of stories told, problems aired and advice given from one institute to the next. 5o'clock came round all too soon and totally replete we happily wended our way home. Sheila Chapman.
The diverse interests and varied talents of Blandford Evening W.I. ladies were on show at the Corn Exchange, Blandford when two members took part in the Forum Drama production of 'Wind in the Willows'(Allan Bennett's adaption) at the end of March. Our
President, Simone, was 'Badger' and Sheila C was a talkative rabbit and busty washerwoman. The production was well received and great fun to do. The Blandford Evening W.I. ladies provided their usual high standard of refreshments during the interval.
The ladies of Blandford Evening Wi were in good voice when Rita Barrington in the guise of Music Hall Legend Marie Lloyd came to help them celebrate their 4th birthday at the Parish Rooms. With wit, songs and sauciness she wove the story of Marie's
live and love with renditions of the songs that made Miss Lloyd famous and many of us could remember our grandparents singing as we grew up. Cake and Cava were the order of the evening as four successful years were remembered, adventures appreciated
and future plans contemplated. An approach was made to an organisation of similar structure in Arkansas, USA with a view to setting up a twinning and has been received with favour. By next month we may be fundraising for a trip across the Pond!