Alnmouth WI, February meeting

Northumberland Natonal Park.
Northumberland Natonal Park.

After sorting ourselves out buying raffle tickets, browsing the bric-a-brac stall and of course a quick chat to fellow members, Janis welcomed members of Alnmouth WI and quickly went through her agenda, reminding us again that all subs have to be paid asap, and mentioning various outstanding concerns under ‘matters arising’ which were quickly resolved.

One of these was the question of labelling food, especially when made to sell on our various fund-raising days, particularly having regard to various allergies. It was a good reminder as most of us know the ingredients so well, we are inclined to make cakes, etc, by the rule of thumb.

Janis also mentioned the WI we correspond with in Swaziland, and how much they appreciate the little financial help we give them.

We were humbled when we listened to how hard it is to access hospitals and schools. They are hoping to set up a school for four to six-year-olds, our contribution going towards the very necessary tables and chairs to help them towards this.

Knitting has also been going on to keep premature babies warm by sending tiny hats, bootees, matinee coats, etc. One of the suggestions was that we keep our parcels very small as they have to go through very small letter boxes – something we never thought of.

As our speaker was a little late, it was decided to have a cup of tea and go through our various up-and-coming social events, so we devoured the beautiful tray bakes made by members of committee while listening to what was on offer.

There was quite a bit really – a morning visit to Felton Art Gallery, to follow up on the beautiful glass demonstration we had last month, including lunch at the Northumberland Arms, our names were taken for a visit to the Theatre Royal to see Sister Act in July, and not to forget our summer outing to Bowes Museum in August.

Our speaker, David Waters, arrived in the middle of all this and joined us for a cup of tea before starting his presentation of the activities of the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team.

Given that the NPMRT territory covers 2,000 miles across Northumberland up and over to the Borders also Durham they are busy people.

All the team are volunteers but work with the Police, Air Ambulance, RAF Boulmer and the RNLI, and are on call 24/7, 12 months of the year.

The rescue team started in 1962 which was of course one of the worst winters in living memory, when a farmer and two shepherds left the mart in Rothbury to head home to Alnham and beyond. One made it home and the other two did not.

Certainly an awful tragedy but it instigated a great institution which is well used in all parts of our wild county of Northumberland.

The team consists of 42 highly-trained volunteers, among which are six ladies – three in training and three already trained and fully involved with the team.

David tells us their team was called upon to help at that awful plane crash in Lockerbie, as of course the wreckage covered hundreds of miles.

They are a great team and of course as their overheads are ‘rather high’ to cover their rescue vehicles, suitable clothing, special stretchers which have to be carried to inaccessible areas just to mention a few, their only access to money is fund-raising, which they also have to do, constantly, in all sorts of ingenious ways, including standing on a corner shaking a box.

Barbara Galbraith gave David our thanks for a wonderful informative evening, and there is no way any of us now would be avoiding the rattle of their box whenever we encounter their collectors.

The birthday girl this month was Ann Coyne.

We will be celebrating our 97th WI birthday in the Hindmarsh Hall, at 7pm on March 18. Members who haven’t put their name down and wish to come, please contact our secretary Caroline Martin 830798 for details before the end of February.

The speaker for our March meeting, Dawn Watts, is giving us a talk, demonstration and taste of moulded chocolate products – wow!