Update from Claudia Milne 2019 Centenary Bursary winner

Hello ladies
I thought I would send a letter to our last bursary winner Claudia who will certainly have experienced an unusual first year at University. Here is her reply and yes I know many of you are already very IT savvy but in my letter to Claudia I was explaining how Jill and Ian had managed to get both Dave and I up with Zoom etc. so that bit was just for me!! Marj

Dear Marjorie,
Hope you are all keeping well at the WI. This year has definitely been one of a kind. We could have never predicted the outcome of 2020 a year ago and its devastating effect on the world. Needless to say, all students and everyone I know are trying their best to keep a positive mindset throughout these
challenging times.
With regards to the end of my first year, it was different but one to remember for sure. A moment in history, that I’m sure will be taught in schools in years to come. I am so sorry to hear about the closure of the office at Cresswell House at the beginning of lockdown and all your trips being cancelled. But I am sure that in the near future, those exciting trips will be able to go ahead once again. Brilliant news that you are tapping into the millennial generation with your mastery of digit al communication. A great way for all of us at this moment in time to communicate with one another, as we rally together to
support each other.
As I said before, it has been a testing time for me and many others. However, I do look back at my university experience with the fondest memories and happiness. From start to finish, I have met some brilliant, interesting life long friends and had some great experiences along the way.
With your help in particular; I have been on a handful of course trips including the Lake District and Hexham . This has allowed me to put my learnt content in the classroom in to practice, which for me was very beneficial.
Unfortunately, my weeklong trip to the Scottish Highlands was cancelled due to Coronavirus, which was disappointing, but this will be rescheduled for this year coming. With regards to the time we went into lockdown, around that time I was preparing to undertake my first year exams. The exams obviously were greatly disrupted… having to complete exams online instead of classroom based , either as coursework or as an open book 24hr exam. This was
strange and nothing that I have experienced before but, in a way, something that would never of happened if this wasn’t going on!
Hope you are all well and healthy. Speak soon.

Bags Galore at Blyth Spirit WI – Noreen Brent
We decorated the bags, which contained a notebook and pen, a coffee coaster, made to match the notebook, a wrapped tea bag and biscuit, hand sanitiser and a pack of masks, a pack of tissues and a puzzle book, along with the latest newsletter. It was fun making them, but the best part was delivering them, as we got a chance to check up on everyone at the same time and have a little chat.
The ladies were delighted with their bags and I’m pleased to say, they are all still very positive and looking forward to the next meeting, whenever it will be.

North Tyne WIs Alternative Annual Report 2020 from Irene Carse
2020 Lockdown
January, as usual, started just fine,
With ‘Travels in India’ from the Upper North Tyne.
February’s workshop found us drawing ‘The Stell’,
But then from March…? It all went to Hell.

Covid 19 took over the game.
Life, as we know it, will never be the same…
Meetings were cancelled, Speakers delayed.
From that day on we’ve hoped,
and we’ve prayed.

Stay at home, Save lives, words clear and explicit.
(Repeated so often, we could hardly miss it).
No hugs, no cuddles, no socialising allowed.
Isolate at home, keep away from crowds.

Our hands and our homes have never been so clean,
To try to combat this virus unseen.
Loo rolls and pasta flew off the shelves,
Sharing what we could amongst ourselves.

Social distancing, up to now, unknown.
What the heck’s that when it’s at home
Face masks are now the accepted norm.
At least through the winter they’ll keep us warm.

We’ve missed our families and all of our friends.
It’s been so hard to comprehend…
This is SO against what the WI stands for,
And NOTHING like we originally planned for.

I hope and I pray we’ll be together soon,
The Holy Grail Vaccine making us all immune.
2020….I’m not impressed.
2021….Here’s to much less stress.
This concludes the Annual Report for 2019- 2020.
(And good riddance I say…)
Stay safe.

Whey Aye go electronic! – Deborah McLeod
Whey Aye WI’s year kicked off normally with many great plans then, the Covid 19 pandemic brought an enforced break from WI meetings as we all got to grips with lockdown.
To stay in touch throughout the spring, we turned to virtual activities on Facebook during our WI meeting dates which included: Members posted a photograph of themselves during lockdown and in April our WI Facebook page was flooded with colour and nature with photographs of their gardens.
Therefore, Facebook was a helpful way of keeping in touch during those first months; 75% of our members use Facebook, and all but one of our members use email. But by the summer it was decided to move monthly WI meetings onto Zoom.
It was good to see each other as Katie-Jane Hermes talked about her career as a florist and her move to selling houseplants online during lockdown. We have also enjoyed: Sarah Slater – the history of Hampton Court Palace and its spooky sightings! A live bake-a-long with Natasha Caton who also talked about her outreach work
on her community farm. Julie Rankcom talked about her love of handcrafted glass and turning her hobby into a business. For Octobers meeting we look forward to Peter Williamson who will speak about the moon landings. One advantage of online meetings is being able to listen to speakers who are based outside of our region; the world is a small place on Zoom!
Online meetings certainly aren’t the same as coming together to meet in person, and such platforms aren’t accessible or liked by everyone, but we hope we’ve provided an opportunity to stay in touch during this extraordinary year. WI Life magazine and our Federation Newsletter ‘Northumberland News’ have kept us informed and connected to WI, and we thank everyone involved in producing those publications for their work.
We hope you have stayed safe and well and are looking forward to the time when we can restart our WI meetings in person once again.
In WI friendship, from all at Whey Aye WI.

Speakers Corner – As there is a growing interest in booking speakers on Zoom there will now be a list held at Cresswell House. If you require a copy, please email the Office. Thank you.

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