Womens Institute
Meeting Reports  2015
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Programme 2015


Jayne Faversham, President, wished everyone a very Happy New Year. 

At the start of the meeting a presentation of a giant cheque for £725 was made to Chris Leach, from the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust, who was most appreciative.  

He updated members on progress with the Air Ambulance service, which covers Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.  A new helicopter with night vision facilities is coming into service which will operate from 8am through to 3am. The crew will all have night vision goggles, which cost £18,000 each.  

There will be two trained trauma doctors sharing shifts on board which will enable immediate roadside treatment to take place and, therefore, save many more lives. 

Our speaker for the evening, Sue Benwell, was introduced and gave a talk on “The Life of Sir Norman Wisdom”, which was the title of a book which she and his personal assistant, Ann Axe, wrote together after Sue met him when he was about 80 years old.  

Despite Norman Wisdom being such an amusing comic and actor, we were shocked to hear that he had the most traumatic childhood and teenage life.  He was born in Marylebone on 4th February 1915.   

His Father treated Norman and his older brother extremely badly and was very violent towards them all.  When he was 9 years old, his Mother left the family home and the brothers had to fend for themselves as the Father was away for weeks at a time.   

After about 2 years, the boys were fostered but were very wild in their behaviour so were separated and eventually both settled with good families. 

After a series of adventures, mishaps and many different jobs, including joining an army band, where he was taught to play various musical instruments, after the war he first went onto the stage at Collins Music Hall in Bethnal Green on 17th December 1945 and found his niche in life. 

After a delicious tea, the meeting continued.  The Christmas party was a great success with a delicious meal supplied by the Committee and desserts by members. 

Voting took place on the seven Resolutions that will be selected for the NFWI Centenary Annual Meeting on 4th June at the Royal Albert Hall, when a delegate from Hyde Heath will attend. 

A card had been received from Audrey Begg’s family thanking the Group for their donation in her memory to the Royal Brompton Paediatric Cystic Fibrosis fund. 

Next month’s meeting will be at 8pm on 12th February when Sandrine Anterion will give a demonstration and talk on Belly Dancing.  The competition will be “A Tassel”.


Gillian O'Flynn

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Felicity Beynon stood in for President, Jayne Faversham, who was away on holiday.  

Suggestions were requested and then put to a vote for a local charity project for this year and Space Support, Chesham was chosen by a majority of 3. Space stands for Supporting Parents of Autistic Spectrum Disorder/ADHD/behaviourally challenging children through Education and encouragement.  

Volunteers were requested to make a team of three for the County Quiz which is being held at 7.30pm on 16th April at Great Missenden. 

Barbara Aris volunteered to attend the BFWI Annual Council meeting on 22nd April at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury. 

The Beechwood Group meeting will be at 7.45 for 8pm on 23rd April at Missenden Abbey when a member of staff will give a talk and tour of the Abbey’s history.  The cost will be £3.50.   

A WI Centenary Garden Party will be held at Waddesdon Manor on 16th June when members can take a picnic and walk around the gardens.  The cost is £10. 

The monthly walks, finishing with a pub lunch, are due to be started in March and volunteers were encouraged to organise these. 


Sue Flint, a volunteer trainer, has organised a visit to the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People Centre at Saunderton at 1.30pm on 19th March.  The price of the tour is £5 plus £2 for tea. 

Items for the Car Boot Sale were requested from the beginning of March, which is again kindly being organised by Doreen White and Mary Collins for 25th April. 

The demonstrator and speaker for the evening’s entertainment was Sandrine Anterion, a stunningly tall demonstrator of Belly Dancing who came to London from the French West Indies 20 years ago.  Members were captivated by her dancing.   

It is believed that it was started in Egypt centuries ago as a form of pre-natal exercise but was developed by musicians and dancers in the streets to earn money.  The costumes are beautiful with gold discs sewn on to them.  Originally real coins were attached to the material. 

Quite a few members had great fun being instructed in the art of belly dancing by Sandrine, who started classes in London ten years ago.  


Next month’s meeting will be at 8pm on 12th March when Terry Penny will speak on The Secret History of Nursery Rhymes.  The competition will be a Book of Nursery Rhymes.


Gillian O'Flynn

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It was announced that the Spring Beechwood Group meeting was 7.40 for 8pm on 23rd April at Missenden Abbey.  Those wishing to explore the grounds could arrive at 7pm, when the bar would also be open.  A tour and talk on the History of the Abbey will be given with refreshments afterwards. 

Hyde Heath WI will be holding the Autumn meeting which is provisionally booked for the evening of 22nd October.

Good quality sale items were requested to be given to Mary Collins for the Car Boot sale before 25th April.

Buckingham Palace has sent an invitation to all 8,000 WI Institutes, inviting one representative from each group to attend a Special WI Royal Garden Party in the presence of HRH The Duchess of Cornwall to be held on Tuesday afternoon, 2nd June. 

Margaret Dunn has volunteered to organise the provision of teas and cakes in the cricket pavilion at the Hyde Heath fete on 9th June.  She has also kindly offered to host the Summer BBQ in her garden on 13th August.

Sandra Stevens and Gillian O’Flynn have volunteered to provide a flower arrangement for the St Andrew’s church Flower Festival which is held on the same weekend as the Fete.

Mr Terry Penny gave an enlightening talk and slide show about the Secret History of Nursery Rhymes. 

These were passed down the centuries by word of mouth as most people could not read or write.  They were not put into print in this country until 1734 when a book called Tom Thumb Songs for Children was printed. 

Simple poems reflected everyday events but some were a subversive parody of political messages because anyone openly making critical comments might have their head chopped off!

We learnt that there was very often a sinister reason for the origins of seemingly innocent rhymes, for example Three Blind Mice refers to Mary Tudor, who was a catholic, having three Protestant Bishops blindfolded and burnt at the stake. 

However, Ding Dong Bell Pussy’s in the Well was a warning about falling down into the water and drowning!

The first walk of the year will be on Friday 17th April which will be led by Felicity and Gary Beynon.  There will also be a short bluebell walk on 30th April and a London walk in June organised by Barbara Aris.

The next meeting will be at 8pm on 9th April when Dr John Noakes will talk about the Mountains of Northern Italy.  The competition will be a Memento of Italy.

Gillian O'Flynn

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Jayne Faversham, President, welcomed everyone including one new member and two visitors to the April meeting. 

Janet Manson reported on a very interesting visit last month to the Hearing Dogs for the Deaf at Saunderton. 

Good luck wishes were given to our team of Christine, Avril and Jayne attending the BFWI County Quiz on 16th April. 

Reminders were given about the Beechwood Group meeting being held at 7.40pm on 23rd April at Missenden Abbey.  Also the Waddesdon Manor Bucks Federation WI Centenary Garden Party 11am to 4pm on 16th June. 

Mary Collins will be pleased to accept saleable items in time for the Denham car boot sale on 25th April. 

The next walk being organised by Gary and Felicity Beynon will be on 17th April meeting at the Blue Ball pub, Asheridge at 11am and returning for lunch.  As usual £1 is given by each walker for our charity this year, SPACE. 

A second walk, being organised by Barbara Aris, will be on 30th April to walk around the bluebell woods at Ashridge National Trust Estate meeting at the car park on Toms Hill Road at 2pm.  The walk will include a visit to the café for tea. 

Vanessa Culmer will represent our WI at the Buckingham Palace Garden party. 

The WI will, as always, be providing tea and cakes in the Cricket Pavilion at the Hyde Heath Fete on 9th May.   

There will be an evening Ramble in aid of this year’s charity on 1st July with supper afterwards at St Andrew’s Church. 

Our speaker for the evening, Dr John Noakes, gave an illustrated talk on flowers in his very pretty garden during the month of February.    

The photographs were initiated by his wife asking if he had bought any flowers for her on Valentine’s Day so he rushed into the garden to see what he could pick, only to find that most things were covered in a layer of snow! 

However, on further investigation he found a surprising number of colourful plants and bushes showing up such as cyclamen coum, winter aconite, crocus, witch hazel and mahonia. 

The weather was not a problem after all as Dr Noakes had collected many of the plant seeds on his trips into the mountains with the Alpine Plant Collectors group.   

Next month’s meeting will be at 8pm on 14th May when the Resolution on “Failing to Care” will be discussed and voted on.  There will also be a bring and buy table.    


Gillian O'Flynn

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President, Jayne Faversham, welcomed everyone to the May meeting including Linda Carroll, Chairperson from SPACE Support (Chesham), which is our charity for the year.   

SPACE is a voluntary support group for families and carers of children with conditions such as ADHD, autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), Aspergers and behavioural difficulties.  There are about 80 members who meet monthly for coffee mornings and talks.  The volunteers listen, give advice and support to families who can also meet other parents in similar situations.   

A very big thank you was given to everybody who helped with providing cakes and serving teas at the Village fete.  Margaret Dunn who organised the teas said she was very touched by all the support that she had from so many members. 

Gillian O’Flynn was thanked for arranging the beautiful flower display on behalf of the Institute at the flower festival in St Andrew’s Church.  Photos can be seen on the Hyde Heath village web site. 

Congratulations were given to Avril, Christine and Jayne who represented Hyde Heath at the County Quiz in Great Missenden.  They came a very creditable 9th out of 30 teams. 

23 members attended the Beechwood Spring Group meeting at Great Missenden Abbey when they enjoyed walking around the gardens with a drink on the terrace on a warm evening followed by a very interesting talk about the history of the Abbey. 

Barbara Aris reported on the Annual Council Meeting held in Aylesbury followed by the arrival of the Centenary baton on its progression around the country.   

The late Audrey Begg gave a donation to the Institute some of which was invested in the BFWI Friends Club and we were delighted to be winners of £100 in the April draw.  

Thanks were given to Mary, Doreen and Elaine for their efforts in organising the car boot sale which made £243. 

Barbara is leading a London Walk around Little Venice and Regents Canal on 18th June meeting at Great Missenden Station at 9.05am. 

The Summer Charity Ramble will be on 1st July at 6 for 6.15pm followed by supper at about 7.45pm.  Tickets will be £6 and Dennis Ruff has kindly agreed to lead the walk.  The Summer BBQ will be in the evening of 13th August in Margaret Dunn’s garden. 

Barbara presented the one Resolution on “Failing to Care – Assessment of need in Long-term Care” which was discussed, voted upon and carried by 24 with one against. 

Next month’s meeting will be at 8pm on 11th June when Sheila Keatinge will speak about Papua New Guinea.  The competition will be a Holiday Postcard


Gillian O'Flynn

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Felicity Beynon deputised for the President, who was on holiday.  

Vanessa Culmer described her visit to the WI Centenary garden party at Buckingham Palace as a fantastic and memorable day.  She even met the original Calendar Girls ! 

Members had been sent a report of Jayne Faversham’s wonderful day at the Royal Albert Hall on 4th June for the NFWI Centenary Annual General Meeting in the presence of the Her Majesty the Queen and other members of the Royal family. 

Announcements were made of future fund raising events including the Summer Evening Ramble on 1st July meeting at St Andrew’s church at 6 for 6.15pm followed by supper.  Tickets cost £6.  Non-walkers are most welcome to the supper. 

Also the Summer BBQ is being held in Margaret Dunn’s garden on 13th August from 6.30pm.  Tickets cost £7.50.  Raffle prizes and desserts will be much appreciated. 

Estelle Johns requested help on 5th July for volunteers to help serve teas and provide cakes for the Little Missenden National Gardens scheme. 

Elaine Barker requested any clothing, cereal boxes, bottle tops etc for the Work Aid charity in Chesham. 

A welcome was given to Sheila Keatinge who gave a fascinating and informative talk, slide and video show of her adventurous cruise around the islands of Papua New Guinea, which are very remote being almost the furthest part of the world from Britain. 

It became independent in 1975 but is still part of the Commonwealth.  There are about 6.8 million people who speak an amazing 8,000 different languages !   

Most of the houses are built on stilts for air circulation and to keep the bugs out!  They visited many different islands, snorkelling and diving and being entertained by the different tribes. 

Sheila saw many unusual and exotic birds and animals, including red tree kangaroos, but mainly in the botanical gardens.  

The next meeting will be at 8pm on 9th July when Josey Jeffrey will talk about “The Secrets of a Store Detective”.  The competition will be “a Carrier Bag”.


Gillian O'Flynn

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The Evening Charity Walk and Supper on an extremely hot 1st July was well supported and much enjoyed.  Many thanks were given to Dennis Ruff for leading the walk.  The proceeds of £151.15p will go towards our charity for this year, SPACE Support (Chesham). 

Gillian O’Flynn reported on the WI Centenary Garden Party held at Waddesden Manor in June when nine members enjoyed a gentle, elegant day with a picnic in beautiful weather and surroundings. 

Sue Flint thanked members for collecting stamps for Hearing Dogs for the Deaf. 

The next event will be the Summer BBQ being held in Margaret Dunn’s garden at 6.30pm on 13th August.  Tickets cost £7.50 and the proceeds from the raffle will also be going to SPACE. 

In Barbara Aris’s absence, thanks were given for a really delightful walk along the Regent Canal in London.  Barbara will also be arranging another walk in August. 

Janet Manson will be holding a Charity Coffee morning at her home on 2nd October at 10.30am which will include a Bring and Buy sale. 

It will be Hyde Heath WI’s turn to host the Autumn Beechwood Group meeting which will be on 22nd October.  The speaker will be from the Deli, No 2 Pound Street, Wendover who will give a talk on the history of cheese followed by a tasting. 

A welcome was given to Josey Jeffrey who gave a lively and very amusing talk about the Secrets of her life as a Store Detective.  

In 1974 her then husband suggested she apply for the position of Littlewoods Store Detective and to her amazement was offered the job.  After only two weeks training she was on the shop floor. 

Josey learnt to blend into the background and understand body language, acting out the differences between an honest person and someone who was intent on stealing items.  

More women than men shoplift but there was an occasion when a 17 year old boy was caught having stolen 38 garden gnomes !  

Josey worked for a number of stores around the country during her career and also trained many new store detectives before she retired.   

The next meeting will be at 8pm on 10th September when Jae Lawrie will talk on Wainwright’s Coast to Coast.  The competition will be a Map.


Gillian O'Flynn

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Felicity Beynon took the meeting in President, Jayne Faversham’s absence on holiday, and welcomed everyone back after the summer break. 


Due to a dire weather forecast, the August Barbeque venue was changed at very short notice to the Village Hall, which proved to be most successful.  £115 was raised from the raffle which will go towards our charity, SPACE Support, Chesham. 


Grateful thanks were made to everyone who very kindly helped and to Margaret Dunn who had made preparations for the bbq in her garden. 


The Beechwood Group Autumn meeting is being held at Hyde Heath in the evening of 22nd October.  The speaker will be from the Wendover delicatessen “No 2 Pound Street” who will talk about All Aspects of Cheese (with tasting).  Tickets will be £3.50. 


It is hoped that a walk can be organised for October. 


The Annual Meeting will be on 12th November when a new Committee and President will be elected.  Anyone wishing to join the committee will be most welcome. 


The WI subscription for 2016 will be going up by £1.50 to £37.50 from January with £1 to each Institute, 40p to the Bucks Federation and 10p to the National Federation. 


Elaine Barker thanked members for continuing to contribute items for Work Aid.  She is hoping to arrange a visit to the premises in Chesham in the Autumn. 


Doreen White read out a letter from Sarah White, Aspire Recovery Nurse, thanking members for donating towels for their service user shower room. 


The evening’s speaker, Jo Laurie, was welcomed and kept everyone enthralled with an account of her adventures and showed slides of her long distance walk with three friends and a collie dog.   


In 2008 they undertook Alfred Wainwright’s strenuous192 mile Coast to Coast walk which passes through the National Parks of the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.  The first part of the walk took place in the Spring and it was continued with just one friend and dog later that year.   


The next meeting will be at 8pm on 8th October in the Village Hall when the new topic will be “Can I Help You, I’m a Paramedic”.  The competition will be Victoriana.



Gillian O'Flynn

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President, Jayne Faversham, welcomed everyone including a new member to the October meeting.  Thanks were given to Janet Manson, and to everyone who supported her, for a very successful coffee morning which raised £138 for our charity, SPACE Support Chesham.


Details were given of the Beechwood Group Meeting which is being held in Hyde Heath at 7.45 for 8pm on 22nd October.  Nicola from the Wendover Delicatessen, No 2 Pound Street, will be talking about All Aspects of Cheese, with tastings. 


Elaine Barker has arranged a visit to Work Aid, Chesham at 2pm on 20th November. 


At next month’s Annual General meeting a new Committee has to be elected. Volunteers were urged to join the Committee as several positions need to be filled including the President who has come to the end of her three year term.   


Barbara Aris has very kindly organised a walk around Hughenden Manor Estate on 30th October meeting at 11am in the car park followed by lunch in the café.  Lifts from Hyde Heath will be arranged.


A reminder was given about the Christmas party with entertainment which will be on 10th December.


Bob Harding-Jones gave a very amusing and informative talk on “Can I help you – I’m a Paramedic”.  He retired from the ambulance service just two months ago at the age of 70 after 26 years service.


He decided to change his career in his 40’s from being a dairy farmer to retrain as a paramedic and had many stories to tell us about his experiences.  He had also written poetry since being at school and produced several books.


One of the important things a paramedic learns on first seeing a patient is to check the ABC - Air, Breathing and Circulation.  Also the letter D is for Danger which may surround a patient such as electric cables.


Computerised dummies are used nowadays to practise on as they can simulate a variety of health problems. 


Most of the time it is a very serious job but Bob told us that one of the few times he encountered violence was when a very elderly lady punched him in the face and knocked his glasses off!


The next meeting will be the AGM at 8pm on 12th November when there will also be a Bring and Buy sales table as well as a picture quiz.




Gillian O'Flynn

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A warm welcome was given to all members and a visitor on a rather wet November evening.


The Autumn Beechwood Group meeting hosted by Hyde Heath went very well indeed with a talk and cheese tasting enjoyed by 60 guests.  Thanks were given to everyone who helped and provided refreshments.


The monthly walk for October was cancelled due to adverse weather so a small group enjoyed a pub lunch instead.


Two members had a very good day visit to Denman to hear about the work of the PDSA and also enjoyed a delicious lunch and refreshments.


The visit to Work Aid in Chesham will take place at 2pm on 20th November.


Tickets costing £7.50 were on sale for the Christmas party with dinner and entertainment, which is being held at 7.15 for 7.30pm on 10th December. 


Barbara Aris has volunteered to lead a London Battle of Britain Heritage walk on 8th January 2016. 


The AGM then commenced with the announcement that a BFWI independent examiner had been appointed for the coming year.  The meeting gave very grateful thanks to Bill Hockey for all his work in examining the Group’s accounts annually for several decades.


Mary Collins, retiring Treasurer, presented the financial statement, which was adopted, as was the Annual Report, which had already been issued to Members.


Jayne Faversham gave the President’s address commenting that it was good to see that the group had expanded during 2014, helped by the publicity at the village fete.  She thanked the Committee for their tireless work and also for the support and help from members too.


After her 3 year duty as President, she was stepping aside.  The nine nominated Committee members were unanimously elected and Elaine Barker was elected as the new President.


Margaret Dunn thanked Jayne for all her hard work as President and Christine Richfield Andrews also thanked the Committee members for their vital contribution.    


Before a delicious tea, brains were tested with a Quiz and purchases made at the Bring and Buy tables.


The 2016 January meeting will be at 8pm on Thursday 14th when there will be a talk about West Wycombe Park and the Dashwoods.   A cheque will also be presented to SPACE Support (Chesham). 




Gillian O'Flynn

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