WI Reports

Cannock Women’s Institute

Press Release May 2023

God Save The King!

Members arrived at the May meeting of Cannock WI to find the hall draped with bunting and Union flags, tables were named after a member of the Royal Family and covered by red white and blue table settings with origami flowers made by our president, Meena. 

The meeting was opened with a rendition of Jerusalem and some WI business.  We were joined by County representative, Vice Chairman Verity Connor, who presented new members Jill Hall and Tracey Watson with membership packs.

Committee member Gill Gallear entertained us by reading a selection of news bulletins entitled ‘Not the Ten O’clock News!’ which was a stand-up routine that soon had every one laughing.

This was followed by a Royal Quiz: who knew our new King can play the trumpet?! The winners were team Camilla who each received a small prize.

A buffet lunch followed, accompanied by glasses of bucks fizz and fruit juice with which we raised a toast to our new King and Queen.

We ended the morning with a sing song inspired by the last night of the Proms with lots of enthusiastic flag waving; then a Coronation themed raffle, and presentation of a Coronation Celebration gift bag containing summer flowering: bulbs sending everyone home with smiles on their faces.

The next meeting is on Thursday 8th June 2023 when we will welcome a local crafter, Desra, to tell us how she became a bag lady!

Cannock WI meets on the second Thursday of each month at St Luke’s Church Hall. Meetings begin at 10.30 am.  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

The Ridwares APRIL – MAY 2023 Press release

April’s monthly meeting got off to a good start as we welcomed Darren Rudge our speaker for the evening with a talk mysteriously entitled ‘Teabags, Bras and Tights.’ Known as ‘the Laughing Gardener’ Darren is the permanent gardening expert for BBC WM. True to form Darren ensured we all had a good laugh during the evening whilst picking up many useful tips saving us both time and money in our gardening activities.

Who knew Aspirin dissolved in water and used to feed houseplants once a month will keep them healthy? Or teabags steeped in water for 3 weeks can be used to perk up acid loving plants like azaleas, camellias or pieris?

Preparations for our St Georges Day Tea began early with members gathering to decorate the hall. We are very grateful to some of our male supporters, these gentlemen come along to lay out tables and chairs and scramble up ladders to hang bunting and flags. We simply could not mount these events without their help.

We have a lot of keen and enthusiastic members who bake for such events and help out on the day. Some of those ladies are relaxing with a well-earned cuppa.

The teas we put on throughout the year to celebrate our national Saints days are very well attended, we are told people look forward to these for weeks ahead.

It’s a lovely opportunity for people to get out and about and enjoy the company of neighbours and friends. Judging by the noise levels in the hall there seemed to be fun and laughter all afternoon.

Our ever-popular raffle had a wide array of imaginative goodies, the draw for winners seemed to go on for ever.

Our trade table too was groaning under the weight of the jams, pickles, marmalades, cakes, craft items and food from the garden.

The afternoon concluded with a rousing rendition of some of our most loved songs. Leading the singing was our President Karen Wakefield accompanied by husband Alan. We raised the roof, as people sang together a dozen or more of our all-time favourites. including Roll out the barrel, Knees up Mother Brown, It’s a long way to Tipperary and lots more.

Several of our members thoroughly enjoyed the speakers at the Here Comes Spring event proving age far from being a barrier, can in fact spur you on to follow your dream.

Staffordshire author Phillipa Ashley, seen here in conversation with our W I Advisor Helen Newman, was 41 when she wrote her first novel. She now writes 3 a year!

Louise Grey started her sustainably sourced jewellery business, Silver Sentiments – in Staffordshire – in her fifties leaving a career as a legal secretary behind.

The Keynote Speaker, Nancy Birtwhistle winner of ‘The great British Bake Off 2014,’ seen signing my book Green Living Made Easy.

Nancy swapped baking recipes for cleaning product recipes in her sixties! Now a Sunday Times bestseller she explained how over time she has become an Eco Warrior, she is passionate about doing all she can to save the planet.

Nancy was both inspiring and entertaining with her many tales of some of the disasters she’s had when experimenting with various potential cleaning ingredients.

 It was a great day all round- excellent speakers, who all three embodied our W I brand of being INSPIRING WOMEN. With many stalls to satisfy the need to shop, too. Well done the SFWI Events Committee!

Our Take a Break café continues to be very popular. Well supported by our local community it’s a chance for us all to catch up on local news and events.

The talk this month was all about the upcoming Scarecrow Trail to be held over the coronation weekend.

Some members of the committee had been beavering away for weeks leading up to this new fun event put on by the Village Hall Committee. We unanimously agreed to dress our scarecrow as a suffragette, and named her Christabel.

We had great fun sourcing second hand clothes and hats online. Her face was lovingly made up, and included weather proofed cling filmed (sorry Nancy) sky blue eyes!

Our new committee watts app group seemed to have several messages daily with updates on her progress. Another gentlemen supporter made the fabulous banners for us.

Last, but definitely not least, I must mention the W I members who got involved in the Big Help Out, turning out to help tidy up our lovely village.

Preparations are now underway for our annual Midsummer Afternoon Tea. This year it is on Thursday 8th June at 3.00 pm at the Village Hall. We do hope you can join us.

Coming next month: – We launch our new promotional materials, banner and leaflet, AGM, Midsummer Tea, plans for SFWI competition entries, our involvement in the Village Fete and Menafest celebrations and work on our allotment with the youth of the village.

Yoxall WI May meeting

Our speaker for the evening was Anna- Louise Pickering, the daughter of the late Pollyanna Pickering. Many of the members had met Pollyanna so were looking forward to the talk.

Pollyanna had studied many endangered animals all around the world and this particular talk was on the Giant Panda in China. She had a career spanning 50 years and her original artwork was exhibited in galleries internationally. She won many awards and held the role of Patron of the Wildlife Art Society International. In 2000 she established The Pollyanna Pickering Foundaton to raise funds and campaign for conservation and animal welfare worldwide. We were shown many slides of one of their visits to China. They flew on one of the smaller airlines, Dragonair, to a region of China called Chengdu in Sichuan. This was a city of bikes and they sampled some very unusual food there. The countryside was full of paddy fields, being ploughed by wooden ploughs and the rice plants being planted by hand. Pollyanna had been commissioned to write a book and they were heading towards the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. It’s mission is to protect and breed giant pandas, red pandas and other endangered wild animals endemic to China. Here, they were able to see red pandas and learn a lot more  about the breeding programme.

They hiked deep into the mountains to the Tibetan borderland, where Westerners had nor been seen for a long time. Initially, after much discussion Pollyanna was allowed to visit 1 Panda, for 1 hour and take just 1 photo. Luckily, this visit was massively extended and Pollyanna was able to take many more photos, sketch them in their natural habitats and collect material for her book. Anna- Louise accompanied her talk with lots of slides and reminiscences of that particular visit with her mother. We were all enthralled with the photos and paintings of the Giant Pandas.

Our competition and refreshment theme for the evening was the recent coronation. We enjoyed cake with our tea and coffee and lots of royal items had been found for the competition. Our next meeting is on Wednesday 14th June and this will be for members only, as it is our birthday meeting. You are very welcome to join us at our meeting in July, on the 12th.

Etchinghill Press Report May 2023   


The May meeting was opened by our President Margaret Devey as she welcomed us to the village hall.  Margaret read out the apologies for members unable to attend and passed on birthday wishes to Chris Stinton, Celia Wright, Kathy Baxter, Bridie Heath and Margaret Porter.

Tonight, in place of our usual speaker we had a Spud and Pud party as we were celebrating Etchinghill WI  77th birthday as well as the new Kings coronation.  Each of our ladies brought their own baked potato and then helped themselves to a selection of toppings all made by the group members. To follow we had a wide choice of puddings again supplied by various members accompanied by a lovely glass (or two) of summery Pimms. We raised a glass to toast the king and Etchinghill group WI.

The fun continued with a variety of party games and after much hilarity we finished the evening with a quiz courtesy of Ann Ingleby.  We all agreed it had been a wonderful evening.                       

We meet on the second Wednesday of each month at Etchinghill Village Hall. New members would be very welcome so come along if you would like to join our fun group or check out our website at etchinghillwistaffs@gmail.

Kingstone WI

Kingstone WI is 105!

Members and guests celebrated with a birthday lunch on Friday 12th May at Marsh Farm.

A birthday cake was cut by Judith Hickman, the newest member, and Shirley Turner. The cake had been made by Shirley’s daughter, Caroline Hickey and decorated by Jean Gallimore.



 Paula White, of BBC Radio Stoke, was the Speaker this month at Aston-by-Stone W.I. Over the years she has held a comprehensive list of posts at different Midlands radio stations, and has experienced the highs and lows of life in that medium. One “high” was literally that: flying in a small Cessna plane at 2,000 feet, reporting on the traffic!

Beginning as a newsroom assistant at Signal Radio, and with a brief spell as a journalist at BBC Radio Southern Counties, where her Potteries accent was perhaps not fully appreciated, she has experienced most jobs in radio, and has, in her present post, attracted a loyal audience. The lows, however, intrude, and at present her job is uncertain due to cuts and centralisation.

She was an amusing Speaker, full of anecdotes and keeping us laughing. The best stories, apparently, are overheard on the bus.  Memories of the wartime cartoons featuring German spies!

This meeting was also a salute to the coronation of His Majesty King Charles III. Members responded enthusiastically to the appeal to wear red, white and blue, and the competition, which attracted a bumper entry of well-crafted items, was to make a crown.  We also sang “God Save the King” with gusto!

 Next month we are to  have a fashion show. This will be an open meeting, so all are welcome, as indeed is the case every month. We meet at Aston-by-Stone Village Hall on June 14th at 7.30 p.m. Come early, bring a friend, observe, browse and maybe buy the fashion bargains on offer, then enjoy delicious home-made cake with your cup of tea.

Ipstones W.I 

Let’s start this month’s press report with a big thank you to Joan who has been our Ipstones correspondent for a number of years.  She wrote succinctly, yet with humour and I hope I can follow in her footsteps. 

This month’s meeting was opened by our President, Joy, who read the correspondence, detailing a number of activities and competitions available to members.  She showed us some clothes and blankets destined for premature babies, beautifully knitted by one of our members.

The flower festival at St Leonards church next month was discussed briefly, as was our up-and-coming group meeting with members from nearby W.I.s groups.  A show of hands demonstrated that we will be well supplied with cakes for this event! 

“You’re on duck” was Joy’s interesting introduction to our speaker this month; Catherine Bradbury, who is a Radiographer with University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust.

The topic was Womens’ Health, focusing on the causes of infertility and the damage caused by childbirth.  I think the first surprise to many of us was the number of variations in the structure of the uterus!  Catherine used diagrams and scanned images to explain how each could result in problems with fertility. 

We were further surprised by the worryingly common causes of incontinence.  Catherine explained that, while some occur in men, for women this is often caused by childbirth.  Many of us admitted to quietly practising ‘the squeeze’ as she talked about the importance of pelvic floor exercises!

This was a fascinating talk, supported with images (both still and moving) from scans showing how radiography is used to diagnose the causes of incontinence.  Catherine finished her talk by opening the floor to questions, which, perhaps not surprisingly, quickly became a general discussion on the state of the NHS. 

Our thanks was given to Catherine with a round of applause.  The competition (a favourite item which brought back happy memories) was won by Jeanette, with Pauline in second place and Jean in third.  Yvonne and Jean were lucky in the raffle. Finally, breaking out the cake and fizz, we closed the meeting with a toast to the King

Wetley Rocks WI

Welcome to May, M – Make this month count, A – Accomplish your goals, Y – You can do this. Which seems a fitting opening at tonight was the AGM, a celebration of the Kings Coronation event and our 77th Birthday.

The AGM started with Barbara reading out the secretary’s statement for the year, followed by Gill sharing the account before Cynthia, the president shared her statement. All statements were passed by members. What was lovely is that Cynthia had got the meeting minutes from the AGM in 1977, which incidentally was the Queens Silver Jubilee. It was interesting to see how much and yet at the same time how little has finished, subs had increased to £1.50 and the group was planning a fashion show with Slimma from Leek. I think we would all like subs to still be £1.50! The fashion show theme is still with us, even if Slimma sadly no longer are, our Fashion show is on Friday 12th of May @ 19:30 in the Wetley Rocks Village Hall, doors open at 19:00 and it’s been a sell-out.

After the business of reading the statements, and the elections for next year’s committee and president were held and the results read out members were able to enjoy the more social aspect of the AGM. We also had a chance to welcome the two new committee members Wendy and Jacqui whilst our newest member Pam cut the Birthday cake, loving baked by Paula.

Whilst pieces of birthday cake were handed around and members enjoyed a buffet funded from fund raising efforts throughout the year, and settled down to catch up on one another’s news, Louise who takes care of the village hall was kind enough to come and judge the competition which was a handmade crown any medium. There were some glorious creations, and it was lovely to see how creative our members are.

To wrap the evening up we had a biscuit name quiz where the prize was one of Paula’s cupcakes, one each for the winning team, it was good fun and made you think – my favourite one being “half a loaf” which was shortbread!

Meetings are held the second Tuesday of every month at 19:30 in Wetley Rocks Village Hall. Junes’s speaker is Jan Mitchell who is talking about “Sleeping Well” and the competition is a pick up for an eye mask or sleep mask.. New members are welcome, there is no requirement to bake or sew, or do any crafting, all you need to be is yourself and the first three meetings are free.

Hayes Green WI

On Tuesday 2nd May the ladies of the Hayes Green WI met in the Five Ways pub in Heath Hayes for their AGM and to celebrate the forthcoming coronation of King Charles III.

Reports on the activities and finances of the Hayes Green WI over the past twelve months were shared and adopted at the AGM. A committee was appointed and Val Lomas was elected to continue serving as President. We were pleased to have Helen Newman from Staffordshire WI join us for the evening and she talked to us about why and how resolutions are adopted each year for the WI to campaign on. It was interesting to learn that the first resolution adopted by the WI, more than one hundred years ago, a resolution to get female Police Officers appointed throughout the country which was a suggestion from Staffordshire – at the time only male Police Officers were employed. The well known “Keep Britain Tidy” and “Clunk Click Every Trip” campaigns from the past both steem from WI resolutions showing the influence the WI can have on our society.

This month’s competition was to bring a wedding photo. Helen chose these as her favourite photographs. Members attended the evening wearing red white and blue to commemorate the coronation of King Charles and were treated to some lovely coronation cupcakes baked by Hayes Green WI members Moira and Helen.

The ladies also had a chance to do some fun activities related to the Coronation. We had a pin the jewel on the crown competition and a raffle for a Coronation celebration cake kindly baked and donated by WI member Helen and everyone made their own crown.

Our next meeting is on June 6th with a talk on Guide Dogs.

Eccleshall WI

Eccleshall WI chose the nursery rhyme’Sing a Song of Sixpence’ to represent the Coronation when we decorated the Eccleshall Library window. All the members had a hand in creating the items from knitting blackbirds ,threading beads for the crowns to making the blossoms on the tree. It has been a great way to involve everyone in the celebrations and to demonstrate the skills within the WI. The display is in the Library until the 13th May.
The display was installed by Jo Edwards, Chris Timmis, Chris Kinnersley, Chris Weston, Eileen Forrest, Wendy Baskerville and Suzanne Evans.

Tettenhall & District WI AGM 17/04/2023 The Newman Centre Tettenhall.

Inspiring Women is at the heart of the WI so with this in mind we invited a young female entrepreneur Amanda Leek @ Fairy Good Cakes  to be our Guest Speaker at our AGM.

Amanda has a distinctive pink van from which she sells her home made cakes within the Walsall Borough. She has just renewed her trading licence for the next 12 months as her business has continued to build through her social media profile. Fairy Good Cakes recently celebrated reaching 15000 followers on Facebook and Instagram.

The most popular cake Amanda sells is Old School Sponge, the varied selection displayed in her little Pink van brings a smile to her regular customers faces in the Brownhills area. Queues will often form as they wait for Amanda to arrive in her van which plays “The Sugar Plum Fairy”.

Representatives from our three Charities we have supported this year are pictured with Amanda and Wenonah Davies our President.



The meeting was held a week later than normal due to Easter Monday being on our normal meeting date. The May  meeting will  be  held  a week later due to the Coronation Bank Holiday.  The March meeting was the Annual Meeting, there were no changes on the committee.  Today’s meeting was the first in the new programme of events for the next 12 months.  We have a very energetic, entertaining and enterprising  committee and   look forward to a further eventful year.

President Jenny Fletcher opened the meeting and welcomed everyone.  Our speaker Glynis Miles and her associate Maggie were to teach us about Deaf Awareness and Sign Language.    Glynis gave a short history of how she became interested in  the subject 20 years ago.,   She showed hand signs and their meanings, and how they are interpreted in speaking terms.      We were then treated to the music of ‘ Sweet Caroline’ and had to mime and sign language the song, this was followed by ‘Delilah’, the enthusiasm of the audience was quite impressive and fun.   This way of teaching sign language seemed more simplified, it also made us more aware on how to respond to someone hard of hearing or deaf or possibly foreign. Once more we have learned something new.  Catherine, on our behalf, gave  thanks to both Glynis and Maggie, who had been most  helpful and friendly.  They both agreed we were excellent and had grasped the signs quickly. 

President Jenny went through the monthly SFWI newsletter/bulletin and made new members aware of all the events happening and how to take part.   Lots of events in the pipeline. Helen Lyons won the competition. The raffle prizes went to: Ann Crow, Anne Clendon, Jenny Fletcher, June Oliver, Catherine Lancaster-Graham, Val Smith, Angie Bradley, and Helen Lyons. 

There will be a meeting on May 15th 2023 at 8.p.m. with a talk from the Air Ambulance. A competition:….. A piece of Coronation Craft….. also a Raffle and  refreshments. Do come along and join us, be inspired, make new friends, lots of interesting talks, trips out, pub lunches, afternoon teas, breakfast…. come along and and you too might have something to inspire us.  We await new interests and are always ready to listen and learn.

The Ridwares WI

Our April Take a Break café has become very popular. This month we were packed with every seat taken.  Local people are coming along to enjoy delicious bacon butties or toasted tea cakes and most of all to catch up with friends and neighbours.

This month the Ridwares W I celebrated our 75th birthday in style. This event took months of meticulous planning by our resourceful committee who were ably supported by our WI male friends, Alan, Chris and John

The first sign of the excitement to come was the erection of the fabulous sign made by Alan Wakefield in front of the village Hall during our Show the Love campaign in February.

On the night 61 members including our 13 guests were greeted by our President Karen Wakefield and all the committee members before viewing the professional table plan. Our Official Photographer Steve Higgins took photos of everyone as they arrived.

The Hall and tables were decorated in stunning black and gold colours and looked absolutely fabulous. The tables were laid very professionally with name places and favours for each person.

We enjoyed some excellent food, as can be seen from the ladies plates here. Woodlands Caterer’s did a splendid job serving us all admirably during the evening? A few bottles of liquid refreshment helped the evening go with a swing too.

The Ridwares W I have a reputation to uphold when it comes to raffles. Our birthday raffle was no exception, seen above the prizes were simply spectacular.

We also had table raffles for the beautiful flower arrangements all made by our President Karen Wakefield.

The Fantastic  entertainment for the evening had us all up on our feet dancing the night away.

Roger and Kelly kept us all thoroughly entertained all evening.

During the intermission we heard from five of our members who gave short talks.

Meryl Mattey spoke of our history, then Kate Britt and Karen Parsons reminded us of all the things we now do to fully engage with our community. This includes many events that have now become permanent fixtures in the village calender.

Two of our newer members, Carrie-Anne Smith and Chris Gates told us why they had joined us and what they get out of W I membership.

We have four members who were 75. Kate Beechy, Rachel Roobottom, Betty Hyde and Wendy Thomas. These ladies seen here alongside our W I Advisor Helen Newman were invited to cut the stunning birthday cake made by Karen Wakefield.

We also took the opportunity to ask Helen Newman to present Meryl Mattey with a long service award for being a member for 40 years. Helen was delighted to do so.

We received many compliments from our guests from the other W I’s in our group, not only on the night but also in the days following with lovely letters of thanks and appreciation.

There is no doubt that all the hard work was well worthwhile as the evening gave us all so many happy memories.

Our monthly meeting had two different elements. Members were welcomed with a slide show of all the stunning photographs taken at our recent Birthday party being shown on the enormous village hall TV screen and invited to view the many thank you cards we received.

Once the usual business of the meeting was concluded we heard from Jeanette Roberts. Jeanette is passionate about the state of our rivers, she gave an excellent presentation on the perilous state of our rivers. We then reaffirmed our resolution vote.

The latter part of the evening was given over to six small focus groups led by Karen Parsons and Chris Gates. The groups were asked to discuss and respond to five questions.

What do you enjoy most about W I?

How should we promote ourselves?

What would you like to see more of?

What do you think about the current times/day of meetings?

How would you like us to communicate with you?

Member responses to these questions will be discussed at our next committee meeting and fed back to members at our next monthly meeting.

I am delighted to report that the bench we fundraised for last year to celebrate the Queens Jubilee has now been put in place.

We would like to thank Alan Wakefield, Alan Giles and John Hall for putting it in place and Simon Smith for organising the plaque for the bench.

W I members have now planted spring flowers in front of the  bench for everyone to enjoy.

We would also like to thank DHL for the £280 match funding. This amount matched the funds we raised from the sale of raffle tickets and the Christmas Tombola.

We are now busy planning for our next monthly meeting ‘Tea bags, bras and tights’ Don’t ask…

Preparations are also underway for our annual St Georges Day Tea. This year it is on Thursday 20th April at 3.00 pm at the Village Hall. We do hope you can join us.



Our new president, Pam Lowe, took the chair. Her first duty was to present to our retiring President, Chris Payne, a token of our appreciation for the 5 years of her Presidency. Chris did a grand job of keeping the W.I. going over lockdown. Certificates for 40 years’ membership of the W.I. were presented to Judith Webb and Terry Milward, and for 70 years’ membership to Joyce Ward. Well done, Ladies. Several new members and visitors were welcomed.

Our Speaker this evening was Mike Taylor, who spoke of his change of career. After 30 years in the steel industry, he bought a woodland, restored the ancient coppicing, and now works there with traditional methods, using the wood to make articles such as the beautiful chair he brought to show us. We saw a video of logs being taken from the wood by a horse team, a method which causes no damage to the land, and helps ensure the continued existence of the beautiful Welsh Cobb breed.

Gibbons Corner Wood is an ancient site of natural woodland. The original owner was an ironmaster at Horse Hay; wood from this land must have been used in the making of iron at the start of the Industrial Revolution. Mike still uses the same alder trees as were used in previous centuries to make bowls, charcoal and parts for chairs. The trees, once coppiced, re-grow and can be re-cut in seven to twenty years. “If you want wood, cut wood,” goes the old saying. Here is the perfect carbon capture, so important to us these days, and coppicing, where the re-grown branches are cut from the old “stool” captures 40 times more carbon than a single tree. A wonderful diversity of flora and fauna also returned to Mike’s wood when he went back to the old ways of working.

This month celebrates the 98th anniversary of Aston-by-Stone W.I., and the usual cake was cut and enjoyed. Members will meet on the 20th for a celebratory afternoon tea. We are already looking forward to our Centenary in 2025. New members are always most welcome. If you’d like to visit, do come to Aston-by-Stone Village Hall on the second Wednesday of the month at 7.30, or if you’d like to know more, contact us at astonbystonesecretary.@gmail.com.

Wetley Rocks WI – Press Report

Meeting date: 11th of April

Well April showers are here, and true to form, life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain! And what better way than to “Dance On” to “Guitar Tango” and other music from The Shadows?

Cynthia welcomed members to the meeting and went through the usual business of the previous month’s meeting minutes and news from Stafford. In addition, a request for cakes for refreshments at the Leek Show was also made. Tonight, was subs night so Gill our treasurer was kept busy with the payments.

After the announcements, Cynthia introduced our speaker for the evening Chris who had brought his Fender Stratocaster. The Shadows’ “King of Twang” was the U.K.’s first electric guitar hero. Synonymous with the Fender Stratocaster, Marvin’s iconic guitar was Fiesta Red with a maple neck and gold hardware, and it is believed to be the first Strat to land on U.K. soil. It was fantastic that Chris had a similar looking guitar which he entertained us with.

Chris really brought the story of The Shadows to life with personal anecdotes and a healthy sense of humour, the guitar solos were wonderful to hear and took you from the first hit singles, all the way through to their twilight years. The personal stories of the members of the band and the nostalgia of real-life experience were touching as the band became tangible and real. All in all the ladies had a wonderful evening and were thoroughly entertained. Good music with a story to hear is a lovely way to spend as evening.

After Chris had finished, we settled down for all the important raffle, refreshments and Chris was kind enough to judge the competition which was a pick-up “favourite album cover”. Next month is the AGM with a buffet for refreshments, and don’t forget the competition of a handmade crown and your red, white and blue outfits as we are combining the Coronation.

Also don’t forget the Fashion Show on Friday, May 12th at 19:30, tickets are still available please contact Cynthia for details. Meetings are held the second Tuesday of every month at 19:30 in Wetley Rocks Village Hall. New members are welcome, there is no requirement to bake or sew, or do any crafting, all you need to be is yourself and the first three meetings are free,

Yoxall WI

Miscellany and whistling!

We welcomed 2 visitors to our meeting in April, we hope they enjoyed the evening and are going to come back. Several thank you cards were read out and further details of the May Market were distributed.

The resolution result nationally from all the federations was ‘ Clean rivers for people and wildlife’. This resolution will be voted on at the NFWI Annual Meeting in Cardiff, when hopefully our link delegate will attend. Yoxall WI voted unanimously for the resolution.

Penny Wheat was our speaker for the evening, with a range of observations and humorous statements. She started with some humorous quotes from gravestones. Some she did not mention were ‘ I told you I was ill’ from Spike Milligan, ‘ Damn it’s dark down here’ and ‘ Here lies good old Fred. A great big rock fell on his head’.

Church magazine bulletins also provide some humorous quotes. Grammar and spelling errors affect how readers perceive your writing. Here are some examples.

‘ The Senior choir invites any member of the congregation who enjoys sinning to join the choir’

‘ Maundy Thursday service: The ladies of the altar guild will be stripping on the altar’.

‘ Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir, they need all the help they can get’.

Penny proved to be a whizz at whistling tunes and quizzed us with recognising the tunes she was whistling! Some of the group were better at this than others!

Finally, she highlighted some humorous signs outside shops and cafe’s. Here are some:

‘ How do you feel when there is no coffee? Depresso’

‘ No, we don’t have Wi-Fi….. TALK to each other!’ Our next meeting is on Wednesday May 10th when we will have Anna- Louise Pickering with a talk ‘ Giant Pandas and Sleeping Dragons’. We are all going to wear something red, white or blue ( or all 3 ) to celebrate the King’s Coronation. Do come along to the meeting, we are all looking forward to the speaker; it should be a good evening.

Etchinghill Press Report April 2023

In April we held our AGM where we looked back at the eventful year to date. Having placed the previous years Covid restrictions behind us we were able to resume our village hall meetings and various outings.

Following the reading out of several apologies for members unable to attend and, wishing happy birthdays to Jan Cotton and Joyce Sanders our President Margaret Devey opened the meeting. She welcomed new committee member Shona Kingston and returning members Chris Johnson and Celia Wright. A warm welcome back was given to Margaret Ford who is recovering from her hip operation.

For matters arising a reminder was given for the group meeting being held by Weston WI on Monday 17th April. We reviewed our March Speaker Ian Pettit and all members thought he gave a wonderful presentation.

Margaret Porter covered news and correspondence as she read out recent notifications from SFWI. The NFWI  annual meeting will take place later this year  in Cardiff and this year’s resolution will be Clean Rivers for People and Wildlife .  All members overwhelmingly voted approval of the resolution.

Also on the Agenda will be a section on Autism and ADHD. Margaret read out snippets that will be covered outlining the  approach and behaviours to people who have been diagnosed.

The financial statement from Glynis Richards was duly approved by Ann Ingleby and seconded by Mary Davis. The review of the bye-laws was presented by our president Margaret Devey who then read out the committee’s annual report she gave an in depth review of the past years meetings and outings. Margaret reflected in her report how village meetings were successfully resumed and how we had all enjoyed the various speakers throughout the year . we were also able to take part in several outings to include the summer canal boat trip from Penkridge and our fabulous Christmas party at Beau Dessert golf club. We  hosted the anniversary of our group at the village hall with a cheese and wine party followed by music and songs. All of these events and others were thoroughly enjoyed by Members

Rugeley WI March 2023 Meeting


A very interesting talk was given to members of Rugeley WI for their March meeting by Bill Durose, entitled ‘The Antiques Roadshow Experience’.

Bill comes from a family of Art Metal Workers who owned a family business in Tunstall established in 1880 by his grandfather William Durose.  Bill is also a collector of antiques and memorabilia.

Bill informed members about the kind of metal work that the Company produced, Tunstall Park Gates are a typical example.

Bills father was running the business at the time that the Company celebrated their centenary in 1980. To honour this event a terracotta figure of Bill’s father forging metal, was commissioned to be made by Peggy Davies who was a highly regarded figure modeller during her career at Royal Doulton.

A few years later Paul Atterbury from the Antiques Road Show was made aware of this figure and recognised it as being made by Peggy Davies.

Bill and members of his family were invited to ‘The Antiques Road Show‘, filmed at Trentham Gardens. A clip was shown to WI members featuring Paul Atterbury and Bill discussing the figure and the family business.

A vote of thanks was given by Trish for a very informative talk.  Refreshments were served and a quiz and raffle took place. Rugeley WI meet every last Wednesday in the month at St Paul’s Community Hall, Rugeley at 7:30.


Meeting: 16/03/23 

Our March meeting was the A.G.M. Judy Fryer read out a summary of the meetings and events enjoyed by members during the last year. Sue Cotterell announced that after 15 years she will be stepping down as President but will instead become Treasurer. Jo Johns is to be our new President and Judy will be vice President. Clare Preece will take over as Secretary. We are pleased to welcome Eileen Jones onto the committee, but sorry to lose Pauline Careless and Liz Gilson who have contributed so much over the years.

Our speaker was Hilary Hampton who works in communication and education at Veolia, which is a waste, water and energy company. It operates its services on every continent in the world. Hilary joined the company 12 years ago and is passionate about the benefits to our environment by recycling, reducing waste and reusing wherever possible. She said that in Staffordshire very little of our waste goes to landfill. The recycling that we put into our blue bins goes to a transfer station where it is sorted. Glass is used to make more glass, cans are used to make parts for aeroplanes and bicycles amongst other things. Plastic is sent to Essex then across to Germany where it is processed into pellets that come back here to make more plastic bottles. There is a tax on plastic packaging and producers have to prove it is made up of at least 30% of recycled plastic or else pay tax. It takes 24 trees to produce one ton of paper, so recycling cardboard and paper saves the environment and is easy to do.

In Staffordshire there are two energy recovery facilities, one of which is at Four Ashes. 800/1100 tons of household waste from our grey bins is burnt per day and turned into electricity. It is sent to the National grid and produces enough electricity to power 66,000 homes. Nothing goes to landfill.

Hilarys talk was a fascinating insight into the benefits of recycling and how we can all do more to help our environment. We hope to visit the facility at Four Ashes later this year to see the important work it does.

Next month our speaker is Sally Costin-Brown who will be talking about Nutrition. We will be meeting at the Village Hall, Trysull on Thursday April 13th at 7.30pm so do come along and join us. You will be sure of a warm welcome.

Kingstone WI

A few days after a snowy spell throughout the country, the speaker at Kingstone WI’s March meeting put it into perspective with his talk on Antarctica – ‘The Coldest Place on Earth’. Rodney Paul had visited this unique part of the world twice and was an engaging and extremely knowledgeable speaker.

The Antarctic Treaty, signed in 1959 by over fifty nations, recognised that it is in the interest of all mankind that Antarctica ‘shall continue for ever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord.’ To this end anything of a military nature is prohibited but scientific investigation shall continue. Everywhere must be kept in pristine condition and all visitors may take away are photographs and memories, and all that they may leave behind are footprints.

Visiting the area presents some challenges, apart from the cold (up to -60˚in winter) and the wind (up to 200 mph) for, amongst other things, there are no currencies, no indigenous peoples, no government, no polar bears, no MacDonald’s, no hotels and no official time zone – it is either dark or light. The sun rises on 21st September, giving continuous light, and sets on 21st of March when darkness descends and stays for six months. It is up to the individual to create their own rhythm of waking and sleeping.

Part of Rodney’s talk was illustrated with his own excellent photographs of this beautiful, desolate place and some of its wildlife, but this was only part of the story. His descriptions of what had been endured by some of the famous, intrepid explorers gave a vivid picture of their experiences.

Among these was Ernest Shackleton, whose supposed advertisement in the Times for volunteers to join one of his expeditions does not underestimate the situation:

‘Men wanted for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful…’. Amazingly he had over 5,000 applicants.

After surviving incredible feats of endurance, finally dying of a heart attack in January 1922, Ernest Shackleton was buried on the island of South Georgia on 5th March. Recently, a team of marine archaeologists announced that it had located the long-sought wreck of his famous ship, Endurance, that sank off Antarctica more than a century ago. Unbelievably, the ship was found on March 5th 2022 …. within minutes of the time that Shackleton had been laid to rest 100 years before.

The audience were surprised by the fact that, on his 1907 expedition, Shackleton found room to take 25 cases of whisky, so that the men could have a dram occasionally to keep their spirits up. In another surprising coincidence, in 2007 unopened cases were discovered deep in the ice. Two bottles were successfully recovered and sent for analysis. Today Shackleton’s whisky has been reproduced and is widely available.  In true Shackleton fashion, the WI ladies were all offered a tot (to keep their spirits up?), as a very fitting end to an excellent talk.

The business part of the meeting dealt with the ‘Big Breakfast’ to be held next day, the Birthday Party in May at Marsh Farm and the Group Meeting which Kingstone will host in June.

The next meeting, the Annual Meeting, will be on Monday April 10th at 7.30pm in Kingstone Village Hall. If you would like to spend an interesting evening with a friendly group of ladies, do come along; remember that visitors are always welcome.

Cannock Wood and Gentleshaw WI

On Monday 13th March we had the privilege of hosting our Rose and Shamrock Group Meeting providing a beautiful afternoon tea, amazing speakers from Cadbury giving an excellent and informative presentation of ‘Cadbury and the Chocolate Factory’ with exclusive film footage, slides and fun quizzes. Our local choir ‘Sing for Joy’ entertained us, making a lovely end to our memorable afternoon.

A special welcome was given to Helen Mancey, Staffordshire Federation Chairman who gave thanks for the afternoon.

Attached are a few photos of our afternoon.

Wetley Rocks WI – Press Report

Meeting date: 10th of January

March got off to a flying start, with our talk “All About Hawks”.

The meeting started with the usual business and news from Staffordshire, Cynthia reminded everyone of the Fashion Show which will be taking place on Friday May 12th at 19:30, the tickets are on sale for £5 and include a glass of wine. Clothes from well-known high street brans like Next and New Look will be available at discounted prices. (Please contacted Cynthia – details below if you are interested in tickets)

The AGM is May and the Coronation with a buffet was discussed as was the trip to the ABC Cinema in August, as well as the activities available from Stafford such as a crochet day or free motion embroidery.

Cynthia then handed over to the evening’s two guest speakers, Wesley Sherratt and Richard Greensmith for the talk entitled “All about Hawks”.  The highlight of the talk was Nala, she was a 5 year old Red Tailed Hawk and she was absolutely stunning! She was so alert and kept her eye on both Rich and Wes.

The passion and interest that they both have for Hawks and Falconry came across as did the wealth of knowledge. I found it fascinating that the book they use as a training guide was written in 1633, which was during the reign of King Charles I. Wes and Rich talked us through the different techniques called “manning” and “wearing” and how you start to get the birds used to people. Wes talked about the habitat they live in as Red Tailed Hawks are from the US and have a very wide range from Canada all the way to Mexico. The telemetry and how you can track the birds in flight and record where they went and the speed made you appreciate how much technology had moved on from bells even if the techniques for training and the equipment are shall we say a little older.

They talked about their adventures “Lamping” and how Nala worked with Wilford the dog to flush out the Rabbits, Crows and Squirrels on land where they had the owners permission. If any landowners or farmers have a problem with any of those then Nala (she does all the work) can be contacted at firstforfalconry@gmail.com or +447934 137989, Wes apparently is her secretary.

At the end of the talk members were keen to get photographs of Nala up close which she was very accommodating of. It was a brilliant talk and I would recommend it as something a little different. After the talk we settled down whilst Rich and Wes judged the “favourite pair of ear-rings” pick me up competition and we settled down to cakes and a well-deserved cup of tea 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. April’s meeting is Chris Austin playing “Shadows Music” with the pick-up competition being an LP Cover. New members are welcome, there is no requirement to bake or sew, or do any crafting, all you need to be is yourself and the first three meetings are free.

Yoxall WI

A Village Shop

It was a very snowy evening when the ladies of Yoxall WI met for their March meeting and it was lovely to see a couple of visitors as well.

It was the Annual Meeting and we were reminded of a very full and varied programme as the secretary Jan read out her report. Our Book club is thriving and the coffee/tea get togethers have been very popular and well attended. We have been able to support the community by donating raffle proceeds to a local food bank. Our new programme looks exciting with lots of new speakers.

The competition cup was awarded to our president Penny, who always finds something that fits the bill! A planted arrangement was presented to Pauline who has been a long standing member of the WI, a former President and co-opted Welfare officer. We will all miss her.

A date for your diaries- Saturday 20th May. This will be our May Market when you will be able to buy plants, homemade cakes and produce, books, jigsaws, toys etc. We will also have a tombola, raffle and homemade refreshments. Please keep the date free.

With the conclusion of the Annual Meeting we were able to welcome Liz Morgan from Marchington Village Shop. Marchington is a local village with 600 inhabitants and a further 600 in the surrounding area of Marchington Woodlands. There had always been a shop and Post Office, but in 2010 the shop closed. A very sad situation for the village, but later that year a group of people planned to reopen it.

A shop in a village is so important, it is a meeting place for the community, a place where people can communicate and develop their own skills. However, setting up a shop requires a lot of work but advice was given from the Plunkett Foundation.

A village shop is an asset not just for the village but the wider community as well. They can be local suppliers of bread, milk, eggs, honey and surplus vegetables and fruit grown by members of the community. Volunteers need to be trained in fire safety and the  use of fire extinguishers.

The shop has an excellent landlord and a fair rent was negotiated. The shop has to be in competition with the local supermarkets so prices of goods have to account for this, and the shop is run as a business. After receiving the Countryside Alliance Award this gave them confidence to apply for other grants, including a £26,000 from the Prince’s Countryside Fund in 2016.

The shop has approximately 40 volunteers and 5 paid staff. An operating loss is covered by the 50/50 club and monies from Open Gardens and Plant sales. In 2021 they were awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, which celebrates the outstanding work of local volunteer groups across the UK. What an achievement.

Liz had given us a very informative talk which she had illustrated with slides. It was clear that she is very proud of the work done by her local community. Our next meeting is on Wednesday April 12th when we will have Ellen Nee giving us a humorous talk with a most unusual quiz, sounds very intriguing! Please come and join us, we are a friendly group. We meet at 7.30 pm in Yoxall Parish Hall.

The Ridwares WI

The Ridwares W I have been “Showing the Love” throughout February with our display of  many different types of green heatrs to decorate tour Memorial garden in  support of our ‘Show the Love’ campaign. Green Hearts also appeareed on the cake at our committee meetings and members made origami green hearts at their monthly meeting. Marianne made us a beautiful cushion with a green heart which was later raffled at our Welsh Tea.

The speaker at our February Meeting was David Eatough who told us all about the amazing Staffordshire, Shropshire and Cheshire Blood Bikes service. An urgent volunteer  service providing transportation of blood products and brest mik, free of charge, to all NHS hospitals across the three counties.

David is flanked here by our President Karen and Treasurer Anthea as he gratefully receives our donation.

After the talk members enjoyed making origami green hearts and tucking on to the Shrove Tuesday pancakes.

Four of our members really went to town at the SFWI Quiz night. A sumptuous spread had been prepared ensuring all four members could tuck in to keep energy levels high as they grappled with the quiz questions. Janette, Tina, Gaye and Carrie-Anne did us all proud.

At our monthly coffee morning we were delighted to welcome three new visitors, all Ukranian ladies who had come along to improve their English conversation skills.

As ever our annual Welsh Tea was another resounding success with well over 60 people attending. These events require a lot of planning and execution, not least the hard work that goes into all the preparations for the big day.

This includes not only the obvious preparation of the fantastic food and drink for all to enjoy but the decoration of our lovely village hall, and the collection and ultimate display of our locally renown humungous raffles.

Finally we need our army of volunteer members to serve everyone and clear up afterwards. Was it worth it? You bet it was. 

We learned that for some it was the only opportunity they had to set aside personal circumstances and enjoy the company of others. This in itself makes it all worthwhile. On 20th April we do it all again when we celebrate our St Georges Day tea.

Looking to the future we are now planning our big Birthday 75th Party when members will simply put on their glad rags, dust off those high heels and prepare to celebrate in style all that is good about being a member of the Ridwares Women’s Institute. We shall also host members from 6 other W I’s in our group, we honestly cannot wait.

Barton WI meets with Dave Myers

On the 1st of March 2023. Barton under Needwood WI had the pleasure of hosting a very special speaker ‘Dave Myers’ from the ‘Hairy bikers’ Along with his wife Liliana and friends. Dave regaled the ladies with the early history of the early years of ‘The Hairy Bikers’ and some of their adventures along a fruitful and interesting career. Dave invited questions from the floor and some fun and interesting answers were given.

It’s good to see Dave returning to his former self as we are all aware that he is currently undergoing treatment. As mentioned on his social media.

Books were signed. A strong brew with cakes were the order of the day and we welcomed Dave and his family to Staffordshire and his continuing health. The WI meets on the first Wednesday of each month at St. James church hall at 19:30 New members are always welcome.

Ipstones WI

Our president, Joy, welcomed members to the February meeting of Ipstones WI which met in the extension of the Memorial Hall as usual. Since Jane could not be with us, being too busy enjoying foreign climes, good for you Jane, Chris brought us the minutes of the January meeting which were duly approved.

Joy then went through the Newsletter which, as I have mentioned on many occasions, is produced by Joy and brings us news of the many activities, competitions and events arranged by County. We can never say that there is nothing available for members it is just a matter of sorting out which appeal to each one of us. We were all reminded to give in our choice of Resolutions to encourage National to take up. One of my favourite items of all those matters in which we become involved. A final decision will be made at the NFWI Annual meeting in May.

We were told of a request from the Royal Stoke Hospital for any size knitted blankets and of a new National initiative to get more people, including men, involved with the W.I. I feel we need to find out more about this venture.

February is always an interesting meeting when members provide a wonderful variety of tempting sandwiches, nibbles, cakes etc. Mark was delighted with the offerings that I was encouraged to take home for his supper being a very good eater! Goodbye to new year slimming resolutions.

Also in February in the absence of a speaker members provide the entertainment, and we have never been failed in being truly entertained. This year we heard the thoughts of  Chris, Margaret Hesketh , Yvonne, Joy and Rosie thoughtfully considering what they might have been if they were not members of such an inspiring group as the W.I. This was in the form of a “song” beautifully written by Rosie who also read us a poem that she had written. What a talented lady you are Rosie and so amusing.

The raffle prizes were won by Joan (hooray more lovely chocs for me) and Pauline.  If it sounds like a good time was had by all? Then that is perfectly true.   I know that I have won the raffle twice in two months but I shall still try again next month.  Joan Mitchell


The committee earns its stripes!

Members of the Committee wore the striped socks given to them by the outgoing President, Chris Payne, to thank them for their work during her 5-year presidency. Chris herself has been the hardest worker during those 5 years. She took a leading part in keeping Aston-by-Stone W.I. going during lockdown, organising outdoor meetings in Westbridge Park as soon as regulations permitted, even – somehow! –making sure we had good weather at those times.

 A huge “thank you” to her for her unfailing cheerfulness and hard work.

We are confident that our new President, Pam Lowe, will bring her own personality and hard work to this, her first year. She was elected at the Annual meeting.

 Victoria Simpson was presented with the Competiton cup, having gained the most points over the year for her entries, which included a magnificent Tudor-style table centre decoration.

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 12th April, when Mike Greenwood will talk to us about woodlands. Visitors and new members are most welcome: we meet at 7.30 p.m. at Aston-by-Stone Village hall.

If you would like to find out more about us, visitastonbystonesecretary@gmail.com

We look forward to seeing you. Our meetings are generally a talk, followed by deliciuos home-made cake and a cup of tea. Do come and see!

Hayes Green WI

There was a good turn out of members this week who were entertained by David from Nelson’s Distillery and gin and vodka school at Uttoxeter.  

David told us that gin was first introduced into England in 1689, brought here by William of Orange. When he became King he altered the tax laws and so it became cheaper to drink gin than English spirits or beers and it was safer to drink than water at the time. We listened to an interesting and amusing history of gin from David as we tasted three of Nelson’s Distillery’s award winning gins.

David advises to first taste a gin neat – sip a small amount and let it sit in your mouth for a short while before swallowing and then take a second small sip. You might find you love it neat but if you would like to soften the alcohol burn of it add a mixer. By trying it neat first you are better able to choose a mixer that will enhance the flavours you have discovered in the gin. Bubbles form mixers you add will push the gin onto different tase buds in your mouth so you may then pick up different flavours.

A drink is not gin if it does not contain juniper. Nelson’s add 27 different botanicals when making their gin. Juniper and the other botanicals added have been proven to have lots of beneficial effects on our digestive systems and so drinking gin can have potential health benefits.

Lots of lovely gin glasses were brought in by members for this month’s competition. David chose those belonging to Linda, Hazel and Jenny as his favourites.

Jules won the raffle.

Press report for Etchinghill WI March 2023

Our meeting took place on Wednesday 8th March at the village hall . We were welcomed by Chris Stinton who stood in for our president Margaret Devey. Apologies were read out for eleven members unable to attend this evening and birthday wishes were passed on to Marion Henaughan

The speaker for tonight was Ian Pettit and his talk was entitled A Canadian Journey. Ian developed a keen interest in photography at a young age . He is lucky to have travelled extensively around the world  taking many pictures along the way. Tonight, we were transported across Canada. Through photographs we journeyed from Toronto to the Niagara Falls, then travelling on to Vancouver and Vancouver Island and  finally embarking on a trip through to the Canadian Rockies. Whilst on his trip Ian was able to take some stunning pictures of the rugged scenery and snow-capped mountains even providing unexpected shots of a wolf and a bear. We all agreed this was an enjoyable talk and thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the wonderful photographs. The vote of thanks was given by Marion Henaughan.

Moving on to other business, Margaret Porter covered the upcoming dates for our diaries. Firstly, we have the Rose and Shamrock group meeting at Gentleshaw WI on Monday 13th March at 2 pm. This is followed by the Weston WI group meeting on Monday 17th of April . Several of our members will be attending these events.  Our annual outing is to Halfpenny Green vineyard which includes a tour and afternoon tea, this will take place on Wednesday 19 July. The coffee morning to be arranged by Mary Davis will take place on Wednesday 1st November. Funds raised from this event will be split between Cancer Research and our local Church of the Holy Spirit.

Our monthly competition was called Acrostic Canada. First Prize went to Shona Kingston, second prize to Anne Ingleby and finally third prize went to Lynn Baxter.

Due to the inclement weather our meeting terminated early.

Our meetings are held at Etchinghill village hall on the second Wednesday of each month. There are various options available to new members so why not come along as we would love to meet with you, or you can visit our website at etchinghillwisatffs@gmail.com

Cannock Women’s Institute

Press Release March 2023

Cannock WI joined other local organisations at a Community Engagement Event arranged by Cannock Chase District Council and held on Friday 3rd March at the Avon Business and Leisure Centre, Avon Road, Cannock.

The event enabled us to meet with members of the public and to network with representatives of the other agencies to let them know what the WI has to offer women in Cannock, and also to find out more about what is available to members of our own group.

Our rota of members had the opportunity to display our new roller banner and  handed out our newly designed literature, and chocolate!   They also acquired useful information from various contacts and gained for speakers for our future meetings, so a very useful day.

WI is a national women’s organisation which aims to provide education and life skills as well as friendship and support for all women. We are totally inclusive and culturally diverse, secular, and non-political.

Cannock WI meets on the second Thursday of each month at St Luke’s Church Hall. Meetings begin at 10.30 am with a cup of tea followed by a speaker or practical demonstration, or an activity and usually end with a raffle.  A number of our members follow the meeting with lunch and a further opportunity for friendship and fellowship.  We also offer a monthly coffee meeting, occasional outings, holidays and access to events arranged at both county and national level.

The next meeting is on Thursday 9th March 2023 when we welcome Margaret Smallman with tales of ‘The Corner Shop’.

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


                             The Trial of Harold Shipman

The February meeting was held on Zoom and 19 members logged on, Judy welcomed everyone and our Speaker, Sarah Kelley, Public Relations Officer, with Greater Manchester Police.

Judy confirmed that everyone had read the minutes of the previous meeting which she signed. We sent Best Wishes to the members of the quiz team at the County Quiz on Thursday 23rd February.  

Judy then introduced our speaker, Sarah Kelly, Sarah has a degree in Journalism and Media Studies, and was working for the Greater Manchester Police. When Mrs Kathleen Grundy died suddenly a few hours after she had seen her doctor (Dr. Shipman) for what she believed was a routine blood test, her daughter Angela Woodruff, was very shocked. Then a solicitor told her there was a second will signed by Mrs Grundy leaving most of her money to her doctor. Angela Woodruff knew this was not true, and not from her mother’s solicitor. This will had been typed on a typewriter belonging to Mrs Grundy, and signed by two witnesses neither of these people were known to Mrs Grundy or her daughter, Mrs Woodruff went to Hythe Police Station to make a Statement. Police then started a full investigation.

Mrs Grundy’s body was exhumed in August 1997 and morphine was found in her tissues, other bodies were then exhumed, as the investigation progressed, they all had morphine in their tissue. By the end of August over 300 cases had been reported to the police for investigation by worried relatives.

Sarah’s job now was as Press Officer, Managing the Media, in the ‘Eye of the Storm’. It transpired that when Dr. Shipman had a practice in Yorkshire, he had become addicted to drugs, he was fined £600, had to attend rehab, to which he responded well, but the General Medical Council, did not take away his Doctor’s Licence.  

Dr Shipman moved to Lancashire and set up his new Surgery in Hythe, his patients thought he was a very nice man and a good doctor and were shocked in disbelief as the investigation continued.

At the pretrial hearing only journalists known to the police were invited to attend. The police were going to proceed with 15 murder charges and I charge of forgery for drug prescription. The trial at Preston Crown Court, lasted 3 long months, from 5th October 1999 to 31st January 2000. There were 15 separate cases of murder and one of prescription forgery. The jury were out for 7 days and recorded guilty on all charges.  The Judge handed out 15 separate Life Sentences, committing Harold Shipman to prison for the rest of his life. Shipman committed suicide in 2004.                          Sarah said controlling the foreign press had been a very a very difficult time for her and the police as there was so much incorrect information being printed, Preston is not a large town and the roads were blocked with press vehicles. Getting all the court officials, lawyers, jurors and witnesses into the court was very difficult.

Sarah was a very fluent and interesting speaker on a difficult subject which we had all known about from the news reports but to hear about it from someone so involved was very thought provoking. Judy gave Sarah a warm vote of thanks.

 The next meeting on Wednesday 19th April at 7-30 pm in Sandon Parish Room. The speaker will be Paula Andrews, Glass Artist.

Congratulations to our Quiz Team who were 3rd in the County Quiz

If you are new to the area and would like to meet more people in a happy and friendly environment please come and visit us at any of our meetings. We meet on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, in Sandon Parish Room at 7-30pm.

Rugeley WI February meeting

A very interesting talk and slide show was given to Rugeley WI for their February meeting by Alan & Joy Lewis entitled ‘Women at War’.

Alan’s talk started with how British women went to war from very early on.  Some of the names mentioned were Boadicea, Ethelfleda and Florence Nightingale for her nursing.

Alan informed members about the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry which was formed in 1907 and active in both nursing and intelligence work during the World Wars, their present Commandant-in-Chief is The Princess Royal.

Alan explained that during the wars when men were away fighting, women worked in various jobs such as ‘train drivers’, ‘fire service’,’ royal mail’,’ women’s land army’ and ‘munitions’. The only exemption was that women could not do mining.

After the wars when men returned from service, women were reluctant to give up some of these positions as they had felt useful and did not want to go back to their mundane daily work.

Alan completed his talk with slides and a brief description of the bravery of some of the women who had been awarded medals or mentioned in despatches.  Audrey Coningham, Pamela McGeorge, Joan Mortimer, Violeter Szabo were just a few names mentioned.

A vote of thanks was given by Barbara Coppard for a very interesting talk. Refreshments were served and a quiz and social time held.

In March Rugeley WI have a talk about ‘The Antiques Roadshow Experience’.  If you would like to join our WI or come along for a ‘taster’ you would be most welcome.  We meet every last Wednesday in the month at St Paul’s Community Hall, Rugeley at 7:30 p.m.


Meeting: 09/02/23

We were pleased to welcome back Louise Colman, who was going to put us through our paces with some gentle chair exercises. She began by explaining that as we get older we lose muscle mass, and this happens quicker to women. Leg strength and balance is particularly important. We are 76% more likely to fall if we don’t build up our muscle strength. All adults should walk at least twice a week and do balance exercises every day if they can. Louise runs exercise classes in the area and there are various walking schemes throughout South Staffordshire. She said that people who are not very mobile or in wheelchairs can still benefit from gentle exercises that can be adapted to suit their lack of mobility. Exercise will increase metabolism and is important for mental health.

We then began to do some of the chair exercises that Louise recommends. She put on some music and soon we were flexing our fingers and stretching our arms and legs in time to the music, whilst still seated. We then had to sit to stand, which meant sitting towards the front of the chair and standing up without using our hands if we could. She told us to hold on if we needed to and stressed that it is important to stop any exercise that leaves us short of breath, dizzy or experiencing chest pains. We then stood behind our chairs and did balancing exercises. Again, we could use the back of the chair for support if needed. At the end of her talk, Louise had leaflets and booklets that we could take. There was also the opportunity to be weighed and have our blood pressure taken. As always it was a very enjoyable and beneficial evening.

After our much-needed refreshments, Sue said that several committee members were standing down from their posts and that new committee members are needed. Please let us know if you are interested. One member who is leaving our W.I. altogether is Pauline Careless. She has always been a valuable member both on and off the committee and will be sorely missed. We hope she will be able to join us as a visitor from time to time. We then voted on the resolutions for this year and the majority vote was Online Gambling Harm: Time for Action.

Next months meeting is also the A.G.M. and will be held in the Village Hall, Trysull on Thursday March 9th at our usual time of 7.30pm. Our speaker will be Hilary Hampton from Veolia, who will be talking to us about recycling. Do come along and join us, we are always pleased to see new faces. 

The speaker at Kingstone WI’s February meeting was Steven Stamford who gave his audience a flavour of what it was like to live on a narrowboat.

But firstly members had a nice surprise on arrival, as they were treated by Noreen Eyre to a drink, either alcoholic or not, to celebrate a ‘big’ birthday.

Steven’s starting point was ‘Home is where our boat is’. Whereas some narrowboat owners cruise continually, Steven and his family chose to have a permanent birth at Marina at King’s Bromley, as Steven needs to work. The family (his second wife and the five children they have between them) lived for a time in a farmhouse in Ashbourne, and homeschooled the children, but when his two went to live with their mother and the others began to live more independent lives they decided to make their home on the water. They have now been in King’s Bromley for fourteen years.

So, what is the difference between a barge and a narrowboat…as you might guess, a narrowboat is narrower! Since canals were originally dug by hand they were made no wider or deeper than they had to be. This means that for many stretches of the canal network, a barge would be too wide. Even so, fitting a 62foot narrowboat in to a lock is a tricky business, as there may be only three inches of space at each side! At Tixall, there is a stretch 150feet across where you can do a full rotation. This is the only place with this width in the whole of the canal network.

Their boat has many features that one may not expect. She (boats are always ‘she’) is fitted, among other things, with a washing machine, cooker and fridge, a shower and macerator toilet. The central heating is powered by a boiler about the size of a handbag.

Among their adventures travelling the canals were when canals flooded or froze; although the biggest problem when living, virtually in a tin can, is the heat rather than the cold. Steven invented an ingenious sprinkler system to keep things relatively cool. They have many friends along the canal and Steven showed slides of some of them: moorhens, heron, geese and swans! The latter built their nest at the end of the boat for four years and, in spite of their reputation for being fierce defenders of their nest, became quite tame.

The lifestyle suits Steven and his wife very well – but one must be happy not to hurry: a journey taking thirty minutes by car can take two days on a boat!

Steven is happy to give talks on a number of things, details of which can be found by Googling his name. The fee for that evening was going towards a defibrillator for the Marina.

The business part of the meeting dealt with future events. It was decided to have another ‘Big Breakfast’ in March, as the previous one had been enjoyed by many of the villagers. Enquiries were to be made about a Canal Boat Dining Cruise, the last one having been cancelled by the company. The Birthday Party in May is to be held at Marsh Farm on the Friday lunchtime after the Coronation weekend. Kingstone will host the Group Meeting in June. Hopefully our pressure to improve the safety at Loxley Crossroads has contributed greatly to this, at last, being taken to the next stage. There is a busy and interesting time ahead.

The evening ended most pleasantly, with delicious cakes and mincepies baked by Noreen to accompany the teas and coffees and a quiz of anagrams of the names of cruise boats.

The next meeting will be on Monday March 13th at 7.30pm in the Village Hall. If you fancy a talk on ‘The Coldest Place on Earth’ and an evening with a very friendly group of ladies, do remember that visitors are always very welcome.

Yoxall WI February meeting

‘When nature called’

Our speaker for February was Anthony Poulter-Smith who led us into the history of the toilet privy. Anthony is a prolific writer of books, articles and even sermons, and considers himself an etymologist, which is the study of words and language.

Anthony’s talk was interspersed with humour and details of how the modern toilet has developed over the years. In the early days we obviously chose a toilet spot outside, using leaves, sticks, moss, sand or a flat stone for wiping. The  ‘gazunder’, refers to a pot for night soil which was kept under the bed. As houses got bigger there was now a need for toilets. Manor houses had a garderobe built into the outer wall with a vent directly over the moat. The dug moat was not really defensive, and required a ‘spring clean’ to remove the build up of waste.

The Lord of the manor would throw a party every year for guests and servants. There was a reluctance for guests to leave the table for fear of being talked about, so they would go to the fireplace to urinate, heat from the chimney taking away the odours.

During the Industrial revolution, back to back houses and the slums in London would share a toilet, housed in a small building near the properties. These toilets would get emptied by the nightsoil men.

We then progressed to the privy in the backyard with an outside flush and then to an inside flush. Toilet paper was introduced, first as newspaper and then the soft tissue we use today.

Anthony’s talk was informative and humorous in places. We all remembered the outside loos and cut up newspaper. We wondered why coloured sanitary ware is not popular now, it is not possible to get the coloured toilet paper to match as this paper will not degrade.

WI business included details of the monthly coffee/ tea get together, arrangements for the next Book group meeting and the various events being organised by Staffordshire County Federation. Our meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month at 7.30pm in Yoxall Parish Hall. At our next meeting we will have Liz Morgan talking about ‘ Marchington Village Shop’. Visitors are always welcome to join us for refreshments and the chance to find out more about our group.

Wetley Rocks WI – Press Report

Meeting date: 14th of February

February was off to a fine start with tonight’s meeting. Gill read out the minutes from the last meeting which were then signed by Cynthia. We then continued on to the new from Stafford with Cynthia confirming the date for the Fashion Show. The Fashion Show will be held on Friday 12th of May in Wetley Rocks Village Hall from 19:30, for tickets and enquiries please contact Cynthia (details below)

Details of Leek Show and the different WI produce and craft categories available for members to enter were passed around to members so people could mark which they were interested in. A trip to the ABC Cinema in a garden for August was also discussed and members showed interest via raising hands that will be a nice trip out for the summer months.

Once all the business had been concluded we were on to the speaker. Tonight’s speaker was Mary Worwood talking about Sew it with flowers. Mary was engaging and had a wealth of knowledge and experience, I was particularly intrigued by the beautiful textures and dimensions she created in her works of art with thread and fabric. The scrapbooks where you could see the creative process and experimentation contained a wealth of knowledge. It’s something that I will be considering in my projects and hopefully this struck accord with other members too. Her passion and joy came across and it was hard not to be enthused.

I highly recommend the speaker who stepped in at the last moment when our planned speaker was unable to attend. We were lucky enough to have her stay for refreshments too, and she was kind enough to judge the pickup competition which was a bird ornament, after the raffle draw and the refreshments it was time to draw the meeting to a close. Next month’s meeting will be on < insert date> and the speaker will be, the competition is a “Favourite pair of earrings”. 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,

Ipstones WI

Our president, Joy, welcomed members to the February meeting of Ipstones WI which met in the extension of the Memorial Hall as usual. Since Jane could not be with us, being too busy enjoying foreign climes, good for you Jane, Chris brought us the minutes of the January meeting which were duly approved.

Joy then went through the Newsletter which, as I have mentioned on many occasions, is produced by Joy and brings us news of the many activities, competitions and events arranged by County. We can never say that there is nothing available for members it is just a matter of sorting out which appeal to each one of us. We were all reminded to give in our choice of Resolutions to encourage National to take up. One of my favourite items of all those matters in which we become involved. A final decision will be made at the NFWI Annual meeting in May.

We were told of a request from the Royal Stoke Hospital for any size knitted blankets and of a new National initiative to get more people, including men, involved with the W.I. I feel we need to find out more about this venture.

February is always an interesting meeting when members provide a wonderful variety of tempting sandwiches, nibbles, cakes etc. Mark was delighted with the offerings that I was encouraged to take home for his supper being a very good eater! Goodbye to new year slimming resolutions.

Also in February in the absence of a speaker members provide the entertainment, and we have never been failed in being truly entertained. This year we heard the thoughts of  Chris, Margaret Hesketh , Yvonne, Joy and Rosie thoughtfully considering what they might have been if they were not members of such an inspiring group as the W.I. This was in the form of a “song” beautifully written by Rosie who also read us a poem that she had written. What a talented lady you are Rosie and so amusing.

The raffle prizes were won by Joan (hooray more lovely chocs for me) and Pauline.  If it sounds like a good time was had by all? Then that is perfectly true.   I know that I have won the raffle twice in two months but I shall still try again next month.  Joan Mitchell

Cannock Women’s Institute Press Release February 2023

Our speakers for February were Chris Graddam and Keith Stanley from Burntwood Family History Society who let us into the secrets of tracing a family tree.  Keith used his own material and some supplied by one of our members to show us how to begin and to demonstrate some of the blind alleys that can hamper a search.  There were also interesting side tracks to be investigate including jobs, living conditions, health and education.  The social history of our forebears is there for all to see if we know how to look.

The presentation was followed by a lively question and answer session which revealed background information about our fellow members.  A really interesting subject which engaged all members.

WI business included a welcome to Janice Wells, a new member who was presented with ‘welcome pack’s’ from both Cannock and National Federation.  Barbara informed us about a proposed outing to Highgrove House; and a snowdrop walk at Rode Hall, as well as the events being organised by Staffordshire County Federation.  The next being the annual quiz for which we have entered a team at Staffordshire Showground, more in hope than expectation!

Our meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month at 10.30am 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


Margaret Devey opened the meeting by reading out the apologies for absent members and birthday wishes were given to Mary Crocker and Shona Kingston.

Moving onto matters arising we covered the forthcoming Rose and Shamrock Group Meeting at Gentleshaw WI on 13th March  and a proposed  future outing at Halfpenny Green Wine Estate near Wombourne which is planned for the 19th July. Also Margaret Porter read out a thank you  email we received from Margaret Ford updating us on her recent operation.

Tonight was members night where the committee stepped back to allow the members to arrange the evenings Speaker. Emma Whiston introduced us to her colleague Suzanne Kelly. Suzanne volunteers for the charity called Chennai Challenge. This is a volunteer led Charity which focuses on their teams Personal Development and Growth. All this is achieved by teams volunteering in local and global communities.

Suzanne’s experience took her to South East India where she worked alongside the Madras YMCA and Oasis India. Each team will spend twenty days involved in running projects which include English Lessons, tailoring courses and fun team building exercises for the vulnerable and often deprived children in these areas. One of the main things that came across from Suzanne was how empowering and rewarding her and her colleagues found this experience to be. The talk was followed by Indian themed refreshments.

The committee passed on their thanks to the members for arranging this interesting and uplifting speech. Margaret Porter gave the vote of thanks.

We finished our evening with a quiz on India set by our guests.

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


The good, the bad and the ancestors.

            Trace your ancestors at your peril! Yes, you’ll find some good ones, but every family has at least one skeleton in its cupboard, and you may find it (or them?) in your search to find where you come from.  Simply having your DNA analysed may bring interesting results: who would have thought that one very English W.I. member had Norwegian ancestry?

            Pat spoke of her good and bad great-grandparents. She recounted the life and crimes of one ancestor named Samuel, as well as the exploits of another, good one.  Fortunately, the bad wasn’t as bad as he might have been, and the good guy sounded really pleasant. What hinders the search sometimes is the “we-don’t-mention-THAT-in our-family” syndrome. Which one of us hasn’t heard those words?

            Pat researched various sources, including the ever-useful local newspaper archives. The Police Gazette, too, can be useful in tracing the less law-abiding members of the family, and of course the Ancestry online resource, aided by Census returns, tells us a great deal.

            There was no regular competition this month; instead, we had a game of “Who do you think they are?” Members had brought in photos of themselves as babies, and we tried to match the adult to the baby, very few right answers! Consolation in the form of tea and cake was offered.

            Next month we hold our Annual Meeting. As always, we will meet in Aston-by-Stone Village Hall on the second Wednesday of the month – this time, the 8th of March – and we always welcome new visitors, so ladies, why not come along and see us? We start at 7.30 p.m., and visitors are always very welcome.

Hayes Green WI report of meeting on 7th February 2023

This month members welcomed Helen Johnson from Staffordshire Archives and Heritage Service to the meeting. One of the Hayes Green members, Linda, met Helen last summer on a open day at the storage unit for the Staffordshire archives  and museums collections on the Beaconside Business park in Stafford. The industrial unit has been specially adapted to be able to store items with the correct light and humidity levels to ensure the collection is preserved for future generations. There are loads of different types of items in the store, paintings, clothing, household items, industrial and farming relics to name just a few.

Helen gave a fascinating talk titled “To die for?” which was based on her work with clothing in the Staffordshire museums’ collections and she asked us to consider could our clothes and those clothes in the Staffordshire collection be trying to kill you? She outlined how dangerous fashion and clothing manufacture can be. Helen began by showing us photographs of corsets filled with whalebones that could give women of the past a 22 inch waist. However wearing such corsets was not only restricted women’s ability to move but wearing such corsets led to restricted breathing, broken ribs and displaced internal organs. When crinolines became fashionable Helen has discovered a number of coroners reports detailing how women wearing them had got close to the open fires, the candles or gas or oil lights of the period and their skirts had set on fire. Ladies clothing was often starched and set easily on fire and the shape of the crinoline acted as a chimney increasing the amount of flames.

Helen next showed us photographs of a few items of clothing from the collection that had been dyed. To get a green colouring in the nineteenth century arsenic was used. Dead animals and birds were often made into clothing accessories and again arsenic was used in the taxidermy, even into the 1980s. Helen explained other dangerous substances are often part of clothing from the past including cyanide, mercury, and anthrax. The use of these substances to clean, preserve and dye items used in the clothing is why these items of clothing have remained in such good condition. The substances in them have killed off any moths or fleas or vermin who might have tried to attack them. These same substances have also led to the death of many people involved in the manufacture of the garments and also killed the wearers of the clothes. Today many of the items of clothing in the collection Helen looks after have to be clearly marked as being potentially dangerous and can only handled with gloves on not to protect the clothes but to protect the person touching

Lots of members brought in lovely perfume bottles for this month’s competition. Helen chose a beautiful old perfume bottle with a silver lid that belongs to Barbara’s grandmother as the winner.

The Ridwares WI

January’s activities began with our ever popular Take a Break Café on Tuesday 3rd

This was swiftly followed by our annual trip to the pantomime.

This year it was Dick Whittington at the Birmingham Hippodrome.

‘Oh yes it was!’

You can see several members here settling back to enjoy all the fun while a few stragglers couldn’t seem to drag themselves away from the magnificent Christmas Tree outside.

We had a wonderful surprise at our monthly meeting as we gave our County Advisor and SFWI Chair Helen Newman a very warm welcome.

Helen had dropped in to deliver the shields we won last year which have now been engraved.

Helen is holding the Press Report Shield won by our very own Press Officer Kath Parson. Kath was a joint winner with Haughton W I.  Karen is holding the Freda Houldcroft Trophy won for the Best W I Programme 2022.

The monthly meeting was a Quiz night with Quiz Master Alan Tumber.

embers organised themselves into  teams of 6.

I wonder can you guess the name of the winning team seen on the right all clutching their prizes?

We had some inspirational team names too. The final scores were : –

5th Place         Winter Woolies with 69 points

4th Place        The Magnificent 6 with 75 points

Joint second Tina’s Teens with 88 points

Joint second Win Gin with 88 points

1st Place         The 6 Amigos with an incredible 113 points

What about the losing team seen here with team captain Wendy Lamb waving her wooden spoon? The clue is in her name…..

January 22nd marked the start of the Chinese Year of the Rabbit which will last until 9th February 2024.

A large group of us decided to welcome in the Chinese New Year at The Lee gardens restaurant in Lichfield.

The Year of the Rabbit occurs every 12 years — that means the most recent Years of the Rabbit are 1999 and 2011.

The Year of the Rabbit 兔年 symbolizes longevity, positivity, auspiciousness, wittiness, cautiousness, cleverness, deftness and self-protection.

The new year brings new fortunes, and in 2023, we can all expect prosperity, hope, and calm. Because of the rabbit’s characteristics, we can also expect relaxation, fluidity, quietness and contemplation.

We settled down to enjoy a good natter and some fabulous food and drink. Judging by the constant sound of laughter methinks a good time was had by all.

Towards the end of the evening just when we were thinking of going home, to our immense surprise and pleasure we were treated to a fabulous dragon dance which made the evening even more memorable. Well Folks it’s never a dull moment at The Ridwares W I, we are currently planning our 75th Birthday Party in March when our glad rags and killer heels will all be on show. Watch this space for more details.

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