Our Annual Meeting in May started with a fish and chip supper before we got on with the business of the meeting; reports reviewing the year; election of the committee and Linda was voted in as President for a third year. A display of the arts and crafts of our talented ladies was on show and we ended the evening with a well earned cuppa while watching a slide show of our activities over the past year.
Knebworth WI delivered cakes, all homemade by our lovely ladies, to Letchworth Garden House Hospice. Patients and visitors will now have lots of treats with their Easter afternoon tea. https://www.ghhospicecare.org.uk
In March we had our annual party and this year we were celebrating 100 years of the Women’s Institutes in Hertfordshire (there are currently 84!). Our ladies love the chance to dress up and that night was no exception. Suffragrettes in their long skirts and blouses and sashes for votes for women could be seen making their way to the Village Hall! We were entertained by the 4String Ukulele Band who played all kinds of party music from Beatles to Kylie with the ladies helping out with the choruses! Our members provided a delicious buffet and our guests from Codicote, Datchworth, Mardley Heath & Ayots & Welwyn WIs very much enjoyed their visit to Knebworth. A thank you was given to the three Girl Guides who helped wash up at the end of the evening and for this we were delighted to give them a donation towards their fundraising events.
Andy Gibb from the British Schools Museum gave us a talk on Joseph Lancaster, a poor boy from the slums of Southwark, who brought schooling within the reach of millions of children around the world. The Lancasterian schoolroom at the British Schools Museum in Hitchin is the last remaining in the world.
At our first meeting of the new year we had a very interesting talk by Jane Shaw on volunteering opportunities at The Lister, QEII and Hertford Hospitals.
Volunteering at a hospital benefits the volunteer, the patients, the families and the hospital workers and the volunteer also benefits from meeting new people, learning new skills, gaining experience and improving self-worth.
Our local NHS Trust has over 300 volunteers who carry out tasks ranging from being a Ward Companion, making refreshments and chatting to patients to admin and greeting jobs. If you are interested in volunteering and would like to join the East & North Herts NHS Trust please visit www.enherts-tr.nhs.uk or telephone the Voluntary Services on 01438 284760.
At our December meeting we were entertained by St Martin’s & St Mary’s Handbell Ringers. We had a go at ringing the bells ourselves and it looks like some of our ladies might be signing up for the beginners sessions in January.
At our November meeting Amanda Sutherland gave a fascinating talk on her creative career as a fashion designer and costume supplier. She now has her own fashion accessory business and makes unique pieces of jewellery using recycled drinks cans and also hats, turbans and scarves from tights, men’s ties and even underwear. Our ladies took the opportunity to do some Christmas shopping!
At our October meeting one of our members, Joy Hall, gave us a fascinating illustrated talk on her travels through some of America’s National Parks. She highlighted the awesome rivers, waterfalls, geysers, and deserts and shared with us a video of the moment she experienced the surreal total solar eclipse in the US last year.
We dressed in pink to support the Breast Cancer Now campaign and donated our sales table proceeds to the cause.
Last night our speaker, Alistair, from The Willow Foundation, gave us a moving personal account of how his recovery from drastic life changing surgery was helped by a surprise visit to his home by an Arsenal football star.
This inspired him to promote the work of the Welwyn Garden City based charity, The Willow Foundation, who provides special days for seriously ill young adults aged 16 – 40.
Alistair told us of the variety of events that had been organised and the need for ongoing fund raising.
At our August meeting genealogist, Robert Parker, gave us an insight into how he traced his ancestors with his talk “The Lopsided Barge”. He told us an interesting family story of how Edward Parker, born in 1848, in Prickwillow, Cambridgeshire became a malster and finally a mariner sailing from Colchester on a barge.
Robert gave us tips and techniques on researching our families and also tested our knowledge with a quiz on what we had learnt during the evening. On the same theme our members brought along photos of their ancestors for us to enjoy.