What can I say ladies, it is a great honour and privilege to have been voted in as your new Chairman and I can promise you wholeheartedly that I will do my very best for you at all times. Now the next part of this message is going to be like an evening at The Oscars with all the thanks but sadly without the fancy frock and earrings by Choppard.

You all know what a great job Hilary has done and it will therefore be no surprise that I thank her first. She is remaining on the Board and her knowledge will be invaluable as indeed will be the help and support which I know I shall receive from the rest of the Board. I feel I must also mention Ann who has now retired but who gave me such a lot of help as a rookie on the Board several years ago now and who has handed on the baton (not another one, for those of you who remember 2015!) to Nancy.

Our Facebook page was quite a revelation to me and your messages and likes were indeed phenomenal. Add to that cards and telephone messages and you can realise how humbled I felt to read them.

Finally I have to thank the very long suffering Dave who I believe has changed our answerphone message to say that I am at a WI somewhere and he hopes he is on a golf course. Please leave a message but if you get the real live Dave don’t be surprised if he says he’s the lighthouse keeper. Thankfully our daughter lives in London and our son in The Lakes so you are unlikely to get them on the phone. Actually, I can never get them on the telephone either.

Our new Federation Treasurer is Norma Birch of Garden Village, who was my assistant treasurer and before that was the Federation Treasurer of the former Tyneside Federation. Moira Bengtson has now taken on the role of Combined Arts Chairman. All the other sub- committee chairmen remain the same and I would urge you all to try and attend at least one of their events this year. Hilary has taken on the role of our Denman Ambassador.

Two of our WI Advisers, Ann Dixon and Rosie Harden-Vane have just formed a new WI in North Shields in The Collingwood Room at the Linskill Centre. Well done ladies and welcome to all of the members of the newest WI in our Federation.

If you attended the Council Meeting on 6th April you will remember that in my Treasurer’s report I said we needed to raise funds this year and I suggested a “Natter for Northumberland” event. Well, I didn’t want to be accused of not getting involved just because I now have a job with a lovely shiny badge and so on Saturday 13th July there will be an opportunity for you to drop in to meet me and some Board members and have a natter at a Federation coffee morning at Heddon on The Wall WI. Full details will be in next month’s Newsletter.

Now here is a challenge for you all. On the day after I was elected I visited Warden in Hexham as WI Adviser for their Annual Meeting. I had a lovely time and sat chatting to Margaret Huddleston who has been a WI member for 74 years. Can any of you beat that I wonder?

Please take time to read about all the forthcoming events in the Newsletter as there will be one just right for you I am sure. I look forward to seeing many of you at our various events this year.

Northumberland WI

t: 0191 217 0808


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