‘WI Talk’ by Sheila Goldsworthy

Annual Council Meeting guest speaker Lesley Smith, in character as Elizabeth I

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

It was all good news at the recent CFWI Annual Council Meeting held at the Hall for Cornwall in Truro. These legendary meetings have always had first class speakers on the agenda, and this year was no exception. Following a precise business meeting, Federation Chair Helen Kestle gave an up-beat and enthusiastic address which included the news that new WIs are in the process of being formed. Our first guest speaker was Colonel Edward Bolitho, OBE. Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. His subject was entitled, “A Funeral, a Coronation and Working for the Monarchy.” His very informative and amusing talk was much enjoyed by the members who really appreciated hearing about the honour and dignity this role brings to Cornwall, as well as hearing all the interesting royal titbits.

After lunch, the awards were presented followed by our second guest speaker, Lesley Smith, who is the Curator of Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire and is a medical historian holding a M.Phil in Tudor medicines and is also a Member of the society of Medical Writers as well as holding other prestigious awards and commendations. She regaled her audience for an hour as Elizabeth I. Members who heard her before at Chy Noweth an Conteth, as Mary Queen of Scots, knew what a treat was in store and we were certainly not disappointed. It was an educational and theatrical feast. It’s not surprising that Lesley has also appeared in over 120 television programmes some of which have been broadcast to 38 countries. WI members in Cornwall were very fortunate to have experienced such an exceptional day.

Nearly 50 members have just returned from a very successful CFWI holiday to the Cotswolds, staying at the Gloucester Robinswood Hotel organised by Airedale Tours Ltd. Visiting a number of well known areas such as Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water, Broadway, Sudeley Castle and the very unusual Snowshill. However the highlight was a visit to the garden at Highgrove, which was magnificent. The whole garden was a revelation of perfection. The members were fortunate because the garden was shortly to close until next season. Most evenings the members took part in quizzes and games, etc., or in the number one hobby, chatting. On the way home the party stopped at Gloucester Quays for essential retail therapy and almost needed a trailer behind the bus to carry all the purchases. A great deal of appreciation was expressed to the kind, courteous and helpful driver – an essential commodity for a successful holiday. This was another winning event for the CFWI.

It’s time to put another date in the diary for December. This year the Christmas Carol Service will be held at St Petroc’s Church, Priory Road, Bodmin on Friday 8 December at 2pm. Everyone is encouraged to come early to enjoy refreshments provided by the Church and admire the display of 60 decorated trees. This event is the ideal forerunner of the Christmas festivities.

It’s tree planting time again, There is a very comprehensive article in the October issue of County News advising on tree planting before National Tree Week which takes place between Monday 27 November and Sunday 3 December. This is a venture that members have enthusiastically been part of down through the years, even planting and caring for the trees miles away from their home territory, trundling along with our spades and shovels. Yet again, the Woodland Trust is advising and helping organise this tree planting scheme. Its hoped that all 109 WIs will take part.

This year, 1 October was International Coffee Day. Did the majority of WI members raise their mugs in celebration of the millions of small holder farmers around the world behind one of our favourite brews? WI members choosing Fairtrade is one simple way to make a difference by ensuring those farmers and workers have more power to build a fair and sustainable future for coffee and their communities. Without the Fairtrade seal and without fair prices the growers would struggle because coffee farmers are being pushed to the brink by sky-rocketing production costs, loss of crops due to climate change and extremely unstable global market prices. We need to spread the word that choosing Fairtrade means choosing a fairer deal.


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