I hope that by now many of you will already have received your first vaccination for Coronavirus as Dave and I have. It is at least the first step on the road to normal even if it has to be a new normal for us all.
I am writing my message on a very sunny but cold day just one day ahead of non-essential shops re-opening and we all know what that means don’t we ladies, yes we can at long last visit the hairdresser again!
Many of you will remember that last year we invited nominations to the Board of Trustees for 2021 / 2023. Former Chairman Hilary Robson and co-opted member Dorothy Sowerby announced that they would be standing down from the Board and there were no other nominations from the Federation. I am however very pleased to tell you that we have co-opted a new member, Diane Walton who is President of Jesmond WI. Welcome aboard Diane and I hope that you enjoy your time on the Board. I am sure that you will learn more about Diane in future Newsletters.
For all the very obvious reasons I cannot let Hilary’s departure from the Board go without acknowledgement for her phenomenal service to Northumberland as member and secretary of Lowgate WI, which of course she continues to do, as a Board member with over twenty years of service during which time (from 2010 to 2019) she led the Federation as Chairman. She took up the role of Chairman just after Tyneside merged with Northumberland and saw us through the alterations to Cresswell House, the Centenary of the WI in 2015 (can you remember her dressed as Britannia at the various afternoon teas?) and finally at Northumberland’s own Centenary in 2018. I hope that all the memories are good ones and who knows she may put them down in print for us all to read!
Dorothy joined the Board along with myself in 2012 but left when her husband became ill and then re-joined the Board as a co-opted member quite recently. Dorothy will always be remembered for her humour and along with Sue Malloy as one of our dynamic catering team. I must not forget here the third musketeer, Hilary, who was in charge of salad chopping, washing up and making sure the tables looked top class.
Thank you ladies for everything you have done and I hope that you enjoyed the floral gifts sent to you from all the members of Northumberland Federation. Also, on the subject of thanks, Kathleen Jones, one of our former Advisers has recently sent in a donation to Federation funds so thank you very much for that Kathleen.
I have heard from many WIs that subscriptions are being paid and membership is going really well so once again my thanks go to all members for re-joining and for individual WI committees for going the extra mile for their members during lockdown which I am sure has made them feel part of a very unique organisation and one which they really want to see continue to thrive. If you haven’t paid yet please do so and if you are having any doubts about re-joining can I just tell you about Craster WI. One of their members who is 91 was finally persuaded to re-join by her two pals, one well over 80 and one over 90. The powers of persuasion and the fact that these ladies still get the WI experience really did cheer my heart and I can’t wait to see them.
As promised in the last Newsletter, here are details of the venues for the Federation Quiz heats to be held on Thursday 30th September: Newbrough, Powburn, St Columba’s and Ulgham. The final will be held at Stannington Village Hall on Thursday 21st October and further details and application forms will be sent out in due course. This is always a hugely enjoyable event, and I am sure that this year will be no exception. Applications for the Federation Quiz heats and various other events at Cresswell House will soon be coming your way.
One event I would like to highlight is Tea, Cake and Chat. As a personal thank you I would like to invite each WI President (or representative) to come to Cresswell House to meet up with other Presidents and find out what they did and what worked well during the past year. There are no dates fixed yet and of course it will not take place until after the end of June with all precautions being taken. We will have a small maximum number at each event so that invitees will be well spaced so don’t
worry that I am having over one hundred ladies at Cresswell House! Once the Officers and I have worked out the logistics more information will be available and I do hope that you will come and share your experiences and meet up with old friends and, importantly, make new ones. It really is beginning to feel like NORMAL