‘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 May column:

WI members know how to put the world right! If animated chatter and earnest discussion are guidelines, then the WI has the winning formula. The very successful recent coffee morning, held on the day before the Coronation, hosted by the Federation Chair Helen Kestle at Marazion Community Centre, witnessed a full hall of friendly animated members so glad to meet up again after what seems an eternity. This event was organised to raise funds to pay for the WI Marquee at the Royal Cornwall Show. A variety of very attractive stalls persuaded the members to part with their money before they even started on the delicious cakes and coffee. A little “grey matter” was required for the competitions – for example, did you know the answer to question #9 of the Coronation Quiz? How heavy is the crown? More consultation! The happy bus loads of members travelled on to St Ives for the afternoon which completed a most enjoyable WI day.

It is so good to see that the Environment and Public Affairs Sub-committee have arranged a farm visit. This visit on Thursday 15 June is at Deer Park Farm, Callington, where members will meet Martin Howlett and his brother, who run a 300-acre self-sufficient farm. This is an ideal farm for members to visit, because there is so much to see, with beef, sheep, arable and energy cropping. The Howletts put the principles of sustainability, regeneration and modernised traditional farming into practice while also providing an environment to preserve the endangered heath fritillary butterfly and other endangered species. The farm has an education centre, a wetland pond, farm walks and new wildlife trails. The day will begin with tea and coffee and a talk by the farmer and will also include tractor drawn tours of the wider area. This is a farm with some rough areas, so stout walking shoes are advisable. Please bring a picnic lunch; however, tea, coffee and cake will be provided. No dogs allowed. This a golden opportunity to attend an educational event and hear important information from Martin Howlett who serves on a number of agricultural committees on the reality of farming in this challenging but glorious county in 2023.

We have such good memories of previous farm visits when non-farming members were actually able to appreciate what farming in Cornwall means. We remember the very successful event back in 2008 to see the milking herd for a farm visit to the Knowles Farm, Trink, near Nancledra, which was combined with a visit to nearby Splattenridden, the Green Waste company, where the WI members were weighed on the weighbridge. Question: How many WI members equal a lorry load of green waste? A fascinating equation. We remember that all members have an obligation to follow our Green Charter, which was devised to minimise our effect on the environment. We have been talking about Green issues for a long time!

The Royal Cornwall Show time is almost here and CFWI Vice Chair Pam Selley is still looking for some help with the setting up and decorating the interior of the marquee with bunting on Monday 5 and Tuesday 6 June. Help is also needed with packing and loading the van after the show has closed on 10 June. Margaret Johnson appreciates all the handbags members have kindly donated, and would be grateful for any further craft items please. Our Marquee has always been a compelling attraction for everyone, so it would be beneficial to help out when we can. It was always said the RCS WI Marquee is the shop window of the WI.

For those of us who like to wear make-up, there is good news. Fairtrade good news. On a recent survey, 96% said they would start using Fairtrade beauty and wellness products if they were available. There are now over 250 Fairtrade certified beauty products available. Shea butter is a key and common ingredient in many beauty, wellness and cosmetic products. Millions of women in West Africa work picking, harvesting and producing shea butter, which is often difficult, skilled and at times challenging work. With Fairtrade, the women can earn money to provide for their families, and have the support of working together in a co-operative. Beauty is more than skin deep, so we can all support these women by buying moisturiser or a bright red lipstick in time for the “Big Green Week” which is coming on 10-18 June. Fairtrade does make a difference.

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