‘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 December column.

The WI in Cornwall certainly knows how to make a statement, especially when it’s kicking off the Christmas festivities. What could be better than a memorable carol concert surrounded by a backdrop of beautifully decorated trees, in a majestic church, namely St Petroc’s at Bodmin? This moving event created just the right Christmas atmosphere and will be talking point for months ahead.

The lively and friendly atmosphere was in abundance at the December events especially noticeable in the run-up to Christmas which draws people to the WI. The two county lunches, one at the Hannafore Point Hotel in Looe and the other the Penventon Park Hotel in Redruth where members in posh frocks enjoyed delicious food, animated conversation in delightfully decorated surroundings; a tonic for everyone. The popularity of the county lunches has long been established, with the first ones held in 1989 at St Mellion and St Ives. Members have undoubtedly enjoyed their lunches through the years!

The Tea and Tinsel event at County House was another event with the feel good factor which the WI members in Cornwall gave a gold star for enjoyment.

Fairtrade Farmers were at the COP28 UN Climate Summit to bring a special message to world leaders, “to stop talking and start taking action” which is a reminder to all of us to support Fairtrade. Since the new simplified Fairtrade Communities renewal process was launched in May, over 100 communities have recommitted to Fairtrade. The colourful Fairtrade booklet is full of good ideas or in their words, “Ethical inspirations” for the last minute forgotten Christmas presents. It is such a worthy cause to support this charity.

There is also news recently of a new Cornwall Federation appointment which is the new representative of the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW), namely Amanda Pink. The ACWW has always been an important facet of the WI and we have previously been very active, allowing members to have a real insight into the work of the organisation. ACWW was founded in1929 to bring together rural women and their organisations across the world. It spans 82 countries and, since 1947, has passed more than180 policy resolutions by popular vote. The key concept behind each of these is the empowerment of rural women in all their diversity which continues to be the driving priority. They hold the view that rural women are the backbone of families, communities and nations. We look forward to hear what Amanda is planning for the members in supporting this important aspect of the WI. She would like to come to talk to the WIs, so please contact the office if you’re interested in hearing more.

In keeping with this topic, CFWI are organizing an International Women’s Day Afternoon Tea, at the Penventon Park Hotel in Redruth on Friday 8 March at 2pm. International Women’s Day is a global holiday celebrated annually to commemorate the cultural, political and socioeconomical achievements of women. After tea the guest speaker will be Kathryn Billing, Cornwall Chief Fire Officer.

Over the holiday period members have a bit of homework to do, starting on page 22 of the November/December edition of WI Life. Here, you’ll find the four short-listed resolutions brought forward for each member to choose which they consider should become a resolution to be debated at next year’s Annual Meeting to be held at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 5 June 2024. There is plenty of help available to help you come to a decision. The form must be submitted to Liz Anderson by 11 February 2024.

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