Despite the tempting sunshine on May 2nd, 25 WI members gathered in the Village Hall for the Institute’s Annual General Meeting, preceded by a talk by member Brenda Courtie, ‘Vicar’s Wife at the W.I.’

President, Anne Frampton, opened the AGM by introducing the ‘Resolution’ to be ratified at the NRWI AGM at the Royal Albert Hall on May 30th. This called on the Government to ‘increase investment in the training, employment and retention of midwives’ in order to counter current staff shortages, rising birth-rate and increasing pregnancy complications e.g. older mothers, obesity, rise in multiple births. The Resolution was approved unanimously. Next, Treasurer Adrienne Hebdige explained that the WI year now runs from April to fit in with Examiners’ Reports, hence her Financial Report covered the six months from November. A cash ‘refund’ of £450 after the winding-up of the village compost scheme had allowed the Committee to fund a bursary of £250 towards the cost of a member attending a course at Denman College. Interested members were asked to put their names in a draw, to take place on 31st May. (Additional names to Jo Cotton, please. Tel 275262). Then Secretary Jo Cotton gave a useful résumé of meetings and events for the period.

The AGM business was followed by the ‘ordinary’ meeting: Re: Jubilee events, on Jubilee Sunday the WI will be serving refreshments in the Village Hall from 2 to 3.30pm. Helpers needed, please. At the same time, there will be a display of photographs from the ‘I Live Here’ project. Members are encouraged to join the list of residents pictured outside their homes. (Contact Jane Goss-Custard 277007) Invitations to our WI Jubilee Cream Tea on June 6th had been sent to known past members. (Please call Jo Cotton 278631 if you’re still waiting for yours.) Members to wear Red, White and Blue for this event, please! Orders for WI diaries and calendars now being taken by Janet Ward. Jo Cotton was congratulated on becoming WI Group Secretary.

Finally, Diana Budgen gave an informative report on the recent Devon Federation Spring Council Meeting in Torquay. NFWI Chairman Ruth Bond had reported the continuing growth in new WIs, and described her various visits on our behalf. Guest Speaker ‘gardening guru’ Chris Beardshaw encouraged us to get children involved in gardening, and also to play music to our plants; a recent survey showed better growth for plants listening to classical music and ‘Black Sabbath’!

Brenda Courtie