My Zoom Experience – Alison Scrimshaw
As a Prudhoe WI member I was included in their calendar of speakers for a Christmas Floral workshop. Little did I know that when agreeing we would be unable to meet. To keep in contact with our ladies we have been holding regular Zoom meetings, so I was asked to hold a Zoom demonstration rather than a workshop, with the ladies doing their own arrangements later.
Well, I love the normal interaction with the ladies and get great pleasure in seeing them take their arrangements home, so this was going to be very different. I did a trial run at home, set up my iPad and recorded myself ensuring everything I was demonstrating was in view and all bits were to hand. I didn’t like just hearing my own voice so decided to play Christmas music in the background. The evening of my demonstration arrived; I was excited but also anxious that it would all go well. I demonstrated 2 Christmas table decorations, and everything went without a hitch. The ladies all enjoyed it and I hoped they would then do their own at home.
What did I learn from this? Next time wear a plain colour top so that the smaller details I was demonstrating can be more easily seen. Although I didn’t have my audience with me, I still enjoyed being able to share my ideas. Next year hopefully, we can do it in person.

WI in a flurry! – Jennifer Graham
December brought a flurry of WI activity for the Widdrington Station & Stobswood Committee with having to contact all our members to get their Resolution choices and their agreement to the Constitutional changes.
This then followed with us making up a Christmas gift bag for each member which included a gift, a Christmas tree bauble, a Christmas card and cracker and a sanitiser of course! Three of the Committee called at each of the houses to distribute them and have a little chat on the doorstep! It was lovely to have some personal contact rather than e-mail/text/’phoning them.
This was followed up with a sizeable donation to our local foodbank who are in desperate need of help from a small number of families prior to the lock-down, to 40 families now in great need.
A request to Nancy (our Federation Secretary) for some way for one of our members with sight difficulties who doesn’t have computer access but wished to be able to read WI Life, had a satisfactory result after Nancy had contacted National. They have an arrangement with the Blind Association who dictate the WI Life onto a CD which will be sent to our member every month she was delighted!

Craster brighten up the place – Marion Gallon
We planted 1500 bulbs in a socially distanced fashion of course to brighten up the approach into the village. We erected and attached another 1000ish poppies to the magnificent display of 4000ish that we put into the harbour last year.

70 miles before 70 around Thropton
To mark her 70th birthday Chris Butterworth of Thropton WI planned to walk 70 miles between 9 November and 8 December hoping to raise money for charity, which she completed a week ahead of schedule before her birthday on 1 December. The walk was in aid of North Northumberland Hospice and in memory of WI member Mary Bathgate. She was at our last meeting in early March when the speaker was from the hospice but died later that month from Covid. Mary had nursed her daughter Diane through her terminal breast cancer and hospice nurses assisted in the final weeks.

Over £1400 has been raised so far. If you would like to make a donation visit: Butterworth 
Well done Chris!

Longhorsley loose a dear friend
It was with much sadness that we announce the passing of long-standing member, Eleanor Ricalton. She had been a member of Longhorsley WI for 59 years, with the exception of a short period when our WI was suspended.
In the earlier years she was Treasurer and among her more recent duties, she distributed the Federation Newsletter to members, kept the register and held our monthly raffle. She loved knitting, crocheting and sewing and was an active member of our village community. She became unwell during the first lockdown and was diagnosed with cancer. She will be sadly missed.

A Host of Angels in a Box – Juliet Novis
It would have been Warden in Hexham’s 99th celebration on 9 December and a very special Christmas “meeting in a box” was created by member Jane Hale. It included lovely handmade items, and short bread, chocolate, jokes, paper angels, fairy lights, raffle ticket etc, including a potted primrose which really raised our spirits!
The box, based on the theme “A Host of Angels”, was delivered with a note to break the seal at 7pm so that all members opened theirs at the same time, just as if we were at the meeting.
It was suggested we might like to make a contribution towards a book of Angels, paying tribute to all the people who had helped us through these strange times. These will be bound together to fill the gap left by our lack of Minutes. We also sang “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”.
What a wonderful way to bring us all together and a “meeting” none of us will forget – but, in case we did, also in the box was a dainty little Angel keyring to keep as a reminder!

Ponteland Village go for something stronger Rachel Bowey Bland
We set up a new group recently called the Coffee (or Something Stronger) Club ’ which we set up to bring members together, to catch up with WI friends and to alleviate some of the loneliness lockdown has inevitably caused. We decided to start it when meeting 6 people was allowed but before we could have a first get together the rule of 6 was stopped so we decided to move to Zoom.
We have had 2 morning and 2 evening meet ups, and they have all gone really well! The plan is to do them face to face as soon as we can.

Prudhoe’s virtual Christmas Party – Anne Leech
We had our virtual Christmas party where members wore their Christmas jumpers and had a glass of their favourite tipple, mine was a G&T. The Committee made up little bags for every member which had a knitted fairy, a gold fir cone, fruit cake, sweets a little glass fairy and a Christmas card.
The members said they really enjoyed opening them, it was like getting a Christmas stocking. Even the bags were made with old WI news magazines.
Hope you all had a good Christmas and let’s hope 2021 shows promise of things getting back to normality.

Northumberland WI

t: 0191 217 0808

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