Bolton WI, summer round-up

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COMINGS AND GOINGS: Bolton WI has recently lost three members who have moved out of the area but we have welcomed one new member.

At the AGM in May, Mrs Machin was elected president.

Our June meeting was a visit with members and friends to the Hirsel.

We were fortunate to have a beautiful, sunny day. Most of us got lost exploring the extensive grounds but we managed to meet together at the cafe for welcome refreshments.

In July we had a members night when two members spoke about items which were important to them.

Mrs Young gave a fascinating talk on the travels of her mother’s ring which she inherited on her 18th birthday.

Mrs Machin explained the importance of her asthma inhaler, describing the improvements in asthma treatment since she was first diagnosed as asthmatic 70 years ago.

Mrs Frater was our delegate at the national AGM and she gave a very full report on this interesting meeting.

Much of the business at our August meeting centred round planning for county day on October 29.

The Cheviot group has been asked to do the catering and several of our members have volunteered to bake cakes and biscuits.

Our speaker was Mrs Jean Casken who talked about our native red squirrels. The last red squirrels in England are in Northumberland and Cumbria. Elsewhere they have been replaced by the larger grey squirrel which was introduced from America.

Not only do the greys out compete the reds for food such as hazel nuts but they breed faster. Even worse, they carry a virus to which they are immune, but this virus kills a red squirrel within 21 days of infection.

The greys can also do a lot of damage to woodland and property. Mrs Casken was horrified when she saw a grey squirrel in the upper Coquet Valley.

In order to protect the reds a trapping programme has been set up.

Last year a hundred grey squirrels were caught and killed in the areas. This is necessary to give our native red squirrel a chance of survival.

Three of our members regularly see red squirrels in their gardens and there was a lively discussion about the best ways to encourage them.

It is helpful to feed them not only in the severe winter (squirrels do not hibernate) but also in the summer when nuts are scarce.

If they are well fed they may be able to raise a second litter.

The kitchen in Bolton village hall is being renovated and was out of use but, we still had an excellent selection of cakes and tea.

Mrs Casken gave us a very interesting talk and we were all delighted that she won the raffle.

The next meeting is on September 1, when Mr Alan Fendley will give a talk entitled The Other Geordies.