Lockdown letter number 3 now in print as we all wonder when it will all end and the answer, I suspect is not all that soon.
By now I should have attended several Annual Meetings, received the votes for the Annual Meeting in June and on a personal level should have been looking forward to celebrating our son’s birthday with him and our daughter at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. Oh well there’s always next year (I hope!). It really is a great shame about the National Annual Meeting, as we were to have as two of our speakers, Cressida Dick and HRH, Sophie, Countess of Wessex which would have been fabulous. I have spoken to National about how voting may or will take place on the resolutions and we are expecting details in the near future on how we will proceed. As soon as we have any guidance it will be put on our website and Facebook page.
Also, the Officers (the Treasurer, both Vice Chairmen and I) have held our first meeting since lockdown began. We did take all the appropriate precautions but felt that we needed to begin to think about the way forward ready for when there is more easing of restrictions. As you know Federation events have been cancelled until the end of June and I am sorry to say that this has now been extended to the end of August. I would also urge you to visit our website and/or Facebook page as up to date information will be posted on there as soon as it happens.
I know that many of you saw the open letter I sent on behalf of the members of Northumberland Federation to all the local newspapers in our region thanking NHS workers, carers, key workers, delivery people, food producers, emergency services, local authority services and anyone involved in keeping us safe, supplied with provisions and working at this strange time. Of course you now all have the opportunity to send your own personal thanks due to the card you will have received in your copy of WI Life and I would urge you to fill it in and send it. I sent mine to my own GP practice who have always provided a wonderful service to their panel of patients and have continued to do so in the current situation.
You may also be pleased to know that I sent a message of thanks and congratulations on behalf of all the members to the Hon Colonel, Captain Sir Tom Moore for his magnificent effort in raising money for NHS Charities and for his 100th birthday. What an achievement.
Desert Island Discs are having a broadcast for members of the public on Friday 5th June so guess what, I have sent them a message too, requesting Jerusalem. This is because the day
before, 4th June, many of us would have been singing it at the Royal Albert Hall. As to why I requested it, well because it reminds me that I am a member of the most wonderful Women’s Organisation and that makes me feel very proud and very special. It may not get played because I suspect there will be lots of excellent choices and stories but even if it doesn’t then I can sing it at the end of the programme as my small tribute to all the wonderful members both past and present. The voice isn’t very good, but the emotion is heartfelt.
I hope that you have done well in Sue’s food quiz and are ready to take on her next challenge. I certainly am if the ever-lengthening hair doesn’t interfere with what brain power I have.
Sadly, I have learnt of the recent death of Ann Morris. Ann was the very first Chairman of Tyneside Federation in 1978 and as a VCO, as Advisers used to be known, she opened many of the Tyneside WIs. She was an excellent flower arranger and demonstrator, visiting my own WI on several occasions. Ann won a National WI competition and, together with Moira Cullen, took part in the scheme to provide flower arrangements for the foyer of the Tate Gallery. She had been a member of South Gosforth WI and was a truly lovely lady who will be remembered with great fondness and love by many members. A card of condolence has been sent to her family on behalf of the Federation.
I will sign off by thanking all WI committees for keeping in touch with their members and to you all for sharing your thoughts, individual Newsletters, and ideas with the Board. It’s lovely to hear about what you are all doing and your methods of keeping in touch. For many it has reminded us that we can indeed still put pen to paper and pop it in the post box for one of those unsung heroes of the post to deliver to our friends. Until we really all can meet again please stay safe, well and smiling

Marj x

Northumberland WI

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