WI Reports

Rugeley WI January 2023

Rugeley WI met up at Marsh Farm for their Annual Christmas meet-up in December 2022 where everyone enjoyed a very festive evening.

For their January meeting Rugeley WI were treated to a very informative talk and slide show given by Charlotte, from Staffordshire Women’s Aid, who have just celebrated 45 years of supporting the community.

Charlotte informed the group that Staffordshire Women’s Aid was set up in the 1970’s for local women who had suffered from common abuse. Their first safe refuge was a flat above a butcher’s shop which had no garden. In 2016 a new refuge opened with 12 self-contained flats for families and a communal room where residents could share meals together.

In 2020 Staffordshire’s ‘Survive’ was set up which is a sexual assault and abuse service. This supports families as well as meeting the needs of the victims.  There is a 24-hour confidential helpline for anyone who wishes to access this service on 0300 330 59 59.

Trish gave a vote of thanks to Charlotte for giving a very interesting talk.

Members enjoyed refreshments during the evening and a raffle and social time took place.

February’s speaker is Alan Lewis talking about ‘Women at War’. If you would like to join our very friendly group, Rugeley WI meet every last Wednesday in the month at St Paul’s Community Hall at 7:30p.m.

January Meeting of Ipstones WI

Joy welcomed 20 members to the first meeting of the New Year. We toasted the New Year and Ipstones W.I. with a glass of sherry and then Chris read the minutes of the November meeting. Joy gave us all a copy of the excellent Newsletter which she prepares for us each month itemising notices pertaining to our Institute and new items that County has in store for us. Our members can always say that we are kept well informed about what is going on.

Joy then welcomed our speaker for the evening, the Rev Jane Held. Jane is our local Anglican Vicar who has been with us since September 2021 and I am delighted to say that she has made a very favourable impression, within the Anglican Community and especially in the community as a whole., Her talk was entitled The wanderings of a Middle Aged Vicar and it was truly a fascinating story of her life and I cannot here do justice to the fascinating events and turns that have marked her very active years. I will just mention briefly a few of the incidents that have determined her life’s story. Jane’s mother was obviously a strong and interesting lady and she would I am sure have had an influence on her daughter also being her own person with a love of adventure. Briefly then, amongst so much more, Jane suffered from polio early in life the results of which she has coped with admirably. One of 5 children but later joined by a succession of 24 foster children. She went to school in Bradford, studied Geography at University, trained as an archaeologist and worked many years as she followed a career in Social Work which included chairing many high profile enquiries. I would recommend that other groups try to book Jane before she is moved away from our area. Of course I have not mentioned her journey towards becoming an Anglican Priest. I have to say that before I heard her life story I found her to be a genuinely lovely lady but after hearing her talk I was more impressed and it would be a joy to hear her talk again. Thank you Jane.

After the usual lovely cuppa and biscuits the prizes for “A poem for women written by a woman” were as follows. 1st Jeanette, 2nd  Sheila Leeson and 3rd Rosie. Well done, all the poems were great. The raffle was won as follows 1st Jane our secretary and 2nd Joan.

Cannock Women’s Institute Press Release January 2023

Meena and new member Alison Murray

January is the month when Cannock WI discuss the four proposed resolutions shortlisted by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) as the campaign that will be adopted for the coming year. These resolutions have been proposed by members nationally for consideration as causes suitable to benefit from the attention and resources of NFWI. They are always relevant to the community and society and vary from the very famous Keep Britain Tidy to encouraging women to attend for smear testing.  Each member has a vote and we will learn later in the year which resolution has gained the most votes for consideration at this year’s NFWI AGM.

At club we also held a gift swap to enable members to exchange a Christmas gift for something more suited to them. The monthly competition was to compose a limerick: something to stretch the brain cells after all that holiday indulgence.  The competition was won by Janis Lomas, but all the entries, which were read out, earned gales of laughter.

We ended the morning with some local WI business which included a warm welcome to Alison Murray, our new member, who accepted a welcome pack.

The next meeting is on Thursday 12th February 2023 when we will be learning how to begin to trace our family history.

Our meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month at 10.30 am at St Luke’s Church Centre.  Visitors are always welcome to join us for a cup of tea, a chat and the chance to find out more about WI.  Details can be found on our Facebook page or by contacting Staffordshire Federation of Women’s Institutes.

Cannock Women’s Institute Further information email: cannockwi@gmail.com and www.thewi.org.uk/staffordshire www.facebook.com/oakleafstlukes

Report for Broughton WI Meeting 12th January 2023     

        Making a Difference’ and Voting on the shortlisted Resolutions.

Ros  Langford (President), welcomed everyone to the meeting and wished everyone a Happy New Year.

Recycling: Marie Poole updated everyone on the project re. recycling of bras for Breast Cancer research and W. African women which has been ongoing since last September.. The original target has been well beaten as we have now collected 1,960 bras! The number had been boosted by an amazing donation from the staff and women of Drake Hall Prison ( who have their own WI), who donated 1,200 bras!! Marie has more donations coming in and expects to ‘burst through’ the new target of 2 thousand bras collected. Anne Clews remarked what an amazing effort it had been and that all the ladies in Eccleshall and the surrounding areas must be going bra-less. 🤣 Well done to Marie for her perseverance to make this project a success.

Eileen Heal was thanked for her donation of  large amount of material, whichYvonne French  will use to make the Buddy Bags that we were told about at our November meeting

March Hyacinth Bulb competition – Ros reminded everyone that the bulbs should be removed from their “dark place” by the end of this month, watered lightly and placed on a window sill. There was then a general discussion –  a couple of members said theirs had already flowered! Perhaps some hadn’t quite followed instructions.   

Blankets for Chemotherapy Patients. Anne Clews reminded us that this project was originally proposed for completion  in 2021, – our centenary year,  but had been delayed by Covid. The Chemotherapy Ward at Stafford County Hospital are now accepting blankets again, so Anne hoped to present our blankets to them at the end of March. They can be knitted, crocheted, quilted or made from fleece and be a minimum size of  1 metre square.  Yvonne has kindly agreed to make individual cotton bags to hold the blankets. The bags will then be given to patients by ward staff, and then they become the patients own property so they can be used at the hospital and also at home.

Our popular sub-groups, Broughton Bimblers (walking group), Gastronomigals. (Dining group) and Craft Club outlined their upcoming activities and dates for January. For the benefit of new members, Ros outlined preparations for the 2023 Well Dressing Festival  which will be held on Saturday  1st July. Planning meetings are on-going, and involve people from a wide variety of  community groups and interested locals.  Eccleshall Show 2nd Sept – Sheila Kettle thanked everyone  who had helped in any way at last year’s Show. She told us it has been record breaking in many ways and that planning was already well in hand for this year’s event, which they hoped would be just as successful.

NFWI Resolutions shortlist – discussion and voting:  Thiswas led by 4 Committee members in a round-robin format. The 4 shortlisted Resolutions for 2023 were discussed and voted on. The majority of votes were for the  “Save our Water”Resolution followed by “Clean Rivers for People and Wildlife”.  The results will be passed on to Federation Office for counting and onward referral to National Office. It will be interesting in due course to find out whether our voting pattern is reflected in the countrywide vote.

Everyonethen enjoyed refreshments which included a cake made by Brenda Howe (from a recipe in last month’s WI Life) which was a favourite of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II.

The evening concluded with  our annual fund-raising  ‘Raffle of Christmas Excess’ organised by Anne which is always a lot of fun.

Our next meetingis on Thursday  9th February,… . Our 102nd Birthday, when we will be entertained by the Broughton Players!   Members were invited to dress up and celebrate in style.

Happy Birthday Yoxall WI

Penny welcomed us all to the first meeting of the year, our 103rd birthday. We were also pleased to see a visitor to this meeting. The meeting started with the usual business and a request to fill in the resolution forms. The date for the coffee/ tea get together was announced, we will be meeting at the Bank in Alrewas this month.

Normally we would expect to welcome a guest speaker but this evening we did a Beetle Drive. The rules are very simple, to draw a body you need to roll a 6, which you must roll to be able to start. Then you need to roll all the other numbers to be able to draw the head, legs, wings, eyes and feelers. First person to complete their beetle shouts out and is declared the winner. While we were playing we enjoyed cheese and biscuits and wine or soft drinks.

Games evenings provide a little more time for socialising, we all enjoyed catching up after the Christmas and New Year break.

The competition had several entries and we finished the evening off with tea and biscuits and the raffle. Our next meeting is on Wednesday February 8th when Anthony Poulton-Smith will be giving a talk ‘ When Nature Called’. Meetings are held in Yoxall Parish Hall at 7.30 pm. Visitors will be made most welcome and the first 3 meetings are free.

ETCHINGHILL WI Press report   January 2023

Margaret Devey opened the first meeting of 2023. Apologies were read out for absent members and birthday wishes passed on to Janet Stanley, Kay Marshall and Margaret Devey . She then introduced us all to the speaker for the evening, John Stanley a Rotary member and volunteer for the Buddy Bag Foundation.

 John started with the sentence “Imagine if your world changed in a day, if you had to leave everything you own and everybody you know “. unfortunately, this is where many children find themselves, having been taken from their home environment due to domestic violence.  They are taken to refuge centres around the country with nothing but the clothes on their back. The Buddy bag foundation helps these children by providing a small back pack filled with essential items including the Buddy bag bear to make each child feel at ease in a tough situation. All of these bags are packed with love and hugs by the Buddy bag Angels, one of the group of volunteers that help run the charity. In fact, this charity is all volunteer work, and all of its funding goes to helping these children. This was a wonderful, inspiring and emotive talk and the vote of thanks was given by Tina Turner.

Moving on to other business, members were reminded to return their resolution forms.

We all gave thanks to Fran Brian for arranging the brilliant night out at Beaudessert golf club in December where we enjoyed a lovely meal and danced the night away to live music provided by Richard Parsons.

Dates for our diaries include an upcoming Federation County quiz on 23 rd. February for which we have two teams entering form our group. Also, the next group meeting is at Gentleshaw WI on Monday 13th March at 2pm. The theme will be CHOCOLATE and music will be provided by CWAGMS choir.

The competition winners for this month which was based on children’s books were, first place went to Margaret Devey for “The Little Red Hen” second place went to Ann Ingleby for “Peter Rabbit” and third place to Joyce Sanders for Pinocchio.

Finally, our much awaited annual auction took place led by Fran Brian and aided by Margaret Porter and Mary Crocker. This was a fun filled event with much laughter and, we raised a total of £106.85 for this group.

If you are interested in joining us, we would love you to come along to our meetings which are held at Etchinghill village hall on the second Wednesday of each month or, check out our website at etchinghillwistaffs@gmail.com



            2023 started with a busy meeting for Aston-by-Stone W.I. We heard about the Resolutions put forward for discussion at the Annual Meeting, and members voted on which they felt most worthy. These Resolutions are often taken notice of by Government: after all, the “Keep Britain Tidy” campaign started with a W.I. resolution on litter.

            A feature of our January meeting has often been an auction, with members bringing in new items they don’t need. Three auctioneers, Anita Murphy, Terry Milward and Chris Connolly, kept us amused and, more importantly, made us open our purses to buy the items. £100 was raised, the money going to the Associated Country Women of the World, to help women by giving equipment, animals or anything else needed to help them make a living and educate their children. There was also a display of craft items and paintings by members.

            Of course, we sang Jerusalem, and looked back over the December meeting, when we gathered to enjoy a Christmas meal together. In December we had also enjoyed a carol service in Saint Saviour’s Church in Aston. Somehow, Christmas seems better after a hearty evening of carols! Thanks to the Rev. Ian Cardinal for allowing us to use the church.

            Our next meeting, at Aston-by-Stone Village Hall, will take place on February 9th at 7.30, when Pat Saul will speak on “Tracing your Ancestry”. Members will bring in photos of themselves as babies, for a “guess the name” competition.        

            If that’s not enough to lure you in, remember that at every meeting there are home-made cakes to have with your cup of tea.             You can contact us at astonbystonewisecretary@gmail.com


Meeting 12/01/23

 Sue welcomed us all to the first meeting of the new year, which was a games and social afternoon. She began by saying that those members and friends who attended the Christmas meal in December were welcomed with a glass of Bucks Fizz followed by a hot buffet provided by Jennys Kitchen. Special thanks go to Heather and her friend who kindly volunteered to serve the buffet and wash up. The competition for best Christmas jumper was won by Beryl Dunning. Clare provided a Christmas quiz.

Sue then announced that we had been left a very generous donation in Eve Tonkinsons will. Eve had been a long-standing member of our W.I. and suggestions are welcome as to how we can best spend the money in her memory.

We then started to play a variety of games that members had brought and the hall was soon filled with chatter and laughter. The raffle was won by Babs. It was lovely to catch up with everyone and a most enjoyable start to 2023.

Next months meeting is also to be held at the earlier time of 2.30pm in the afternoon. We will be keeping fit with Louise Colman. Do come along and join us at the Village Hall, Trysull on February 9th, we are always pleased to welcome new members and visitors.

Wetley Rocks WI – Press Report

Meeting date: 10th of January

Hello 2023! It is already shaping up into a busy year with a fashion show planned from Springtime and the King’s Coronation there is plenty to look forwards too.

The meeting started with the usual business, the minutes from the last meeting which was November and the News from Stafford. Normally we would welcome the evenings speakers however a games night is becoming a tradition and tonight we did a Beetle Drive. The rules are simple, to draw a body roll a 6 (which you must roll to be able to start) and then it’s a 5 for a head, 4 for a tail, 3 is a leg (you need 6 of these), 2 for a feeler (you need 2) and 1 for an eye (you need 2).

Games evenings provide a bit more social time than the normal meeting, and the lady with the highest score moving on to the next table so it means you get to meet and talk to more members, there was a lot of spontaneity with a running “Grand National” style commentary and the odd song, excitement when a member got a beetle and the tally up at the end. Prizes were awarded to the top score and the lowest score which was in the spirit of the game. I think we all had the body parts and numbers memorised and were saying them in our sleep!

The competition had a lot of entries with 3 prizes being awarded and we finished off with some lovely refreshments and the raffle.

The next meeting is on Valentine’s Day, February 14th and is a talk entitled “All about Hawks” with the guest speak Wesley Sherratt. The competition is a pickup, where you need to bring a bird ornament. Meetings are held the second Tuesday of every month at 19:30 in Wetley Rocks Village Hall. New members are welcome, and the first three meetings are free,

Hayes Green WI

The first meeting of the year for Hayes Green WI was on Tuesday 3rd January 2023.

Rekha Haughton from Cedar Wills and Trusts limited, a local company from Heath hayes came to speak to us. She gave a very imfornative talk outlining the benfits of making a will and setting up Lasting Power of Attorney documents. Rekha talked about current legislation regarding inheritance tax and explained what happens to your estate if you don’t leave a will. She gave examples of how Trusts attached to wills could be used. She answered members questions and left her contact details for anyone who would like further advice.

Members then discussed the four resolutions put forward for consideration this year and voted for the one they thought should be adopted by the WI nationally for 2023.

The competition this month was to bring an intersting certificate. First place went to Jenifer, second to Karen and third to Marg. Jennifer had a good night as she also won this month’s raffle prize.

Members pictured here proudly showing off their winning certifcates.

Seventeen members of Hayes Green WI are looking forward to meeting up for afternoon tea on 14th January at local café The Pumpkin Patch.  Then on 28th January a group of Hayes Green WI members are celebrating Burns Night with haggis and pipers playing at the Premier Suite in Cannock.

The next meeting of Hayes Green WI will be at Five Ways pub in Heath Hayes at 7.30pm on 7th February 2023.


                               Chutney and Cheer    

Judy welcomed members, a visitor Rachel, and our speaker Mel Latham to the November meeting,

Everyone had read the minutes and Judy signed them. Our Christmas party arrangements were finalised.

Judy then introduced our speaker Mel Latham, who had set up her electric hot plate and a fantastic range of different chutney products she makes. With all her ingredients set out Mel started to make a plum chutney as she talked.  Mel decided that she would like to start a business to make and sell Chutney. She went to see the bank manager. He explained she needed to attend a Business Course before they could offer her help.  Mel passed the course examination and set up her company, Holly Cottage Preserves.  As Mel talked and stirred the chutney she walked about and held up different items that have made it quick and easy to prepare the ingredients, especially a destoner tool for the plums and a special funnel for getting the hot chutney into the jars without any mess. Mel also gave us some tips about bottling and sealing the chutney.  Mel was a very entertaining speaker, she told us about the big food shows she attends around the country. The mishaps that have occurred and the times she has sold out and had to go home to make more for the next day. Mel gives her produce unusual names. A most enjoyable and interesting speaker.

The meeting closed and we were able to buy Chutney and Preserves.

                                             Christmas Party

We had a new venue for our Christmas Party on Wednesday 21st December, The Greyhound at Yarlet.  Members and guests were soon seated enjoying catching up with all their news. There was a raffle ticket at each place for the draw later in the evening. The waiting staff brought the food out with quiet efficiency and everyone was enjoying excellent meals. When the main meal and dessert were finished we had a choice of tea or coffee.

Once the tables were cleared, we started the party, Pauline had set a Christmas themed quiz 36 questions, in 4 different categories. Nazareth an acrostic bible round, Shepherds and their Flock, Wise men and Kings, and Donkey round. Helen and David Anderson won the quiz. The big raffle then took place all the prizes donated by committee members. With 5 members celebrating December birthdays, 2 on that day, we sang Happy Birthday to them. There was a box for the Secret Santa charity money, which will be voted for, at the January meeting It was time to say good night to everyone and wish them a Happy Christmas and a Healthy New Year. A splendid end to another successful year at Sandon WI.

Our February meeting on 15th will be on Zoom. The March meeting is our Annual meeting, on Wednesday 15th March in Sandon Parish Room at 7-30pm.

Visitors are always very welcome to come to any of our meetings, if you are new in any of the villages around Sandon, Stone or Stafford do come along you will be made very welcome.

Kingstone WI

December Craft Night

After a short business meeting which included reports on the SFWI’s event, ‘It’s Christmas!,’at the Stafford Showground; NFWI’s Zoom presentation, ‘Behind the Scenes at WI Life’ and the Group Carol Service at Marchington, Jean introduced and demonstrated the making of Christmas baubles and lanterns.Everyone was soon engrosed in producing their own versions.

A very cheerful group of ladies spent time choosing materials, folding and sticking little lanterns to each contain a tealight. That done, they moved on to the next activity of bauble decorating.

Concentration was intense as the creations took shape

The meeting ended with hot drinks, mince pies, shortbread  and carol singing.

All that remained was to pack away and sweep up the stray glitter! Jean was thanked warmly for her hard work in giving members such a pleasurable and rewarding evening.

Next month’s meeting will be the New Year Party on Monday 9th January at 7.30pm in Kingstone Village Hall, when a homemade two course meal will be followed by entertainment from a ‘Flanders and Swann’ tribute act..

Cheddleton WI Celebrate 90th Birthday

Cheddleton WI celebrated its 90th birthday at Ashcombe Hall where it was formed by Mrs Wardle (later Lady Wardle). The present owners invited them to a tour of the Hall followed by light refreshments – a lovely morning!

The Ridwares DECEMBER – JANUARY Press release

December’s activities began with our monthly meeting which after the business was concluded was given over to a wreath making night. This was a well-attended fabulous ‘bring and share’ event with members producing some spectacular Christmas wreaths. Members brought foliage and flowers and dried oranges to share.

We were led by our very talented President Karen who provided some very professional examples for us to follow.

Karen was able to guide those less experienced members every step of the way.

We were all delighted with our efforts. Below are some photos of our efforts on the night.

Our ‘Tinsel & Trimmings’ evening was a resounding success.

Our members had worked so hard for several weeks in the run up to this event. This included coming along the day before to decorate the hall with swags and wreaths festooned with beautiful red bows and baubles along with our giant indoor Christmas Tree.

Members and local businesses generously donated items for our very popular humungous hamper raffle, some of which are featured in the photo above.

Some members had slaved over hot stoves baking and making a huge variety of festive cakes, pickles, jams and marmalades. Others spent hours over many weeks knitting Father Christmases, Snowmen, Penguins, Christmas Trees, sweaters, cardigans bonnets, hats and of course Christmas decorations all of which simply flew off our ever-popular trade stall. Wendy Lamb our trade stall leader is pictured here with just a few of her helpers.

We all enjoyed mulled wine and mince pies as we listened to the fantastic Lee Hall Brass Band whilst singing along to all our favourite Christmas Carols.

Our Tombola stand was a sight to behold, seen here just before we opened decked out with prizes galore.

We exceeded all our expectations on the night, making all our efforts well worthwhile. It was really heart-warming to see so many friends and neighbours enjoying themselves and getting into the Christmas spirit. A truly fantastic result.

We would like to thank the local business’s and individuals that donated prizes for the Bumper raffle and for the magnificent Christmas tree: –

Aceline Plant, The Levels Brereton for bottles of Moet and Port, Morrisons and Tesco for supplying mince pies and raffle prizes.

Jeff Gould for supplying the Christmas Tree and Richard Froggatt of Just Oil, Wade Lane Farm for his donations and switching the tree lights on and the Rugeley Gymophobics for the free three months membership.

Finally we must thank the LEA Hall Brass Band for providing such enjoyable festive entertainment.

Naturally as we are such an active W I we still have so much to look forward to as we continue our wonderful celebrations during the festive season.

We have our Take a Break Café on Tuesday 3rd January when we hope to welcome our neighbours once again to enjoy hot bacon rolls, tea, coffee and of course our trade stall will be there.

Our much-anticipated Christmas Party is on 7th December which we all look forward to every year. This is a chance to get dressed up, eat and drink well, share our Secret Santa’s and of course dance the night away.

This is followed by a coach trip to Stratford Christmas Market on 9th Decemberto buy those important gifts for loved ones.

Nextour indulgent afternoon Tea at the beautiful Hoar Cross Hall on 14th December.

With all these foodie events, some of us may need to watch our waistlines going into the New Year.

Our first event for 2023 will be our annual trip the Pantomime on Tuesday 3rd January.This year it’s Dick Whittington at The Hippodrome in Birmingham.

Tickets are now all sold out for this event which promises to be a wonderful show for all the family.


Our November meeting took place at The Nelson Inn to celebrate the 94th Birthday of our WI.  Our President welcomed everyone to this very special occasion and beautiful flower arrangements were made by Jan which were to be raffled off following our meal together.

It really was a lovely afternoon sharing together, food amazing together with friendship and fellowship with special ladies.  Here are a few of our photos for you to enjoy. Marg Nicholls.

Rugeley WI


Rugeley WI were treated to a flower arranging evening given by President, Barbara Coppard, for their November meeting.

During the evening Barbara showed members how to compile a Christmas flower arrangement.  Barbara had bought with her greenery from her garden as well as bought carnations and alstroemeria flowers. Within a few minutes Barbara had produced a beautiful flower arrangement, complete with candle, to adorn any Christmas dining table.

Members then proceeded to complete their own festive arrangement with oasis, containers and flowers provided by Barbara, and greenery supplied by members from their gardens. For the competition Barbara judged the best three displays, Ist Wendy Holland, 2nd Pat Walker and 3rd Susan Hill.

Refreshments were served during the evening and a raffle took place.

If you are interested in joining our WI group we meet up on the last Wednesday of the month at St Paul’s Community Hall, Rugeley at 7:30p.m. where you will be made most welcome. 

 Rugeley WI meet up at Marsh Farm in December for their annual Christmas Meal and wish everyone a Very Happy Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year.

Caption:  WI President Barbara Coppard with some of the lovely table decorations she had made.

Cannock Women’s Institute Press Release November 2022

The speaker at the November meeting of Cannock Women’s Institute was a representative from a company called Silvertime Legal who explained to us the importance of making a will so that following death, our estates would be dealt with according to our own wishes rather than as defined by the rules set out by law for those who die without a will.

There were also some suggestions about how to protect our assets during our lifetimes; and a generous offer of a free consultation for WI members.

The competition this month was to bring in a purse or wallet that had a special story to it, which would be shared with members.  The winners were Janis, Clare and Lilian.

Past-President Diana Jones presided at the meeting in President Meena’s absence: welcoming prospective members Joy Cornock, Alison Murray and Janice Wells; and particularly welcoming our new member, Celia Scrimshaw. 

Diana thanked social secretary Barbara who had organised two very successful coach trips for members and friends. Also thanks were expressed to Helen Hallchurch who will be decorating our WI Christmas Tree which can be seen at St Luke’s Church Christmas Tree event on 1st-3rd December 2022.

Our next meeting is to be our Christmas party which is open to members only, so the next time that we will be able to welcome visitors will be on Thursday 12th January 2023.  The committee have been busy in the background planning for this event, and will be organising a dinner and party atmosphere.

Our meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month at 10.30 am at St Luke’s Church Centre.  Visitors are always welcome and updates and details can also be found on our Facebook page or by contacting Staffordshire Federation of Women’s Institutes.

Cannock Women’s Institute Further information email: cannockwi@gmail.com and www.thewi.org.uk/staffordshire www.facebook.com/oakleafstlukes

Kingstone WI

After several days of grey and gloomy weather, the subject for the November meeting of Kingstone WI, ‘Twenty Ways to Lift your Spirits’,was very welcome!

The business part of the meeting covered National, County and Group news as well as reports from Kingstone.

Jean Gallimore was thanked warmly for the Card Making workshop which had been thoroughly enjoyed earlier in the month. There are plenty of events still to come this year, including Carol Services for both the Group, at Marchington, and the County Federation, at the Collegiate Church of Saint Mary, in Stafford; a Zoom opportunity to go behind the scenes at WI Life magazine and a meeting to learn more about the short list of Resolutions put forward for next year’s Annual Meeting.

Members were encouraged to begin knitting angels again, to be put round the village later; each would bear a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas. Children and adults would be invited to take one. This has become a delightful annual tradition.

Initial arrangements were made for the December meeting, when Jean will lead a craft night making Christmas baubles and lanterns, and help requested with catering for the New Year Party in January.

And so to the speaker for the evening…..

Jan Mitchell had become aware of more and more mental health problems when she worked in the health information field. This prompted her to put together this talk. She sensibly provided a hand out at the end of the talk to remind everyone of all twenty of the ideas that she had spoken about! Some of these served to take your mind off yourself and your worries, some were ways of lightening your mood through light, colour or scents. All in all, they were  a collection of easy, mostly free, ways to help yourself to feel cheered and positive. The talk was often amusing and struck a chord with many members, creating plenty of audience participation.

The meeting ended with refreshments, a Bring and Buy and the reading of the jokes which had been entered in the competition for the evening. This, the winner, was entered by Fiona Kerby. It will hopefully lift your spirits:

       ‘I finally did it.

       Bought a new pair of shoes with memory foam insoles.

       No more forgetting why I walked into the kitchen.’

Next month’s meeting will be on Monday 12th December at 7.30pm in Kingstone Village Hall. Do come and give WI a try.

Ipstones WI

Joan Mitchell. November W.I. November 2022

Our President, Joy, opened the meeting and welcomed all the members including 3 new ladies with the hope that they would soon be valued members. The minutes of the October meeting were read and approved.

Joy read the correspondence with details of the resolutions for the coming year. Members were asked to study the details of the resolutions in the monthly magazine in preparation for the vote. Other matters discussed were the County Quiz, the Rose Bowl Competition, The County Show Schedule the National Federation Meeting to be held this year in Cardiff, the Churnet Valley Group, the Christmas Tree to be decorated for the St. Leonard’s Lights night that we are making crowns for and, the always controversial, matter of the increased subs. We voted to go to the Queens at Freehay for our Christmas party and made our menu choices. Always an evening to look forward to.

Joy then introduced our speaker Dean who was accompanied by Norma. The talk was entitled Bah Humbug, Charles Dickens and our Christmas Traditions.   This talk did really live up to what I would have expected from the title and being a real fan of Dickens. This is truly  an inspiring talk and Dean talked not only about his many books and papers but his family life and most interesting his great interest in Social Justice and Welfare and how and why his name became so entwined with Christmas and Christmas traditions. I would highly recommend that booking secretaries make this talk a must for next Christmas if you have not already heard it.

The competition was a Christmas decoration and was won as follows 1 Chris 2 Joan and 3 Rosie.

The raffle was won by Chris – her lucky night, well done Chris – and Jean Lowndes.

As a member of Ipstones W.I. may I wish all other W.I. members a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy 2023.   Joan Mitchell.

Yoxall WI

Here is the Press Report for Yoxall WI November meeting  ‘ Life can still be funny’

As we were slightly depleted in numbers we did not start our November meeting with Jerusalem. Penny went straight into the business, all of which is in our newsletter. Susanna had sent on by email all the communications from SFWI.

Final details for the December Christmas party were discussed, mainly, who was providing our usual delicious desserts! The coffee/tea get together was announced, we are trying the Hawkesyard Vintage tearooms this time Our speaker for the evening was Pat Hall who entertained us with funny stories, jokes and anecdotes. She described the first time she had spoken in public, it was when she was 5 years old. Pat was to read a poem at the Sandiacre Methodist Church Sunday School Anniversary. Her family were poor, but her father had managed to get a small piece of silk that her mother made into a very shapeless tube dress. Pat was introduced, started her poem ‘The Windmill’, performed with actions, and to her horror the dress ended up around her waist, revealing bottle green school knickers! This vision had her audience in stitches.

Pat revealed that she had missed talking to women during the pandemic, no chatting in the shops or at the bus stop. I guess quite a few of her funny stories had come from these informal chats.

Pat went on to give us further jokes, all of which were very funny, and her comments on very early articles from publications such as Good Housekeeping. It was certainly a very entertaining talk, we all enjoyed it.

Our next meeting is on Wednesday 14th December, which will be our Christmas party. This evening is for members only, but you will be made most welcome at our January meeting when we will be having a Beetle drive, accompanied by cheese and wine. We meet in Yoxall Parish Hall at 7.30 pm on Wednesday January 11th.



The November meeting was very well attended.  Tonight was to be a demonstration on how to make a  Christmas wreath.  President Jenny Fletcher opened the meeting and welcomed members and two guests.  She also welcomed back Frances, after a long absence.  We were pleased to see her looking well .

 Helen Lyons and Sally Ann Emery  gave their demonstration on how to make a  Christmas wreath. The word foraging was used, so check your gardens.  They showed how to improvise, economise on items to build up the base, holly, ivy  and other leaves, plenty of florist wire and then add the flowers, baubles  ribbons. tinsel etc.,  Both ladies had a different  design and way of making their wreath and the result was very professional and lovely. Jenny thanked both for their demonstration.  Refreshments were then served.

Jenny continued the evening with information on the many forthcoming events, also requests for help from several organisations.  We shall be joining others  with a Christmas tree to be displayed at St. Stephen’s Church at the end of November. 

 Most villagers will have seen our W.I. Red Poppy Remembrance Banner which has been placed over the Memorial Hall, ready for Remembrance Day.  Lois Bellis and her team  had  refurbished and extended the banner, it is now twenty seven and a half feet long, and  looks even more stunning.  We are very proud of their work. Our thanks also go to the Memorial Hall committee and helpers for their help and kindness in allowing us. to place the banner on the Hall.

The Women’s Institute was formed in 1915,  to Inspire Women.  At our May meeting we had a very interesting talk from  ‘Blood Bikes Charity.’  Since then our member Tracey Nixon was so inspired she offered her services. She is helping as co-ordinator/controller and is enjoying it. ( she  liked the red and black sparkling pristine beast of a bike which was….” awesome,”….)  However, she has been given a phone and is controlling and co-ordinating the riders and is finding it very interesting.  Enjoy it Tracey, you never know.!

The competition was won by Shirley:  raffle prizes were won by:  Shirley, Angela, Sandra, Christine, Maxine, Pat, and Frances. Our next meeting will be held at the Great Haywood Memorial Hall on Monday 12th December 2022. at 8.p.m.  This will be a Festive Evening, wear your glitter tops or anything that sparkles.  If you are interested  in our activites and feel inspired, do come along and join us.  Our  first meeting in 2023 will be on Monday 9th January.  

The Ridwares WI

November’s activities began with our regular Take a Break café held on the first Tuesday of each month in our village hall.

We were packed out with kitchen staff kept very busy making bacon rolls and toasted tea cakes.

The photos show just how much people across the generations were enjoying themselves, catching up with friends, old and new. We hope to see you all here again next month, Tuesday 6th December 10.30 until noon, a must for your diary.

This month saw our ladies coming together for a fun craft evening, you can see the enjoyment on the faces of members as we worked hard together. The aim was to prepare for World Kindness Day on Sunday 13th November and our traditional ‘Tinsel & Trimmings” evening on 2nd December.

We are very fortunate in having many talented members in our W I. Over the past weeks they have created a number of delightful tiny gifts to drop on doorsteps to spread a little kindness.

Together we painted stones, made cards and sewed tiny felt creatures. Some ladies knit clever covers for chocolate oranges for our Christmas trade stall.

The Christmas trees, Snowmen, Father Christmas’s and Christmas Puddings are sure to go down a treat. Here are some of our ladies ready to spread a little kindness around the village.

No sooner had we all returned home than expressions of gratitude came pouring in on Facebook and email. This made all our efforts worthwhile.

Sunday 13th November – This is our Ridwares Remembers event. The remembrance service was outside our lovely village hall. Tea, coffee and cakes were served in the village Hall for people to come together and share precious memories. Everyone was very appreciative of the wonderful cakes on offer.

On Friday 2nd December We have our annual ‘Tinsel & Trimmings’ evening, doors open at 6.30, the Christmas Tree lights will be switched on at 7.00. There’s a lot to look forward to. Cake, mulled wine, tea, coffee and mince pies will be on offer. Tombola, our trade store and a humungous raffle will be on offer. Along with community carols accompanied by the Lea Hall Brass Band to get us all into the Christmas spirit.

Members have our much-anticipated Christmas Party on 7th December to look forward to. This is a chance to get dressed up, eat and drink well, share our Secret Santa’s and of course dance the night away.

Our brilliant event’s organiser Carrie-Anne has organised several outings for us to enjoy. First a coach trip to Stratford Christmas Market on 9th December to buy those important gifts for loved ones.

Next our indulgent afternoon Tea at the beautiful Hoar Cross Hall on 14th December.

Etchinghill WI


Since October this year, our group have been remarkably busy with planned outings and activities. Firstly, in October, several of our members attended the coffee morning at the village hall. Organised as usual by Mary Davis. we enjoyed a coffee and cake and the event raised £600.for Cancer Research and £500. For MAZE, the local Alzheimer charity. An excellent achievement as always.

In November Margaret Devey welcomed members from Rugeley, Gentleshaw and Longdon who had joined us for the 70th Anniversary celebration of the Rose and Shamrock group. Also attending were Helen Newman the Chair of STAFFS WI federation and Minna Andrews. We had arranged a cheese and wine party, where we could all taste samples of different cheeses courtesy of Hannah from “The British Food Box “. This was accompanied by wine, crusty bread, and nibbles. Whilst enjoying our food we were treated to some   amusing anecdotes about farming life in Burton from Hannah and her assistant. The guitarist Richard Parsons provided music, and we all joined in with a joyful sing along. The evening was an enormous success with many ladies from all groups commenting on how much they had enjoyed themselves.

Again, in November several members attended the fund-raising fashion show held at Mansfield House Rugeley which was organised by Glenys Richards. Two or three ladies from our group volunteered to help with modelling items from the collections. We were then able to purchase clothing at a reduced cost. Funds raised during the evening would be donated to various worthy causes.

At our usual Wednesday meeting for November Margaret Devey introduced two new ladies, Karen Missen and Shona Kingston who will hopefully be joining our group. Birthday greetings and apologies were read out and we then settled back to hear this month’s speaker Petula Hughes whose subject was entitled “All About Lace” Petula gave a remarkably interesting talk on the history of lace making throughout the ages. We saw the differences between handmade lace and mechanical lace and were then given a demonstration of the work involved in handmade lace which showed how delicate and time-consuming the process is. Ladies took time to view the beautiful samples of Petula’s work and the vast number of bobbins she had collected over the years.

The vote of thanks was duly given and Petula Kindly agreed to judge this month’s competition which was samples of lace and crocheting work from our members. First place went jointly to Ann Ingleby and Chris Stinton and second place went to our visitor Shona Kingston.

We finished the evening with our usual quiz on the subject “What Country am I.”  To end the year, in December we will be at Beaudessert Golf club for our annual Christmas party where we will enjoy a meal accompanied by music from Richard Parsons and hopefully a dance or two.

Our members meet up at Etchinghill Village Hall on the second Wednesday of each month so come along and join us. If you are interested visit our website at etchinghillwistaffs@gmail.com



Christmas is Coming!

            From the pagan Saturnalia, a festival which encouraged the light to return after winter, came eventually the Christian festival of Christmas. In about the year 400 A.D., the Pope decided that Christ was born on December 25th; we have celebrated this ever since.

            Margaret Thompstone, education guide at Little Moreton Hall, came to speak about a Medieval Christmas. We heard of the greenery decorating the house and of the Yule log – best if it’s lighted from the remains of last year’s. Legend has it that holly was used for Jesus’ crown of thorns; its berries, white originally, turned to red from the blood.  The cross was reputedly made of mistletoe, and it was so ashamed that thereafter it became a parasite.

            As today, much of the celebration concerned food, but the great difference was that people fasted during Advent. No meat, fish, eggs or dairy! We saw pictures of the food re-created at the Hall, and learned some fascinating facts about the items our ancestors ate. Mince pies, containing meat, had 13 ingredients, to represent Christ and the 12 disciples. They were originally coffin-shaped (in fact, more like an oval), and a pastry representation of the baby Jesus decorated the top.

Forks had yet to be introduced, so everyone carried a knife. Food was cut and speared, then taken off with the left hand. Tablecloths reached the floor, and, lifted over the knees, did service as serviettes: napkins were draped over the left shoulder and used to wipe hands and mouth.

Marzipan, or marchpane, was a great favourite for the sweet course. Queen Elizabeth I was so fond of it that she lost several front teeth! The talk finished with photos and descriptions of all the cakes and sweetmeats eaten in the old times, making us feel hungry, so the home-made cakes and cups of tea (served at every meeting) were doubly welcome. At the end of a Medieval Christmas feast, the leftovers, known as the dole, were gathered together and given to the poor. An early sort of food bank, and needed just as much as those we know today.

Our competition, for a Christmas table decoration, was won by Victoria Simpson with her splendid Medieval-style two-tier entry.

In December the W.I. celebrates Christmas in earnest, with a meal for members. There will be a Carol Service in St. Saviour’s church, Aston, at 7.00p.m. on 21st December, to which all are welcome. Our next meeting takes place at Aston-by-Stone Village Hall on  11th January 2023. We’re always pleased to see visitors, so Ladies, do come along and find out about us. As well as meetings there are many activities including theatre visits, walks, poetry and painting. If you are interested, visit our Facebook page or contact us at  astonbystonewisecretary@gmail.com.


Meeting 10/11/22

Our President, Sue Cotterell, welcomed everyone to the November meeting. She began by saying what a lovely outing we had last month to St Bartholomew’s church at Tong. The weather was kind to us, and we began our visit by walking with our guide, John Hallett, through the graveyard. He told us that every grave apart from one faces the same way. No-one has ever found out why this is. The most famous grave there is that of Little Nell, who is of course a fictitious character in The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens. It is believed that Dickens based the village where Nell died on Tong. In about 1910 the verger made a false grave for her and it’s reputed that he charged a shilling to visitors wishing to see it!

Also in the graveyard is a medieval standing stone cross, and on the outside wall of the church a series of crosses can be seen. These are thought to have been scratched into the stone by soldiers going to the Crusades. They would scratch one line before they left, and cross it with the other line when they returned. Sadly, some are without that final line indicating they did not return. The bell tower is noted for its bourdon bell, which is called the great bell of Tong. It is only rung on certain occasions due to its huge size and weight.

John then took us into the church where we were able to admire the beautiful architecture and numerous magnificent alabaster tombs, including the Stanley monument which has an epitaph carved into stone written by William Shakespeare. The only other epitaph carved in stone and written by Shakespeare is on his own grave in Stratford.  Our visit ended with a cream tea in the village hall across from the church. A truly delicious end to a most enjoyable outing.

The November meeting was a demonstration of Christmas wreath making by Pauline and Linda. We had all brought along a base and there was plenty of foliage and decorations for us to get creative with. We all left with a lovely wreath to hang on our doors this Christmas.

Next month’s meeting will be our Christmas party held at the Village Hall, Trysull on Thursday 8th December at the earlier time of 6.45pm. It will be a hot buffet provided by Jennys Kitchen. The competition will be best Christmas jumper or hat.


At the beginning of this year, it was decided that our W.I. would make poppies to decorate All Saints Church, Trysull for Remembrance Sunday. A pattern was given out, and over the next few months members started to knit. Gradually the numbers grew and by October bags full of poppies were ready.

At the meeting in October, we began the task of pinning and tying hundreds of poppies onto a backing of netting. The majority of poppies were knitted, but some were crocheted or made out of felt. There were different shades of red, and different sizes. Some of the centres were knitted in black wool, while others had a button for the middle. There was a cluster of purple poppies to commemorate the animal victims of war, and also some white poppies to remember all victims of war. By the end of the meeting a large section of the display was in place but there was still a huge sackful of flowers remaining.

A few members got together during the following week to finish the display, and finally it was ready. On Monday morning before Remembrance Sunday, some of us went to All Saints church in Trysull to arrange the poppies. It had been decided that they would go on the War Memorial where they would be seen by passers-by. Kerry from Peony Flowers had kindly agreed to come and help with the arrangement and with cable ties holding the net at the top and tent pegs fixed into the earth at the bottom, the display was draped around the memorial.

Many thanks to everyone who took part in making this beautiful symbol of remembrance.

Wetley Rocks WI – Press Report

Meeting date: 8th of November

Whoosh, that was the year flying by! It is hard to believe we are already in November with Bonfire Night behind us. The meeting started with the business, Cynthia and Barbara covered the last meetings minutes, news from Stafford and a few other relevant announcements including Linda’s memorial on Sunday 27th of November at 3pm, members are invited, and the WI remembrance wreath will be laid at the War Memorial in St John’s church by Jen on Sunday 13th.

Once the news and dates had been shared, Cynthia introduced the speaker for the evening, Bill Durose who was talking about “Christmas Traditions”.

Bill was entertaining and engaging as a speaker and I think we all learned something with regards to the origins of traditions and the relevance of them to people today. What made it so refreshing was that it wasn’t only a talk, it also included songs which everyone knew and were encouraged to sing whilst Bill played the guitar. I think that the ladies were relieved that our Christmas menu didn’t comprise of the roman delicacies of items such as snails fattened on milk and blood! I think we’ll stick to pigs in blankets. It was a thoroughly fun talk and was all the better for being a little different.

The next meeting is Christmas meal, will be at the Queens Freehaye on December 6th at 12:30, the competition will be the best wrapped Christmas present, with all gifts being donated to the local refuge. January’s meeting will be held on the 10th and the competition is your favourite Christmas Card from 2022. Meetings are held the second Tuesday of every month at 19:30 in Wetley Rocks Village Hall. New members are welcome, and the first three meetings are free.

New Hayes Green WI meeting on 1st November 2022

The New Hayes Green WI met at 7.30pm in the Five Ways pub in Heath Hayes on Tuesday for their November meeting.

This month two regular members Elizabeth and Wendy very kindly presented a great craft activity for the members to try.

Wendy and Elizabeth provided everyone with carboard cones, string, glue and felt shapes and we all worked hard to produce Scandi style Christmas trees.

We all proudly took our Christmas trees home to be used when decorating our homes in December for the festive season.

Everyone had a productive and enjoyable evening. The members of Hayes Green WI are very grateful to Elizabeth and Wendy for the time and effort they put into their preparation for the evening and for sharing their creative skills.

Rugeley WI October 2022 meeting

A very entertaining evening was given to Rugeley WI members for their October meeting by Chris Austin entitled ‘Into the Shadows’.  Chris is a member of the band ‘Fuego’ who play pop, rock, R & B and strict tempo.

Chris’s talk was about the popular group of the late 50’s: ‘The Shadows’.  Original members of the group being, Hank B Marvin, Bruce Welch, Jet Harris and Tony Meehan.

 Members were taken back to the 1950’s with Chris playing guitar music from The Shadows hits, which included their first major hit ‘Apache’, which sold over a million copies.  Feet tapped to the guitar music of ‘Wonderful Land’, ‘Kon-Tiki’, ’ Dance On’, finishing with ‘Don’t cry for me Argentina’.

 Chris also gave a very interesting talk about ‘behind the scenes’ events of ‘The Shadows’ who were originally called ‘The Drifters’ but to avoid conflict with the American vocal group of that name, changed their name to ‘The Shadows’.

Barbara Coppard gave a vote of thanks for a very enjoyable evening’s entertainment.

Refreshments were served and a raffle took place.

During October Rugeley WI also visited the Rugeley Food Bank with donations of food given by members.  WI members also helped by dating food that had been donated to the Bank by the public or supermarkets. Rugeley WI meet every last Wednesday in the month at St Paul’s Community Hall, Rugeley at 7:30p.m.


Meeting 20/10/22

It was a spooky atmosphere in the Village Hall for our October meeting. The tables were decorated with witches, ghosts and pumpkins and everyone had brought food to share. There was a delicious array of savoury and sweet nibbles to tuck into to start the evening.

After everyone had had their fill, we set to work attaching poppies to netting. These will be used to decorate the War Memorial at All Saints Church, Trysull in November for Remembrance Sunday. Members and friends had been knitting and crocheting throughout the year and we had a mound of poppies to work with. By the end of the evening we had made a good start to the project, but there are still a lot of poppies left to attach, so please keep an eye on your emails as we will be getting together again in order to finish in time.

Thank you so much to everyone for their generous contributions to the Halloween food and the hundreds of poppies.

 Next month’s meeting will be held at the Village Hall Trysull on Thursday 10th November at 7.30pm. We will be making Christmas wreaths, so please bring a wreath base and decorations of your choice.

Press report for Yoxall WI October meeting.

A visit from the Staffs Search and Rescue Team

Our meeting opened with the usual rendition of Jerusalem and then a few highlights were mentioned from the newsletter, including the monthly coffee/tea get together and the revival of the Scrabble group. All County information had already been sent to members by email.
For our October meeting we had 3 volunteers, Helen, Mark and Lee from Staffs Search and Rescue Team(SSRT). This is a totally charitable organisation, comprising 70+ members, operational and fund raisers. The volunteers have to buy their own uniform and equipment, fund their own fuel and transport costs.
They can be called out for lowland rescue, either urban or rural. In the first instance the emergency services will contact them, and if able, one or more of the volunteers will go to assist.
99% of call outs from the police will be for missing people, the ambulance service may need assistance moving a patient in bad weather, the fire and rescue service may need incident support. So SSRT are able to support all the emergency services.
There are several types of people who are at high risk as a missing person. Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients often wander from their usual walking route. Missing children always have a quick response. The mentally ill, whether despondent or suicidal pose a high risk, and not surprisingly, overdose alcohol drinkers. Pubs are often located near rivers or canals, the drinker who has had one too many, falls in the water, gets cold and in trouble.
The SSRT has many specialist assets, including drone operators, steep ground rope rescue teams, air support, mountain bike teams and search and rescue dogs.
It was at this point that Helen informed us that they had brought in one of the dogs. As she knew would now happen, her audience were waiting for the dog’s entrance. Helen bravely kept going!
The National Search And Rescue Dog Association recognises several types of searching dogs. These include those that scent the air, those that recognise a scent trail, tracking dogs and water search dogs.
Finally, with her audience eagerly awaiting the dogs entrance, Helen went through a call process. A duty phone handler, available 24/7/365 takes the call. The Police Search Advisor and the SSRT planner working together will use lots of data to decide on the search area. A 4 or 5 person team will be deployed, a Team Leader, scribe, navigator, radio operator and a first aid trained medic. The search takes place day or night, using a very accurate searching method, ensuring that the whole area is searched thoroughly. Anyone found injured is treated and transported to safety.
Finally, their was a very enthusiastic entrance by one of their dogs in training, Spectre, and all attention was on him!
We really appreciated Helen, Mark and Lee taking up their time to talk to us about this very important charity.
Our next meeting is on Wednesday 9th November when we will have Pat Hall giving a talk ‘ Life can still be funny ‘. We meet in Yoxall Parish Hall at 7.30 pm and visitors will be made very welcome.


This report covers the highlights of our very busy months of September and October.

To start us off on September 19th members enjoyed a day out in Birmingham city centre. First stop was a visit and tour of the Midlands Police Museum. The tour given in part by ex-police staff who explained how prisoners were held in the holding cells pending their court hearings, they would then be escorted via an underground tunnel system to the law courts next door. We also learned about the development of the police forces over the years and toured around the holding cells. finishing the very interesting and informative tour we enjoyed light refreshments at the museum.

We then walked to the pop up gardens in Victoria Square and enjoyed the sights of the 36 foot architectural trees which formed a canopy over the colourful planting grown by local communities.  Making our way to Centenary square we took in the magnificent sight of the ‘Raging Bull’ sculpture as was used in the Commonwealth Games ceremony back in July 2022. Whilst there we visited the Hall of Memory and signed the book of condolence in memory of the Queen. We finished the day with a late lunch at Ask Italian and thanks were given to Fran Brian for organising a brilliant day out.

Back at the village hall the September meeting started with a minutes silence to remember the sad passing of her majesty Queen Elizabeth 11 and our secretary Margaret Porter read out a statement from Helen Newman the SFWI chairman.

The speaker this evening was Mr John Colley who gave us a presentation based on the format of an old type of cinema programme. Included In his talk was a film on royalty dating from the 1800’s and he also included footage of our late Queen from her birth through to the 1950’s.  Ann Ingleby gave the vote of thanks to Mr Colley for his wonderful presentation.

Moving forward to our October meeting Margaret Devey welcomed Kath Reynolds and her presentation was entitled ‘Bringing Up Baby’ We explored the vast differences in child rearing back in the 30’s 40’s and 50’s rangingform the help from Dr Spock’s baby bible through to sterilisers, glass bottles and terry cotton nappies. It was interesting to see how equipment had changed over the years and we had many a chuckle over methods used back in the day. The vote of thanks for this humorous and interesting talk was given by Kathy Baxter. Kath Reynolds kindly judged this month’s competition which was photographs of members when they were babies. 1st place went to Sue Evans, 2Nd place was won by Chris Stinton and 3rd place went to Celia Wright. We finished our evening with Two Truths and a Lie where three members told their stories and we had to guess which one was true.

Our next event will be the charity coffee morning held at the village hall on 26th of October to raise money for M.A.C.E and Cancer Research. The event will take place over two sessions starting at 10.00 till 11.00 and 11.00 till 12.00  There will be stalls to browse for your gifts  and also  homemade cakes, pickles and chutneys .

Also, on Thursday 27th October we will be hosting the Rose and Shamrock Platinum Anniversary Celebratory Group Meeting. This promises to be a fun filled evening with Hannah from the British Food Box giving a talk’ Anyone for Cheese’ This will be followed by a cheese and wine party plus entertainment

Taking us into November we have a fashion show and clothes sale taking place at Mansfield House on the 2nd of November. Tickets for this event are priced at £5.00 and it is open to friends and family.

We finish our year with the Christmas meal at Beau Dessert golf club on the 14th of December.

Our group meets on the second Wednesday of each month at Etchinghill village hall. If you would like to join us, please come along and join in or visit our website at etchinghillwistaffs@gmail.com

Kingstone WI

The September meeting of Kingstone WI had been cancelled to respect the period of mourning for Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, so it was good for members to be together again on Monday 10th October in Kingstone Village Hall. They were greeted by a most attractive display of examples of thatching and the tools of the trade. Gentlemen had been invited as guests, as it was thought the subject of the evening may be of interest to them; and so it proved.

David began his talk by explaining how he came to be a thatcher. On his paper round, as a boy, he became fascinated by the contents of a pick-up truck on the drive of a newly built bungalow. One day the owner was with the truck and he was able to ask about them and learned that they were the materials of a thatcher. He showed such an interest that the thatcher, George Mellor, asked him if he would like to help at weekends…and that was the beginning of his career in the business. He is now the only thatcher in Staffordshire.

Starting literally at the bottom, David fetched materials for George to the foot of the ladder and cleared up as they went along , a practice that he still continues. Most weekends were taken up with small jobs of ‘spot mending’, so school holidays were a bonus, as he could see more and ask questions. By the age of 16, thatching was a big part of his life; so much so that he was sometimes tempted to skip school for a particularly interesting job…until his father found out!

This talk was packed with so much information on the history and process of thatching and so many amusing stories, that this report cannot do it justice. Some snippets told of the attitude and fascination of passers by. One chap stood looking at a cottage that he had almost completed, taking off eight feet of thatch which had been added over the years, and replacing it with a twelve inch thickness of new reeds. Rather hoping for a compliment on his work, as was usually the case, David was surprised when the man shook his head and said ‘That’s no good to me!’ Puzzled, David asked what he meant. It turned out that he was the owner of a gift shop in the village where he sold a range of tea-towels, mugs and ornaments featuring the cottage…which now looked completely different!

Some requests for his services were the result of a bit of one-up-manship. In a village with several thatched cottages, if one was rethatched it made the owners of the others wanted theirs to look just as good and not shabby in comparison. He had even had a request to ‘just do the front – that’s all people see’.

What skill is needed for this work! David’s trademark is the pattern of diamonds decorating the finished thatch…not a squirrel, as someone suggested, attached to the apex of the roof ( ‘a squirrel lives in a wood..your name is Wood’ )! Some families of thatchers do use additions as trademarks. The King family have a crown to complete their roofs; the Peacock family…well, you can work that one out!

This talk was of interest to everyone, not just to the gentlemen present. There are, in fact, a few girls really enjoying doing the job. However, looking round the room, it was unlikely that any of the WI members would fancy taking on a 7 year apprenticeship just now!

The business part of the meeting covered future events, both in Kingstone WI and the Staffordshire Federation. Jean Gallimore had responded to a request for another card making workshop and dates were fixed. The 14th November Meeting will feature Jan Mitchell, with ’40 ways to Lift your Spirits’. Who could resist that? Do come along and give WI a try.


A look back in time

            The Speaker booked for the October meeting was unable to attend, so Member Kate Wain stepped in with her talk about wedding dresses through two centuries. We saw slides of many dresses, which reflected the modes of the day. We wondered why women had consented to wear crinoline cages or bustles: the answer was “fashion!” The dresses we saw were, for the most part, a version of what was worn at the time, but this changed when the movies came into being. Now, people wanted to wear what the stars wore.

            World wars also played their part, for fashion was never the same after 1918. We began to think that we were fortunate not to have lived in an age where bulky but restricted clothing was necessary for a woman to be considered decent.

            Our next meeting will be on November 9th, when Margaret Thompstone, a volunteer at Little Moreton Hall, will speak about “A Medieval Yuletide”,to get us into the Christmas spirit. If you would like to visit us, ladies, do come along: you’ll be made welcome. We meet in Aston-by-Stone Village Hall at 7.30.


Wetley Rocks WI

It is hard to believe we are already in October, with the crisp leaves on the ground and the evening drawing in. The meeting started with announcement from Cynthia that we would carry out business after the speaker, without further ado Cynthia introduced Mary Button from Staffordshire Cheese.

Mary explained the history of the company and the local artisan cheeses that they made and how each differed, she went through how you made the different cheese based on milk temperature, curd size whether it was pressed or not, brining and other techniques. She had us guessing how much milk was needed to make a certain amount of cheese. I never really appreciated the effort that goes into making cheese and this talk was a definite eye opener. Member were offered a sample of cheese from Buxton blue, Dovedale blue or Staffordshire. The Dovedale blue proved very popular with members.  After the talk had finished members were able to purchase a variety of artisan cheese and butter.

After the speaker had finished Cynthia went through the news from Stafford and showed members the certificate, we had received on reaching out 75th Birthday! In addition, June was awarded a trophy for the best craft at Staffordshire Show for her beautiful Beefeater Beef, which was entered in “A teddy bear in Uniform”, well done June, and well-done Wetley Rocks WI. Here’s to the next 75 years!

The competition this week was 3 cheese scones, and this was kindly judged by the speak Mary, Marion came first with Paula second and a strong showing from June in third place. The raffle was drawn with prizes ranging from a bottle of shloer to bath bombs and then we were onto tea and refreshments.

There are several dates to note for your diary these are the Cake Sale at Wetley Rocks Village Hall on Sunday 23rd of October from 10 am, the WI will be making cakes for you to purchase and there will be other stalls. Also on November 27th there will be a memorial to Linda Brindley at St Johns Church, Wetley Rocks at 3pm. Linda was an active members and her larger than life personality is sorely missed. It is also worth mentioning that the Christmas meal, will be at the Queens Freehaye on December 6th.

The next meeting is at 19:30 on 8th of November, where we will have Bill Durose talking about “Christmas Customs” and the competition is a “pick up” is a treasured old Christmas decoration. Meetings are held the second Tuesday of every month at 19:30 in Wetley Rocks Village Hall. New members are welcome, and the first three meetings are free,

Hilderstone WI

Hilderstone WI recently celebrated its 88th birthday with a sit down meal made by caterers and a lovely birthday cake made by talented member Louise.



Great Haywood W.I. are returned after the summer break. A lot has been done  and there is a lot to say.  August… several members visited the  National Arboretum at  Alrewas, – members’ comments “another wonderful outing”.  A group paid a visit to Ann Wright for an afternoon tea in her beautiful garden at Brocton.  Members Helen Lyons and Tracey Nixon came first and second place after competing in the BIG VILLAGE QUIZ which had been set by the Haywood Society. 

President Jenny Fletcher opened the September meeting welcoming members and six visitors, in all forty five people attended this meeting ( had the job of washing up).  We made our usual  attempt at  singing  ‘Jerusalem’, getting better but not ready for Eisteddford.  The autumn programme is looking busy.  This evening was to be a social one.  The room had been set out in groups of eight at five tables.  Each table had a different craft to try  their hand at  and  test their skills or learn a new one.  There was crochet, some were making father christmases,   cards,   lovely glittery cards,  some really lovely gift boxes.  Lots of talking, confusion and laughter.  There really were some lovely items made and everyone was very happy with their efforts.

Refreshments were served, lots of cake.  It was decided to toast our new King Charles Third…..as we had no alchohol on hand he was toasted with tea and coffee.  A minutes thought in silence was given to our dear departed Queen.  A condolence card, signed by all members of Great Haywood W.I. was to be be sent to the late Queen’s Sandringham group in Norfolk.  There was a raffle and competition.          Finally the evening finished by singing God Save Our King.


President Jenny opened the evening and welcomed members and two guests Karen and Angela….Karen is now a member.  Jenny  brought us up to date with events happening in the SFWI.  Five members had enjoyed a most enjoyable  Open Evening at Stowe by  Chartley.   There was a group trip to Tutbury Castle.  We now have a book stall up and running, money raised this year will go to a chosen charity.  Several members helped on the refreshment stall at the village Flower and Vegetable  Show held on Sunday 17th September.  They really enjoyed their day,

Our speaker for this evening was Ruth Williams.  Ruth gave a most fascinating talk on Staffordshire Gems Part Two.   Part Two covers the  East side  of  South to North Staffordshire. I counted in all 40 GEMS (properties and places of interest).  Ruth  brought along a laptop and screen together with and information of all properties and wild life, plants, birds,  areas of natural beauty.   Our villages and the area we live in is full of these gems, Ingestre, Shugborough, Tixall, Wolseley Wild Life Centre, Blithfield Hall, Rugeley, Cannock Chase.  This part of Staffordshire covers a much wider area, such as  Cheadle, Kingswinford, Rudyard, many more places of interest. We ageed it had been a fascinating and most interesting talk.  President Jenny conveyed our thanks to Ruth.  Perhaps We do not appreciate what a beautiful area  this part of Staffordshire is.

Refreshments were served and no cake this month.

 President Jenny  had received a hand written card from Sandringham WI. enclosing a picture of the Queen at their Centenary Meeting in 2019,  thanking us for our Condolence card.  Jenny had brought it along for us to see.

Raffle prizes  were won by Shirley Beveridge, Jenny White, Barbara Bowman, Margaret Sleath, Angie  Bradley, and Pat Hobbs.

Competition of three crafted poppies was won by June Oliver. Our next meeting will be held at 8.p.m. on Monday November 14th. at the Great Haywood Memorial Hall.    There will be a raffle and a competition.  We are going to have a Christmas Wreath Decoration Demonstration….this should be very interesting.  Why not come along, try your hand, meet new friends.

SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER Press release The Ridwares WI

I was honoured to attend very special presentation event recently, as we won not one but two awards this year. The first the Press Report Shield competition won by our Press Officer Kath Parson. The Ridwares W I were joint first for this award along with Haughton W I.

The Judge’s comments for The Ridwares submission: –

Well-written, with a good flow, and plenty of photos showing what is clearly a very lively and active group. The way the words flow around the photographs creates a nice, easy read. And it’s lovely to see so many different age groups represented in the photographs, as well. A really decent effort and very pleasant to look at. 

The second the Freda Houldcroft Trophy for the best W I programme. The Judge’s comments: –

There was a good use of colour and the photos added and extra dimension to explaining the speakers’ subjects. Perfect size for the handbag and robust enough to last a year with clear information on how to contact the president.

Both awards came as a complete surprise, it’s an absolute delight to be able to showcase The Ridwares W I in this way.

Kath Parson shown accepting the awards from Helen.

Our September speaker for the evening was Kathleen Turner making a return visit at members request to share with us her passion for collecting musical boxes. Members learned some fascinating facts, for example the first record of a musical box was 300 BC, and in the 1500’s we saw the making of musical water clocks. Kathleen demonstrated 10 quite different music boxes from down the ages with members singing along to some of the tunes.

An extremely popular community event in September was our Cheese tasting evening. The hall was packed with members, family and friends all enjoying the delicious range of cheeses provided by ORSOM hand-made cheeses.

I must say Hannah worked very hard that night explaining how each cheese was made and ensuring each person had a taste of no less than 14 different cheeses.

People were encouraged to bring their own drinks to help cleanse the palate between each tasting… at least that’s what I thought the copious bottles of wine adorning each table was for.

Members worked hard decorating the hall, tables laying these with fresh flowers, crackers and grapes. Our harvest festival themed raffle went down a real treat.

October’s activities began with a Take a Break café, this is held on the first Tuesday of each month in our village hall. It was another well-attended community event enjoyed by all. The delicious smell of bacon rolls wafting down the street no doubt enticing people in. A well-stocked trade table with hand-made cards for every occasion, jams, marmalades, chutneys and fresh free-range eggs raised over £42.

October is ‘Breast Cancer Support Awareness month.’

Here is the wonderful display outside our village hall. There is much to look forward to in our autumn/winter programme. We have monthly craft sessions, next month for example we shall be making cards to distribute throughout the community for World Kindness-day along with painted pebbles and felt birds.

Members are very busy knitting Santa’s and Snowmen for our Trade Table at our ever popular ‘Tinsel & Trimmings’ evening on 2nd December.

Committee members are working hard to arrange several outings. Our annual trip to the Pantomime, this year it’s Dick Whittington at The Hippodrome in Birmingham, Afternoon Tea at Hoar Cross Hall in December, trips to a Christmas Market and of course our Christmas Party.

There is truly something for everyone to enjoy in the coming months.

All events are in Ridware Village Hall. Visitors and prospective new members will be given a very warm welcome. For further details please see our web site here. http://theridwareswi.co.uk