March 2015 – AGM

It’s hard to believe a year’s gone by since our last AGM.  Our memberhip stands at 42 with a Committee of 9.

A year ago Rosie Blencowe took over as President from Pat Martin, bequeathing her role as Secretary to Anne Laing when she joined the Committee.  During the year,  Becky Douglass stepped down as Treasurer and handed over to Kathie Reilly.

One of Pat’s last initiatives was to apply for a grant from the Community Chest scheme run by South Cambs District Council. The application was successful and the grant enabled us to buy a sound system and projector.  Under Sally Bartlett’s guidance, this is now in operation and as time goes on, will be further exploited to enhance members’ enjoyment of meetings and events.

Looking back on this year’s programme, we must congratulate Gill Bywater and Collette Bradshaw, the programme secretaries, on the variety and quality of the speakers.  I’ve chosen a few highlights to mention and hope I’ve included your favourites.  Tracy Mackness, an ex convict, now owner and MD of the The Giggly Pig Company, made us laugh and cry as she described her journey from delinquent to entrepreneur.  Victoria Hewins recounted her escape from poverty in Bangalore to her successful Indian Spice Company and Amanda Sutherland showed us her amazing creative talent in a range of original accessories, made from old tights, coke cans and plastic milk bottles.  David Gunn had a lifetime’s experience in baking bread to draw from and brought samples (which always go down well).  Raj Bhinda provided insight into the tragedy and joy involved in organ donation and Edmund Rogers had valuable advice about posture and looking after the spine, which we all took on board.

Outings this year have taken us to the threatre, the cinema, Bletchley Park, Bury St Edmunds’ Christmas Market, the gloriously named Steeple Bumpstead and Papworth Hospital.  Monthly lunches and afternoon teas have been organised in a variety of venues.  In October we welcomed the flying visit of the Centenary Baton, another opportunity to lunch and converse and sample Rosie’s delicious mini cakes.  Earlier in the year, members were invited to a ‘bring and share’ lunch at Ann Coote’s home to help her celebrate her 80th birthday.  In August, the annual BBQ was held at Yelling Village Hall – another real feast – and the weather was glorious, as was the day we were invited to the Yelling WI Garden Party.  In December, the Committee organised a Christmas Social – yet again the tables groaned with food.

The Papworth and Elsworth WI choir and its coordinator, Joyce Burton, have had another busy year, starting with a slot at the end of the Cambridge Federation Annual Council Meeting at Comberton, followed by a concert at the Corn Exchange in St Ives, culminating in the regional heats of the Centenary Choir Competition in Cambridge.  Although not progressing to the next round, choir members were encouraged by the positive remarks from the adjudicator.  At Christmas the choir was invited to sing at the Over 60s Club and led carols at the social meeting in December.

Publicity for every meeting and event and their subsequent reporting has been in Sally’s capable hands.  We therefore enjoy regular coverage in ‘News & Views’ and the Cambridge Federation Newsletter.  In addition the PEWI website is proving a useful source of information for members and the wider community.

Our involvement with our local community began this year with Heritage Day, when we were delighted to serve cakes and refreshments alongside the many activities taking place.  The annual Flower Festival at the Church was supported by members knitting and crocheting lots of rectangles and flowers.  The Endeavour Cup and book tokens were presented at the school.

Last but not  least, a few words about you, the members.  Your generosity has seen almost £500 donated to local charities this year. You have organised lunches. Eunice, Doris and Ann, have sent birthday cards, sold raffle tickets and greeted members on arrival.  Many of you have given memorable votes of thanks and many more have served us with refreshments.  Christine Scott has compiled and overseen the rotas for us, despite being one arm short for most of the year.  Angela and Jenny represented us at the National Federation’s AGM in Leeds as delegate and observer. Some of you have participated in Cambridge Federation activities and shown interest in Denman courses.  Miniature Tour de France jerseys have been knitted as well as human breasts! Darts have been thrown and the Commemorative Garden has bloomed.  The Committee has worked together to provide the framework for a successful year but it is you the members who supply the support, the enthusiasm and the fun. Thank you.

Anne Laing

18 March 2015

We were delighted once again to welcome Sally Kingman, Chairman of Cambridge Federation to our AGM.  Sally joined us in our annual nod to tradition as we sang “Jerusalem” together and, yes, there were cakes to enjoy with our glass of wine or cup of tea or coffee!  As well as helping us with voting on new members to the Committee and electing a President, Sally entertained us in her usual way with her famous jokes.

Sally Kingman chatting to Anne Coote
Sally Kingman chatting to Anne Coote

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