Annual Report 2016-17

Papworth Everard WI Annual Report April 2016 – March 2017

The great John Lennon once sang “So this is Christmas and what have you done? Another year older and a new one just begun”.  Well, I’d like to think if Mr Lennon had been an honorary member of our WI, he would have had to change the lyrics to “So this is PEWI and what haven’t you done?”!  This is our 10th Annual Report, our membership stands at 48 with a committee of 12.
Our Committee team-sheet has changed a little over the 12 months, with Angela C taking over the reins as President from Rosie following our AGM last year.  Not that Rosie disappeared from our WI evenings as she retained Programme duties, now assisted by Julie.  We also welcomed Tina to help out looking after the Vote of Thanks rota and the Pennies for friendship box.  Then Anne announced she would be stepping down and relocating to sunnier climes in Norfolk and some strange Welsh person took over, who said her surname was Stroud but sent emails with the surname of Smart.  Smart was my maiden name so I guess you could say that I became less Smart when I got married.  Then Kathie decided that the bi-monthly commute via the A14 was just too much and stood down in October, and Esther took over looking after our fiscal activities.  With so many comings and goings, it was a good job that Committee members Angela Smith, Audrey, Joyce, Gill, Eunice and Jo were still with us to steady the boat. On behalf of the membership, I thank you all for your continued support and hard work.
Looking back on the Programme for 2016, we must thank Rosie and Julie for providing such a great programme of speakers, from flower arranging to Costa-nominated authors, from lifeboats to 101 things to do with Aloe Vera!  For me personally, a few evenings really stood out.  Alison Dickens talked us through the excavations around and on the site where the Grand Arcade in Cambridge now stands, providing us with a fascinating insight into the history of the land and buildings.  Rosie completed the story of Pauline, Napoleon’s sister complete with scrumptious helping of Panettone.  It taught us that you may be born in lowly circumstances, with the right attitude and attributes, you may end up buried between two Popes!  And lastly, the craft evening where Rosie showed how to make little boxes ready to make for Christmas gifts.  It was so quiet whilst we were concentrating, I thought I’d gone deaf!
We were honoured to host the Group Meeting in June, with our very special guest speaker Lord Archer.  He was everything we expected him to be, engrossing, erudite and punctual.  A big thank you to everyone that helped to make the evening such a success, our bakers, planners, refreshment teams, all who were involved.  As a consequence for being such good hosts, we were lucky enough to be invited to tour Lord Archer’s gardens around one of his homes in Grantchester.  An enjoyable day out was had by all and a huge thank you to Collette for organising the visit.
Outside of our meetings, we went to Holkham Hall in June, a fab day out for all who went and big thank you to Rosie for organising the trip.  Our lunches have experienced fine cuisine from all corners of our locality, with thanks to all those who have organised them whether they be lunches or evening meals.  And special thanks go out to Jenny who opened up her home for the Bring and Share lunch in August.
Lyrical Voices continues to go from strength to strength with outings at the Ely tour and dance performance, Elsworth Trinity Church, Ely Cathedral and Bethany Care Home in St Neots.  However, their biggest gig was at the WI Christmas meeting where they were supported by Gill’s Christmas quiz.  Thank you both for your time and generosity.
If it’s one thing that is central to our WI, then that’s our involvement in the Community.  Joyce received so many bulbs following our call for help in supplying daffodils for the Village Centre, she could have opened her own branch of B&Q.  They will look lovely in the coming few weeks when Spring has finally sprung.  Our generosity didn’t stop there as proceeds from sales of RNLI merchandise raised over £200 and our combined Christmas card raised £60 for the Day Centre.  Huge thanks to you all.  Our President attended the DSH AGM and Christmas party and also judged the Cake Competition at the Jubilee Fete and awarded prizes at the school’s leavers assembly.  Together with Jenny Wilson, Angela also attended the Federation Weekend at Denman.
To everyone that helps out at meetings, thank you.  Putting out and putting away the chairs and tables is nowhere near as glamorous nor fun as giving Hugh Jackman a backrub but the duties are performed with the same level of commitment (well, maybe we’d be a bit more committed to Hugh Jackman but I digress).  Thank you to the refreshment teams, the meeters-and–greeters, to the birthday card posse, to our scrapbook ensemble, to our darts team and captain, and to our archivist.  To everyone involved in producing and serving the fabulous food we’ve enjoyed at special meals throughout the year; to everyone that attends, a big thanks.  You make Papworth WI the great wonderful place that it is and we couldn’t do it without every single one of you.
To our President Angela, who stepped in at the eleventh hour in March when we thought we might close.  Thank you for your capable leadership, your generosity of spirit and your endless enthusiasm.  Your support has meant a lot, Anne did a grand job in preparing me for this role but you’ve filled in the rest.
Finally, a personal thank you to all the WI members from myself.  I spent my childhood growing up in the South Wales Valleys, where everyone knew everyone, said hello to each other in the street and felt part of a community.  When I passed my exams at age 16, my Mum actually knew I’d passed before I got home, as the “news network” had reached her ears before I did.  Nevertheless, I’ve been in the Cambridge area for about 20 years but it wasn’t until I moved to Papworth and came to the WI that I really felt I’d come home and you can’t manufacture that.  Diolch yn fawr pob, thank you all.
Clair Stroud
Secretary PEWI
March 2017