Well we have had another incredibly full and fun packed year, which has seen us trying many new activities, making new friendships and eating lots of good food! Over the last year our membership has remained full at 70 with a waiting list of up to 44. We have had a record average attendance at meetings of 57, including guests from the waiting list, and it has been wonderful to welcome so many of you to our group.
Our monthly meetings have included talks, activities, crafts and food. We have learnt Bollywood dancing and calligraphy, made paper baskets and decorated wooden photograph frames. We have had talks about the history and uses of herbs, the Crossbones pauper’s cemetery near London Bridge and from local resident Freya Rodger about her self-imposed challenge after recovering from cancer to try every sport for women featured at the Rio Olympics. We tasted some delicious West Indian food provided by members and enjoyed a Christmas social. To mark the centenary of some women getting the vote, we had a talk about suffragette Emily Davison and organised Voting is a piece of Cake - a suffragette themed afternoon tea. Many thanks to all those involved in organising these events.
Just after the last Annual meeting the 2 darts teams both took part in the finals of the Federation tournament, which, much to their delight, was won by Catford B team. Both teams entered again this year with new names. The Thundercats did not progress beyond the initial round robin stage but the Sweetpeas got to the quarterfinals, before losing to Yalding. Apart from the tournament we have had regular practices and have played home and away friendly matches with Woolwich & Plumstead Roses as well as being the guests of Bellingham Bowls club. As always, thanks must go to Kay for all her hard work organising us all.
Members interested in throwing a few darts can always join us at the regular Catford Extra on the third Tuesday of each month. This less formal monthly evening now hosts a regular craft group, where members bring along any individual projects they are working on or can get involved in the planned group project to create a table runner to commemorate our 10th anniversary next year. Thanks to Clare and Alison S for setting up and organising this group.
The supper club went Nepalese with a visit to Ghurka restaurant in Sydenham, while Alison MacD has joined Katherine and Hazel in running the monthly book club, where they take it in turns to host this informal group.
The theatre group has been a bit quieter this year with just a trip to see Brief Encounter, but a cinema group has been started with a number of outings all arranged informally via WhatsApp. There have been visits to see the restoration of the Painted Ceiling at Greenwich Naval College, a tour of the heritage spitfire hangar at Biggin Hill, a tour of the Natural History Museum and 2 stylish exhibitions at the V&A – on Ocean Liners and Christian Dior. Over the summer, several members enjoyed a mini cruise to Cherbourg and Guernsey and more recently we put our glad rags on for an Abba tribute night (although this didn’t go quite as planned!) Finally, we have been kite flying on Blackheath and a group of members joined the audience for The One Show at broadcasting house.
After axe throwing last year, Kay has upped the ante with more archery, shooting crossbows, plunging down a 225m deathslide(the highest urban zipwire in the world) and most recently, driving tanks across the South Downs!
We have done a lot of walking this year! There have been a wide range of walks and talks with London blue badge guide Kate Boyle who has lead walks round Clerkenwell, The City of London and Guildhall Art Gallery and a Suffragette walk round Westminster ; while Kay re-ran her popular Slappers of Southwark walk, for both our and other WI’s. We’ve also had photography walks, a lowtide walk in the river at Deptford Creek and Nicole took us on a birdwatching walk at Rainham Marshes. On top of that, there has been a Thames path walk and several members walked parts of the Capital Ring – a 78mile route round London, with Kay, Alison, Ursula, Audrey, Elaine and Cam completing all 15 stages – many congratulations. And finally, the ever popular annual Lullingstone walk and Christmas meal was very well attended by both walkers and non-walkers alike.
While we try to give members as much notice of outings and activities as possible, there are times when things come up at short notice, so we are increasingly using WhatsApp to arrange some of our groups and have an 11th Hour group for members interested in taking up last minute opportunities.
Members have also joined events organised by the Federation, including playing whist, singing, and attending the Denman weekend, as well as joining other Federation members at the Christmas Carol Service at Maidstone and an ACWW lunch. Kay again acted as steward at this year’s Annual Council Meeting, while Alison attended as our delegate.
It has been gratifying that this year more members have joined in organising some of our activities and our thanks go to all those who have got involved. Don’t forget, this is your WI and the more you put in, the more you will get out of it. Going forward, plans are well under way for a number of activities next year to celebrate our 10th Anniversary, with hopefully something to appeal to all of you.