Alnmouth WI, March meeting

WARM TRIBUTE: The March meeting of Alnmouth WI started with president Pam paying tribute to a very long-standing member, Peggy Hall, who died recently after a long illness.

As well as being secretary from 1980 to 1998, she was a great needlewoman, being involved in the restoration of a carpet found in Alnwick Castle and now in Zion House, the creating and stitching of a beautiful WI banner for our Institute and, among many other things, helping to make patchwork quilts for the Northumberland Room in the WI College at Denman.

She was a great lady and very much an example of a traditional WI member even by today’s standards, as she and her husband ran a very busy fish and chip shop in Newcastle before retiring full time in the village.

As there was a lot of business for Pam and Jean to get through before our speaker arrived, no time was wasted in getting started.

After the minutes and correspondence were gone through, Pam reminded us about our birthday meal at Nether Grange, paying for our tickets for the up-and-coming two trips to the theatre and adding names to the list for the making of suggested canapés, for Question Time. We were all worn out just thinking about it.

We are hoping to support two charities this year, the first being HospiceCare North Northumberland, for which we held an earlier event, and the Great North Air Ambulance, which will receive the proceeds of Question Time. In addition we are helping the charity work of a WI in Swaziland.

We made contact with the latter through one of our members, whose twin sister lives in Swaziland and during a conversation over a table at a coffee morning, discovered that the WI is actually thriving over there.

So through the magic of email, Pam contacted Malkerns WI and their president Nishi Surana gave us a list of things they were desperate for to help local schools. We found we could not actually help with sending food and blankets but through our book stall, which we run independently of our meetings, we were able to send off our first cheque, which enables them to buy whatever they need locally without the cost of transport, etc.

Our speaker for the evening, Mary Pinder, had now arrived and, after helping her with many mysterious hat boxes, she proceeded to give us an excellent talk on hats. It’s hard to believe so much history is attached to hats and how far it goes back but we certainly enjoyed listening to her telling us all about it. Her hats are both interesting and beautiful so quite a few members enjoyed trying them on at the end of her talk.

Edith Cummings thanked her (wearing a hat of course) on our behalf and after drawing the March birthday girl’s name out of the hat, Heather Mavro-Michaels, we enjoyed a cup of tea and a home-made scone to end another good evening.