HistoryRead our monthly report and find out about the history of the WI in Adderbury
This part of our site is where we record the history of the Women’s Institute in Adderbury. Here we publish reports of our monthly meetings and the annual reports from each AGM. At the end you can read the report of the very first meeting of the original Adderbury and Milton WI in February 1921 when tea was 3d a head and each prospective member had to be proposed and seconded. This group ran from 1921 until 2005 and in 2010 the current Adderbury & District WI came into being.
Al Sylvester: Himalayan Dreams
Al Sylvester took us far from the Institute this evening, introducing us to Nepal, a country and its people for which he has a very deep affection. Al’s career was in the RAF and he has many years’ experience in Mountain Rescue. He has led several expeditions to the Himalayas, as well as one to the South Pole, and has walked the length of Britain to raise money for a hospice. Through his superb slides we learnt about the Nepalese people, their culture and daily lives, the importance for them of religion, both Buddhism and Christianity, and the fundamental role tourism now has in the economy. We saw monks at prayer, Kathmandu traffic jams, temples surrounded by bamboo scaffolding, riverside cremations, laden yaks, children from an orphanage, and the airport runway with a precipitous drop at one end and a wall of rock at the other. During the evening we followed the route climbers take from the capital to Everest base camp, surrounded by unforgettable views of the highest mountains in the world, as Al explained the many challenges of these expeditions, none of which would be possible without the Sherpas guides, who carry unbelievable loads and prefer to walk barefoot. Al’s stories and the photos of his team helped us understand the logistics that enable the provision of food, water, oxygen, shelter and the management of human waste, and highlighted the real danger of altitude sickness. He shared mistakes as well as successes in trying to give back to the people and his changing views on how modern technology is changing both their society and the nature of the Everest trek. It was a fascinating, inspiring and thought-provoking evening.
Leon and Life. An evening with Kit de Waal
Kit gave us a brief, lively and honest resumé of her life, the difficulties she has encountered and how she has overcome them. Born in 1960 in Birmingham, one of five children of a father from St Kitts and an Irish mother, Kit described her upbringing as chaotic, and was often hungry. She went to an excellent grammar school, though it was assumed, quite mistakenly, that as a black girl she would be good at sport. After school, convinced by her father’s beliefs that the world would shortly end, Kit lived a life of “sex, drugs and rock and roll” for several years. Close to a breakdown and realising she was damaging her health, she took control of her life, completed a secretarial course and found a job with what is now the Crown Prosecution Service. Her career in law focussed on prisoners and on fostering and adoption. She married a barrister and adopted two children. She also served as a magistrate and developed training for social workers.
Previously uninterested in books, Kit eventually began to devour the Penguin Classics as a relief from chronic insomnia. When she stopped working to look after her children she completed two thrillers, neither of which were accepted. Undaunted and with ambition, as she joked, to see her book on the ‘3 for 2 table’ in Waterstones, Kit sacked her agent and began writing what finally emerged as ‘My Name is Leon’, about a nine-year-old boy of mixed heritage who is taken into care, set against the backdrop of the 1981 Handsworth riots. A new agent believed in it and to Kit’s surprise it went to auction. Bought by Penguin, the novel was published in 2015 and was an immediate success. Using her advance, Kit set up a scholarship at Birkbeck College, University of London for a writer from a disadvantaged background.
The novel is.an uplifting and very moving story now a film soon to be shown on TV. Very reluctantly, Kit agreed to appear in it, and can be spotted wearing a headwrap and holding a fake baby. Her next novel will explore the experience of Irish immigrants.
Kit ended by describing her own method of writing and shared her reservations about the value of creative writing courses.
September 2021 Our first face-to-face meeting.
It was a little strange, even a bit daunting, to walk through the door into the Institute after so long, but once inside it was a delight to see so many friendly faces and enjoy just being together again. Tablecloths, flowers and bowls of sweets on the tables added to the welcome.
Unfortunately our speaker from the NFU had been taken into hospital so at very short notice our Programme Secretary stepped into the breach and told us the inspiring story of Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis. She was born Maud Dowley in Nova Scotia in 1903 with congenital disabilities that made it hard for her to walk and she later developed rheumatoid arthritis which further reduced her mobility and the reach of her arms. Small and slight all her life, when she died in 1970 Maud was buried in a child’s coffin. She had a happy early childhood until she changed schools and was so badly bullied that her mother removed her. Her mother showed her how to use watercolours to make Christmas cards to sell for a few cents and art became Maud’s consuming interest. She stayed at home until her parents died. Her older brother then sent her to live with their aunt Ida, but Maud was unhappy and desperate for a life of her own. She answered an advertisement for a live-in housekeeper and. even though she lacked the strength for many tasks, was taken on by Everett Lewis, a fish peddler. He lived in a tiny, one room house in Digby and our speaker brought this to life with taped lines on the floor inside which she stood as she described it to us. After only a few weeks Maud and Everett married.
She went with him on his rounds and sold more cards, still for only five cents. Customers liked them and Everett, always anxious about money, encouraged Maud to paint. The little house became her studio and she eventually covered every surface of it with paintings of flowers, boats and animals..She and Everett lived there in poverty.and very primitive conditions and never left. Now working with oil-based paint Maud made pictures that were joyful representations of local scenes on pieces of scrap board and other materials and offered them for sale outside the house. Her talent was finally recognised in an article in 1964, her reputation as an untutored painter in a colourful naive style grew and the White House ordered two paintings, Maud’s pictures are now in museums and fetch tens of thousands of dollars at auction. Fakes are common and an unusual way of authenticating them is to look for Maud or Everett’s fingerprints in the paint, left where they had handled the still wet pieces, Our speaker helped us to feel the joy Maud expressed in her work despite her poverty and ill-health and encouraged us to talk in our groups afterwards about what had brought us joy while we living Covid-restricted lives.
August 2021 Celebration of one hundred years since the start of the first WI in Adderbury and Milton held in a member’s garden.
This report was written by Jean D, who says ‘Think of the song ‘An English Country Garden’.
Adderbury WI’s centenary event was held
In an English Country Garden
The rain came down but we managed to stay dry
With a tent and gazebos in the garden.
Pimms, crisps and sausage rolls,
Delicious cake,hot drinks to warm,
All to celebrate one hundred years of our WY,
Balloons,banners and lights
all set the scene
In this English Country Garden.
A quiz had been prepared to guide us through
Their English Country Garden,
‘Twas too wet to do but we all still admired
The trees and flowers in the lovely garden.
No birds singing while the rain
Was drumming on the canvas above,
Laughter and fun instead – what a joy to meet again!
With many thanks to our hosts and all who helped.
If something’s missed, I beg your pardon.
Seeing one another,
What a happy evening.
July 2021 The work of the Mayday Trust
Rebecca Nelson began her excellent talk with some background to homelessness and housing issues. People become homeless for many reasons including leaving care, prison, the armed services or an abusive relationship, the shortage of affordable housing and the impact of austerity and poverty on mental health. Figures for the number of homeless are likely to be underestimates, in part because to be included on the night of the count a person must be seen lying down, not sitting up. Nor do the numbers include people who may be sofa-surfing or other forms of hidden homelessness. A ‘no local connection’ rule means that a person coming from an outside area has to be on the streets for six months before they can access local authority services.Though mainly working with those on the streets, the Trust does some work with people with different needs such as those resulting from long-term health conditions.
Research carried out by the Trust in 2011 revealed that homeless people are usually seen as a problem to be fixed, rather than as an individual, and this can lead to a system that is embarrassing, humiliating and dehumanisiing, an emphasis on what has gone wrong and the segregation of people from communities. As a result the Trust changed its approach radically to one which builds on a person’s strengths and assets. This model,is known as PTS,standing for Person-led Transitional and Strength-based Response. It means that interventions have a positive focus on each individual and through coaching aim to build confidence and self-esteem by helping them to recognise the value of their experiences, strengths and skills. Support is also given to developing relationships and purpose through building positive networks, for example by brokering with a local community group to all owa homeless person to be part of an ordinary art class.
Responding to questions, Rebecca said that the Trust works mainly in Haringey but also has a project in Northamptonshire and others in prisons. Referrals may come from the Probation service but most are self-referrals.They look closely at and learn from initiatives in other countries, but differences in culture, politics and history mean there can be no one best practice model. She touched on the impact of ‘silo’ funding, which inhibits joint working between services such as health and the police, and on the particular challenges in areas with both county and city local authorities. She mentioned Housing First, an approach being piloted in several authorities, and the local input of other charities such as Crisis and the ethical lands Aspire. S.he recommended the website of the Oxfordshire Homeless Movement as a source of more information
June 2021 One Prague Family
Simon Gregor, historian, tour leader and specialist in late nineteenth and twentieth century European history, told the fascinating story of one family from Prague, his favourite city. Originally from Spain where Jews were being persecuted, the Da Luna’s moved to Prague and changed their name to Grosslicht. Here in 1878 Victor was born and by the early 1900’s had become a very successful businessman.In 1905 he married Mitzi, a strict Catholic who converted to Judaism, and the couple had two children, Otto born in 1910, and Trude two years later.Otto grew up speaking several languages and with a love of sport, while his sister became a well-known actress. Otto did his military service in 1930 and was destined to work in the family’s textile business.By 1939, after Hitler’s annexation of the Sudentenland, the situation for Jews in Prague had become increasingly difficult, and in 1939 Otto decided to escape, heading for Yugoslavia.
Meanwhile, in Weston-super-Mare in England, a young nurse, Mary Longman, had been organising a tennis tournament for which she had acquired a supply of tennis balls.Once war had been declared the tournament was abandoned, but Mary kept the tennis balls. These were to play a pivotal role in her life.
Otto’s hand drawn maps and diary entries helped Simon to bring the story of Otto’s escape and subsequent involvement with the Czech army vividly to life. He and others with him were captured by Hungarian border guards almost within sight of their goal, and taken to court. The German judge was surprisingly sympathetic and after only two weeks in jail, the group were being taken by sleigh to Budapest. Travelling through deep snow, the sleigh driver kept pointing with his whip in a certain direction. Only when the sleigh overturned did Otto realise that the crash was deliberate and the driver had been showing them the way to head for the border. Having finally reached Beirut, Otto eventually joined a unit of the Czech army, experienced ‘the worst three days of my life’ fighting in France, and in another stroke of luck, escaped to England on the last ship to leave France in June 1940. Here, as part of the Special Operations Executive, he chose the two Czechs sent to Prague to carry out the successful assassination of Heydrich, the Nazi governor of Bohemia and Moravia, in Operation Anthropoid. By a strange turn of events involving the tennis balls Mary Longland had kept since 1939, Otto partnered Mary in a tennis match in 1943, a partnership which became one for life when they married the following year.
After the war Otto tracked down his mother and sister and learnt of the tragic deaths of most of the rest of the family. He later lived in Bath and worked as a Maitre D’ in a well-known restaurant there. Only at the end of his talk did Simon reveal that Otto changed his family name to Gregor and was in fact Simon’s own grandfather.
One striking illustration Simon showed was an entry in Otto’s small diary the day he learnt of Hitler’s end. He simply wrote ‘The beast is dead’.
Part of our May meeting was,as usual,.devoted to the Resolutions put forward for adoption at the NFWI Annual Meeting in June.The single resolution this year concerns Ovarian Cancer and how to increase awareness of the early signs of the disease. We had a short presentation and then a discussion on this topic, followed by a vote which supported the Resolution. One of our members then gave an update on International Bee Day and its historical Slovenian beginnings. Some members wore their knitted bee as a brooch.To close we enjoyed a ‘Show and Tell’ session in which members presented unusual objects that they own, inviting us to guess what they were. These included a wooden ‘pillow’ and a device used in packaging medicines.
April 2021 Bumblebees and the work of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust presented by Gill Perkins
Gill is the Chief Executive of the Trust which, through the work of 45 members of staff and almost one thousand volunteers, aims to produce robust scientific evidence about the 25 species of bumblebee found in Britain. It is recognised by government as a ‘Trusted Advisor’ and works with organisations such as Natural England, with farmers, and with the public via schools and groups including the WI and U3A.. Projects are run all over the country to reverse decline of particular species and to recreate and conserve habitat. Bumblebee numbers have fallen drastically in the post-war years, mainly because of habitat loss. Tens of thousands have to be imported from Europe every year to pollinate our fruit and vegetable crops.One in three mouthfuls of the food we eat is made by bees.
In a fascinating talk illustrated with beautiful photos and short videos, Gill told us about the life cycle of the bees, their vital importance to the production of our food, the continuing threats to their survival. and how everyone with even the smallest outdoor space can help them. The many arresting facts Gill shared with us include: bumblebees have smelly feet which signal to another bee landing on the same plant that the pollen has already been taken; the bees fly in straight lines at speeds of up to thirty miles per hour;their brain is the size of a grain of salt; they are not aggressive and have a smooth sting so do not die after stinging; they evolved from wasps in the Himalayas millions of years ago and so can fly over a long season; only the queens survive the winter and six species act like cuckoos.
Gill recommended plants that will help the bumblebees and mentioned several ways to support the work of the Trust as well as through gardening, such as talking to children to interest them in bumblebees,volunteering, joining the Trust, and leaving a legacy. She encouraged us to look at the Trust website, which has a wealth of resources, including lists of bee friendly plants, and to download the free app What’s That Bumblebee.
March 2021 Let’s Play presentation by Tracey Owen
Let’s Play is a registered charity founded twenty years ago and based for the last three years on the Kings Sutton road in Twyford.Tracey, who is the operations manager, and her team, which includes 35 Play Workers, provide after school and holiday care as well as two evening youth groups for young people from 5 to 25 years old who have additional needs.Supporting 135 families from North Oxfordshire, who self-refer, 60% of the funding is provided by Oxfordshire County Council, the rest coming from donations and fund-raising. M and N, a local plumbing business, recently raised £6000 which was used to purchase a minivan. Tracey hopes to increase funding by corporate donors in the future, particularly to enable the project to provide residential holidays,A new service is Stay and Play for preschool children and their parents or carers, who come on the first Thursday of the month. This helps the children to play and get used to the setting while allowing parents and carers to meet with others and share their experiences.
The main aim of Let’s Play is for everyone to have fun, and through this to reach their potential. The project also works to break down barriers which children and their families meet in their daily lives.Play workers are all trained in play and safeguarding, and some are trained to help with feeding, toileting and administering medication. Frequent contact with other settings,, including Frank Wise school, is important for staff to know about an individual’s needs on any particular day.
The youth groups, one for 11 to 16 and one for 16 to 25 year-olds enable the young people to enjoy socialising and outings, such as to the cinema or bowling.Tracey showed a short video of a very successful drama project which ran for ten weeks with the Cherwell Theatre Company and eight young people.She told us how this had benefited everyone who took part. The young people developed their confidence and ability to communicate and the members of the theatre group gained new skills and an understanding of the variety of needs of those they worked with.
Tracey’s talk was an inspiring insight into the work of a charity which is on our doorstep but little known in the village. She invited us to visit when restrictions are relaxed.
February 2021 Greek Cookery with Ellie
Ellie is a familiar face at the Adderbury and Deddington markets where she sells her Greek filo pies. Originally from Thessaloniki, she has lived in the UK with her British husband for the last ten years. Ellie teaches Greek to adult learners at Witney and Abingdon College, organises tours to Greece and runs her own business – Ellie’s Kitchen. Ellie began her talk about the rich, varied and nutritious cuisine of Greece by explaining that as people start work at 7 am in Greece, breakfast is simply a cup of very strong Greek coffee,always drunk black, perhaps with a cigarette, and maybe a pastry bought on the way to to work, such as bugatsa, which is filo filled with custard cream, sugar and cinnamon. Another favourite is koulouri, which means circle. These are made from flour, water, sugar, salt, yeast and sesame seeds and are simple, cheap, delicious and available everywhere. Lunch is the main meal of the day, eaten any time between one and half past three. Variety and seasonality are very important and there will be lots of vegetables including pulses, seafood, meat, pies and always feta cheese and Greek salad. Traditionally meat was not eaten on Wednesdays or Fridays in accordance with Greek Orthodox practice, but this is less often followed now. Ellie showed us pictures of stuffed octopus, white beans in red sauce, aubergine stuffed with mince, dolmades and one of her mother rolling out a sheet of filo pastry. This is usually bought rather than homemade as it needs to be extremely thin. She then showed us how to make ‘Lazy Wife’s Pie’, remarking that men often cook now. It uses twelve sheets of filo pastry, one each for the base and top, and the rest scrunched one by one in two layers with a cheese flavoured bechamel sauce in between, The filo sheets are each lightly drizzled with butter and when the outer layers have been pinched together, the pie is cut into sections, leaving the base uncut, and finally it is sprinkled with sparkling water before being baked for an hour at 180 or 190 degrees. It is always eaten warm and served with Greek salad – horiakiti, meaning peasants’ salad as it would have been the main meal in summer for country people. Ellie demonstrated this, using feta, tomatoes, cucumber, green peppers. red onion, oregano and a parsley garnish,dressed with balsamic vinegar,and olive oil and at the last minute, salt to taste..Another version of the pie called spanakopita replaces the sauce with spinach, leeks, spring onions, four eggs, milk and Greek yogurt..Elliie was a delightful companion for the evening and her delicious dishes certainly whetted our appetite for Greek cuisine.
January 2021 WO 468988 The Loan Soldier
Our first speaker of the year was Toni Duncan who told us about her many memorable experiences as the wife of (WO) Bruce Duncan, an army officer who served as a loan soldier in countries in Africa and the Middle East in the 1980’s and 90’s. Toni began married life in Germany where she learnt how to run a house according to the army’s expectations, taught young children and supported the wives of serving soldiers. With four children of their own, they subsequently lived for two years in what was then Sudan. Life was challenging there, but highlights of this time were expeditions to the Sahara to see the Nubian pyramids, water ski-ing on the Nile, trekking to camp by an extinct volcano and visits to Cairo and Luxor. After a time back in England, the next posting took them to Nigeria, where again there were many difficult aspects to daily life including electricity shortages, dangerous roads, a brief military coup and the ever present threat of tropical diseases. Encounters with lions and elephants were hair-raising but unforgettable.The posting to Oman was easier and Toni shared with us photos of the local people who she found very hospitable. After this came Kuwait where being female and not Kuwaiti brought its own difficulties,Here experiences were both wonderful and terrifying. An excursion to meet the Marsh Arabs across the border in Iraq and the visit of Prince Charles and Princess Diana were two of the pleasurable times, but living through the Iraq invasion of Kuwait was a very frightening and dangerous period which brought tragedy to the family. Toni and her two daughters were eventually able escape and return to England, but when finally her two sons were to join them both were involved in a terrible accident that left the eldest dead and his brother severely injured. Twelve years later, in Russia, he collapsed and died and is buried at Worth Abbey, their old school, with his older brother.The final posting was to Jordan, a much friendlier country than Kuwait. During their years there the Duncans were able to see sights such as Petra, Mount Nebu and Palmyra, and to travel to Damascus and Jerusalem. At the end of this last tour and the start of Bruce’s retirement, they drove home through Syria, Turkey, Greece, Italy and France.Throughout her talk Toni’s spirit, her commitment to her family, and her fortitude in enduring privation and tragedy shone through.
December 2020 Adderbury WI Festive Scarecrow Event
In order to bring a bit of light relief to the village in these difficult times we organised a Festive Scarecrow competition for the weekend of 19/20 December and published a trail for people to follow to view the entries. The village entered wholeheartedly into the fun of this event and we were delighted that 16 households throughout the village took part. The scarecrows appeared in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and we were impressed by the fun, originality and creativity shown. Not only that, but so many other people joined in the fun and went round the village following the trail. A huge thank you to all those who kindly took part, helped us to raise a little money for two village charities and, above all, for bringing some much needed joy and light relief at a particularly dark and difficult time. Our judges had a hard task in choosing a winner – they were all winners! – but, by a very slim margin, Rudolf and his little helpers in St. Mary’s Road were awarded the winning rosette and festive hamper. The hamper was kindly put together by our members who added Christmas treats and goodies, many of them home-made. Special mention should also be made of the very elegant and stylish Christmas choristers in Sydenham Close who came a close second and the snowballers in Round Close Road who impressed our judges. Pictures of all the wonderful scarecrows can be seen on the Gallery page.
December 2020 ‘Buon Natale’
In December our members normally enjoy a Christmas meal out together, which sadly was not possible this year due to Covid-19. However, we maintained the festive spirit by inviting Mariella Bliss to talk to us via Zoom all about Christmas in her native Italy. Mariella’s enthusiasm was contagious as she took us on a festive journey of discovery through the diverse customs and traditions throughout Italy. We learnt about Santa Lucia whose feast day is celebrated on 13 December; the incredible ‘Ndocciata’ torchlit procession in Agnone celebrating the ritual of fire and light on 24 December; and of course the very important celebration of Epiphany on January 6 when the good witch Befana brings gifts to all the children – those who have been good receive sweets, whilst the naughty ones are given coal! One of the highlights of Mariella’s talk was her description and illustration of the ‘Presepio’, the nativity scenes, and all the essential characters who feature in these. Most families have their own crib scenes at home, but they can be found throughout Italy in villages and towns and often feature real people and live animals. Mariella is a chef and cookery teacher, so it was very appropriate that she also told us about traditional Christmas food in Italy and completed her presentation with a demonstration of one of her favourite Christmas treats, Struffoli – exploding honey balls! It was a delightful evening and many of our members commented that it really got them in the Christmas spirit. There are a few photos from the evening on the Gallery of this website.
November 2020 Conserving Paintings
Our first Zoom meeting began with a short business section, after which Ruth Bubb treated us to a fascinating insight into the work of a conservator. Through a series of slides Ruth showed us how paintings and their frames can be damaged or simply deteriorate through unnecessary varnishing or retouching ,exposure to damp, dust or other pollutants, or careless handling, She explained how changes in the materials available to artists over the centuries affected their use of colour; how paint used in early works alters over time so that, for example, what was originally green now appears brown and the varied techniques conservators use when dealing with works from different periods and in different media.
April to October 2020 During the first months of lockdown our President helped us all to feel we were still part of our WI. She sent regular newsletters to members and shared photos of spring in the village. With the help of committee members, telephone contact groups were set up. Four members, who did not necessarily know each other previously, were asked to contact each other regularly by phone. Members were also encouraged to enjoy the online lectures provided though Denman at Home. When restrictions were eased in the summer we were able to enjoy two informal gatherings on the village green in August and September. Then, following the Rule of Six, the President and other members met in a room at the Bell on several evenings until the second lockdown meant these were no no longer possible. This year, 2020, is the 10th year since Adderbury & District WI was founded, just 5 years after the previous Adderbury & Milton WI had closed. We had planned to hold celebrations and have a party to mark the event, but this couldn’t come to fruition due to Covid. However the Committee designed and had printed a 10th Anniversary card which was sent to every member.
March 2020 Annual Meeting
After a brief business meeting we held our Annual Meeting for 2020, supported by Beryl Mann, our WI Adviser. The Treasurer’s Report and Committee Annual Report were presented, followed by the President’s address and the WI Adviser’s address. Beryl then oversaw the election of the new committee and President for the next year. Pat agreed to serve again as our President. Beryl was given a bouquet, as was Mary to mark thank her for her work in recording meetings and circulating agenda and minutes. After refreshments, members attempted making origami figures with varied success but a lot of enjoyment.
February 2020 Internet Safety
The subject for this evening was Keeping Safe on the Internet. Louise from OFWI gave a well constructed and very helpful presentation. She made several recommendations such as using a password protector, checking for the security of any site to recognise scams, using Paypal or credit cards rather than debit cards and keeping a skim guard card alongside payment cards to prevent remote access from mobile phones. Louise highlighted the website www.getsafeonline.org as a reliable source of further advice. She then answered members’ questions.
Oxford Playhouse theatre visit 21 January 2020
A small group of members enjoyed an excellent performance of Crazy For You by Oxford Operatic Society.
January 2020 Adderbury Ukelele Band
About thirty members of the local ukelele band came to our first meeting of the new year. They played a selection of music from the twentieth century including some Beatles and some Buddy Holly tunes. There are about sixty members in the band and there is a waiting to join. Members were given hand bells and the words and joined in with several items. There was much laughter!
November 2019 The Loan Soldier
After our usual WI business meeting, we settled down to listen to our visiting speaker, Bruce Duncan, author of the recently published The Loan Soldier – Adventures of a Military Man Abroad. Bruce traced his and his family’s journey through his army career, from Sandhurst in the early 1960s, through Brunei, Sudan, Nigeria, Oman, Kuwait and, finally, Jordan in 1992. He gave us a glimpse into a life filled to the brim with adventures. We were treated to photographs and accounts of magnificent deserts, marshes, waterfalls, rock formations and mountains that this intrepid family actively sought out while stationed in various far flung and decidedly exotic lands. While it might sound grand that he spent some time as the personal bodyguard of the Sultan of Brunei, this was certainly not all a life of luxury and fun. He reports that before leaving for Sudan, he was tasked with buying absolutely everything that the family could possibly need for the full two years of his posting, right down to the last roll of toilet paper! He seems to have found himself in his fair share of hotspots too, being in Brunei at the time of Indonesia’s attempt to destabilise the area, caught up in the tensions between North and South Sudan, travelling through war-torn Ethiopia and witnessing a palace coup in Nigeria. While he admits that there were often hardships to be born, their experiences, particularly in the extreme poverty in Sudan, were lifechanging. His second to last posting, for which he was once again ‘invited to volunteer’, was to Kuwait. The family found themselves trapped under harrowing circumstances in the Iraq invasion in 1990, with tragic consequences. Not wanting to end his career on such a dark note, his final posting was to Jordan where he was the Defence Military Attache. What a fascinating insight into a life so different fr
October 24, 2019 – Visit to the National Needlework Archive, Newbury
Earlier this Summer one of our members visited the NNA on a trip organised by Denman College and was amazed to discover the banner of the original Adderbury & Milton WI on display there, awaiting conservation. Following on from this some of our members spent a full afternoon at the Archive, where they were shown the ‘Country Wife’ textile mural, created for the Festival of Britain in 1951 and which is currently undergoing conservation. After tea the members looked at the Adderbury & Milton 1921 banner, now out of its display case, and discussed with the Director of the NNA and their chief conservator the feasibility of assisting with the conservation of the banner. Our members subsequently decided to become involved with this exciting project and a team of 8 of us is spending a full day in late November at the Archive for intensive conservation training.
WI October 2019 – Taoist Tai Chi
This evening we had an introduction to a form of tai chi that focuses specifically on maintaining health, both physical and mental. Martin Edwards, a local instructor, outlined the history and aims of the Taoist Tai Chi Society, which began in Canada and now has branches in 27 countries. Our local branch is very well supported and there are several weekly classes close to Adderbury. Martin was helped by four other members of the Society, two of whom are members of our WI, and each spoke briefly about why they enjoy tai chi and how it benefits them. Members were encouraged to try two simple exercises used in class and this was followed by a demonstration of the first 17 moves of the tai chi set. Martin answered a number of questions, after which he described the first three moves as he and his supporters showed how they were done. Almost everyone present then joined in and tried the moves themselves.More questions about local opportunities for trying a class followed, after which Caroline gave the vote of thanks.
WI September 2019 – Women Artists of the last 500 Years
Our speaker this month was Wendy Hart who lectures on the history of art at Wroxton College. Wendy’s very informative and well-illustrated talk introduced us to women artists from the Renaissance to modern times.She described the changing attitudes to women as artists across the centuries, from the sixteenth century when the few female painters were often the daughters of artists and were expected to produce only portraits, to the present day when female painters and sculptors win international prizes and commissions for public art and have solo exhibitions in major galleries.In England it was only in the eighteenth century that women admitted to the Royal Academy and even in the following century female Pre-Raphaelites were far less well known than their male counterparts.
WI August 2019 – Centenary Garden Party
1st August saw us gathering in the garden of the Rookery on a perfect summer’s evening. The reason was to mark the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Oxfordshire Federation of Women’s Institutes. Thanks were given to Pauline for hosting the meeting and for all the work she had undertaken to get ready for the party.
Apart from the beauty of the surroundings the venue was ideal as this was the home of the founder of the original Adderbury and Milton WI, which ran until 2005. Photos were taken, including an attempt to replicate a photo of the original WI ladies, in the early part of 20th century, as they gathered in the same spot.
A challenge was offered to the gathered company to identify committee members from their childhood photos.
We enjoyed a plentiful buffet, cake and Pimms, made the most of the opportunity to become acquainted with newer members and catch up with old friends. The garden games were untouched due to the amount of chat.
WI June 2019 meeting – Wildlife Visitors to the Garden
Tony Clear, the former Head Gardener at Brook Cottage was an absolute font of information about all sorts of critters, welcome or not. It was interesting to find out that three different types of earthworm live at different soil depths, and the deepest two never come to the surface. It’s always good to hear about what nature is doing out of sight and without our involvement. Another interesting fact was that even though you may wake up to ten or more molehills, this doesn’t mean you have an infestation of ten or moles – more likely just one or two very busy ones as they don’t encroach on each other’s territory and the young are ousted very early.
Tony also spoke about how damaging pesticides can be, possibly killing wildlife higher up the food chain. Other useful tips included making your garden friendly to birds as they will get rid of lots of pests for us, but remember to place birdfeeders in the open so that birds can see cats approaching. Finally Tony reassured us that the dozy bees we are seeing lately are not suffering any strange disease but rather reacting to the the lower than normal temperature. It is simply too cold for bees to be buzzy.
The WI – 100 years of campaigning:
Our May WI meeting was a little different from normal. After taking care of business in our regular meeting time, we then went on to decide which new annual resolutions we, as a branch, would like taken forward to be considered for adoption by the WI on a national level. For the past 100 years, the WI has been selecting resolutions that become the main focus of WI campaigns nationally. Each branch then works towards these resolutions at a local level. You can imagine, with the number of active WI members, together we can have a loud voice on matters that are so important to women in particular, but also society as a whole. The very first resolution ever passed, in October 1918, called for a sufficient supply of sanitary housing, with members putting pressure on local councils for housing and sanitation. Campaigns over the years have included a call for Women jurors and women police (1921, 1922), equal pay for equal work (1943), a reduction on smoking in public places, as far back as 1964. The WI first campaigned against plastic pollution as early as 1971 and in 1992, was one of several organisations who founded the Fairtrade Foundation. You can find out a lot more about previous WI campaigns on the WI website: https://www.thewi.org.uk/campaigns/100-years-of-wi-campaigns .
So what resolutions has Adderbury WI put forward this year? The first is strongly linked to a 1964 resolution that called for better cervical screening. While we now have access to great screening, the uptake is falling, especially amongst young women. This resolution is ‘Don’t fear the Smear’, and is aimed at ensuring that women, young and old, are aware of the importance of regular cervical screening, and aims to inform on some of the reasons why women avoid smear tests, such as fear, embarrassment or lack of understanding of HPV. It is estimated that 83% of cervical cancer deaths could be avoided if all eligible women attended their tests. The second resolution we voted to put forward is ‘A call against the Decline in Local Bus Services’. According to The Campaign for Better Transport, government grants meant to assist the funding of bus services fell by 20% in 2012/13 and have not been increased since and over the last decade, £183 million has been taken away from supported bus services. This has affected more than 3000 bus services in England. Lack of transport can have grave consequences for a community, increasing isolation, loneliness and impeding access to employment or health care. These resolutions will be voted on by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) before being finally adopted.
Calendar Girls, the Musical April 17th 2019 was the day of our long awaited and eagerly anticipated trip to Oxford to see Calendar Girls the Musical.
This is Gary Barlow’s interpretation of part of the ﬁlm based on the real life women of Rylstone Women’s Institute. In 1999 they decided, instead of their usual Yorkshire views, to make an Alternative WI Calendar to raise money to buy a sofa for the relatives’ room at the hospital where one member’s husband had been treated. The story was by turns sad, funny and above all inspirational, containing characters and situations we could all relate to. Starting with the “Yorkshire” ensemble number to set the scene, there were plenty of enjoyable songs. Some were amusing such as “So I’ve had a little work done” sung spiritedly by Denise Welch and some full of pathos and longing like “Kilimanjaro” beautifully sung by Anna-Jane Casey, playing Annie, whose husband had died of leukemia. Making the calendar with naked members of the WI, albeit artfully posed with cakes, jam and other accoutrements to preserve their decency, was by no means straight forward, with plenty of obstacles to be overcome, including what was or was not considered appropriate for respectable women, of a certain age, to
do. But eventually everyone got behind the project and the mould-breaking calendar was produced. The theatre audience, probably 95% female, mostly WI members, with only one or two token men, seemed to thoroughly enjoy the show, and although mostly knowing what was going to happen, there was plenty of anticipation. There was loud cheering when the cast ﬁnally “did the deed” and disrobed for the photographer. Tastefully and amusingly done!
The real Alternative WI Calendar has now sold over 88,000 copies and raised more than £5million for the Bloodwise charity. In doing so it has helped change forever the perception of “older women” and what they can or should do ( those in the original Calendar who were thought too old to pose nude were actually only 46 to 64) It was also instrumental in helping to change the perception of the WI and what we do, and inspire more, and younger, members and new WIs to open in the 20 years since it’s publication.
Report from WI meeting, 4 April 2019
Did you know that it was once thought that hot beverages could melt our insides, that tea could
corrupt boys, coffee could prevent the bubonic plague and chocolate made women young and
fresh? These steadfast and comforting brews were deeply distrusted when they first arrived on our
shores in a rush between between 1650 and 1657. This information, and much more, was the
subject of the talk at our most recent WI meeting, when Melanie King gave a most informative talk
on how these three delicious beverages moved from being perceived as seditious and harmful to
becoming our most comforting mainstays. The first surprise to me was that there are actually only
two species of tea, China and Assam. Green tea, white tea, black tea, etc. are all from the same
plant but made with different processes. There are, however, as many as 125 different coffee
species, originating largely in the Southern Hemisphere countries, although Arabica hails from
Yemen. Chocolate, coming from the cacao tree, is truly ancient, with records going back as far as
These elixirs were hugely expensive and exclusive when they first arrived. Difficulties in cultivation
and transport meant that it was only the wealthy who could afford them. We arguably have the
Italians to thank for chocolate. This exotic delicacy, which has remained the most expensive, was
first brought to Europe by Spanish explorers, along with all the processes and equipment, but they
kept these delights secret until Italian explorers kindly ‘rediscovered’ chocolate years later. They
were more generous with this knowledge and once the secret was out, chocolate quickly spread. Of
course, this was only drinking chocolate. It would take another 200 years before the first chocolate
bars were made. The first cup of coffee was reportedly served in Oxford in what is now the Grand
Café in around 1657, and the first records referring to tea are from London in 1658. History tells us
that Catherine brought a huge chest of tea to England after her marriage to Charles II.
Despite the level of suspicion and misconceptions with which they were first welcomed, tea, coffee
and chocolate have become staples of our daily lives, all of them with known health benefits if used
sensibly. (The cream, fat, milk and sugar are the baddies). We all know there is some truth in the fact
that a cuppa is the solution to a multitude of problems and coffee really is thought to lessen the risk
of certain diseases. Chocolate is full of important nutrients and can help to block pain. Ah, but how
to be sensible about chocolate? Fortunately, we would have to eat a toddler-sized helping of 75%
chocolate in one sitting before being at risk of poisoning!
Adderbury & District WI AGM March 7th, 2019 Annual Report
A is for AGM: Our Annual General Meeting is here so let’s all reflect on a busy year.
D is for Didn’t she do well: Our President Pat is dedicated and brilliant and overall,
she is very resilient.
D is for Denman: We are lucky to have this wonderful resource, take a look in the
brochure and sign up for a course.
E is for Exercise: Bloxham, Deddington, Swerford, and Aston. We walked and
talked over hill and vale and when we were done we stopped for ale.
R is for Raising issues: Food banks, mental health, period poverty, plastic soup,
poppies; we covered quite a range. We “felt the love” supporting climate change.
B is for Bloxham: The Joiners Arms in Bloxham the venue for our meal, organised
by Caroline with her Christmas two course deal.
U is for Understanding: The compassion and kindness we show to each other.
R is for Raising funds: Raising funds is what we do, Bring and Buy, Xmas Market,
Jars, Big Breakfast too.
Y is for Year: Here’s to another great year for Adderbury & District WI
D is for Da Doo Ron Ron: No singing skills need to join this group. Just come along
and have some fun. “Da Doo Ron Ron, Da Doo Ron Ron”.
I is for income and expenditure: Our treasurer keeps us in the black, with a
healthy balance to boot. Thankyou Chris for looking after our loot.
S is for sisterhood: A community of women linked by a common interest and a
strong feeling of friendship and support.
T is for Tea: And jam and chutney and cakes and coffee and wine sometimes!
R is for Reading group: Read a brilliant book and review when you’re done. It’s
relaxed, informal and fun.
I is for Inspiring men: Keith Jansz for his wonderful mouth and foot art, Frazier
Liversage with his medical detection dogs and Matt Armitage from Tooley’s Boat
Yard. They impressed us with their tales, so we make an exception for these
C is for Christmas tree: We took first prize with our Christmas tree which stood out
in the crowd. The Suffragette themed decorations made us all feel proud.
T is for Technology: We have a wonderful web site thanks to Bernice, Margaret
and Chris. They keep us updated so one not to miss.
W is for Wildflowers: Enthused by Rousham, our wild flower seeds bloom and
grow. They came from Kew don’t you know.
I is for INSPIRING WOMEN: Dr. Barbara Hatley, Women working on Inland
Waterways, Sarah Wookey, Médecins San Frontières, Lucy Bowler and her hats. All
inspirational, no doubt about that.
Finally, thanks to our excellent Committee and our members and remember the
words of the Kings Sutton WI President when she spoke to the first Adderbury and
Milton WI meeting in 1921:
“At each meeting there should be something to see, something to hear
and something to do.”
P Brown March 2019.
February 2019 – Tooleys’ boatyard
Matt Armitage gave us a very interesting talk about the history and the future of Banbury’s boatyard which is the oldest working dry dock in the country. He illustrated it with a collection of photos and these, accompanied by anecdotes about characters from the past, brought the story to life. We also learned about how the dry dock works and current activities repairing and maintaining many boats. Matt ended by explaining the proposed development of Tooleys to ensure that its future as a working site is secure. A show of hands revealed that many members were interested in visiting the site and experiencing a trip on the canal.
January 2019 – Hats Off to Adderbury WI
Our first meeting of 2019 saw us flushed with success thanks to our win at St Mary’s Christmas Tree Festival. Our wonderful suffragette themed tree was the inspiration of member Margaret Halstead. It was particularly significant in the year we celebrated the centenary of women first gaining the right to vote in Parliamentary elections. January is the month of resolutions and the WI is no different as we start thinking about which national WI resolution we will support this year. Our campaigns are important and we are very keen to make sure we support national WI resolutions that can make a difference locally.
Our speaker for January was milliner, Lucy Bowler. Lucy, who has a degree in Design Craft, described how dance and movement influenced her early work, often reflecting the gypsy roots of flamenco and a colour palette of red, gold and black. Lucy continued with this theme during her training at the British School of Millinery in Cheltenham and it was evident in the work she shared with us. Lucy’s hats are handmade and hand stitched and can be dyed to suit. We were shown how different fabrics could be moulded and shaped on hat blocks. She also shared her experience of designing hats for weddings and Ascot and described the complexity of making a very large hat and the skill required to keep the hat in place. By the way, your head piece, specifically the hat base, must be at least 4 inches wide to be allowed entry to Ascot. Lucy, who is based locally in Fritwell, took over Hilary’s Hats including 1,074 head pieces when Hilary, a well–known local milliner, retired. We saw some beautiful couture pieces and a particularly jaunty black number modelled beautifully by Trish Fennell. You couldn’t help but be impressed by the quality of the workmanship, beautiful hats and fascinators adorned with handmade flowers, silk, feathers and velvet. It was a hat extravaganza with a simple take home message: “Remember there is a hat for everyone!”
We next meet on Thursday February 7th at 7.30 pm when our speaker will be Matt Armitage talking about Tooley’s Boatyard.
November 2018 Newsletter
This month we enjoyed a talk from Barbara Hatley, a Second World War historian, who shared stories about the role of women trainees on Britain’s waterways during the second world war. The timing was perfect and we each wore one of the beautiful poppies that Margaret had knitted for every member.
Whilst many members were familiar with the terms the cut, butty boat and windlass, for some of us it was a whole new language. By the mid1930s our waterways were in decline, with a largely unregulated male workforce working the boats. Many of their women folk moved onto the boats often raising large families of up to 15 with little access to welfare and schooling. In the early years of the war recruitment became increasingly problematic as other industries competed for the men and their valuable diesel engine maintenance skills. Women applicants were often turned down on the basis that the rough working conditions on the narrow boats, and particularly the loading and unloading of heavy cargo, were not suitable for women. Interestingly, once on the boats,the women themselves reported more difficulty navigating and memorising the routes as all the signs had of course been removed. By 1942 companies were forced to accept they could not employ enough men and a campaign to recruit women trainees followed. The recruitment photos depict a somewhat rose tinted view which was in sharp contrast to the women’s descriptions of their experience. Trainees came from both educated society and from the tougher districts of London and it was the latter who often didn’t survive the training. We heard how the trainees had to adapt to difficult cramped living conditions, a staple diet of bread, peanut butter and cocoa, frozen waterways and pelting rain. The trainees reported how hard it was to find suitable clothing and keep clean. In truth it sounded hard but also exciting and important as a marker of socio-economic history.Those who survived the training and went on to work the boats were generally a bohemian group of women who disbanded as quietly as they had come. We were all left with a sense that their contribution went largely unnoticed. Eventually their important but little known work was formally recognised in 2008 with the unveiling of a plaque at Stoke Bruerne. We saw a photograph of the ceremony and surprisingly one of our members identified one of the narrow boat women as Olga Kevelos, a local who lived in Kings Sutton. It’s a small world and always nice to hear about a local connection.
October 2018 Newsletter
We are fully engaged with autumn plans for our November Members’ Meeting, our Big Breakfast event on Saturday 3 November at The Institute, St. Mary’s Christmas Tree Festival and our branch Christmas meal. All these activities plus our regular group meetings for book discussions, poppy making for November, sing-along sessions and wild flower gardening at Katharine House Hospice and much more work to be undertaken on our deer path areas at Adderbury Lakes. National Federation main discussion for October centred attention on our Centenary of WI Campaigns to bring about a force for change in our country via local Branch members’ action. Such members play an effective part in their communities for the improvement and development of daily living plus influencing a wide range of issues of concern to all members.
“Curiosities in the Cotswolds” our guest speaker, Alan Copeland’s presentation, led us on a merry tour from Bourton on the Water to Lower Slaughter, delighting all with a marvel of amusing detail. After a brief outline of essential area specifications, namely cottages of aged yellow-to-ochre limestone, dormer windows and porch-topped front doors, we visited be-plaqued water pumps and fountains, erected by village luminaries, then among others ancient alms-houses all in a pretty row, a crenelated Citadel created into a theatre,stone memorials,stocks for punishing the inebriated and delivery hand-carts. Next came a must-visit 4-Shire county stone, the 400-year feudal village with curfew bell for keeping villagers in their homes, funerary symbols mistakenly believed to be Masonic signs, manor houses, grotesques and gargoyles, all of which provided our members with a most entertaining and enjoyable evening.
We meet on 1 November for “Women Working on Inland Waterways in WW2” at The Institute where a warm welcome will be found. Please come and join us and don’t forget to visit our website at adderburywi.co.uk
September 2018 Newsletter
Our first meeting of the Autumn and we have already made plans for next year’s wild flowers. During September our members or “Team Wild Flowers” as we like to call them, cleared our areas at Katharine House and re-seeded with new Grow Wild Seed from Kew Royal Botanic Gardens for next Summer’s blooms. Our Adderbury Lakes clearance work continues with new plug planting of Betony, Selfheal and Primrose completed.
We have also started to think about how we might celebrate the Oxfordshire Federation of WIs 100th anniversary next year. I wonder what past members would have made of our recent campaign to reduce plastic waste! This achieved an important breakthrough this month when we received our monthly WI magazine in a potato starch wrapper instead of the usual plastic one.
Our guest speaker in September was Fraser Liversage, a volunteer with the charity Medical Detection Dogs. He brought along Elsa, a well behaved doggy ambassador who was not a detection dog but who nevertheless showed a great ability to sniff out our refreshments. The charity was established ten years ago by the CEO, Dr Claire Guest after listening to a Radio 4 programme about dogs detecting cancer. We heard that dogs have an excellent ability to detect smells. Did you know that a dog can detect a teaspoon of sugar in a volume of water the equivalent of two Olympic size swimming pools? Apparently each disease has an odour finger print and the dogs are able to detect smell at very low concentration. Gun dogs are particularly good as their noses have a large surface area with good scenting ability. The charity has two sides, bio detection and medical alert assistance. The Bio Detection dogs are trained to identify the odour of human cancer cells in breath or urine samples reliably. Medical Alert Assistance dogs help those with life threatening conditions with no warning symptoms. We heard about Jackie, a severe diabetic, whose life was transformed by Trinity, a Medical Alert Assistance dog, who can nudge an alert if Jackie’s blood sugars get too high or low. Remarkably, a dog’s nose still works when they are asleep, continuing to detect the smallest of changes in body odours. These dogs take 18 months to 2 years to train. The charity has a no kennel policy and the dogs are all socialised in households, so they need to be good natured and people orientated. The dogs are regularly assessed for their temperament. The talk and the videos of the dogs in action certainly tugged at the heart strings and captured our imagination. Finally, you may wish to note that the charity is always looking for households to socialise the pups.
Adderbury and District Women’s Institute
Annual Meeting April 2018
We have had a varied selection of speakers this year including a Wimbledon Umpire (24 tons of strawberries sold there in a year)a very relaxing evening by Gill Randall – reminding us that we all need time for ourselves and to listen to our bodies.and a wonderful talk about Swifts
We learnt all about the different meaning of the features on the Fine Lady Statue (White Horse is for luck) and heard about the Hobby Horse festival – perhaps this year we could enter a horse?
Several members went to the Oxfordshire AGM and heard Ingrid Seward paint an amusing picture of the Queen’s Life and Vera de Menezes described her experience fleeing Ide Amine’s regime and she showed us her amazing patchwork quilts.
Walks have been very popular and during the year we have walked around Horley, Blenheim Palace, Tusmore Park, Bloxham and Deddington with most of the walks ending in a pub for an enjoyable meal. We also had a walk around Adderbury Lakes and Katharine House to see all the work Margaret has put into the flowers displays.
Pat and Mary gave us an excellent review regarding the 2 resolutions last year. Plastic Soap and Alleviating Loneliness – both of which are now national topics.
We had an amazing fund-raising event with the Big Breakfast with everyone working so well together and Carroll’s eggs were highly praised. We raised nearly £200. We had a Treasure Hunt at the Coach and Horses Fun day and raised £42 of which £13 went to Katherine House.
We also had a stall at the Christmas Market in the Church with plenty of Christmassy produces provided by the members. We raised £126 at that event.
We have been involved in village events too. We had an incredible response for the Filled Jars for the School/Church Fete and made £170 for them. Some of us were also involved in the ‘Clean for Adderbury’.
The Craft group have been busy making twiddle muffs and felt carton organs for our Donor Card themed Christmas tree at the Church festival.
Felt hearts for ‘Show the Love’ were also made for all members.
The book group have had some interesting books and wonderful discussions.
Some of our members have been involved in OFWI activities and days out. Spanish evening, Sewing Bee, Romsey visit, 1st world war talk at Denman. Art visits to London are a few to mention.
Not to be forgotten was the Christmas Meal at the Cartwright Arms which was enjoyed by all.
A new choir was set up to sing carols at the Christmas Community Market and it was a great-success. Even one stall holder put a video of it on his website. There are plans to continue with the choir on a regular basis.
We have had a great leader for the last 3 years who had kept the committee in check. We thank her for all her hard-work.
Adderbury and District Women’s Institute
Annual Meeting 2 March 2017
Our AGM on 3 March a year ago saw the election of our new President, Diane, for another year, supported by seven committee members. Jean Geary from OFWI was with us and was presented with a bouquet of flowers. After the business section of the meeting, members completed a ‘true or false’ questionnaire about the hospice movement. One of our members then gave an excellent talk on the subject, with particular reference to Katharine House. In April members took part in litter-picking round the village as our contribution to the national ‘Clean for the Queen’ campaign. We hope this will become an annual event involving other village organisations. Work was started on clearing a small area at the Lakes to see if wildflowers could be grown there. Two members were at the OFWI speakers’ auditions. Three members took part in the producing of a hand-written copy of St Mark’s Gospel for St Mary’s church. We learned that we had won a two-day course at Denman in the Denman Dip at the OFWI annual meeting. At our meeting we enjoyed attempting a quiz about birds when our expected speaker was unable to come at the last minute. As a result of this experience, the committee have since created an emergency box of materials for a variety of activities that could be used at very short notice. The May meeting was held in Church House where we listened to Maggie Rampley speak about the challenges of looking after people with dementia and the work of Wardington House. She helped us appreciate the particular issues in caring for and supporting sufferers when they are in hospital. This was followed by discussion on the two Resolutions. A majority voted to support a proposed amendment on the care of dementia patients in hospital and there was also a majority in favour of the Resolution on reducing food waste. As usual June was a very busy month with an additional activity this year when we had a stall at the village celebrations for the Queen’s birthday, with a raffle, a Find the Treasure map game and a Guess the Number of Sweets in a jar. The Year Book was on display and attracted several members of the public to ask about the WI. Our wrapped jars stall at the School and Church fete proved as popular as ever. Members had filled and wrapped over one hundred jars. Once again we had a stall at Party in the Park, this year just selling cakes donated by members. A profit of £100 was made for our funds. At our monthly meeting Vic Ince, who is a volunteer for the National Trust at Upton House, gave us a very interesting talk on the history of the house and of the Bearsted family. Vince drew the raffle for the Denman weekend and it was won by our President. At our meeting in July our President reported on the NFWI annual meeting in Brighton, which she had attended on behalf of our district group of WIs. She had found it to be both moving and inspiring. Our speaker was Shelley Edwards from Trading Standards, who outlined the unit’s statutory duties and the educational role it plays in informing the public about frauds and scams. These include the different ploys of rogue doorstep traders and several varieties of internet fraud. The latter in particular is increasing and often succeeds in conning people out of substantial amounts of money. Shelley gave us useful advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of these criminals. Although we have no meeting in August, members were able to enjoy an evening of Games in the Garden, thanks to the hospitality of a member. This was a delightful occasion when the sun shone and members provided a delicious Bring and Share supper. Giant Jenga was particularly popular and provokes lots of cheers and laughter. Many of us also enjoyed a private tour of Upton House, guided by Vic Ince, which everyone found extremely interesting. This was followed by refreshments at the National Trust café. In September our treasurer gave a concise and reassuring report on the state of our funds. The highlight of this month’s meeting was a talk about the history of Morris dancing in Adderbury, during which we learnt about the influence of women in keeping the Morris tradition alive. This was followed by a display of several dances performed by Sharp and Blunt, the Adderbury’s women’s Morris side. The meeting closed with members joining them in an energetic dance, which involved a lot of clapping and remembering which foot was which – not always successfully! As in every month, our reading group met to share views on the month’s book. The long planned and often postponed circular walk round Horton and Horley finally happened. At the end of the walk, a visit to see the wall paintings in the church was enlivened by the sight of a man abseiling on the church tower to repair the clock. Afterwards several members enjoyed refreshments at the Herb Centre. During October we learned that we had received a grant of £200 from the Parish council to be spent on educational activities such as speakers and visits. Two committee members visited our local supermarket in support of the WI campaign to reduce food waste, and completed and returned the WI survey form. At our meeting Chris Bazeley gave us an entertaining and well-illustrated talk on the Secret Life of the Privy. We learned about sanitation in ancient cultures and in our own history, saw many pictures of a variety of privies, heard some anecdotes people had shared with Chris on the subject and discovered who, rather than Thomas Crapper, should really be credited with the invention of the flushing toilet. This month members also enjoyed ‘Tea at Three’ at Holly House, thanks once again to a member’s hospitality. A small team made sandwiches, scones and cakes and set out tables with flowers, table cloths, cake stands and vintage crockery. Profits from tickets and a Bring and Buy stall were shared between the Denman ‘Grow a Fiver’ initiative and our own funds. In November Karen Rockell gave a deeply personal, moving and inspiring talk on her experience of receiving a liver transplant and as a sufferer from SCAD – a rare heart condition. She told us about the work she does to raise awareness of the need for transplants and about the charity she help set up and now promotes, which aims to increase knowledge about SCAD, particularly among medical professionals. We again had a successful stall at the Christmas market, selling cakes and jars of preserves. Small Christmas cakes were particularly popular. We also arranged an evening at Church House with a local artist, Irene Tyack. This was open to the public, with wine and cheese and a raffle. It proved to be very entertaining as Irene shared many stories from her very unusual life and gave us an insight into her development as an artist and what inspires her to create such delightful and unique images. Beginning in November, a group of members met several times to make decorations for our entry for the Adderbury Christmas Tree Festival at the very beginning of December. The theme this year was ‘Who We Are’, with decorations in the WI colours and the names of all our members written on hand-made crackers. Although our tree did not win this time, it was eye-catching and attracted many positive comments. Our Christmas meal was again at the Cartwright Arms in Aynho with tables beautifully decorated by our President. Members enjoyed a very sociable evening with, of course, a raffle! Our speaker in January was Julia Miles who gave us a personal insight into the world of diplomatic wives. We learned that in some postings there can be a degree of hardship and even danger, and that embassy life is often far from the glamorous experience of popular imagination. The craft group met to make green hearts for this year’s campaign to raise awareness of the effects of climate change. It was agreed to change our timetable of meetings during the year so that in future we will meet in August but not in December. The committee began a regular review of speakers which will be completed each month and returned to OFWI. During February a small sub-committee continued their work on updating our website, a year-long project which is now almost complete. Several members contributed knitted items to a local project to help Syrian refugees. At our regular meeting Sally Cross and Angie Williams spoke about their work at Lake House, the residential care home in Adderbury run by the Order of St John. Eight members visited the Fibreworks craft shop in Chipping Norton where, over refreshments, we learnt about the many needlecraft courses offered there. Several of us bought supplies for projects before we left. Our final activity this month was to organise the venue, distribute publicity and provide refreshments for a public meeting about the Save the Horton hospital campaign. More than eighty people came to listen to the panel of four speakers and to ask questions.
Adderbury and District Women’s Institute
Annual General Meeting 3 March 2016
In the past year we have enjoyed very varied, interesting and entertaining evenings at our regular meetings, several visits and of course special events to mark the WI’s Centenary year. Some of these we organised ourselves, while members also took part in county and national celebrations. At all our ordinary meetings we have enjoyed refreshments kindly provided by different members each month. Both the reading and needlecraft groups have continued to meet through the year. The books chosen and discussed have included non-fiction, books in translation and classics as well as contemporary novels. In January some members of the needlecraft group began knitting squares as part of a local project to send blankets direct to refugees in Syria. Members, friends and some dogs, have enjoyed walks of different lengths, including the Adderbury circle, the bluebells in Ditchley, the Lark Rise walk from Hethe, a walk along the canal from Thrupp, the battlefield walk round Cropredy, a circular walk from Upton House with great views and most recently a walk on the public paths in the grounds of Blenheim Palace. Led by different members, most of these finished with a sociable meal or coffee at a local pub or café. Special projects have run throughout the year, two involving the local community. A small group led by Pat Smith designed and made a new banner for Adderbury and District WI. A photography competition open to everyone was held to illustrate a WI calendar for 2016 with pictures of Adderbury through the seasons. After a great deal of work by a dedicated team of members and a few hiccups in production, the calendars went on sale in September and copies were sent as Christmas gifts all over the world. The one on-going project, led by our vice-president, is the creation and maintenance of small wildflower areas in the gardens of Katharine House Hospice. Part of the Grow Wild national initiative from Kew, this was started with a donation of seeds and several members have devoted much time and energy to it. In April ten members represented Adderbury and District at the North Cherwell Group meeting in Bodicote and at our meeting that month Chris Windass spoke to us about the Adderbury Ensemble, its history and the two series of concerts in St Mary’s given each year by the ensemble and other very well-known professional groups. At our May meeting we discussed and voted on the proposed NFWI resolutions and ‘swished’ scarves, bags and jewellery. At the end of the month, following last November’s talk on the history of Sulgrave Manor, a group visited the house and gardens on a fine summer’s evening. We had a very interesting tour of the house, as part of which we tried the water pump in the kitchen and admired the needlework on the bed furnishings. June was as usual a busy month. We tried out or revived our skills in rag rug making with Claire Jarvis from Fibreworks. Members again stocked and ran the wrapped jars stall at the school fete. Very poor weather meant this was held indoors but even so the stall raised £80 for the school and church. The weather was not kind for Party in the Park either, but thanks to members’ donations of cakes our stall still manged to make £56.61 for our own funds. The highlight of the month for many of us, and very kindly initiated and hosted by the Stilgoes, was a guided walk around their farm followed by a wonderful supper. Fortunately this time the weather was perfect. The evening was in aid of Frank Wise Special School and raised £160. Our president attended the Annual Meeting of the WI at the Albert Hall, a very moving experience in the Centenary Year and we were also represented at the Buckingham Palace Garden Party. Our speaker booked for July was unable to come at very short notice but we took the opportunity to view the photos for the calendar and to have longer to socialise over refreshments. We do not meet in August, but on the banks of the Oxford canal several members enjoyed the Mikron travelling theatre’s play which this year was inspired by the WI’s centenary. In September several members and our new banner took part in the OFWI centenary celebration at Oxford Cathedral, another moving and memorable event. At September’s meeting we learnt about reflexology from Polly Smith. Our very own, and lively, centenary celebration took the form of a fish and chip supper to which we invited partners, friends, Stella Oakes and members from local WIs. Many of us dressed up in outfits from the last hundred years, we sang Jerusalem and with musical accompaniment, many songs from the early twentieth century. October saw the start of work for the Christmas Tree festival and a well-illustrated talk by Dan Allen about the development of women’s organisations before and during the First World War. Anny Sherman demonstrated examples of cards and decorations made from scrap materials in November and we made some for ourselves. December was another very full month. The calendars were sold at the Christmas market alongside cakes donated by members. The cakes made a welcome profit of £160 for our funds. This month was the finale of our year of Centenary celebrations. Our Christmas meal was at the Cartwright Arms – no cooking, no washing up, a delicious meal, crackers and a thoroughly enjoyable evening. For the second year we sponsored and decorated a Christmas tree for the Festival at St Mary’s Church. The theme was the WI campaigns over the past one hundred years and all the decorations were in the WI colours. Campaign titles were written on silver baubles and details on labels attached to small boxes. When our tree was voted the overall winner it was a fitting and rewarding end to the Centenary year. In January Lieutenant Colonel Lesinski gave us another of his very entertaining and informative talks, this time on the structure and duties of the Queen’s Guards. Our February speaker had a very different theme. Andrew Jenkins, the recycling officer for Cherwell District Council, gave a well-presented and very well received talk on local recycling. A questionnaire was circulated to gather members’ views on the first five years of our WI and to guide the committee in plans for the future. Later in the month 15 of us visited the Viridor Energy Recovery Facility at Ardley. Here waste that cannot be recycled is treated in a state of the art plant that produces enough electricity to power 38,000 homes.
Adderbury and District Women’s Institute
Annual General Meeting 5 March 2015
Once again we enjoyed interesting and entertaining evenings at our regular meetings in 2014-15 with presentations on a variety of topics and we were fortunate to receive a grant of £200 from Adderbury Parish council towards the cost of our speakers. We also had some ‘home grown’ entertainments, including competitions and raffles. Every month a different group of members have provided and served delicious refreshments at our meetings. April began with a talk by Jill Head about the work and history of Frank Wise Special School. Several members went to the North Cherwell Group meeting in Barford and enjoyed light refreshments, a glass of wine and a lively account by Simeon Courtie of his travels and adventures in a camper van trip with his family. Members served refreshments at the Banbury Fair Trade Fiesta which resulted in a profit of £35 for our funds. This was followed in May by Open Garages day, which despite dreadful weather, raised £344 for the Banbury Young Homeless Project. Regular donations of food have also been made to BYHP during the year. At our May meeting we discussed the resolution and issues related to organ donation, stimulated by a quiz on the subject and a ‘Guess the weight of the cake’ competition. June was again a busy month. William French told us about his career and life on the Royal Yacht. Members stocked and ran the wrapped jars stall at the school fete which raised £127 for the school while on a wonderful summer’s day, our cream tea stall at Party in the Park made £124 for our own funds. Our speaker in July was Alice Foster who illustrated her talk on Treasures of the Ashmolean with excellent slides of some her favourite art works. In the same month a group of us enjoyed a delightful evening visit to Fiona Taylor’s medicinal herb garden in Horley where we learnt a lot about the uses of plants and the training and work of a medical herbalist. September’s meeting also had a botanical theme when Julia Colegrave told us about asparagus-growing at Wykeham Park Farm and how the business has developed from small beginnings to the flourishing enterprise it is today. A vegetarian cookery demonstration by Ali Templeton in October gave members the chance to taste a variety of dishes and a presentation by Cymon Snow in November on the history of Sulgrave Manor inspired us to plan a visit there in 2015. Our Christmas meal in December was a very enjoyable social occasion enlivened by readings on Christmas themes by Moira Byast. After a break last year we again had a stall at the Christmas market selling cakes and produce donated by members. We also sponsored and decorated a Christmas tree for the first Christmas tree festival in St Mary’s church, and though our tree didn’t win, members enjoyed making the salt dough decorations and dressing the tree. In January members and some husbands took part in two First Aid training evenings run by the Red Cross. Alan Brewer spoke about his career with BOAC and in February another light-hearted evening saw us answering quizzes about hats and then rising to the challenge of making, decorating and in some cases modelling paper hats! The reading group has continued to meet throughout the year. We have enjoyed sharing our views as we discussed a wide variety of books, both fiction and non-fiction. The knitting group was re-formed as a needlecraft group and now each month nine or ten members bring their current project and work on it for a couple of hours while enjoying a chat and encouraging each other. A new group has been formed this year and meets regularly to organise the production of a WI calendar for 2016. Several members, and some dogs, have enjoyed five different walks, starting last April with the Adderbury circle – always popular since it includes coffee and cake at Cotefield. In May we had a memorable circular walk from North Newington on a lovely summer’s evening and in June a friend of a member led a walk by the canal in Thrupp. Some of us walked the hills of the Horton and Horley circular trail in July and our final walk was round Shenington in October, ending with a pub lunch in the village.
Adderbury & District Women’s Institute
Annual General Meeting
Annual Report 2013/2014
Our establishment in November 2010. We also consider the year ahead and how best to capitalise on the opportunities that arise from our large and diverse membership. In this report we describe our activities during 2013/2014 and highlight the progress we have made since. 2013/14 was a great year for us with your committee spending time planning a programme of events to stimulate, educate and excite members. It was all very worthwhile as we have been entertained by some excellent speakers. At the start of our year Ann Latimore gave an inspitring talk on her association with the Robert Winston ‘Well Women’ charity. She was given the idea of completing a bike ride for the charity despite being rather plump, unfit and unable to ride a bike. She then completed a second ride which took her through Jordan raising thousands of pounds for charity. She brought the journey to life with her humorous delivery. The month of April brought us ”Green and Gorgeous’. Rachel brought a breath of spring and a promise of things to come with her beautiful flower arrangements. The May meeting began with a light-hearted quiz about Banbury and then saw a highly interactive discussion about the NFWI Resolution “The decline of town centres and High Streets”. June we had Carousel Costumes with some beautiful theatrical costumes which a couple of our members modelled for us with amazing effect. At the July meeting we welcomed Moira Byast who gave us a thoroughly interesting and amusing talk on sayings, anecdotes and their meanings that have been passed down the centuries, many of which are still in use today. September Mrs Cross gave us a Corn Dolly Demonstration, after which we all had a go and made a small favour to hang in our homes as a fertility sign. Chrissie’s Owl in October saw members being treated to a humorous but passionate talk about her commitment to rescuing owls and birds of prey, bringing with her two beautiful owls. November Jeremy Wilton gave us an interesting talk about the production each month of the Four Shires magazine. January Valerie Burton talked about the history and her memories of Witney Blanket making and the wealth it created in the town and surrounding villages. In February it was ‘Vive la difference’ with Marie-Noelle Witty giving us her very strong impressions of the difference between the French and English in their attitude to food, wine and meal making. I hope you will agree we couldn’t be faulted for our variety of speakers and we look forward to 2014 being just as exciting. We have also helped or been part of the following activities: Several members attended The Oxfordshire Federation Annual General Meeting in March – Adam Henson being the guest speaker. March was also Fairtrade Fiesta in Banbury Town Hall – volunteers manned a stall and made traybakes. In April we hosted the Group Meeting welcoming members from Banbury, Deddington, Bloxham and Barford at which Peter Lein from Denman College was our guest and members had provided a delicious supper. The Great Food Debate didn’t really get off the ground despite a lot of research by our Vice President, Lynne. In April members made cakes and manned a stall at Broughton Grange Open Gardens – to raise money for KHH. In June it was Party in the Park – again we manned a stall on a rota basis and make cakes. Margaret Halstead gave us an amusing account of the trials and rewards of taking part. In May two Oxford Walks took place and members enjoyed learning more about Oxford from their guide. 15 May was the visit to King Stone Farm, Rollright – to see pedigree cows who took themselves off to be milked a highlight for some members. June was the Church and School Fete and members filled and decorated jars. They looked lovely and the jars literally flew off the stall, a very successful fundraiser. In August, our President hosted a Pimms and Nibbles evening in her delightful garden at Holly House. In September several members went along to the Mill to hear Tricia Stewart, one of the original calendar girls gave an excellent talk. She is so dedicated to here mission of raising money for Lymphoma research. October it was the Art Fest in St. Mary’s Church and again members were on hand to make refreshments and man the table.
September some members helped with the Macmillan coffee morning.
November Julie Summers was in Adderbury to give her talk on History of the WI – the Jam Busters. Members and villagers went along not only to listen to Julie’s ilnteresting talk but to be treated to a sumptuous tea laid on by our Catering Group. Many purchased a copy of her book.
Members went to Looby Loo Cakes and came home with beautifully iced sponge cakes.
Banbury Young Homeless Project was our charity of the year and we have taken several food boxes and given money from a Speaker’s fee.
Our reading, kitting and walking groups have continued to be enjoyed. Two of our members, Veronica Scriven and Pauline Leathers, embroidered a beautiful pennant with the Adderbury WI name on it. Th is was taken to OFWI and will be joioned by others to make bunting for display at OFWI meet ings. See photographs on our website.
Members were encouraged to take part in a Denman Dip for a £1. The winner to receive a £200 prize to be offset against a course at Denman. The draw to take place at the AGM.
Our website is still an important step for us as it provides us with the opporftunity to communicate and celebrate the work of our WI. It is regularly updated so please take time to visit us on www.adderburywi.co.uk
The report would not be complete without mentioning all the teas and coffees we have served and the delicious cakes we have baked for various village events. A very big thank you to members for doing this.
All in all 2013/14 has been a successful year for Adderbry & District WI and long may it continue. We have 55 paid up members plus 13 outstanding subscriptions and an average monthly attendance at ouor meetings of 40 members and 2 visitors. We also continue to attract new members.
Th,is year we received an education grant of £200 from Adderbry Parish Council for which we are very grateful.
2014 promises to be very busy and in the coming year we aim to:
- seek out opportunities to contribute further to our local community
- manage our finances effectively so that we continue to thrive and prosper
- continue to focus on friendship, learning and enjoyment
- expand our horizons
We welcome your feedback on any aspect of the report or work of the WI
Janet Morgan, Secretary, Caroline Rathbone, President.
Adderbury & District Women’s Institute.
Annual General Meeting
Annual Report 2011-2012
In this report we describe our activities during 2011/2012. We also consider the year ahead and how best to capitalise on the opportunities that arise from our large and diverse membership.
2011/12 was a great year for us with many committee hours spent planning a programme of events to stimulate and educate members. It was all worth while as we were entertained by some excellent speakers.
At the start of the year Jayne Kingdom gave a fascinating talk about Siberian Huskies five of which she brought along to the meeting. They were very beautiful and extremely well behaved and it has to be said that the evening was a howling success. In March we enjoyed a very informative talk about the history of the Lord Leycester Hospital in Warwick which was established over 400 years ago for old warriors. Living creatures featured again in April when our speaker Tony Manton showed us one of his portable hives which contained thousands of bees. Fortunately for us only one escaped. Two speakers in particular reflected some of the issues that impact on our local community. We had a talk from a local magistrate and we also learned abnout the Banbury Young Homeless Project (BYHP). Both speakers inspired us to explore these issues further with a group of members making a follow up vist to Oxford Magistrates Court. Members agreed to support BYHP this year and we hope to continue and develop our relationship with them. Banbury St. John’s Amnulance gave us an extremely helpful session on first aid in the home which was followed by a very lively Q&A.
In July we enjoyed an evening with Simon Davies auctioneer and valuation expert from Bonham’s in Oxford who valued our bits and bobs. Sadly no hidden treasures but it was great fun having an expert to tell us about our “antiques”. Special events this year included a Sushi demonstration, wine tasting and a trip to Lord Leycester Hospital.
The Catering committee were busy this year helping with various events in the village. They excelled themselves in the summer, hosting a splendid party for our OAP’s as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. WI members were treated to a splendid Christmas feast with a visit from Santa and surprise Christmas gifts for everyone. Another highlight of our Christmas celebrations was singing carols on the village green which has become an annual village event.
This year we have continmued with our readng, knitting, sewing and walking groups. The groups have been a great way of getting to know each other and forging new friendships. The walking group have ventured further afield this year and walked, talked and barked their way around Swinbrook, Adderbury, Lark Rise and the Tews (mostly in the rain )! We also enjoyed our own private tour and tea at Ditchley Park.
The knitting group knitted squares for blankets for Africa and our stitchers made Jubilee bunting. Our readeers have reviewed several books over a glass of wine or two.
During the year members have attended Federation events including the NFWI AGM at the Albert Hall. Denman College courses, the Foreign Affairs Committee and OFWI trips. In April members attended the North Cherwell group meeting where we were treated to an evening with John Craven which was extremely popular and we look forward to hosting this meeting in April 2013. Throuoghout the year we have been supported and encouraged by our wonderful advisers Barbara Grey and Pauline Goddard.
Our website continues to be an important and effective communication tool for us, enabling us to commnunicate and celebrate the work of our WI. It is also a big step in helping to develop our archive. Please visit us on www.adderburywi.co.uk
The report would not be complete without mentioning all the teas and coffees we have served and the delicious cakes we have baked for fundraising events including the Day of Dance, Adderbury Christmas Market, Fairtrade Fiesta, “Do it for Denman”, Adderbury Art Exhibition and Adderbury Diamond Jubilee celebrations. A big thank you to all our members for your effort, generosity and continued support.
All in all 2011/12 has been another successful year for Adderbury & District WI and long may it continue. We have 67 members and an average monthly attendance at our meetings of 37 members and 2 visitors. We also received an education grant of £200 from Adderbury Parish Council for which we are very grateful.
2013 promises to be very busy and in the coming year we aim to:
- seek out opportunities to contribute further to our local community
- manage our finances effectively so that we continue to thrive and prosper
- continue to focus on friendship, learning and enjoyment
- expand our horizons
We welcome your feedback on any aspect of the report or work of the WI
Janet Morgan, Secretary, Pauline Brown, President
Report of the first meeting of Adderbury and Milton WI in February 1921
The Deddington Deanery Magazine – Price 2d. – March 1921 Adderbury and Milton Women’s Institute. – The first meeting of the Adderbury and Milton branch of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes was held at the Parish Room, Adderbury on Monday, February 7th at 2.30. The President, Mrs. Bradford, in her opening remarks, hoped that all present would enrol themselves as members, as, after this meeting it would be necessary for those wishing to join to be proposed by one member and seconded by another, and their names sent up to the committee for election. She explained the need for funds, not only for our own branch, but to support the big National Federation to which we belong; and to help working expenses a market stall will be held at each meeting. Mrs. Metcalfe, the President of the King’s Sutton branch, gave a most helpful and inspiring account of their year’s experiences at King’s Sutton. She said that Women’s Institutes were not merely social gatherings for amusement only, but that at each meeting there should be something to see, something to hear, and something to do. Mrs. Lane, in moving a vote of thanks to the speaker, said that it made her quite giddy to think of all that King’s Sutton was doing, and of the efforts we must make to live up to so high a standard. Enrolment of members followed, and with the addition of a few who wished to join but were prevented from being at the meeting, 73 names were given in for membership. An exhibition of home-made articles was held, and some extremely good work was shown; there were 7 articles sent in for exhibition, and 76 for the market stall, which realised the sum of 5£ 2s. 6d. Great regret was expressed that Mrs Cholmondeley, at whose instigation the branch was started, was prevented by illness from being present. Tea at 3d a head concluded the meeting.