High Legh WI meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 7.30pm in High Legh Village Hall when we usually have an invited speaker and also have updates on what has happened during the month in the special interest groups and what activities are planned for the future.
High Legh's regular Special Interest groups include: Books, Craft, Darts, Theatre and Trips, Walking
Additionally we can attend activities such as cooking lessons, coffee mornings, concerts, talks and discussions on topics of public interest and county competitions which range from golf and bowling to general knowledge quizzes.
APRIL MEETING - Dunham, the Grey Years
National Trust Volunteer, Peter Braun joined us in April to share his knowledge of the history of Dunham Massey House. He had intriguing tales to tell of two families who lived there; the Grey family and the Booth family. Executions, brave deeds and even a few scandals all featured in their fascinating lives and changing fortunes. In 1649 Thomas Grey was one of the judges at the trial of Charles 1st and his signature can be seen on the death warrant above the signature of Oliver Cromwell. In 1659 George Booth raised an army to support the Royalist cause and ended up in the Tower of London. However in 1660, the new king, Charles 2nd, rewarded him with a peerage. One family scandal resulted in the closure of Dunham for 50 years. Eventually in the 18thCentury the families of Booth and Grey became joint owners through marriage. In 1976 the family gifted the House and Gardens to the National Trust.
JUNE MEETING Best in Show
A dazzling floral display greeted members arriving for the June meeting. This was just a taste of the colourful evening ahead. Jacqueline Iddon is the owner of a hardy plant nursery in the Lancashire village of Bretherton. Her illustrated talk revealed creative areas where a multi coloured bottle wall, a Victorian fern house and interesting sculptures can be found. She gave useful hints on the growing and propagation of the many plants we were shown including some that are sure to attract bees. One year, Jacqueline achieved Gold and Best in Show at the Southport flower show. She has been involved in the Yellow Garden scheme in the past and hopes to take part again next year. The sculptures in the garden are the work of Thompson Dagnall and it was interesting to see film of his other work, which includes a sculpture in Dorset to commemorate the Tolpuddle Martyrs, one in St.Helens town centre depicting the town’s mining history and many others. Daughter Tilly Dagnall runs printmaking workshops in the nursery grounds and makes tempting cakes to sell at the garden’s open days.
In January, WI members nationwide voted for suggested resolutions to go forward to the NFWI annual conference. Six were put forward; two were voted through – “Alleviating Loneliness “and “Keep micro plastic fibres out of our oceans”. High Legh WI debated the two proposals at the May meeting. At the annual conference in June delegates voted to pass both. The NFWI will now campaign on the two.
OUTINGS - Details were discussed at the June meeting for the planned trips in June, September and November to Yorkshire, Sussex and Wales.
OTHER ACTIVITIES - In July, the walking group will attempt the previously postponed 5 mile walk from Mobberley towards the airport. Book Club members are reading “The English Girl” by Katherine Webb. Craft Group members get together regularly and are making very special bonnets for hospital babies who are on ventilators. Cakes were baked for the Cheshire Show and talented members exhibited their handiwork.
In September, the Cheshire Federation is holding an evening with antiques expert Kate Bliss at Poynton Civic Hall. Kate, often seen on TV, specialises in silver and jewellery. In October, John McCarthy CBE, journalist, writer, broadcaster and Britain’s longest held hostage, will tell his dramatic story at Winsford Lifestyle Centre.
The following speakers have been arranged:-
July 11th My life in figure skatingLiz Littler
Sept 12th Farming today Tod Bulmer
Oct 10th Humour in education David Cook
A summer party will be held on August 8th in the Village Hall. The meetings are held on the 2nd Tuesday of the month in High Legh Village Hall at 7.30 pm.
Visitors and newcomers are always welcome.
January - Mounted Police
President Jean Evans opened the first meeting of the New Year to welcome speaker Karen Corcoran, the first mounted police lady in the north of England. Karen’s love of horses began at an early age. After a school careers visit she joined the Manchester & Salford Police Cadets. Her ambition to be a mounted police lady was difficult to achieve, but despite initial opposition, she achieved her goal.
Karen shared with us tales of how she trained horses to cope with crowd control at football matches and other noisy and challenging events. One Christmas there was a request from a Lady Mayor for a police horse to be present at the Pensioners Party. The horse had to negotiate a marble staircase; a tricky manoeuvre for such a large animal. Knowing how tempting mints can be, Karen lured her horse in, to delight the pensioners. Karen led her Manchester colleagues in the “All the Queen’s Horses “ pageant in Windsor Great Park as part of the Jubilee Celebration in which 1,000 horses took part. Throughout her career Karen attracted attention from the Press, especially after she appeared in a Granada TV documentary. She was awarded a long service medal and ended her talk with a short film of her retirement party. She was obviously held in great esteem by her GMP colleagues; their first lady Mountie had proved her worth and had overcome any opposition. Karen had become a much loved colleague and Britain’s longest serving female Mountie.
February - Romance
The February meeting fell on St. Valentine’s Day so what better than a talk that took us through the ages to delve into the history of romance. Derek Poulson gave an interesting and witty presentation entitled “Love Actually”. Derek, an actor with a rather good (and sonorous) voice surprised everyone when a male voice could be heard dominating our usual rendering of Jerusalem. We were told how so many of our customs relating to weddings come from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome and from Pagan rituals. We learnt the rather unpleasant history of St. Valentine, the flirtatious language of fans and the not so romantic pagan history of mistletoe. The evening, interspersed with poetry and Shakespeare was a fun time, enjoyed by all.
March - Morris Dancing
It was a lively evening in March when the Thelwall Morris Dancers came to call. They danced from 7.30pm to 9.00pm, skilfully performing the varied styles of Morris Dancing. There are many regional variations of the Morris Dance. Andrew White explained that the oldest record dates back to 1448. A tapestry was discovered in Norfolk depicting Morris Dancers from this period, though how it all began nobody knows. During the presentation there was a demonstration by Ruth Bibby, a champion clog dancer. It turned out to be a very entertaining evening.
The Craft Group produced green heart badges for members to wear in support of the WI campaign for a greener Britain. Members have also been busy making bonnets for babies in intensive care. Book Club members have been reading “The Tea Planters Wife “by Dinah Jefferies. In February, the Walking Group met for a walk along High Legh lanes stopping for lunch at the Bears Paw and in March, the walkers dined at the Whipping Stocks after a walk around Peover Hall. Our Darts team didn’t win the WI county championship this time but played well, so better luck next time.
Trips - Members enjoyed the production of ”Handbagged “at the Garrick. A trip to see the ballet “Cinderella” at the Lowry was combined with a morning shopping trip and proved to be an enjoyable day out. A visit to see “Brassed Off “ at the Garrick is planned for April and a 5 day visit to West Sussex is on the agenda for September. The trip will include a visit to Arundel Castle and Chichester.