Acklington WI, Meeting

Acklington Village Hall
Acklington Village Hall

Following our June meeting ‘Treasure Hunt’ outing we were back in the village hall for the July meeting

The meeting was well attended with both members and visitors, who welcomed Susan Fulton and Esther, from Canine Partners.

Susan gave an interesting and informative talk and slide show about the work of the charity, which specialises in matching trained assistance dogs with people with varying degrees of physical disability.

It was founded in 1990 and currently places 78 dogs a year. Training takes around 20 to 24 months and the cost from puppy selection to retirement is £20,000.

As well as working with civilians the charity works in partnership with Help for Heroes, The Royal British Legion and other service organisations in providing canine partners to injured servicemen and women.

Susan went on to explain the range of tasks that Esther was capable of helping her carry out. This included dressing and undressing, answering the phone and raising the alarm in an emergency by operating a panic button and for those with more severe disabilities canine partners can be trained to assist with help in getting in and out of bed.

Esther also helps with unloading the washing machine and Susan made us all laugh when she told us that Esther, who is given a treat on completion of a task, had worked out that if she emptied the washing machine then put an item back in she could get a second treat.

Needless to say that although she is a working dog and should be treated as such it was Esther who stole the show, especially when she was allowed to circulate and meet everyone at the end of Susan’s presentation.

For the business part of our meeting Susan judged our competition, which appropriately was for the best photograph of a dog. A raffle was held, forthcoming events and meetings were discussed and after refreshments the meeting was closed.

A warm welcome was extended to the 15 members and one visitor present at our August meeting.

Then the business agenda was presented, including early information about the next national annual meeting due to take place in Cardiff on June 6, 2018.

Members reported back on their recent very enjoyable visit to Sandra’s Cottage Flowers, which had included a garden walk and an opportunity to make an arrangement using easily obtainable flowers and foliage from one’s garden, all topped off with a delicious afternoon tea. Interest was shown in a similar event with a Christmas theme, to take place in December.

An invitation has also been received from Warkworth WI for four members to attend a Comic Evening in October.

We then moved to the theme of the evening, Fun with Foliage, in which our joint president Janet led us through the process of making a floral arrangement encircled in a cage of foliage. This proved challenging at first, but was well worth the effort, as each of us had a stunning arrangement to take home.

Our next meeting takes place on Tuesday, September 12, at 7.15 pm in the Village Hall, when the topic will be Everest Base Camp presented by Neal Skelton.