Womens Institute
Meeting Reports 2017
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President, Elaine Barker, gave a big welcome to everyone attending the AGM.  

Christine Richfield Andrews reported on a most enjoyable walk which Vanessa had organised around Downley finishing with a delicious lunch at the cosy Le Dispenser Arms pub. Two groups were very much enjoying the board games played in each other’s homes.  £1 contributions are given by both walkers and players towards the charity.

Three members had sold cakes and our recipe books at a stall at the Pre-school event and raised funds for the Group.

18 members attended the Autumn Beechwood Group Meeting at Missenden Abbey on 19 October when Joanna Barclay showed us a memorable and sensitive film about The Home Front in Buckinghamshire during the First World War, which she had produced and directed.  Pam Epps gave an eloquent vote of thanks.

The Christmas celebration will be on 8th December, 7.15 for 7.30pm when this year a caterer will be providing a two course meal, including a glass of wine or soft drink and coffee followed by entertainment. 

The AGM then commenced with Elaine Barker, President, addressing the meeting.  She thanked the Committee and all members for their support at the many events held during the year.  There are now 39 members after the very sad death of member and friend, Doreen White, who is greatly missed. 

Avril Sherratt, Treasurer, presented the financial statement, which was adopted, as was the Annual Report, which had already been issued to Members.

One Committee member has resigned but Christine has agreed to join the remaining eight members who were unanimously re-elected.  Elaine Barker was also re-elected to continue as President. 

Then followed the presentation of a cheque for £680 to Dave Bevan, volunteer of the Pepper Foundation which funds hospice at home palliative care for life-limited children. He and his late wife, WI member Val, who very sadly died last year, had been staunch supporters of Pepper for very many years.

Dave thanked everyone for the wonderful cheque and said that everyone in the Pepper Foundation office would be “over the moon” by the amount, which would go towards supporting the nurses who cared for the children and their families in their homes.

He told us about the history of the Foundation and the various fund-raising events, particularly the very popular annual July pop concert, which will be their 30th year old in 2018 .   They always perform a song from the Beatles’ Sargeant Pepper album in memory of Karen, the wife of the founder of the Charity, Robert Breakwell.

It was suggested that the charity for next year should be in memory of Doreen.

The first meeting of 2018 will be on 11th January at 8pm in the village hall when Jeff Rozelaar will talk about “Bagels & Bacon”.  The competition will a “a Pig”

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Elaine Barker, President, welcomed everyone to the first meeting of Autumn.  She would be very grateful for volunteers to provide teas, flowers and votes of thanks for next year’s meetings.

The Tuesday Board Game sessions started in September which everyone enjoyed. £1 each is given towards charity funds.  Last month’s walk organised by Elaine around Great Missenden with lunch at Café Twit in the Roald Dahl Museum was much enjoyed.


A cake stall is being run by Elaine, Mary Collins and Janet Manson at the Pre-School Autumn Fair on 14th October. Vanessa Culmer will be organising the next walk around Downley Common on 27th October.

The Autumn Beechwood Group Meeting will be on 19th October at 7.45 for 8pm when the speaker will talk about “World War I History in our Local Area”. There will be a raffle and plant sale. Hyde Heath will be hosting the Spring Beechwood Group meeting on 18th April 2018.

A coffee morning and Christmas shopping opportunity at Toad Hall in Little Missenden on 8th November from 10.30-1pm is advertised in the Buckinghamshire News.

The Christmas party will be on 14th December.  Tickets are on sale at a subsidised price of £14 to include a two-course meal with a glass of wine or soft drink plus tea or coffee and entertainment. Members are welcome to buy extra tickets for friends who may be interested in joining the WI.

Mike Bartlett, our speaker for the evening, is a member of Lions International and showed us a Data Watch bottle in which a message can be placed detailing any medication which must be taken daily.

He then gave us the most fascinating and intriguing story, accompanied by a slide show, about “The Amber Room” in the Catherine’s Palace near St Petersburgh, Russia.  This beautiful room was covered in six tons of amber panels backed with gold leaf, decorated with semi-precious stones and mirrors. It was a gift to Peter the Great in 1716 celebrating the peace between Russia and Prussia and was originally installed at Charlottenburg Palace but in 1755, Czarina Elizabeth ordered the room to be moved to the Catherine Palace in Pushkin.

The fate of the room was anything but peaceful.  The palace was bombed and the Nazi’s looted it during World War II and in the final months of the war, the amber panels which had been packed away in crates, disappeared.  However, a replica of the palace was completed in 2003 after 25 years of work, although the original amber panels remain missing.

The next meeting will be the AGM on 9th November at 8pm when there will be a presentation of a cheque to Dave Bevan representing The Pepper Foundation, our charity for the past year.  There will also be a Bring and Buy sale, the funds of which will go towards the Denman Lodge national appeal.

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President, Elaine Barker, hoped everyone had had a lovely summer.   Good wishes were sent to Fran who had moved to the south coast recently and also to Jill Morton who had been unwell for the last few months.

The Indoor Barbeque was a great success and many thanks were given to Felicity Beynon, Janet  Manson and all those who helped and provided food.  £196 was raised for funds and Pam Epps and Sandra Stevens must have had great salesmanship raising £114 in the raffle for The Pepper Foundation charity.

Board game sessions will be starting in member’s homes this month with a contribution of £1 each. 


The Pre-school Group will be holding an Autumn Event in the Village Hall on 14th October between 2-4pm when we will be taking a table to sell homemade cakes kindly supplied by members.


The Autumn Beechwood Group meeting will be on 19th October, at Missenden Abbey. Tickets are £3.50 to include refreshments.   The speaker’s subject is “World War I in our local area”.  The gardens will be open from 6.30-7.45pm before meeting, which starts at 8pm.


The Spring Group meeting will be held in Hyde Heath on 18th April 2018.


At the November AGM meeting, there will be a presentation of a cheque to Dave Bevan who represents The Pepper Foundation.  Also at this meeting it was suggested that the money raised from the Bring and Buy could be donated to the Denman Appeal funds.

Elaine will be leading a walk from the Roald Dahl Museum, Great Missenden meeting at 10.15am, returning for lunch in the Café Twit.


The Christmas meeting and supper will be on 14th December and subsidised tickets costing £14 will be for sale at the next two meetings.


Mike Payne then gave a fascinating talk and slide show about Shops and Shopkeepers in Princes Risborough.  He is one of three historians in the town and having lived there nearly all his life, and worked in some of the shops, he had many anecdotes and photos of old and newer shops and the people who owned and served in them. 


 Some of the shops still exist as do many of the buildings, two or three dated back to the Civil War in 1643.  Up until the 1960’s there was a farm in the middle of the town and shoppers had to be careful when the cows walked along the high street to be milked and then back to their field!


The many historic collections that Mike and his two companions have stored are being given to a new museum which will be opening soon in Princes Risborough.


The next meeting will be on 12th October at 8pm when Mike Bartlett will speak about “The Amber Room”.  The competition will be “Something Beautiful”.

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July 2017

Elaine Barker, President, welcomed all members, guest and our speaker for the evening.


She then announced the very sad news that member, Doreen White, had died suddenly the previous Monday.  She was a valued committee member and helped for a number of years with the car boot sales amongst many other duties she willingly undertook.  She will be greatly missed but very fondly remembered. 


The charity walk was a great success with a delicious supper afterwards.  Many thanks were given to Pam Ruff’s husband, Dennis, who planned and led the walk and to St Andrew’s Church for the use of the premises.  Thanks were also given to the Committee Members who prepared the food.


Gillian O’Flynn reported on a lovely day spent at Hall Barn, Beaconsfield for a Pym’s and Ploughman’s lunch followed by a walk around the lake and grounds.


The Indoor BBQ will be on 10th August, 6.30 for 6.45pm. Tickets will cost £7.50. Felicity asked for assistance from members in the preparations as unfortunately seven committee members would be away on holiday.


On 22nd September at 10.15am, Elaine will be leading a walk from the Roald Dahl Museum in Great Missenden followed by lunch at the museum.  As usual a donation of £1 each will be given to our charity.


If anyone else is interested in playing board games, a group will be meeting once a month in each other’s homes starting in September.  Again, a donation of £1 will be given to our charity.


On 19th October at 7.45 for 8pm the Group meeting will be held at Missenden Abbey.   If anyone would like to see the gardens, they will be open from 6.30pm. The talk will be given by Joanna Walker on “The Home Front in Bucks”.  Light refreshments will be served afterwards.


Tracey Blaney then gave a really fascinating talk on “The Age Old Craft of Millinery”, which she has been doing for 11 years.  The word “milliner” comes from the bonnets made in Milan when in 1529 the word was first recorded. 


Hats have been worn for various reasons over the centuries – to protect you from the sun, keep you warm in the cold, also as a fashion statement and in various religions ladies heads have to be covered.


A Hatter makes ladies and men’s hats but a Milliner makes only ladies hats.  The term “Mad as a Hatter” is believed to come from the use of mercury in the production of felt from animal’s skin and fur to make the hats.  This caused dementia.


Tracey showed and described how she made hats and displayed a beautiful collection of her own hats and fascinators.  She has designed and made hats for all occasions from weddings to Ascot races and even for people attending Royal events.


The next meeting will be at 8pm on 14th September when Mike Payne will talk about “Shops and Shopkeepers”.  The competition will be an Apron.

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June 2017

A warm welcome was given to everyone and also a big thank to St Andrew’s Church for allowing us to use it for our meeting on 8th June as the village hall was in use as the Polling Station for the General Election.


Thanks were given to Margaret Dunn for organising the teas in the Cricket Pavilion at the Village Fete and to all who contributed cakes and assistance.  £750.profit was made.  Also thanks were given to Di Coombes for the beautiful arrangement she created for the Flower Festival.


Thanks were given to Joyce Guthrie for opening her home and lovely garden on a wonderful hot day for afternoon tea to raise funds for our charity, the Pepper Foundation.  Thanks were given to all who produced delicious cakes, raffle prizes and items for the Bring and Buy table, which raised £213.50.     See the pictures  here


Gary Beynon kindly took photographs of the event which were on view at the meeting.


On 5th July a Summer Evening Ramble followed by a light supper in St Andrew’s Church will be held.  Dennis Ruff has very kindly agreed to lead the walk which will be at 6 for 6.15pm.  For non-walkers the supper will be served from about 7.30pm.  Funds will also go towards our charity.


Gillian O’Flynn gave a report on the visit to College Lake Nature Reserve on a rather wet day but was much enjoyed by those that went and saw a large number of birds from the hides.  Ruth Goves reported on the visit by some members to the beautiful and historical Rycote Manor on 7th June.


The next Beechwood Group meeting will be held on 19th October at Missenden Abbey.


A warning was given about people calling on houses trying to sell goods or work and using threatening behaviour.  There had been several cases reported in the village.  If worried the Police should be contacted by phone on 101.


A walk was being planned by Elaine Barker in September around the Great Missenden area. 


A suggestion was made for any interested members to form a group for board game sessions either in the morning or afternoon.


Richard Snailham then gave a very interesting talk and slide show on Brittany’s Hidden Corners and its history.  After he retired from Sandhurst he became a tour guide.  He also was involved in a BBC film and produced a book on the area.


The name Brittany is derived from Little Britain and had close connections with Great Britain through the occupation of the Celts in the 7th and 8th Centuries BC.  


The next meeting will be on 13th July at 8pm when Tracey Blaney will talk on “The Age Old Craft of Millinery”.  The competition is “A Hat”.

Gillian O'Flynn      
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May 2017

President, Elaine Barker, welcomed everyone to the Resolutions meeting and announced that there would be a Quiz as well as the Bring and Buy table.


On 19th May Gillian O’Flynn has organised a walk around College Lake Nature Reserve starting at 10.30am with lunch in the Visitor Centre café. A contribution of £1 per person goes towards our 2017 Charity, The Pepper Foundation.  A reminder was given about the charity fund raising tea party at Joyce Guthrie’s house on 26th May at 2.30pm costing £2.50 each.  


The Summer Evening ramble followed by a light supper at St Andrew’s Church will be on 5th July with tickets costing £6.   Dennis Ruff has very kindly agreed to lead the walk which will start at 6.15pm.  Non-walkers are most welcome to the supper.  Friends and family are welcome.  Profits from this event will also go towards the Charity.


Di Coombes kindly agreed to do the arrangement for the St Andrew’s Flower Festival being held on the Village Fete day.  Thanks were given to everyone for giving recipes to Vanessa Culmer who had compiled and arranged for the printing of the book, which will be sold for £3 at the fete.


Elaine reported on the Group Meeting held at Cholesbury-cum-St Leonards.  The choir, singing songs from the ‘60s and 70’s, was wonderful entertainment and great fun, followed by a delicious supper.   


The walk organised by Derek and Jayne Faversham around Dunstable Downs and the lunch in the visitor centre was much enjoyed.  The final amount raised at the car boot sales was a magnificent £271.


Avril Sherratt reported on the BFWI Council meeting in Aylesbury which she and 3 members attended.  There were several speakers with Giles Brandreth giving the final brilliant presentation which had everyone “in stitches”. This completed a really well organised, enjoyable day.


Christine Richfield Andrews then presented the two Resolutions on “Alleviating Loneliness” and “Plastic Soup: keep microplastic fibres out of our oceans” which were discussed and voted upon.


The winner of the Fun Quiz, in record time, was Pam Ruff which was followed by a delicious tea and chat.


The next meeting will be held at 8pm on 8th June in St Andrew’s Church as the Village Hall will be in use for the General Election.  The competition will be “a Hat”.


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April 2017

President, Elaine Barker, welcomed all those present and congratulated Eve Brown, one of the original members, and her husband, Ron, on their 60th Wedding Anniversary.  Also Christine Richfield-Andrews was congratulated on her 25th Wedding Anniversary.


Pam Ruff and Elaine had a most enjoyable evening at Ballinger WI’s 50th Anniversary celebration.  Jayne Faversham reported that the team came a creditable 13th out 31 teams in the BFWI Quiz. Mary Collins said that it was a fine day for the car boot sale which did very well and raised £226.  


The first monthly walk of the year will be around Whipsnade, the Tree Cathedral and Dunstable Downs on 21st April while May’s walk will be at the College Lake Nature Reserve followed by lunch at The Grand Junction Arms.  A donation of £1 is given to our charity by those taking part.  


Volunteers to help with the Litter Pick on 22nd April would be appreciated. The Beechwood Group Meeting will take place on 27th April at St Leonards Village Hall, which a group of members will be attending.


The Village Fete will be on 13th May when Margaret Dunn is again kindly organising the supply of teas and cakes in the cricket pavilion.  More helpers would be appreciated.  The Cook Book, containing recipes supplied by members, will be available for sale.  Di Coombes has agreed to do an arrangement at the St Andrew’s Flower Festival held on Fete day.


Afternoon tea in Joyce Guthrie’s garden will be from 2.30 to 4.30pm on 26th May.  Donations of cakes and items for a raffle and Bring & Buy were requested.  A cost of £2.50 per person will go towards our Charity, the Pepper Foundation.


The £25 for the Rycote Park trip on 7th June will be collected at the May meeting which is in aid of the Thames Valley Air Ambulance.


The Charity Summer Evening Ramble starting at 6.15pm on 5th July will be followed by a light supper at St Andrew’s Church.  Tickets will be available next month.


Josie Jeffrey then gave an entertaining talk on Confessions of an Errant Allotmenteer.  She described herself as not a gardener but a potterer and had moved from one allotment to another growing an assortment of vegetables while waging war on slugs.


The next meeting at 8pm on 11th May will discuss the Resolutions, details of which are on pages 20 & 21 of the WI magazine.  There will also be a Bring & Buy sales table. 


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March 2017

President, Elaine Barker, welcomed all members and a number of visitors to the March meeting.


Pam Ruff knits for an organisation that provides families of “Angel Babies” with sets of tiny clothes for their funerals and said she would be very grateful for any unwanted balls of wool.


Five members attended the excellent BFWI Investigation and Discovery day on 7th March held in Aylesbury and Pam Epps gave a resume of the four extremely interesting and varied talks. 


Items are now being collected by Mary Collins for the Car Boot Sale on 8th April.


If there are any more interesting recipes members have discovered, there is still time to let Vanessa have a copy before the CookBook is printed for sale at the Village Fete on 13th May.


The Beechwood Group Spring meeting is at 7.45 for 8pm on 27th April in Cholesbury-cum-St Leonards Parish Hall. 


The date for Jayne and Derek’s walk has had to be postponed to 21st April and Gillian will be organising a walk around College Lake on 19th May, details of both walks to be given at the next meeting.


Joyce Guthrie has kindly offered to hold an afternoon tea on 26th May, cost £2.50, with a raffle and bring and buy.  Donations of cakes were requested.


The BFWI have planned a trip to the Chelsea Physic Garden on 19th or 31st May at a cost of £25.  The visit to Rycote Manor, in aid of The Thames Valley Air Ambulance, is on 7th June and the cost of £30 includes coffee and lunch.  


The annual Evening Summer Ramble will be on 5th July around Hyde Heath finishing with supper in St Andrew’s Church and the Summer “Indoor” Barbeque will be on 10th August.


Richard Smith then gave a very enthusiastic and informative talk and slide show on Heathrow and How it Works.  It really is a wonder with all the potential problems that can and do arise that any plane arrives and takes off on time!


Heathrow is the world’s busiest international airport and Richard rose through the ranks to a senior position in Airfield Operations during his 39 years with the British Airports Authority.  


The airport operates at 98% capacity on 2 runways, at present, with 1,300 aircraft movements, 200,000 passengers a day and 73 million passengers a year arriving at four terminals.  He did not have one day in his many years of work that everything went according to plan!


The next meeting will be at 8pm on 13th April when Josie Jeffrey will be talking about “Confessions of an Errant Allotmenteer”.  The competition is “An Interesting Fruit or Vegetable”.


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February 2017

On a frosty evening a warm welcome was given to all members and a guest, by President, Elaine Barker.


Felicity Beynon gave information on a suggested visit in June to Ryecote Manor, gardens and chapel near Thame, which is being opened to raise funds for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance.


A certificate and a very grateful thank you letter had been received from Bucks MIND acknowledging receipt of the £515 raised for last year’s charity.  Also a letter of thanks had been from the Hyde Heath Toddler Group for the £10 donation.


The chosen charity for this year is the Pepper Foundation and Joyce Guthrie has kindly offered to hold a fund raising garden tea party towards the end of May.  There will also be a Charity Summer Ramble and Supper around Hyde Heath on 5th July.  Further suggestions for fund raising events would be appreciated.


Ballinger WI have sent an invitation for two members to attend their Fiftieth Celebrations on 14th March.


Three volunteers were requested to make up a team to represent Hyde Heath for the BFWI Quiz on 23rd March at Prestwood.  Jayne and Derek Faversham will begin the monthly walks again on 24th March 


On 8th April Mary Collins, Doreen White and Janet Manson have very kindly agreed to take a pitch at the Car Boot Sale again and will be collecting items towards the end of March.


The Spring Beechwood Group is being hosted by Cholesbury-cum-St Leonards on 27th April when the Orpheus Male Voice Choir will be performing.


Four members will be attending the Annual Council Meeting which is being held at the Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury on 4th May when several speakers, including Gyles Brandreth, will be appearing.


A box of Dole Resealable Pineapple Fridge packs had been received by the Secretary for distribution to members with a request that “as Women of Influence” we would give our opinions and ideas for a survey.


Mrs Janet Dineen gave a fascinating talk and slide show on various Easter and Lent customs, food and folklore.  There was a copy of a document dating from the 1390’s listing the restrictions of food and activities during Lent.  


On Collop Monday the last thin slices of meat were eaten and dairy produce was used up in the making of pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, which are still eaten today.  In North Bucks the Olney pancake race, which originated in 1445, is still held.  Queen Elizabeth I decreed in 1592 that spiced buns could only be made by bakers for burials, Christmas and the Friday before Easter.  Hot Cross Buns and Easter eggs are the tradition in Britain today.


Pam Ruff won the Easter Egg competition. The next meeting will be at 8pm on 9th March when Richard Smith will talk about “Heathrow & How it Works”.  The competition will be a Model Aeroplane.


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January 2017

The first snow and ice of the winter greeted those that ventured out on 12th January and there was a long list of apologies for absence, including that of the Speaker who lived in High Wycombe.


However, Felicity Beynon, standing in for President, Elaine Barker, gave a very warm welcome and New Year greetings to all those present. 


A great feed back on the Christmas party had been received, particularly the food and dancing and it was agreed by members to ask Morreen, the caterer, to return next December.


Felicity then presented fellow member, Julia Thornton, who represents Buckinghamshire MIND (Chesham) with a cheque for £515 raised during 2016.  Julia gave a resume of all the work that was being carried out by the Charity, particularly in relation to youth mental health.


Members unanimously agreed that, in memory of former member Val Bevan, our charity for 2017 should be The Pepper Foundation. Val was a volunteer who gave great support to this Foundation, which provides palliative care for local children and young people with life-threatening and life-limited illnesses..


Vanessa Culmer held a very enjoyable coffee morning last November which raised £125.70.  Also thanks were given to those who provided cakes for the Preschool and Toddler coffee morning.  With deductions and a donation to the Group, £59 profit was made.


Mary Rose introduced the six shortlisted Resolutions proposed for the 2017 NFWI Annual Meeting in Liverpool in June.  Each member voted for the Resolution which she supported the most.  Based on members’ selections nationally, in due course we will be advised of a shorter list of Resolutions to be taken forward to the Annual Meeting.


After last year’s successful indoor barbeque in the village hall due to the possibility of inclement weather, it was agreed that the same venue would be used for the event on 10th August 2017.


The Spring Beechwood meeting will be at St Leonards on 12th April and the Autumn meeting is likely to be on 19th Oc


tober in Great Missenden.


Jayne and Derek Faversham will be starting the monthly walks on 24th March around The Black Horse, Chesham Vale.


Avril Sherratt will be the delegate at the BFWI Annual Council Meeting on 4th May at the Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury when one of the speakers will be Gyles Brandreth.  Members are also invited to attend as Observers with tickets costing £13.


A team of three members will be needed for the next BFWI Quiz on 23rd March and under Margaret Dunn’s leadership, a team will supply teas and cakes at the Village Fete on 13th May.


In the absence of a speaker, everyone enjoyed a delicious tea and an elongated chat!  Margaret Ritter won the competition for A Puppet.


The next meeting will be at 8pm on 9th February when Janet Dineen will talk about “Happy Easter”.  The competition will be “An Egg”.




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