As you all know Ann, our Federation Secretary, has decided to retire from her role.  This will be the end of an era.  Ann has worked tirelessly for eighteen years from day one as our Secretary; it is at this point I acknowledge publicly – “yes, she is the boss”!  I have never seen anyone with such an incredible work ethic – nothing has been a problem and she is always willing to take on extra work without a word of complaint.  She will be a hard act to follow and I am certain will be remembered by us all for her special skills and abilities.  I have never seen Ann (or almost never) cross – she has the most amazing personality

and is always willing to go the extra mile.  We usually say to people “you will be a miss” and then they are forgotten,. However, I am sure you will agree with me that we could NEVER forget Ann.  So from the whole of the Board, Sub Committees, WI Advisers and members I am sure you would like me to wish her every success in whatever she plans to do and to say a huge “Thank You” to someone you rarely meet in life.

We have managed to appoint a new Federation Secretary, Nancy Gash.  She has a lot of experience and I am certain will fit into the role very quickly.  She is joining us on the 1st April and will be shadowing Ann until she retires on 18th April.  Ann has already prepared for Nancy a manual to give her a head start.  Nancy will find this all very new and alien but I am sure you will be patient with her as she finds her feet.

Federation Quiz – we are planning another Federation Quiz – the heats will take place in September and the final at Stannington in October.  Come on ladies – put in a team and come along and enjoy a fun evening.  Further details will be sent to your Secretary fairly soon.

The Federation is planning an exciting 4-day break to Norfolk which will include a visit to Sandringham House and Gardens. We leave Northumberland on Friday 27th September and the price will include three nights Bed and Breakfast and three evening meals at the 3 Star Holiday Inn, Ipswich Road, Norwich.  Also included is a train trip and cruise on the Bure Valley Railway and Broads.  It will be luxury travel with the services of an experienced driver.  Get the date in your diary – the application form will follow in due course.

As I write this message, I am looking forward to the Council Meeting at the RGS.  The delegates’ tickets have all been sent out and the arrangements are all in place (thanks to Ann). We will be at full capacity and I am sure the mix of speakers we have will be enjoyed by all.   This will be my final Council Meeting  as your Chairman, as I will not be seeking re-election at the Appointments meeting which takes place the Tuesday after the Council Meeting.  I feel it is time for a new Federation Chairman to be elected.  Whoever that may be I am certain they will, like me, thoroughly enjoy the role and will obviously have her own ideas as to how the Federation moves forward.  I made the decision to “retire” in 2018 and throughout our Centenary and in previous years, the Board has been an amazing support to me.  It will be a huge change for me and I will certainly miss meeting you all.  However I have thoroughly enjoyed the past nine years as your Chairman along with visits to your WIs where I was always met with friendship by every member and always had great fun both at your celebrations and Annual Meetings.  It has been a great honour for me to represent you nationally and locally. Whilst I will miss the action, I am remaining on the Board so will still have the opportunity to see you at various events throughout the Federation.  Thank you so much for supporting me throughout my tenure as the Chairman – it has been an absolute pleasure and something I will never forget.

Northumberland WI

t: 0191 217 0808

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