‘WI Talk’ by Sheila Goldsworthy

NFWI Chair Ann Jones

Former CFWI Chairman and current Assistant Media Officer Sheila Goldsworthy writes a wonderful monthly WI column for The Cornishman. Here is Sheila’s November column:

If you want to hear entertaining and informative speakers, join the WI! Members were privileged to experience a day’s tutelage when they attended the Annual Council Meeting at the Hall for Cornwall recently. First, the National Chair Ann Jones was the inspirational guest speaker for the morning, looking extremely smart wearing a bright red jacket. She later presented the various awards to the members. We were then rocking and rolling in the aisles when the Rock Choir of about 120 in number entertained us with a medley of glorious songs we are all familiar with plenty of hand clapping and foot-tapping. It was a stimulating morning. The afternoon speaker was Dr Annie Gray, presenter and author who specialises in the history of food and dining. Her excellent talk was laced with humour, revealing slices of history we had not been aware of, with delicious little tales of amongst others, Winston Churchill. She was later available to sign copies of her book at Waterstones. It was another memorable Annual Council Meeting.

With all the national headlines taking up print with COP27 in Egypt, it’s worth remembering to put a date in your brand new red WI diary for 2023 and that is for the International Women’s Day Tea at Penventon Park Hotel in Redruth on Wednesday 8 March at 2pm. After tea we will be fortunate to hear a talk from writer, historian and genealogist, Dr Lesley Trotter. Gaining a raft of educational qualifications she is an Honorary Research Fellow of the Institute of Cornish Studies, University of Exeter, and is currently editing a book about important women in Cornish history. This very specific day for women will commemorate the cultural political and socioeconomic achievements of women.

To further the international spirit, there is to be an Italian lunch at Chy Noweth on Friday 27 January, which will includes tasty Italian favourites. Tea and coffee is accompanied with entertainment! An enticing day for those who favour an Italian palate.

Looking forward to the spring, and another date to put in your new diary, the Arts and Leisure Sub-committee have organized a birdwatching day at Walmsley Sanctuary near Wadebridge on February 7. The guide will be Adrian Langdon who is a volunteer warden of this Sanctuary owned by the Cornwall Bird Watching and Preservation Society. Members are advised to wear wellies, waterproofs and warm clothing, plus binoculars. It’s about half a mile walk to the hide and 17 steps to the tower hide.

WI members have always supported and been enthusiastic about modern and futuristic exploits, so the first ever satellite launch from home soil is poised to take off from Newquay Airport. Local people are waiting to hear the final details of the lift-off. Some members will remember the thrill of travelling in Concorde when we were fortunate be offered three different flights when it was based at St Mawgan for a day at their air-show. The WI played a huge role in the success of that day. For those of us coming down over the steps of the plane to the cheering crowds felt like Royalty. Another highlight in 1990 was designated as Communications Year when we visited the Satellite Earth Station at Goonhilly. Marking our 75th Anniversary, plans were made to make contact with Stoney Creek, Canada, the birthplace of the WI, when the National Chair, Jean Varnam; Mary Thomas from Wales; and our own Rosemary Slee, County Chairman, made this historic link up with those members in at Erland Lee Home, now a WI Museum. The Cornish members present were thrilled to witness this historic event. These are just two of the unforgettable events that occur when you are a member of the WI.




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