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What has been happening at Papworth WI in February 2020

We started February with our usual monthly lunch, this time at The Three Horseshoes in Graveley. Our lunches are a great way of getting together giving us a chance to chat, catch up and get to know each other more with many a laugh and joke!

Our speaker this month was Helen Tilley who is a bespoke self-taught milliner. Helen brought along an amazing selection of hats that she has made all by hand at her home. Helen explained how she started out after she purchased a hat from a store which started to fall apart! She decided to make her own and found she really enjoyed it. She went on to purchase the wooden hat makers moulds for the crown of the hat, she described the various materials that can be used to make the hats ranging from very expensive to a more reasonable price and how she goes about making and decorating the hats.   She has attended various courses both locally and in London and currently makes around 300 hats per year. Helen makes all the silk flowers by hand and also dyes feathers and fabric to decorate the hats. Helen also offers a service to update existing hats adding her own hand-made flowers, or home-dyed feathers and various ribbons and beads. No two hats made by Helen are the same.   Following such an interesting talk, Helen invited the ladies up to try on different hats – all shapes and sizes – there was a hat to suit everyone and lots of laughs to go with them.   Helen works closely with Cream Rose in Fenstanton who sell special occasion wear.

Here are some of the hats worn by our ladies and Helen of course:


Many of us are looking forward to a theatre trip on 7th March to the Milton Keynes Theatre to see The King and I preceded of course by a spot of lunch!

Our March meeting will be our Annual General Meeting for members.




Papworth Everard WI Activity Report for January 2020

It was good to see all our friends again at our January meeting following the Christmas break.   Our speaker, Dr Andrew Bladon, gave an excellent, informative and enthusiastic talk on 5 Ways to Protect Wildlife in our gardens, and the community, from hedgehogs, birds and bees to plants and wildflowers.

Andrew who is a Postdoctoral Research Associate based in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge is passionate about wildlife and encouraged all of us to do our best to protect it at a time when road building, and house building generally is seeing wildlife habitats destroyed at an alarming rate.  Andrew suggested a good way for us all to get involved is to join our local Wildlife Trust and support them in the work they do to preserve our native species of wildlife and who can bring pressure to bear on governing bodies to ensure everything possible is done to protect our wildlife.  Andrew went on to talk about ways forward in helping towards the rapidly increasing global warming by ways of recycling, eating more plant based foods etc.  He is also strongly opposed to the proposed HS2 project which will see an enormous amount of wildlife across the countryside lost. 


Our lunch this month was held at the ever popular Wheatsheaf at Perry – enjoyed by all as always.

We would love to see new faces and members at our meetings which are held every third Wednesday throughout the year at The Studio, apart from August.  Please do come along and give it a try – we are a great fun group of ladies and you can be assured of a very warm welcome.


Papworth Everard WI November 2018


Marian Leaper lead us into a fantasy world when she told magical and mysterious stories, inspired by her late Mother’s stories when she was a child, including fairies,colours and ”the cat in the kitchen’.   Marian puts her amazing storytelling  skills down to her past teaching profession, but mostly memories of her Mother’s most wonderful stories.

Remembrance Sunday   To commemorate the centenary of the First World War wreaths were laid at Peter’s Church in Papworth including a wreath on behalf of Papworth Everard WI laid by our member Jenny Wilson.   This was followed with a parade down to the Village Hall for the 11 o’clock for a very moving memorial service.


It is hoped that a Remembrance Parade will take place each year in the future.

This month lunch was enjoyed by many at the Waresley Garden Centre in Waresley,followed by a little early xmas shopping!



Papworth Everard – May 2018

Julia Payne was an English/Russian translator during the Cold War years and for our May meeting she gave a fascinating talk on her work and experiences.  She clarified how the Cold War started and with the aid of excellent visual aids and interesting anecdotes we learnt how the various sectors apportioned out the City of Berlin and the affect this had locally and politically.   Despite this, Julia feels that it in some ways it was a safer climate then as the countries involved played to “certain rules” whilst today things are very different.

Papworth Everard WI – April 2018 Report


We kicked off in early April with our monthly luncheon and this time around 20 members enjoyed a scrumptious meal at The King of the Belgians in Hartford. As you can see from the pictures below – nobody went hungry!

Monthly Meeting: Following the normal business, we were given a most fascinating and interesting talk by Paul Browning on the history and making of wigs.   Paul brought along many samples of wigs, both men and women’s, in various colours and styles, and explained in detail how they were made in Germany (not from real hair) for his many clients. He went on to say that he had people from all walks of life, not necessarily those whose hair was thinning, or lost, but business people who wanted to look well groomed every day for work and these people often had 2 or 3 different colours and styles. The wigs can cost anything from a couple of hundred pounds up to and above a couple of thousand!

RUTH HURST 91 YEARS YOUNG CELEBRATES 70 YEARS as a member of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes

Ruth celebrating her birthday and with her daughter Catherine

Ruth was born on 17th October 1926 and grew up in Waltham Abbey, Essex.  As a young woman Ruth worked locally and recalls the time when, during the second world war, she was walking to work wearing her tin helmet when shrapnel landed on her head.  A narrow escape for sure. 

Ruth married Norman, a Horticulturalist, in April 1946 and moved to Upshire in Essex. She joined the Upshire Women’s Institute in 1948 following a knock on her front door by a District Nurse and Lady Eva Buxton – her neighbours – who invited her along to a meeting.  In those days, Ruth explains, the WI was so very different from today with members being mostly typical country ladies who cycled to the Village Hall for the meetings.  Ruth was lucky enough to have a car! along with one other member, and was therefore always on call to pick other ladies up and take them to the various meetings.  She described the experience for the ladies as ‘taking them to places they had never been before’ as they were rarely able to leave the village due to lack of transport – our Ruth put an end to all that!!  During her time at Upshire Ruth was President of her Institute on more than one occasion.  They used to travel around to other WIs within what was called ‘The Cripsy Group’ and share ideas and crafts.  Upshire WI was formed in 1927 under the Presidency of a Mrs P Howell with 23 members.  Sadly it closed in 1994. 

Ruth and Norman retired to Frinton on Sea in Essex where, once again, Ruth joined the WI and again became President during her time there.

Ruth with her husband at Frinton on Sea

Ruth enjoyed living by the sea but due to her husband’s poor health, they moved to Papworth to be close to their daughter.   We are now privileged to have Ruth as our most senior member at Papworth Everard WI and would like the whole of the National Federation to offer their heartfelt Congratulations ON HER 70TH ANNIVERSARY as a member.

Ruth on International Women’s Day in March

To recognise Ruth’s loyalty and service to the WI, members and friends of Papworth Everard WI presented Ruth with an engraved spectacle case and bouquet of flowers at our April meeting.   Long may she continue to be a member and friend to us all.

Presentation to Ruth

Next Meeting: Our next meeting will be held on Wednesday 16th May.