Report of Catford WI 2017
The last year has certainly been a packed one with a wide variety of interesting meetings and other activities. As our membership continued to grow a pace, we reluctantly had to agree a cap on membership of 70 during our last Annual Meeting. This was quickly reached by the beginning of our September meeting and we now have a waiting list of 15. This has meant our average attendance at meetings has risen from around 40 to over 50. Where possible we try to invite those on the waiting list to meetings when we receive apologies from members and also welcome them to our various activities outside of the meetings.
Our increase in membership is partly due to our continued success on social media where we have our own website as well as a facebook page and twitter account which currently has around 1250 followers.
Since retiring last April, Kay has gone into overdrive and organised walks, talks, sports and much more besides – I don’t think she has grasped the concept of putting her feet up! These have included outings to an exhibition on the Lost Cities of Egypt, the Christmas lights at Kew Gardens, a hidden London tour of an Art Deco tower block, a steam day at Crossness pumping station and most recently, a tour of All Hallows by the Tower Church.
She has also arranged a series of monthly walks, mostly in the Kent countryside, as well as a guided walk round the Southbank entitled ‘Slappers of Southwark’, the annual Lullingstone Christmas walk and lunch, a walk round the festive lights of London, the Walk the Line sculpture trail on the Greenwich peninsular and a guided walk in Trosley Country park. There was also an evening of tenpin bowling requested by members. Most of our events end with us eating and drinking together, which always rounds things off nicely and gives members a chance to get to know each other a little better.
In September Kay (who else) took up the NFWI challenge to get active and excelled herself, organising a whole activities week! There were events every day, ranging from walks to archery, darts and tenpin bowling all slotted round our monthly meeting which saw many of us waving our hankies around while having a go at Morris dancing. The week culminated in a very well attended pamper day, organised by Clare, Debbie, Max, Sian, Marina & Trish. In fact, the whole week was so successful; we are planning to repeat it this year.
Last year, after winning the darts final the night before our annual meeting, we came triumphant with our winners’ medals. This year we were knocked out in the first round after narrowly missing out in both of our matches. However the monthly practice has turned into a general social evening and has proved a great success, with many more members playing – so maybe we can enter 2 teams next year for double the chance of success. On these evenings members also come along to play cards, knit or just to have a chat and make new friends.
The book club has become a monthly fixture organised by Katherine and Hazel who take it in turns to host and members can share any book they have enjoyed reading with each other.
Debbie has continued to organise a variety of theatre trips to top West End shows, which this year have included The Bodyguard, The Girls and Beautiful, with Kinky Boots, 42nd Street, Twelfth Night and Dreamgirls to look forward to in the coming weeks.
We have also kept up contact with St Mary’s, our twinned WI on the Isles of Scilly; swapping newsletters and photographs and even one of our speakers – Nicola White, the mudlarker, who is going over to speak to them in July.
As always we try to arrange a varied programme for our Monthly meetings and over the last year these have included talks from a member of the Archibald Corbett Society about our local estate, a Kent chilli farmer and a mudlarker and artist who creates artwork from items found on the Thames foreshore. We also had a gardeners’ Question time with a lecturer from a local horticultural college and last month, at very short notice, Dorothy introduced us to the wonders of the Aloe Vera plant. On a more practical note, we learnt to play whist and made Christmas folding boxes and Iris folded cards – our thanks to members Kay, Jean and Caroline for running these. Our most well attended evening was our Caribbean Christmas social, organised by a sub-committee of Sue H (and her Mum, Teresa), Sue R, Ursula, Laura, Maureen, Hillrett, Ariel, and Evelyn.
Other members have also contributed to our successful year – Nicole took a group birdwatching at the Sevenoaks Wildlife reserve, Debbie organised a trip to Buckingham Palace as well as a meal at Turkuaz, Kay and Fiona hosted another successful cocktail club and Caroline arranged a vintage afternoon tea at Truly Splendid. We’d like to thank everyone who has got involved by helping at meetings, setting up, baking and clearing away – with so many members now it really is a great help. As always, any member is welcome to organise an outing or event and invite other members along – if necessary, the committee are always willing to give you support and we have already arranged a wide variety of trips to look forward to in the year ahead.