Centenary Celebrations Galore - What an eventful summer it has been with many celebrations. The Centenary annual meeting at the Royal Albert Hall was the grandest of them all. In attendance was HM the Queen, HRH the Princess Royal and HRH the Countess of Wessex. The Queen is the President of Sandringham WI. She opened the meeting and accepted the well-travelled Centenary Baton. A member of Park WI attended the meeting and came along to High Legh WI in July to share her memories of the occasion. 5,000 attended the event, there were many lovely hats and the atmosphere was buzzing. A film of the baton’s journey around the British Isles was shown and there were live links to federations across the country. Music was provided by the Brassy Tarts Band. The Brassy Tarts are all WI members! The Queen’s opening speech was complimentary and rewarding. She ended it by saying “over the past 100 years the WI has continued to grow and evolve to stay relevant and forward thinking. It continues to demonstrate that it can make a real difference to the lives of women of all ages and cultural backgrounds, in the spirit of friendship, cooperation and support”. The Queen was invited to cut the Centenary cake which proved difficult but ever gracious; the Queen remarked “You can tell a good rich cake as it is dense and difficult to cut.”
Following this memorable occasion and the garden Party at Buckingham Palace, the Cheshire Federation organised a celebration at Gawsworth Hall. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t kind for this event but all who attended enjoyed it. In August High Legh members held their own event with a celebratory high tea in the village hall. It was an enjoyable occasion and provided an excuse to eat delicious homemade cakes. Every member was given a piece of birthday cake and an excellent booklet on High Legh WI compiled by Jenny Pearce entitled “What has inspired us - 1922-2015”. The book contains some interesting photos, past and present.
It has been a busy time for High Legh President Norma Wright and committee members. Thanks to their efforts and hard work all went smoothly and it was an entertaining and enjoyable time.
Days Out and Longer Visits - There have been memorable days out with a visit to the National Arboretum in Staffordshire and a visit to a craft exhibition in Harrogate. There was a 5 day visit to Whitby for members and partners. This proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable visit with a stay in a posh hotel with lovely sea views. Days out were arranged which included a visit to York. Local visits included Whitby Abbey and the Captain Cook memorial museum.
Cheshire Show - Cheshire WIs had a record number of entries in the show and all exhibits were of a high standard. The Show President, Sophie, Countess of Wessex spent time looking at the exhibition and talking to members. Congratulations to Tricia Jones and Gwen Smith from High Legh, who won awards.
Where was the Swinging Witch? - In July, Dorothy Nicolle, a member of the Inn sign society and a professional tour guide, took us through a history of England with a slide presentation on pub signs. Many go back to Norman times. Unfortunately many old signs have been replaced by modern, less interesting ones. We were shown artistic signs; gruesome signs; informative signs and some rather naughty signs. The Bears Paw was mentioned briefly but there was no mention of the Northwich pub sign “The Swinging Witch”. Surely there is a tale to be told behind this unusual sign.
Children’s Adventure Farm Trust (CAFT) - In September, we learnt about the exceptional work carried out by volunteers at the adventure farm in Millington. Graham and Mary gave a moving talk on the work and history of this registered charity that provides holidays and activities for terminally ill, disabled and disadvantaged children from all over the North West. They rely heavily on donations. Sir Bobby Charlton is the President and many well-known local personalities are among the patrons of this admirable Trust.
Urgent Call from NHS - Last year the National Federation of WIs launched a campaign to get members talking about organ donation and to discuss this with family and friends. It is a cause for concern that 224 fewer people received an organ in 2014 owing to a decrease in donors. One of the biggest hurdles is that more than 40% of families refuse consent even though loved ones have joined the national Organ Donor Register. The NHS has issued an urgent call for everyone to discuss organ donation with their families and friends. The NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) said the only way the consent rate will increase to reflect the wishes of the 20+ million donors on the National Register, is for them to clarify their wishes to those closest to them”. See – www.thewi.org.uk/campaigns.
Normal activities – Regular activities are back in full swing after the summer break. Well done High Legh WI bowlers who were presented with a shield for reaching the WI Cheshire County Bowling Finals.