‘WI Talk’ by Sheila Goldsworthy

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

Spring has arrived with a deluge of WI events to both educate and in which to participate for our members. We are all invited to the Coffee Morning at Marazion Community Centre, on Friday 5 May,10am-12noon, raising funds for the ever-increasing cost of the WI Marquee at the Royal Cornwall Show. This is always a golden opportunity to have a relaxed cup of coffee with friends, have a chat with the County Chair, Helen Kestle, purchase an item or two, quicken the pulse with the thrill of a raffle and help the CFWI showcase our appearance at the Royal Cornwall Show, with a chance to book your own stall. There is also a coach going to the Coffee Morning with a further trip to St Ives in the afternoon. Details from your WI Secretary.

Members are putting in place their final selection for entries for the Royal Cornwall Show competitions which need to be submitted by 31 March. This major summer event, held on 8-10 June is one in which we are able to show the public what a talented membership we have.

Members have enjoyed two events recently diving back into our history relating to women in particular, and both by women named Lesley! The first, held at Chy Noweth an Conteth, was given by Lesley Smith, from Tutbury Castle which she runs with a great team, giving historical performances. Lesley is a highly experienced public speaker making over 250 appearances a year, dressed as a character from history in full spectacular costume from Boudicca to Margaret Thatcher; a prodigious talent. For us, she brought the tragic story of Mary Queen of Scots to life regaling us with a passion for British history, combined with a vivid sense of humour giving us an afternoon of professional excellence.

The second event was held at Penventon Park Hotel, Redruth, for an afternoon tea to commemorate International Women’s Day, where after a mouth-watering tea we had a talk by Dr Lesley Trotter, who furthered her education after gaining her Master’s degree by attaining her PhD in Cornish Studies for her thesis on the experiences of wives ‘left behind’ by emigrating Cornish miners in the 19th century. Her talk illustrated the many very successful Cornish women who down through the years have become familiar to us and of whom we are very proud. Members were able to purchase her latest book at the end of the afternoon.

Education has always been a very important facet of the WI, therefore the Speakers’ Auditions Day is always a popular event when one member of each WI can attend to hear potential speakers who have applied to be listed in our Speakers’ Directory and give talks to our WIs. This is a very sought after appointment. The members present at the Auditions Day then discernibly select the speakers they find most appealing. The event is on Friday 21 April, 10.am-3.30pm, at Chy Noweth an Conteth. The cost of £5 can be paid from WI funds.

Further education is available in a free course in conjunction with the Cornwall Rural Community Council which has funding to run courses about getting to grips with being on line with your laptop, tablet, or phone, while staying safe at the same time. This is such a golden opportunity to take advantage of these courses especially for those of us still struggling to get more adept with the computer and who wish we were more efficient. The courses will run at Chy Noweth an Conteth on 15 May, 22 May, 5 June and 12 June, with separate morning and afternoon sessions from 10.30am-12.30pm and 1.30-3.30pm. Participants need to indicate on the application form which session is preferable or whether either would be acceptable and to please bring their own devices whether they are laptops, tablets or phones. There is access to some laptops if required but this must be requested in advance. Numbers are limited to eight per session, and this course is free.

The Arts and Leisure Sub-Committee has taken a leap of faith by organising an event which sounds as they say “Something a Bit Different”. This day really captures the imagination. Who hasn’t wanted to literally bang the drum? Musically, of course. The chance is now shining to take part in a percussion workshop at Chy Noweth an Conteth under the expert tuition of Drums4Fun, a Cornish percussion group on Friday 19 May, 10.30am-2.30pm. Lunch will be followed by a talk by David Chapman, Advisor to this sub-committee, a great friend to our Federation who is well known for his photography events for the benefit of our members. This day, however, he will share his experiences of a recent visit to the Falklands. Cost of the day is £10 plus lunch for £5 to include soup and a roll with cake.


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