Report of Catford WI 2016
The last year or so brought the Women’s Institute very much into focus in many people’s minds, with lots of media coverage of its centenary year. As a result, our membership has steadily increased and our current membership stands at 55, and the average attendance at meetings has continued to rise from 30 at the end of last year, to around 40 this year,
To mark the Centenary there were a number of federation and national events. In June, Janet represented us at the Centenary Garden Party, held at Buckingham Palace ,while Fiona attended the Annual Meeting at the Royal Albert Hall where The Queen, Princess Anne and Sophie, Countess of Wessex were the guests of honour. Then, in July, 10 members enjoyed the federation event at Lullingstone Castle.
We were also asked to guest-host the ‘Women of the W I’ Twitter feed for a week – this was another Centenary event, where 52 different W Is guested-hosted, Tweeting about their own W I and trying to spark conversations about matters of interest to W Is up and down the country. Our own Twitter account passed 1000 followers at Christmas (we now have 1072 followers), and our slightly newer Facebook page is also rapidly gaining in popularity
During the year we arranged various special events: we walked over the O2 Dome, visited various exhibitions -Magna Carta; ‘Fashion on the Ration’, at the Imperial War Museum; and the ‘Waterloo’ Exhibition at the Fan Museum in Greenwich; as well as visiting the Shard and the Cabinet War Rooms. In October April organised a ‘Family Treasure Hunt’ around Central London for us. All these events were extremely well attended by members and their friends. For the first time, we also organised a long weekend away, with a group of us going to Bruges on a P & O cruise in December. The Christmas walk and meal at Lullingstone, seems to be becoming an annual event, which several members attended for the 5th year running.
So far this year we have been ten pin bowling, visited Chislehurst caves for a walk by lantern light, returned to the dome for a twilight crossing and last month a group of us went on a fascinating guided walk exploring the River Quaggy.
During our regular Monthly Meetings, we have covered such diverse activities as belly dancing, self-defence and learning to Jive; had a visit from a community choir; made sweets, mosaics and flower arrangements and had talks on genealogy, the local prefabs, and the Quaggy River (the instigation for our recent walk)
The book discussion group, started by Katherine last year has flourished and meets approximately once a month. Members come along and talk about any book they have read, sometimes, but not always, on a theme. There is also a card group, which meets regularly. Anyone wanting to start their own interest group is always very welcome.
The darts team have had a fantastic year, led by our enthusiastic captain, Kay. After the trials of the last 2 years, our ambition was just to win a match, but we ended up winning all our matches and progressing to the finals, held at Tovil last night. We held our nerve and won both our semi-final and the final – much to our surprise. On the way we met some lovely members at Honor Oak, Erith, Swanley Village, Crockham Hill and Tatsfield. A special thank you to all members who supported us as these matches, especially Sian who came to every one and we hope she will be joining the team to defend our title in next year’s tournament.
The supper club has had one outing to the Yak & Yeti and Fiona and Kay hosted a centenary cocktail club, both of which were very well attended.
The theatre group have had 3 outings: to the West End to see excellent productions of Guys and Dolls, and Motown, and a trip down memory lane in Bromley to see the 70’s based musical, Jackie.
Unfortunately, we have experienced the sadness of loss with the shocking, death of Lynne earlier this year. The family were very touched at the turn out from members at her funeral. We have also had the delight of new lives, with 2 centenary babies, Vicky leading the way, with little Gracie, soon followed by Trina, with her son, Keir – both of whom were brought along to a meeting to be introduced to all their new ‘Honorary Aunties’
In 2014 we informally twinned with St Mary’s WI on the Isles of Scilly. Since then we have swapped news and ideas, had a seed exchange and sent each other photos of the resulting plants. We also sent them a centenary scrapbook with photos and information about our group. In November, we had a visit from our contact, Karrie Skaife, who managed to join us at the district get together which was held here, so several members were finally able to meet her.
The forthcoming year promises to be just as busy and our thanks go to all those members who have helped in the organisation of all these events and activities.