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Women's Institutes

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: March 13, 2014

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MARGARET, president, welcomed members and Eileen Bullen, a visitor, to the February meeting.

Jerusalem was sung; everyone was in good voice. It must have been the beautiful sunshine.

Best wishes were sent to Peggy who was recovering at home.

Minutes of the last meeting were read and duly signed.

Two coffee mornings are planned this year and the institute now has a lovely venue at the Methodist church hall, Fore Street. Members hope to welcome lots of people; the dates are as yet to be decided.

The institute will be holding its annual meeting in March.

Margaret asked for a member or members to organise a craft class.

Rene is looking after the once-read books table.

The guest speaker, the Reverend RA Aven, was then introduced, this being his second visit to Bodmin WI. He brought members up to date about the charity CRY, Care and Relief for the Young, which he works for.

He told of his travels and experiences when travelling to remote places in Romania, Cambodia, and South Africa, to mention only a few.

No money is given to any government departments. The children are all educated; the parents are taught skills too, to enable them to work and care for their families.

One particular student had just won a scholarship to go to America to be trained in the medical profession.

Another young female student was blind and was learning to read braille.

In Cambodia, transport was very limited for visits to some schools in mountainous areas; unfortunately, the mortality rate in the young was more than 50 per cent.

Zimbabwe was another place he had travelled to.

He explained why there are no CRY charity shops in Cornwall; this is mainly because they did not want to encroach on other charities, there being so many now, but it will happen one day.

An important factor is that 84p in every pound goes to the charity. Altogether the charity has made a big difference to hundreds of lives.

To this day, CRY continues to support many children from extremely poor families.

A sixth waiting house has been opened in one place for pregnant women with problems and is very successful.

Pat Clark gave the vote of thanks. A donation was accepted by the Reverend Aven, who also judged the flower competition.

Business continued after refreshments. Margaret explained to members the plan for the stall on Heritage Day. There will be magic boxes for sale; the contents should be very interesting.

Some members will be travelling to Truro by coach to Truro on April 2, to the Spring Countdown meeting at the Hall For Cornwall.

There are lots of interesting things happening, as detailed in the newsletter; lunches and other outings should keep members busy.

There are lighter days to come so please come along to a meeting; you will be very welcome.

The next meeting will be held at 2pm on March 18.


THE MEETING held on February 13 started with a list of members who were absent – which was quite long!

Holidays, sickness and involvement in the village pantomime were given as reasons.

Considering only three members of the committee were available, it was decided to postpone the business part of the meeting until a later date, when more members were available.

So, it was straight onto the talk, Life On The Stage, which was given by Mr Bev Moss.

It was a very interesting and at times, funny talk, including all the wide and varied things he had done over the years, from being on Opportunity Knocks, with his group the North Stars, in bell-bottomed, satin suits and long hair; to what he does today, which includes a role in this year's Polruan pantomime, Cinderella!

He gave an account of his childhood – he had musically talented parents – and lots of detail of the people he has met over the years, including Jimmy Osmond.

He told members of some of the antics he's witnessed, and some of the parts he's had – including Mr Lucas, in Adrian Mole!

He has played dames in many pantomime productions down the years.

Tevye, in Fiddler On The Roof, is another part he has played in the past.

He has had what seems like a very busy and varied life so far!

It was a really wonderful talk. Members enjoyed his way of expressing what he had got up to, and all the photos he shared with them. Thank you, Bev!

The winner of the monthly competition, which was for a favourite poem, were – 1, Chris Cox; 2, Kathryn and Pat.

After the experiment of having afternoon meetings, the next meeting will be back the usual time of 7pm on March 13, and will be the annual meeting.

If anyone is interested in seeing what Polruan WI is all about, now's the time to find out; the women of Polruan need you!

St Columb Minor

WITH a flash of lightning, a clap of thunder and in darkness, Gerry Bonne was re-elected president for 2014, the 60th year for St Columb Minor WI.

Sixteen members had bravely turned out on Wednesday, February 12, to attend the annual meeting. Thank you all for coming.

The president welcomed everyone and Happy Birthday was sung for Mary. Get well wishes were sent to Di Stevens.

After matters arising, Rosemary gave details of the spring trip, in May. She has made all arrangements for a visit to Mount Edgecumbe House, with tea in the Orangery.

Items of interest were brought to members' attention, including the Chairman's Coffee Morning and the WI guide invites.

A tabletop sale has been arranged by Newquay WI for Saturday, March 22.

Maureen and Thelma Roseveare had enjoyed an excellent afternoon at Crantock WI's anniversary celebrations on Tuesday, February 11, especially the entertainment, local singer Andy Marshall, who sings in the style of Frank Sinatra.

Members then came to the important part of the evening: the annual meeting. Amendments and by-laws were agreed and the financial statement read out. Thanks to Val Gardner in her first year as our treasurer.

Reports followed from the president and secretary; the committee was elected and the results of the competitions announced before everyone left in rather a hurry to be home before more bad weather struck.

Competition results for the year: joint first, with 17 points each –Maureen Organ and Rita Barratt; second, with 14 points, Joyce Wilson; third, with 13 points, Rosemary Bray.

The flower competition for the year, winning the rose bowl, with 21 points – Maureen Organ; second, with 19 points, Joan Brown; third, with 16 points, Rosemary Bray.

February competitions: Flower – 1, Jean Higgs; 2, Thelma; 3, Joan.

A Valentine limerick – 1, Jean Higgs; 2, Rosemary.

The winning limerick: "A love letter in the sand was written by her fair hand, so I took her out to dinner and I knew I was a winner when she went and let me hold her hand"!

The meeting today, March 12, will be a craft evening, at which Maureen Organ will show members how to make a brooch. Please bring scissors, needles and cotton if you want to participate.

St Stephen-in-Brannel

THE MAJORITY of people in Britain, in an idle moment, have probably imagined what it would be like to win the National Lottery, even if they have never even purchased a ticket.

Those same people have also possibly watched the BBC's Antiques Roadshow and wondered what it would be like to discover that great aunt Emma Jane's vase that she left in her will is actually a priceless piece of Meissen, worth many thousands of pounds.

Well sadly it cannot be reported that any of the ladies at St Stepen-in-Brannel are in possession of such an artefact; or if they are, they did not bring it to the meeting but they all had the chance to bring along any objects they thought might be of value or interest.

The expert for the evening was Ian Morris, who having appeared on various antiques programmes such as Flog It and Cash In The Attic.

Ian gave a general talk about how the antiques trade has changed over the years from the manner in which things are now sold to how particular items can go in and out of fashion. The digital age has certainly made a huge difference: these days it is as easy to bid from China as it is to go to Ian's saleroom in Lostwithiel, possibly even easier.

It is certainly easier for the secretary who years ago would have to type everything out and then run copies off using a Gestetner for all those people interested in placing a bid.

The world of flat-pack furniture has also made a difference; years ago a young couple would go to the auction house each week and buy their furniture for their home together.

Now most young people do not want something that has been previously owned. They want it to be new and shiny and sadly do not appreciate the craftsmanship that went into the making of furniture years ago.

Man's greed is also responsible for the destruction of some beautiful silver tea-sets, when the price of silver rose to such alarming heights sets were bought just in order to be melted down. They can never be replaced.

Ian said sadly he could not predict what would be the next big thing, although he did say that the newly wealthy Chinese continue to want to buy back their heritage.

As for members, one or two pieces were worth a few hundred pounds but most of it fell into £10 to £20 category.

As Ian said, they were display pieces found in display cabinets and people these days are more minimalist; they don't have display cases, let alone the things to put in them!

The competition, which Ian kindly judged, was for an unusual coin – 1, Shirley Ball; 2, Pauline Trudgeon; 3, Wendy Hoare.

Birthday posies were given to Pauline Trudgeon, Pam Griggs, Jenny Shilabere and Jenny Skipp.


A PACKED WI hall greeted Ian Wilsher when he arrived to tell members about his newspaper archive business in Truro.

He remarked how difficult it had been, initially, to name the venture. There were some witty ideas such as "the man who spoke volumes" before he eventually chose Papers Past.

They have 150 to 200 tonnes of newspapers in stock at any one time. These are sourced from a bewildering array of places: from house renovations, Exchange and Mart, hidden under wallpaper or old lino and from private collections.

Some are very recent which are purchased in bulk from newsagents so that Papers Past is able to supply date-of-birth newspapers for new babies, for christenings, wedding presents, etc.

The business has even featured on television programmes; for instance, Hoarders.

Ian was so enthusiastic about his collection it was infectious. He picked out selected articles from old newspapers, demonstrating the similarities in the pomp and pageantry between the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria and of our current Queen, Elizabeth.

He took members swiftly through the last century, reading excerpts from The Times and highlighting key events: royal weddings, adverts for the ill-fated voyage on the Titanic, the Coronation and the four-minute mile of Roger Bannister, to name but a few.

Everyone was enthralled by the old adverts from the Picture Post. Many members remembered being urged to buy Cadbury's chocolate, fruit gums, Booth's gin and Double Diamond ... and not only knew the pictures but could recite the captions too.

Members were all given a freebie bag – made of newspaper, what else?

It is possible to buy a beautiful presentation-packed paper for a particular date, or a dated birthday book. It makes a change from a conventional birthday card!

Members were invited to examine the papers themselves, including very heavy bound volumes.

Sue Hollingsworth conveyed members' thanks to Ian. He had held members all spellbound with his highly entertaining and most unusual talk.

The competition, for an old postcard was won by Jean Spencer; second was Brenda Trenouth and third, Liz Buckingham.

Spring was in the air on the Flower Of The Month table: the winner was Liz Buckingham, second was Moira Gill and third, Juliet Heyes.

A brief business meeting included an appeal for members to consider joining the hardworking committee. One person has already had her arm twisted and is recovering the use of the tortured limb, joked the president.

Finances are healthy, it was pleasing to hear.

The next meeting will be the annual meeting, at which a range of home-made cakes will be served after the business has concluded.

Members are hoping to hear lots of new ideas for the future programme such as trips or craft days; so come along to Trevone WI hall at 2.15pm on March 20. Members guarantee a warm welcome and a slice of cake!

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