Alnmouth WI, September meeting


Colourful characters

I don’t know how many members were at the meeting of Alnmouth WI, but by the buzz of conversation it was nearly a full house.

President Janis and secretary Yvonne got the meeting started and as there was a full agenda to go through before hearing our speaker, we quickly got started.

One of the first items was a letter received from a WI member of the Hotspur Group, of which our WI is a part, to approach our Northumberland Federation on making better access to one or two of our important events, especially in the winter, appreciating the fact that Northumberland is essentially a large, mainly rural county.

One of the main events mentioned, among others, was our annual carol service, which for the past few years has been held in Hexham Abbey, a lovely spot but a long way in the winter. A show of hands was asked for and produced a positive yes so we look forward to more discussions and suggestions within our Hotspur Group of members.

Many up and coming events were mentioned by Caroline and Yvonne, including our usual winter warmer (soup and pud lunch), this year on October 28. Volunteers are being sought for the usual duties of cooking and serving. There is also a Christmas flower demonstration, the date not yet fixed.

Our speaker, Joanne Friel, was very interested in our WI life as she is the daughter of Dorothea and Alistair Sinton, long standing members of the village, who kindly offered to talk to us about ‘Characters on my Doorstep’.

She is a resident of Chislehurst, SE London, which we discovered is, and has been, full of very interesting characters, and as history is obviously her passion, she enthralled us with their stories.

It was truly amazing to hear who were residents of this suburb of London. To mention a few, Lord Sidney who was one of the first sea captains to sail to the other side of the world and landed on a lovely cove after sighting land, which is now, of course, Sydney; Malcolm Campbell, Richmal Crompton, Sir Francis Walsingham, spy master to Elizabeth I, there were so many. Even Ted William, creator of Dixon of Dock Green, was a one time resident, and for each one she had a story to tell.

Joanne was an excellent speaker, holding our attention whilst giving us brief humorous histories of the characters, past and present on her doorstep, and was enjoyed by everyone.

Sue Ellis gave her our thanks for a great evening, after which we had the usual cup of tea and chat.

The birthday girl for August was Esme Forster, who was presented with wine, and for September, Judith Tindall, a lovely bouquet of flowers.

Our speaker for October is Susan Green on ‘Proof of the Pudding’, and the competition is a favourite pudding recipe.

Our celebration of 100 years of the WI will be on Sunday, September 13, in Hindmarsh Hall, from noon to 4pm.

There will be an extensive exhibition of Alnmouth WI from 1918 to date, as well as craft displays, a hands-on flower workshop and a pooled WI afternoon tea for the nominal sum of £5. Hope to see you there.