I know that it’s already February but Happy New Year to you all and I hope you all enjoyed a lovely Christmas with whoever you spent it and wherever it was.
I am sure that many of your WI had super Christmas parties. I went to a fabulous birthday party at Ulgham WI in December. They were celebrating 95 years and the day before the party, the hall, which belongs to them, was decked out for Christmas. By the time of the event it had been all change and was a wonderful delight of pastel pink, lilac and turquoise all around because, as the ladies of Ulgham said, it was a birthday party not
a Christmas one. The next day it would be all changed again and back to Christmas as they were catering for Pegswood with Bothal’s Christmas party. It must have been hard work but it did look wonderful so thank you so much for inviting me to join you.

Barbara Kilkenny and I also went along to Horsley WI for their 75th birthday where the cake was cut by myself and a founder member, Mrs May Watson (93). Barbara also managed to win the most enormous basket of fruit in the raffle so that was her five a day sorted for quite a few days I can tell you.We have always got so much to look forward to in 2020 and in the case of my own home, Dave cannot wait to get into the garden. I have to say those sturdy little stalwarts of spring flowers are pushing their way up to herald the Spring and longer, lighter evenings.

Like the flowers, Federation too never sleeps and we are busy planning events for the coming year. The usual events of the Council Meeting and the Annual Meeting (this year at The Royal Albert Hall) are well under way as you would expect and we are also looking forward to Federation Day at Stannington, with an Olympic theme, a trip to Denman and a Federation Lunch. Add in a couple of Chairman’s coffee mornings, cookery demonstrations and all the events that the various Committees put on for you and you can see that it is going to be another full and exciting year.

Unfortunately during January Cheswick WI was suspended and I do hope that some of their members will manage to join other WIs. But on the other side of the coin we are hoping to open two new WIs very soon and you will find out more about them following their exploratory meetings. I was also sad to hear of Margaret Hobbs who died in early January. She had lately been a member of Shotley Bridge and a former member of Durham Federation where she served on various committees. Our thoughts are with her family and friends.

The time for the Lady Denman Cup Competition has come around again for a piece of writing of no more than 500 words. The subject is “What I heard on the bus…” If you are interested in entering this competition, please contact the Office for an entry form and schedule. The closing date for entries to be sent to the Federation Office is Friday 26 June 2020.

I hope as always to see many of you in the weeks and months ahead.


Northumberland WI

t: 0191 217 0808


11/12 Brenkley Way
Blezard Business Park, Seaton Burn
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE13 6DS