December 2014/January 2015 Report

WI-cake-iconIt was Gala Night on the 18th December, and for us it was a double celebration. We were celebrating Stradbroke W.I. 90th Anniversary, together with our Christmas Dinner. It was Party Night! To celebrate our 90 years, Dorothy and Sue Gray had compiled memorabilia of Stradbroke which they displayed for everyone to enjoy. We were delighted to welcome Jane Collier our Federation Chairman and Gillian Slaughter from the Federation Executive as our special guests for the evening, and together with members and their guests, they entered a Community Centre that had been transformed into a festive party scene. Balloons and crackers adorned the tables in the themed colours of purple, pink and silver. Candelabra's of flowers and balloons, beautifully arranged by Dianne, and trees of frosted tortured Hazel fronted the curtains. The stage was decked with swags of spruce and more balloons, and of course a Christmas tree. It all looked lovely. 90th celebrations and gala dinner 6 20150111 1024637548There was truly a Gala Raffle, with superb prizes of champagne, £25.00 M&S, voucher, a beautiful basket of wine and cheese and another of fruit, a large box of chocolates and to top it all a bottle of red wine. Taking pride of place in the room was our Birthday Cake, which was absolutely delicious, and for which we have to give a huge thank you to Moyra for making it for us. A superb three course dinner was served by Steve Hambling and his staff, after which our President Dorothy Readman gave a short address before making the Annual Awards. Moyra and Jane Collier were then invited to cut the cake, and Jane proposed the toast to Stradbroke W.I. The cake was enjoyed amidst a popping of corks and lots of bubbly. Songs from the 1920s 30s and 40s were sung accompanied by Dougie on his keyboard, and from the 50s onwards by music compiled by John Dowsett. Allan Hampson spoke for everyone when he warmly thanked Steve and his catering staff for serving such a delicious meal. As the evening drew to its conclusion all the balloons on the stage were simultaneously burst, so we really did go out with a bang. Special thanks to the committee for all their hard work and to Don, Dougie, Jeff and Michael the dedicated husbands whose help we value so much. Finally, a huge thank-you to all those of you who helped with the clearing up in the Community Centre.

See more photos in the Gallery

November Monthly meeting

November, our Annual Meeting, and the end of another successful year. The meeting itself was very well attended, in spite of so many members being unwell. The President Dorothy Readman welcomed Charmaine Cooper and Annie Harbrow our two newest members, to the meeting. She also welcomed and thanked our tellers from Fressingfied Rosemary and Christine, who had come to officiate at our election. Jennifer Chetwynd informed members of the resolutions to be discussed and voted upon for the National A.G.M next year. Thanks were sent via Dorothy from her daughter, thanking everyone who hand knitted baby clothes for the maternity unit she supports in Uganda. To mark our 90th Birthday 3 White Birch Trees are to be planted at the top of Drapers Hill field on the 23rd November at 10 am. We would love you to attend the planting.

The formal part of the meeting then took place, and reports and statements were read out by the officers of the committee, and were duly approved and signed. Elaine Lake is retiring from the Committee, and Dorothy thanked her in her absence for her great contribution to the W.I. over many years. The rest of the Committee agreed to stand and were re-elected. Dorothy Readman was re-elected President for the coming year. In thanking members for their support, she did emphasize the point that this would definitely be her last year in the position.

Irene Rogers, on behalf of the members, gave a very warm and sincere vote of thanks to the President the committee for all their hard work throughout the past year. 

We now look forward to our Christmas Dinner and 90th Birthday Celebration on Thursday 18th December at 6 pm.

Please remember your camera's and of course your wine. Here's to a successful 2015

Gill Bird

October Monthly Meeting

What a great meeting we had in October, and such a happy one, as we welcomed our President Dorothy Readman back after her recent hip replacement. Dorothy thanked everyone for their kindness, help and support whilst she was out of action. Dianne gave a short update on County matters and Gill updated members on the Gala Dinner being held in December. Maryann Cartwright has become our newest member. A very warm welcome to her. Dorothy then introduced Yula, a choir leader from Framlingham, who declared she would get us all singing. And she did just that. Yula burst onto the scene with such energy and verve. Telling members of her life in all genres of music, classical, jazz and pop, and being a young mum how she started the first of her three 'Pop Choirs'. Taking little time to draw breath she got everyone on their feet to do some deep breathing exercises. Song sheets appeared, and before we knew it she had us singing 'Living Doll' the old Cliff Richard favourite. Mama Mia was next, this time in two part harmony (we were doing well) so well that actions were brought in to play. It was great, and we were back in our heyday and having so much fun. Waterloo followed, and we were rocking. Finally we gave vent to Cher's 'Shoop Shoop' song which created a lot of laughter. It is so true that music makes you happy and feel good. Usually members are ready for their refreshments, but I think if time had allowed we would have gone on singing. Joyce Lee gave a very fitting vote of thanks. Yula thank you, we loved it.

September Monthly Meeting

In her opening address Vice President Gill Bird, deputising for President Dorothy Readman, welcomed members to the meeting and gave a special welcome to Annie Harbrow, Charmaine Cooper and Maryann Cartwright, three ladies who we hope we will soon have the pleasure of seeing at all our meetings. Gill then explained that Dorothy's absence was due to her being admitted into hospital the following day to receive a hip replacement. We all sent our love and wished her well. Dianne Maynard our very efficient secretary, then went through items of news from our County Office. Gill then gave details of the arrangements for our 90th birthday celebration together with our Christmas Dinner on Thursday 18th December at 6pm. It was then time to welcome our speaker for the evening Rachel Lead, a very familiar face to many of us as, as she lives in Stradbroke. Rachel came to talk to us about Kinesiology, a subject many of us new very little about. We learnt that Kinesiology was all about muscles, meridians, pressure points and balance. A real eye opener for many of us, and with her passion and enthusiasm, clear for all to see, Rachel soon had every one on their feet doing basic movements. She then asked if anyone had in the past broken their ankle, and would be willing to volunteer to let her demonstrate her work. Pat Marlow stepped forward. The demonstration was interesting and had members absorbed, and Pat was fine. Dianne gave the vote of thanks. Wendy Reeve gave a very brief update on the progress of the Spar Shop, telling members that there was no date as yet for its opening. The meeting closed with our new rendition of Jerusalem.
If you like singing, why not join us at our October meeting, when we welcome Yula, a lady guaranteed to get us all singing. Visitors are always welcome, and the evening should be fun.
Gill Bird

August Monthly Meeting

'If you go down to the woods today you're sure of a big surprise' and that certainly was true for the members that attended our August Summer Meeting.

SDC11726The CC was transformed into a mini scene from Winnie the Pooh, with brightly decked tables surrounding a miniature garden and stream, and of course the famous Pooh Bridge, which had been brilliantly constructed by Don Darling. Don a huge thank-you from us all for this, and for all the other help you have given us. As members arrived they were greeted by the Committee, their hosts for the evening, who by means of some superb face painting by Louise Smith had become, characters from Winnie the Pooh, complete with tails and ears. Much fun and laughter ensued as Pooh (Dorothy) Tigger (Gill) Owl (Dianne) Eeyore (Betty) Piglet (Lorraine) Rabbit (Jane. G) Kanga (Carol) and???? (June) bounced around the room serving pre supper drinks, before inviting everyone to enjoy a supper of Lasagne and salads, followed by a variety of delightful desserts. (Everything homemade of course.) all with some very nice Rose wine. Coffee and tea followed. After a great deal of chatter and laughter the supper finally came to an end, and we set about tuning our voices for some singing. 

We are trying to learn a new version of Jerusalem, and to help us in our efforts we were delighted to welcome Charmaine Cooper an accomplished musician, who kindly and very patiently put us through our paces. We still have much work to do, but it was all very enjoyable. Thank you so much Charmaine. 

The evening closed with Irene Rogers giving a very warm vote of thanks on behalf of the members, to the Committee for a very happy evening.

SDC11714Pooh and friends would like to thank everyone for coming and especially those members who insisted on helping with the washing up, and of course to Louise Smith who created them.

As the last remnants of the evening were removed from the hall with the aid of our faithful Dougie, it can safely be said that Pooh, Tigger, Owl, Eeyore Piglet, Kanga, Rabbit and-----had lost a lot of their bounce, and were glad to be heading back to the sanctuary of their woods.

More Photos

July Monthly Meeting

Our July meeting had a hint of perfume in the air, as we welcomed Janet Whiteside with her Lavender Baskets Workshop, but before we all settled down to learn, Dorothy welcomed Edna Scarrfe and Jenny Hyde to our meeting who were joining us for the first time. We also had a surprise visit from Bernadette Smith a member of the Board of the South East Federation of W.Is., and she certainly picked a great night to join us. A note of thanks was read from Stella, thanking everyone for her 90th birthday gift, and after short reports from June and I on the success of the Haute Couture evening and the Stradbroke Festifull, we were ready to get weaving (quite literally)
In her introduction Janet gave us a very short history of the lavender plant, telling us that lavender had been found in Egypt in the tomb of King Tutankhamun. The knowledge of the plant was passed on to the Greeks, who in turn passed it on to the Romans. Today lavender is grown commercially in many places and a Frenchman by the name of Louis Gattefosse is credited with introducing us to 'Aromatherapy'
All equipped with lavender and ribbon, we keenly watched as Janet demonstrated her art, by delicately weaving ribbon through the heads of lavender, which she had encased with the stems, creating a cage effect. It was all very simple, but so effective. Then it was our turn, and it's amazing how differently they all turned out, but it was great fun. One thing they had in common was that they all looked very pretty and had a wonderful fragrance. Vera Dowsett a close friend of Janet's, gave the vote of thanks.

June Monthly Meeting - Haute Couture


There were oohs and ahhs from the huge audience, as dresses, suits and skirts were revealed. The colours and fabrics Brian had used were truly stunning, and the detail incredible. Each model (he only ever makes one) was then circulated for everyone to see. Many of his creations had metres and metres of fabric in their skirts, some like gossamer weighing next to nothing, others encrusted with beading weighing a considerable amount, but all were quite, quite beautiful. Brian's easy going manner soon encouraged questions from the floor, and the whole room was buzzing. All good things have to come to an end they say, and Brian's final revelation was a wedding dress that he had made especially for our occasion. It was simple, ethereal and beautiful.
Pat Fill spoke for everyone in her vote of thanks, as she said what a delightful evening we had all had, and how we wish we could be clients of Brian. Flowers were presented to Gloria, that had been arranged by Moyra, and our thanks to her and Dianne for all the flowers for the evening.
Evenings like this do not come without a lot of planning, and it's a great big thank-you to June and Dianne for all their hard work in the organisation of it. Special thanks to our hostesses for the evening Iris and Vivienne, who together with their helpers served the refreshments. Our barmen were Allan, Michael and Stuart all W. I. husbands. What would we do without them?
Thank you all so much. An evening we will all remember for a very long time.
Gill Bird

May Monthly Meeting

Our May meeting was on what could only be described as dreadful day, cold, wet and windy, but the stalwarts that we are, were not deterred by it and we were delighted to welcome Maggie who was visiting us for the first time. We really hope she enjoyed her evening and that we will have the pleasure of her company again. Dorothy our President having welcomed everyone gave a resume of our first kurling Match, which was against the Stradbroke Trust. It was great fun, and the rules were only very loosely adhered too, but we won. All those who played, agreed it was a game that grew on you, and were all for playing on a regular basis. Dorothy announced that there will be a
Food Bank collection at our July meeting. May is the month when our annual NFWI Resolution is discussed and voted upon. The result of which is taken by our delegate to the AGM of the NFWI meeting in June. This year it concerned organ donation, and once again we have Jennifer to thank for steering us through the lively debate that ensued. We are so lucky to have Marine Biologist Laura Hanley as a member, and she delighted us with her talk on Sea Turtles Around the British Isles. Concentrating on her own particular favourite the Leatherback Turtle, who apparently can live for at least 100 years and every three to four years lays 110 eggs four times in that year. Laura's talk was both fascinating and full of interesting facts about these endearing creatures. Lorraine thanked her in her own inimitable style. During the evening we were introduced to a new and quite lovely version of Jerusalem, which was much more suited to our voices, and after several plays members agreed that they really liked it.


Gill Bird

April Monthly Meeting 

We were delighted to welcome Denise Janes as our speaker to our April Meeting. Denise a very charming and bubbly lady came to talk to us about her work with the Tourist Board, and she was just the sort of lady one would hope tobe greeted by when seeking information. Her motto 'Service with a smile' was how she ran the St. Alban's Tourist Board, and she had many, many stories to tell us. Perhaps her talk should have been subtitled 'The things they say' because of the funny things we say when asking for help. Having given more than 29 years to the service, Denise relocated to Norfolk, and now acts as a guide at the National Trust's Blickling Hall. After a most enjoyable talk with a lot of laughs, Dorothy gave a much deserved vote of thanks.

On display for the evening were the exhibits for the Suffolk Show, which once again showed the great creativity and skill of our members. After refreshments we had the business section of the meeting, which included an update by Wendy Reeves on her quest to get the Spar Shop re-opened in the village. The news was encouraging, so now we wait and hope. Our thanks to Wendy, for all her hard work.

With a total change in procedure, we closed rather than opened our meeting with the singing of Jerusalem, with a beautifully recorded organ accompaniment.

Gill Bird

Forthcoming Event. June 12th

at 7.30pm. in the Community Centre

An evening with International Couturier Brian Piccolo, giving an insight into his world of Haute Couture.

This evening is open to everyone. Tickets £3.00 to include a glass of wine, are available from

June 01379 388009 and Gill 01379 384979.

March Monthly Meeting 

Our March Meeting was a very busy one with reports from Carol Darling on the governments 'National Pollination Strategy' regarding the protection of bees. A report by Irene Rogers on the Federation Annual Meeting held recently at Trinity Park. 5 Members attended and had a wonderful day. The guest speaker was Roy Hudd, who was terrific and so very amusing. Finally ,following our National Resolution to support our High Streets, Wendy Reeves read her draft letter to the Spar Organization, deploring their lack of interest in re- opening Stradbroke's much needed store. This was met by huge applause from the members.

Our speaker was our very own Prue Rush who gave us an insight into Student Nurses Training in the late1960s.

Prue was a delight and regaled us with stories both highly amusing and very touching. We hopefully will have another installment at a later date. Jane Gemmill gave a warm vote of thanks.

The evening closed with Joyce Lee thanking everyone for the beautiful flowers they sent her for her special day.

February Monthly Meeting

Our February Meeting was a very lively and happy one. Once the main business of the evening was over, members were given their first glimpse of the banner for display at Federation HQ and the Suffolk Show, which had been designed and made by Carol Darling, and which was quite simply superb.
We were delighted to welcome as our speaker Major Rosemary Warne MBE DL. who came to talk to us about her role as one of HM Deputy Lieutenants of the Greater Boroughs of London. It was an enthralling talk and so very, very interesting. Rosemary brought with her, her Ceremonial Sash, Cap and Medal of Office, together with albums of wonderful photographs and mementos for members to look at. We found Rosemary to be a truly inspiring lady and a joy to listen to.

January Monthly Meeting

A Very Happy New Year From Stradbroke W.I.
Our January meeting was very well attended and great fun. A great start to the New Year.
Lorraine our Christmas Fairy joined us once again, and in a very relaxed interview with Our President Dorothy gave us an hilarious account of her life when training to become a nurse. In the ensuing years she became a district nurse, and had us in fits of laughter about her encounters. After marriage she joined M&S and her stories about working in the men's dept. had members rocking with laughter. Lorraine was a joy to listen to, and her exploits were many and so very varied. Far too many for this blog.
Lorraine you got our year off to a wonderful start, and a great big thank you for being such a good sport.