Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Q & A: Gemma Rathbone - WYN Editor & Denman Ambassador

Q. Where were you born?
A. The Countess of Chester Hospital, Chester

Q. What is your earliest memory?
A. I remember putting a birdhouse in the cherry tree in the back garden, learning to ride a bike and going to my friend's house for a sleepover, but i'm not sure which cam first.

Q. When did you get involved with the WI?
A. In November 2010, I went along to Buns & Roses WI in Leeds as a friend had heard about the group.

Q. What made you join the WI?
A. i had got into crafts during time off work and wanted to improve my skills.

Q. What does the role of WYN Editor/ Denman Ambassador involve?
A. As WYN Editor, I am responsible for collating the information from sub-committees, the Office, NFWI, etc, then designing the pages, printing, packing and posting it out. As Denman Ambassador my role is to promote the College to members, arrange visits, liaise with the South and East Yorkshire Ambassadors about the Yorkshire Room and act as College Host when required.

Q. Tell us about your career.
A. I started out as a reporter on a local newspaper before making the move to online news. I now work for myself as a copywriter.

Q. Tell us about your family.
A. My mum lives on a farm in North Wales with her partner and my dad lives in Runcorn with my step-mum and step-sister. I have a half-brother who lives in Aberdeen with his wife and their four kids and a full brother who is in the RAF and based near Peterborough.

Q. What are your hobbies?
A. Running and watching motorsport are my main passions.

Q. What is your favourite book?
A. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

Q. Tell us something about yourself that will surprise
A. I studied forensic science for a year at university and still wish I could be a pathologist.

We were in The Squeaker!

Take a read of our anniversary article in this months Squeaker!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The Resolutions Conference

On the 11th April, we are holding our Annual Resolutions Conference at Pudsey Civic Hall to discuss the chosen resolution of decline in our high streets and to give an update on the More Midwives Campaign.

Here is a description of the new resolution from the NFWI.

'The NFWI notes with concern the continuing decline of our high streets and the damaging effect this has on local communities. We call on every member of the WI to support their local shops and make the high street their destination of choice for goods and services. We call on decision-makers to work collectively, at all levels, to help bring an end to the decline of our high streets and to ensure that high streets flourish and provide a focal point for local communities.'

'The proper believes that our high streets have reached crisis point. Without urgent action, high streets will be irrevocably changed, with a significant social, environmental and economic impact.'

'The past 20 years has seen a severe decline in Britain’s town and village centres. Changes in shopping patterns, along with an increase in out of town shopping centres and online shopping, has meant a steady decrease in footfall to our town centres. When combined with a slowdown in consumer spending, banks reluctant to lend, and increasingly high rental and business rates, many high street businesses are simply unable to stay afloat. Anecdotal evidence cites boarded up shops, high streets lined with charity shops and once thriving town centres all but abandoned.'

'The high street is often a community hub, and provides much more than merely a place to shop. Many older people and people without cars rely on the high street for their daily and weekly shop. When high street shops close, individuals are forced to travel to out of town shopping centres. The decrease in footfall leads to a vicious cycle of falling numbers of shoppers and shop closures. It also jeopardises other town centre amenities dependent on a critical mass of consumers, such as banks, solicitors, doctors and libraries. These are in danger of either closing or moving to out of town centres.'

At our Resolutions Conference, there will be a for and against speaker for the decline of the high streets issue in order for your to determine your vote as an institute at the NFWI AGM later on this year.

Also at the Resolutions Conference, there will be an update on the More Midwives resolution from last year as they are having great success getting their voices heard as well as organising the International Day of the Midwife Day of Action on Friday 3rd May.

The original resolution from NFWI for More Midwives was: - "There are chronic shortages of midwives. The NFWI calls on the Government to increase investment in the training, employment and retention of midwives in England and Wales to ensure services are adequately resourced and are able to deliver a high standard of care"

Lesley Pearse @ The Anniversary Literary Lunch

Lesley Pearse is one of the UK's best selling novelists with multiple books that have been just as successful as the next one. Lesley writes gripping and truly emotional story lines including original and deep characters that always keeps you reading until the very end. Since the early 1990s she has been including various parts of her life in her impressive books and it has brought her amazing success with sales of over 7 million copies to date, but we a sure that will soon rise!

Here is a list of her books!

- Georgia
- Tara
- Charity
- Ellie
- Camellia
- Rosie
- Charlie
- Never Look Back
- Trust Me
- Father Unknown
- Till We Meet Again
- Remember Me
- Secrets
- A Lesser Evil
- Hope
- Faith
- Gypsy
- Stolen
- Belle
- The Promise

And, at our Anniversary Literary Lunch on the 20th April she will be promoting and signing her new book Forgive Me. She will also be doing a talk on everything Lesley Pearse and hopefully we will find out if there is a new upcoming book because we can't wait!

We hope to all see you at the Anniversary Literary Lunch, if you have not sent your money into the office, please do so ASAP. If you have not booked, we still have a few places left, but if you are a non-member the price has gone up to £29.

Sew A Row - Dancing Squares, Tulips & Trees Patchwork

With a majority 5* rating on our feedback sheets we can say that our first Dancing Squares, Tulips and Trees Patchwork class was a complete success!

Our tutor for this workshop was Anne Starkey of Clayton West WI and on the 8th March she taught 14 members how to create the technique of Dancing Squares, Tulips and Trees Patchwork. In the morning, the students learnt the foundation method of patchwork by making a tree block and in the afternoon they continued with their foundation piecing to make a dancing squares block or a tulip block.
Anne felt the day flowed really well and all the students completed at least two different blocks - many even completed three.
Many of the students had a lot of positive feedback for us such as they had fun learning a new skill, reminding themselves of a skill they had already learnt, many enjoyed the companionship of the students as well as us running the workshop, they thought the advice was helpful and it was good to get expertise on the patchwork technique, the students thought there was just enough work for them to do so it could be completed at a leisurely pace rather than a rush and lastly all the students found an excellent tutor in Anne, commending her on her patient with the students.
A lot the students taking part in the patchwork courses this year are doing the complete series of Sew A Row in order to have a completed piece at the end of the year. The next one is Migrating Geese and Greek Keys on the 12th April.
Also as the Dancing Squares, Tulips & Trees Patchwork was so popular we are holding the second one at the office on the 15th March for a further 7 people.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

History of Big Band Music

Event - The Night Shift Band
Committee - Arts & Leisure
Date - Friday 22nd March
Time - 7.30pm
Venue - Pudsey Civic Hall
Cost - £13 per person

On the 22nd March, we are hosting a big Night Shift Band evening in the ballroom of the Pudsey Civic Hall. The evening will consist of music from The Night Shift, who is a fifteen piece Jazz big dance band with a male vocalist. They repertoire includes sounds of Glen Miller, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Michael Buble and more. 
Big Band music began in the USA and is associated with swing and jazz music that have rhythm  brass and woodwind instruments. In a standard there could be up to 25 musicians all with their own particular talent. In the 1920s, this type of music dominated the era and was the most popular genre of music. This was the dance form of jazz, whereas towards the end of the 1920s was when it became big band music, where there was more improvisation. Unfortunately, it was not as popular as the dancing jazz.
There are very few big bands around today, so on the 22nd March we are bringing back the 1920s for an evening of big band music, nibbles and dancing.

We hope you enjoy it! 

Luddenden WI

Name – Luddenden WI
Formation – 14th September 1972
Day of Meeting – 2nd Thursday of each month 
Time of Meeting – 7.30PM
Location – Luddenden Foot Civic Centre
Members – 20 Members
President – Norma Riley
Secretary – Elyse Sykes

Luddenden are a very active WI for such a small batch of 20 women. They meet on the 2nd Thursday of each month and regularly have interesting speakers. Over the past year they have had a wine tasting session as well as a bee keeping session along with their Christmas lunch – in January due to the weather. They also meet on a regular basis rather than only on meeting dates as they have a monthly craft group, days out to various locations across the county, meals out and their annual trip, which is always in a lovely location. As Luddenden WI enjoys all things strawberry and games they also visit the Annual Strawberry Fair every year.

If you are interested in attending a meeting or joining Luddenden WI please contact Norma Riley on 01422 839861 or email her on 

Shepley WI

Name – Shepley WI
Formation – 10th September 1981
Day of Meeting – 3rd Thursday of each month   
Time of Meeting – 7.30PM
Location – Shepley Library
Members – 27 Members
President/Secretary – Christine Appleyard

Shepley WI has recently celebrated their 30th anniversary with a Shepley lunch. They have also had a visit to Golcar Industrial Museum, gone to the theatre and had amazing speakers on 8 of their evenings. Throughout the year they have their regular WI days such as a monthly book club, craft club and lunch club, which makes this institute a very social one. They also hold Christmas parties every year, harvest suppers, fruit picking days and coffee mornings. Shepley WI are one of the WI’s that really enjoys and takes ideas from their members to plan their programme for the year, so if you joined this WI be sure to come with lots of ideas and expect them to be fulfilled.

If you are interested in attending a meeting or joining Shepley WI please contact Christine Appleyard  on 01484 605777. 

Q & A: Hayley Mills Styles - Assistant Treasurer & Trainee WI Advisor

Q. Where were you born?
A. I was born in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, but grew up in a village called Sherburn in Elmet in North Yorkshire. 
 Q. What is your earliest memory?
A. I think it would have to be my first day at primary school. 

Q.When did you get involved with the WI?
A. I became a member in 2009 when i became treasurer of Buns & Roses at the formation meeting. Later i joined the Home Economics committee at Federation so i could get more involved. My husband wanted me to get a hobby, after talking to a friend when she wanted to set up Buns & Roses i decided to go along and get involved. 

Q. What does the role of Assistant Treasurer involve?
A. I work alongside Susan Stothers to keep track of the Federation finances. 

Q. What does the role of WI Advisor involve?
A. A WI Advisor is responsible for forming new institutes, sadly, having to suspend institutes and assisting with any issues our institutes might have.  

Q. Tell us about your career.
A. I've had lots of different jobs within the financial services industry; recently i have decided to pursue my career as an artist.  

Q.Tell us about your family.
A. I was brought up by my grandparents and don't have a big family. I live in Leeds with my husband and our pet Western Hognose snake. 
 Q.What are your hobbies?
A. I'm an Embroiderers Guild member, National Trust member and keen photographer. My main passion is motorcycle racing. 
Q.Tell us something about yourself that will surprise people.
A. I usually surprise people by telling them i'm in the WI! Aside from that i got married on Halloween. 

WI in the Yorkshire Evening Post!

Last week, Buns & Roses WI were featured in the Yorkshire Evening Post. 

Read about how they began and how they are trying to modernize the Women's Institute by being based in a bar in Leeds City Centre and about to celebrate their 4th anniversary. 

Take a look at the article, there are some of the board members in their photograph!

We also have many other WI's celebrating their anniversaries this year. If you are one of them please send details of the meeting and possible photographs to the office for us to create a case study to go online and for our archives to present at the Annual Meeting.