Beachamwell Women`s Institute

Meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month in Beachamwell Memorial Hall at 7.30 pm unless otherwise stated in the programme.
Subscription £37.50
Visitors £3.50
Further enquiries please contact Irene Ranner: 01366 328325


Meeting - March 2020
The March meeting of Beachamwell WI saw a number of visitors attending along with our members to hear a very interesting talk and presentation about the many wonderful gardens open to visitors in East Anglia by Simon White of Peter Beale’s in Attleborough. The avid gardener’s amongst us had many questions on gardening ranging from how best to deal with slugs to how to stop Muntjac grazing on our garden borders! Mr White was up to the challenge and gave us lots of good tips. We came away from the meeting enlightened and determined to become better gardeners.

Unfortunately all meetings until further notice have been postponed.

New members are always welcome and even if you are not thinking of joining the WI but are interested in one of our talks then please come along on the first Thursday of each month, when we restart the meetings, at Beachamwell Village Hall, 7.30pm. There is a small charge of £3.50 per visitor (refreshments are included).

Any enquiries, please contact Maggie on 01366 327023 or Helen on 01366 328589.

Debbie Roberts


Meeting - February 2020
The February meeting of Beachamwell WI saw a number of visitors attending along with our members to hear a very interesting talk and demonstration of period musical stringed instruments by local musician and instrument maker Michael Willett. He brought with him a wide array of beautiful wooden stringed instruments with designs dating back to the medieval period all made by himself. We saw how they were made and then Michael played each instrument so we all got a real feel for the music of the time.

On March 5th our speaker will be Simon White giving a presentation on the Gardens of East Anglia. April 2nd sees Brenda Packman of the Associated Country Women of the World talking about how the organisation supports urban and rural communities around the world.

New members are always welcome but even if you are not thinking of joining the WI but are interested in one of our talks then please come along on the first Thursday of each month at Beachamwell Village Hall starting at 7.30pm. There is a small charge of £3.50 per visitor (refreshments are included).

Any enquires, please contact Maggie on 01366 327023 or Helen on 01366 328589.

Debbie Roberts


Meeting - January 2020
The January meeting of Beachamwell W.I saw an in depth and lively discussion about the proposed national WI resolutions for 2020. We looked at: The lack of regulations in the UK for using female crash test dummies in car safety tests; The need to encourage more people to register as potential stem cell donors; A national campaign to end modern slavery; The need to encourage people to talk more openly about death and dying; Protecting the earth’s rapidly diminishing helium deposits, a gas which cannot be produced artificially. We all learnt so much about each of the subjects and came away with the urge to learn more.

On February 6th our speaker will be Michael Willett who will be giving a talk and demonstration on the Magic of Making and Playing Period Musical Instruments. March 5th sees Simon White giving a presentation on the Gardens of East Anglia.

If you are thinking about joining the WI, do come along on the first Thursday of each month at Beachamwell Village Hall starting at 7.30pm and try us out for free. Other visitors are always warmly welcome. There is a small charge of £3.50 per visitor (refreshments are included).

Any enquires, please contact Maggie 01366 327023 or Helen 01366 328589.

Maggie Mackenzie


Meeting - November 2019
The November meeting always includes our Annual Meeting, but before we got down to business, we enjoyed a “Craft Show and Tell”. Members brought along a number of hand crafted items and spoke about them. Some had sentimental value, others were special projects, lovingly made. But what was most astonishing was the sheer variety: needle felted animals, fabric boxes, a Victorian doll, quilts, embroidery and homemade clothes. What an array of talent! Chosen items were put forward to compete for the annual Ruth Rix prize, which was won by Cathy for an exquisite piece with an agapanthus theme which showcased a number of different techniques.

Our next meeting, December 5th is a Christmas Party. Visitors and /or prospective new members are very welcome to join us but need to be ready for party games, festive food and a bit of fizz!!!!

On January 2nd we will have our usual Resolutions meeting, when we discuss proposals put forward by WI members nationally. These are always interesting evenings.

Sadly after December, we are saying goodbye to Leah and Carole who have both moved out of the village, but we hope to welcome some brand new members in January. We have a varied programme planned for the coming year, with speakers on East Anglian gardens, making musical instruments and travels in China to name but a few.

Visitors are always welcome to join us for a charge of £3.50, but prospective new members can come for no charge to look us over. We pride ourselves on being a friendly and informal group. For further information, call Helen on 01366 328589 or Maggie 01366 327023.

Maggie Mackenzie


Meeting - October 2019
On 3rd October, Beachamwell WI welcomed Tracy Ward, who had kindly agreed to come at short notice when our planned speaker could not make it. Tracy described how a craft course she had attended had kindled an enthusiasm for mosaic making, a hobby which is now evolving into a business. Her enthusiasm was infectious as she showed us how she set about designing and executing a new piece. She showed us some of the tools she used and a few members had a go themselves. A really interesting evening.

Our November meeting is always our Annual Meeting, but before the business meeting this year we will be having a “Show and Tell” session to share some of our favourite craft pieces. Visitors are welcome to join us for the first half of the evening.

This year, we will be holding our Christmas Fair on November 23rd, from 11.30 to 2pm in the village hall. There will be refreshments (mulled wine, soup, filled rolls, sausage rolls and cakes), so why not come and join us for lunch? As usual, there will be unique hand crafted items and our “Good as new” stall. Bargains galore!

Maggie Mackenzie


Meeting - August 2019
Our speaker at August’s meeting was Brian Heard, whose talk, “In Search of the Smoking Gun” included stories from his long career as a forensic scientist. For many years, he worked at New Scotland Yard and there helped to “put away” many notorious villains including the Krays and Richardsons. He regaled us with many grisly and gruesome stories. Despite that, or maybe because of it, he gave us a thoroughly enjoyable evening!

In August, we also organise an extra garden meeting, which this year will involve a trip out to West Acre Gardens. I think there may be cake!!! At September’s meeting, our speaker, Jeanette Moser will tell us of her extraordinary life story, to illustrate that “There’s a book in everyone”. As usual, visitors are welcome to come and join us, as are any prospective new members who want to look us over in which case the visitor’s fee of £3.50 is waived.

Maggie Mackenzie


Meeting - July 2019
At our July meeting we welcomed Poppy Rose who described herself as a “transgender lesbian poet all rolled into one” and what an interesting evening she gave us. Between readings of her striking poems, Poppy told us about her life. Born a male but from her earliest memories sure that she was by nature female, she was forced by prejudice and bigotry to live a lie. It was not until she was in her fifties, that she felt able to make the transition which has at last brought the peace and happiness she craved. Unflinching in her honesty, Poppy gave us an evening which was both moving and life-affirming. The WI’s mission is not just social but educational, and Poppy gave us a whole new perspective on an issue, which has become more current in recent years as times (at last) are changing.

In complete contrast, our August speaker is a forensic scientist, Brian Heard, whose talk is entitled “In search of the smoking gun”. Visitors, those who are not thinking of joining our WI, are most welcome to join us in Beachamwell Village Hall at 7.30pm on August 1st at a charge of £3.50. Prospective new members are always welcome to come along to one meeting and look us over, free of charge. Just turn up on the night or contact Helen (01366 328589).

Did you know.........The Women's Institute (WI) was formed in 1915 to revitalise rural communities and encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War. Since then the organisation's aims have broadened and the WI is now the largest voluntary women's organisation in the UK. The WI celebrated its centenary in 2015 and currently has almost 220,000 members in approximately 6,300 WIs.The WI plays a unique role in providing women with educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills, to take part in a wide variety of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities.The WI is based on the ideals of fellowship, truth, tolerance and justice. The organisation is non-sectarian and non-party political. WIs are charitable and everything they do must be consistent with that special legal status.

Maggie Mackenzie


Beachamwell WI is 40!
A birthday party was held in Beachamwell Village Hall on Thursday 6 June to celebrate Beachamwell WI’s 40th birthday. Former members joined current members for an evening of fine food and warm friendship. A selection of scrapbooks brought back happy memories spanning the years from 1979 to today.

And now for something completely different - our meeting on Thursday July is very topical ‘The life and times of a transsexual poet and lesbian, rolled into one’ with Poppy Rose. Why not join us for the evening and discover that the WI is not all Jam & Jerusalem? Visitors £3.50.

Leah Spencer (President)


Meeting - April 2019
April’s WI meeting was all about fitness and health. Our speaker, Susi Hancock, gave us an entertaining and informative talk and demonstration, with tips and suggestions for different ways to keep strong and supple into “advancing years”. She showed us exercises which can be slotted easily into everyday routines. So we will now all be standing on one leg while we brush our teeth! A competition to devise a healthy snack was a delicious follow up.

Because of elections, May’s meeting will be at Barton Bendish village hall. On May 2nd, our speaker will be Diana Mullis, who specialises in storytelling. It promises to be another entertaining evening. As always, visitors are very welcome to come along.

Enquiries to Helen Ranger 01366 328589

Maggie Mackenzie


Meeting - March 2019
At our March meeting, we welcomed local writer, Jackie Bennett who entertained us with a talk about the making of her latest book, “Britain’s Island Gardens”. Her talk gave a taste of her book and focussed on gardens in a selection of the islands she visited, from Orkney to the Scillies. It was illustrated with beautiful photographs taken by Richard Hanson. The talk also included some of the hazards involved in producing such a book, from seasickness to misbehaving drones!

At a time of dark nights and dull days, the evening gave us a lovely, timely reminder of what a beautiful country we live in. We were delighted to welcome a number of visitors, and we hope they enjoyed the evening as much as the members did.

Next month, on April 4th, Susi Hancock will give us a talk about how to keep fit and supple, with easy exercise ideas. Looking ahead, our May meeting which is a Storytelling session with Diana Mullis will be held in Barton Bendish village hall, because of local elections. As always, prospective new members and visitors are very welcome to join us.

Enquiries to Leah 01366 328536 or Helen 01366 328589

Maggie Mackenzie


Meeting - February 2019
In February, Beachamwell WI welcomed Penelope Watkins who gave us a most enjoyable talk on “Know your shape, enjoy your assets”. She started with an overview of fashion trends in the 20th century and brought along examples of the underwear which underpinned the changing shapes; that got us reminiscing about those strange pink corsets our mothers used to wear! Penelope went on to give some useful advice about how to buy clothes with a better fit and some excellent tips about flattering styles. Her talk was both informative and entertaining.

On March 7th, our speaker will be local writer, Jackie Bennett, talking about gardens featured in her latest book – “Britain’s Island Gardens”. Visitors, even if you are not thinking of joining our WI, are most welcome to join us at a charge of £3.50.

We meet on the first Thursday of each month at 7.30 in Beachamwell Village Hall. The group is friendly and informal. Prospective new members are always welcome to come along to one meeting and look us over, free of charge. Just turn up on the night or contact Leah (01366 328536) or Helen (01366 328589).

Maggie Mackenzie


Meeting - December 2018
In December, we celebrated Christmas with musical and humorous entertainment from the West End Waiters, a group that supports Motor Neurone Disease Research. We were delighted to welcome lots of visitors and we hope they enjoyed the evening as much as the members did.

We started the New Tear, as usual, with its Resolutions Evening where we discussed the proposals for this year’s national WI campaign focus. In this year’s shortlist, three of the proposals concerned women’s health issues; “Ending the taboo around menstrual health”, “Pelvic floor education” and “Don’t fear the smear”. Two proposals had an environmental theme; “Improving plant biosecurity” and “Trees – improving the natural landscape”. Lastly, there was “A call against the decline in local bus services”. Lively and frank discussions ensued and members will now vote for the resolution they wish to be taken forward at a national level. The evening finished with a quiz.

At February’s meeting there will be a talk by Penelope Watkins on “Know your shape, enjoy your assets.” It promises to be an uplifting evening! In March, local writer, Jackie Bennett will give us an illustrated talk on the subject of her latest book, “Britain’s Island Gardens”.

Beachamwell WI meets at 7.30 on the first Thursday evening of each month in Beachamwell Village Hall. The group is friendly and informal. Prospective new members and visitors are very welcome to join us. Just turn up on the night or phone Leah Spencer (01366 328536) or Helen Ranger (01366 328589)

Maggie Mackenzie


Meeting - November 2018
At our November meeting, we had a most interesting speaker from the East Anglia Children’s Hospice. Tina Burdett told us about the work of this charity, which cares for children and young people with life limiting conditions, and also provides support for their families. The organisation is currently in the process of building a new hospice near Norwich called The Nook; this looks like it is going to be a wonderful resource for those in its care.

November is also the month of our annual meeting. A new committee was elected, with Leah Spencer as our new President. The annual Ruth Rix craft prize was awarded by popular vote to Cathy Friend for a lovely Christmas themed quilt.

Our annual Christmas Fayre will be held this year on Saturday, 1st December. The doors will be open at 11.30 for cakes, crafts, decorations and “upcycled” items. There will also be a pop-up café with tasty soup, filled rolls, mulled wine and much more.

At December’s meeting, we will welcome the “West End Waiters”, a group of seasoned entertainers, who perform a music and comedy routine to raise money for Motor Neurone research. There will be refreshments too. Visitors are most welcome to join us for this evening.

Maggie Mackenzie


Meeting - October 2018
In October, Beachamwell WI celebrated 100 years of women’s suffrage, with a dramatic presentation about the long campaign to get votes for women. Written and performed by members of the group and illustrated by a backdrop of photos, pictures and cartoons from the time, the presentation explored the story of these remarkable women, using the testimony of both ordinary and famous suffragists who bravely dared to break free from the expectations of their times. The audience even sang some of the suffragist anthems, the last of which, sung for the first time at a meeting in London to celebrate women over 30 getting the vote in 1918, was “Jerusalem”! We were delighted to welcome a number of visitors, who all enjoyed an entertaining and thought-provoking evening.

In November, we have our Annual Meeting, but it will not be all business, as first there will be a talk from Tina Burdett about the East Anglian Children’s Hospice.

Looking ahead, we are hoping that more visitors will join us for a Christmas special event on 6th December, as we will be entertained by the music and comedy of the “West End Waiters”. More details next month.

The WI’s popular Christmas Fayre will be held this year on Saturday, 1st December, at Beachamwell Village Hall, at the new times of 11.30 - 2.00. As usual, there will be our pop up café, with soups, rolls and mulled wine, plus many items on sale: hand crafted gifts, decorations, cakes and preserves.

Visitors are always welcome to come along to WI meetings. Any enquiries to Maggie Mackenzie 01366 327023 or Helen Ranger 01366 328589


Meeting - September 2018
September is traditionally the Members’ Meeting at Beachamwell WI. This is an opportunity for our hardworking committee members to relax, while others take on their roles and responsibilities for the evening.

The speaker for the meeting was Sue Pennell, who gave a very interesting presentation with the intriguing title, ‘The World of Fairy Rings and Witches’ Butter’. Far from introducing us to the worlds of magic jewellery and dairy products, this was a fascinating insight into the world of fungi and some of the stories surrounding them. Sue has a deep knowledge of our local area and most of the examples she showed us were photographed from footpaths in nearby woods. Some fungi are tiny and inconspicuous, others are impressively large and colourful; some are delicious, while others are poisonous. Her talk made us all realise just how much there is to see, if we only take the time to look more closely at our natural surroundings, especially at this wonderful time of the year.

The talk was followed by social time, a chance to talk, laugh and share refreshments provided by members.

Our next meeting will be held in Beachamwell Village Hall on Thursday 4 October 7.30pm and will celebrate 100 years of Votes for Women. Visitors are always welcome, so why not join us? Telephone: Maggie Mackenzie 01366 327023 or Helen Richardson 01366328589

Leah Spencer


Meeting - August 2018
After last month’s Bollywood event, Beachamwell WI enjoyed a quieter evening in August, when we welcomed Colin Hawgood, otherwise known as “Mr Norfolk Sharp”. He gave a most interesting talk about his work and a demonstration of knife and tool sharpening techniques. We learned how to “get sharp and stay sharp”. For us, August also brings a garden meeting with chat, tea and scones.

September is the month when the Committee step down from their duties and the members take over, as a thank you. Our speaker will be Sue Pennell, who will talk about “Fungi”, illustrated by her own photos. Previously we have all enjoyed Sue’s talks on wild flowers and butterflies; she is a real expert on our Breckland natural history and her photos are exquisite. In October, we will celebrate 100 years of Votes for Women with a special presentation written and performed by our members.

If you like the sound of what we do at Beachamwell WI, you are very welcome to come and join us for a visit. Telephone: Maggie 01366 327023 or Helen 01366 328589

Maggie Mackenzie 01366 327023


Meeting - July 2018
Who said the WI was all Jam and Jerusalem? In July we had a chance to let our hair down with a Bollywood workshop led by Tina Vallance from Jaya Dance. Tina put us through our paces learning a real Indian dance routine, which involved non-stop action, seemingly moving all body parts at once inopposite directions! A real workout! There were some creaky joints and mis-steps on the way, but soon we were ready to perform the whole routine, suitably dressed in colourful outfits. The evening ended with some Indian refreshments and social time. We were very pleased that a number of guests came to join us and we hope they enjoyed themselves. An interesting evening with good company and lots of laughter! Now, THAT is what the WI is all about!

In total contrast, in August we will have a demonstration of knife and tool sharpening from “Mr Norfolk Sharp” on our usual meeting night and later in the month, a bonus afternoon tea in Carole’s lovely garden on 16th August at 2.30, weather permitting. This WILL involve jam – and scones but not Jerusalem!!!

As always, visitors are very welcome to join us.

Maggie Mackenzie 01366 327023


Meeting - June 2018
June is always the month when WI members enjoyed a celebration meal out. This time, we went to Strattons; the food was delicious and the company convivial. Ann entertained us with some selected poems and a good time was had by all.

In July, Beachamwell WI goes to Bollywood. We will dress up in saris, learn some dance moves and eat Indian food. Visitors who are happy to join in the fun are very welcome to come along. The more the merrier! In August, we have a traditional knife sharpening demonstration. No one can say that our programme is not varied!

Maggie Mackenzie 01366 327023


Meeting - May 2018
In May, our WI speaker talked about Woodland Burials but this was far from being a gloomy evening. Verity Pedlar, who works at Greenacres, Colney, near Norwich, told us of this large and varied area of woodland and how it is used to offer a beautiful alternative to traditional churchyards and municipal cemeteries. She described services offered there, and the facilities which can to be used not only for memorials but also for weddings and other ceremonies. What a beautiful, tranquil place it is; her gorgeous photos showed the site through the seasons.

In June, our group will enjoy an evening out - dinner at Strattons. In July, there is a real contrast planned with a Bollywood evening, where we will try the saris, eat Indian food and learn some moves. “The more the merrier” for that event, so visitors, as always, are very welcome to join us.

Enquiries to Helen 01366 328589 or Maggie 01366 327023

Helen Ranger


Meeting - April 2018
As our scheduled speaker was forced to cancel at the last minute, we were very lucky indeed to find an ex-cellent replacement in the form of Bunty Gotts, who is a volunteer at Blickling Hall. She told us about Blick-ling’s amazing library of surprising, beautiful and unique books, collected by an erudite former owner. The library is sadly now under threat from the deterioration of the building and the ravages of death watch beetle. To highlight this threat and also to raise much needed funds, Blickling is about to unveil (on May 1st) a new art in-stallation in the house, on the theme of books and stories. The thinking behind this is that pictures speak louder than words and Bunty ended her talk with some moving stories of how individuals linked to Hiroshima, and latterly to the tragedy of migrant drownings, influenced attitudes far and wide, with simple visual images. In the summer, I am sure we will visit Blickling to see the installation for ourselves.

May’s talk will be a very different one, about Woodland Burials. As always, visi-tors or prospective new members are very welcome to come along.

Enquiries: 01366 328589 or 01366 327023

Helen Ranger


Meeting - March 2018
Our March meeting was, sadly, a casualty of the ice and snow. We had been looking forward to a talk on the subject of 'Art Deco', exploring its art and architecture. However, the treacherous weather intervened and we felt it wise to cancel. Apologies to anyone who had intended to join us on that occasion. We may well try to book the speaker again for a future date so, if it is a topic that interests you, please watch this space.

We are looking forward to better weather for our next meeting on Thursday 5th April. Penelope Watkins will talk on the subject 'Know your shape, enjoy your assets'. Intrigued by the title? Why not come and find out more? Visitors and prospective members are very welcome as always. The meeting takes place in the Village Hall at 7.30.

Enquiries: 01366 328589 or 01366 327023

Helen Ranger


Meeting - February 2018
Beachamwell WI enjoyed some much-needed sunshine, thanks to a wonderful slideshow by local photographer, David Mason, featuring his travels from Arizona to Alaska. The landscapes were truly “awesome” as the Americans say, but there were also some exquisite photos of flowers and plants, and pictures from many close up encounters with birds and mammals, including bears. David was a most interesting and knowledgeable narrator and all the members very much enjoyed this trip “out West”.

The count is in for our choice of resolution for 2018, debated at our January meeting and there was a clear majority in favour of a WI campaign for better mental health provision. Our votes will go forward to help the national organisation make its choice.

At the meeting on March Ist the theme is an arty one, with an illustrated talk by Genista Davidson on “Art Deco: Architecture to Earrings”. As always, visitors or prospective new members are very welcome to come along.

Enquiries: 01366 327023 or 01366 328589

Maggie Mackenzie


Meeting - January 2018
January is “Resolutions Month” for Beachamwell WI, as we explore and discuss the issues raised by WI members nationally, to decide the focus for this year’s special campaign. This year the topics were “Positive Body image in a Digital Age”, FGM, Modern Slavery, Mental Health and “Healthy mouth, healthy body”. As usual, the discussion was informative and very interesting, with all members taking part.

We are all looking forward, too, to February’s meeting when David Mason will be showing some of his wonderful photographs on “Arizona to Alaska”, which should be a real treat. Visitors and prospective members are, as always, very welcome. We meet on the first Thursday of every month and pride ourselves on being a relaxed, friendly and informal group.

Maggie Mackenzie (01366 327023) or Helen Ranger (01366 328589)


Meeting - November 2017
As all the present Committee had agreed to stand for one more year, and there were no other nominations for Committee, it seemed a good idea to book Simon of Peter Beales Roses to come and give us a demonstration of “How to Make a Holly Wreath” the idea being we could have a session making them ourselves to sell at the Christmas Fayre on December 2nd. It was most enjoyable and a team look forward to making some. Simon made it look easy but we shall see.

Awards were presented to
Maggie Mackenzie – the Ruth Rix Crystal Vase for Craft Work
Helen Ranger – the Ann Bercham Vase for Flowers
Cathy Friend – the Silver Plate for Competitions

Officers for 2018 are President Maggie Mackenzie, Secretary Helen Ranger, Treasurer Cathy Friend, Vice President Vesna Hudson, Carole Wilson and Anita Horgan.

Next Meeting will be on December 7th “A Christmas Evening with Leah Spencer and Friends” an evening not to be missed. Visitors will be most welcome to come and join us.

Carole Wilson


Meeting - October 2017
On Thursday, October 5th, Beachamwell WI members were entertained by a most interesting talk by Liz Nally on “Antique Quilts and their stories”. Liz brought a number of beautiful old quilts, each of which had a story to tell. Liz is not just an expert on the making and stitching of quilts but had in some cases found out about the individuals who had made them. A fascinating evening which got us all talking.

Next month, we will be back in our usual home in Beachamwell Village Hall for a demonstration of Holly Wreath making by Simon White, followed by our Annual Meeting. As always, visitors are very welcome to join us.

On Saturday 2nd December there will a warm welcome for all visitors to our CHRISTMAS FAYRE. The doors of Beachamwell Village Hall will be open from 12 till 3pm for the sale of delicious cakes and jams, “nearly new” items, decorations and unique hand crafted gifts. We also have our very own pop-up café, with a range of refreshments. Last year the soup, sausage rolls and mulled wine went down a storm! So why not come for lunch?

Maggie Mackenzie (01366 327023) or Helen Ranger (01366 328589)


Meeting - September 2017
For eleven months of the year our committee organises interesting meetings and outings for members. In September roles are reversed and members take charge, so that the committee can have a brief rest. This year’s Members’ Meeting was held in Barton Bendish Village Hall and the theme for the evening was ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’. Everybody brought along pictures from their home to the meeting.

The works on display ranged from photographs of much loved family members and pets, through landscapes, family souvenirs, framed needlework, pen and ink drawings, prints and original art works in prints, watercolours and oils. And why had they been chosen? They reminded the owners of important occasions in their life e.g. birth and marriage; important places in their lives; people who had made the picture or for whom they had made the picture; the happiness that the picture gave them. It was very interesting to hear people talk about their pictures, we learned a lot and had a lovely evening. Members had provided a delicious spread in typical WI style. We are already looking forward to next month’s talk by Liz Nally on Antique Quilts. If you would like to come along, contact the secretary on 01366 328589. Leah Spencer.

September is always our “members’ meeting” when the committee step down from their duties and are entertained by the members. This year’s theme was “Every Picture tells a story”: all members brought along a picture from home that has a special meaning for them and took it turns to tell the story. The pictures and their stories were fascinating and varied. Members also brought along a tasty buffet for all to enjoy.

August was a busy month for us with a trip to Blickling Hall, a lovely afternoon tea in Carole’s beautiful garden and an evening trip to Sculthorpe Hawk and Owl Trust on August 24th where we were joined by interested visitors from the village.

Next month, Liz Nally will be coming along to talk about “Antique Quilts and their Stories”. If the building work is still going on in the village hall, we will be at Barton Bendish for the evening.

Visitors are very welcome to join us. Contact: Marie Mackenzie 01366 327023 or Helen Ranner 01366 328589

Carole Wilson


Meeting - August 2017
The August Meeting was an outing to Blickling Hall, following on from the excellent talk given by Kate Barns at the July Meeting. It was a windy day but we managed to enjoy the gardens and for some a walk round the lake. Special thanks to Helen for organising the excellent tour of the house before the public were allowed in. The tour guide was excellent and pointed out some of the Blickling Belles that Kate talked about. Thanks to the Committee for organising transport. There will be an extra meeting on August 21st an afternoon tea in the Old Rectory Gardens. Please let me know if you are able to attend.
Carole Wilson


Meeting - July 2017
There were not as many Members present at the July Meeting, possibly holidays prevented them attending. Such a shame because the speaker, Kate Barns, gave a most interesting talk on The Blickling Belles. Kate is a very good speak-er who is obviously passionate about her work as a Tour Guide at Blickling Hall, volunteering for the National Trust. She gave an informative digital talk about the Belles who lived at Blicking in the 17th and 18th Century and included many paintings too. There was certainly some “goings-on” at that time!

An outing is being arranged to visit Blickling on August 3rd and we look forward to finding the paintings. It was a most enjoyable evening. If any Member would like to go on the outing please let a Committee Member know, also if they need transport.

Carole Wilson


Meeting - June 2017
No input


Meeting - May 2017
We held our May meeting at Barton Bendish due to our hall being used for voting. Maggie (President) welcomed us all especially Judith our new member.

Unfortunately our Speaker had to cancel at the very last minute due to ill health but Leah entertained us brilliantly with a talk on one of her hobbies Creative Writing and Prose, we all thoroughly enjoyed it and thank you Leah for stepping in at the very last minute. We had already discussed the Resolutions for this year back in January but we now had to vote formally on the chosen ones which are “Alleviating Loneliness” and Plastic Soup, keep microplastic fibres out of our oceans”.

Our Regional Delegate Terri Bowman was at the meeting to take note of our decision. The June meeting will be our Birthday Supper to be held at Bedingfield Arms, we made our choices from the delicious menu provided. We always welcome new members. Call Maggie on 01366327023

Carole Wilson


Meeting - April 2017
Our April meeting featured a very interesting presentation by Neil Chadwick from the Hawk and Owl Trust at Sculthorpe Moor near Fakenham. Neil described how the nature reserve there has been developed, its flora and fauna and the highly valued work of its many volunteer helpers. Certainly worth a visit for anyone interested in Norfolk wildlife. We were delighted to be joined on this occasion by a large number of visitors from Beachamwell and further afield.

Our monthly craft evenings have resumed on the third Tuesday of each month. We are happy to see non-members, including beginners, at any of these meetings to share a wide range of textile crafts.

Next month's WI meeting is on Thursday May 4th at 7.30 pm. It will be at Barton Bendish Village Hall because Beachamwell's hall will be used as a polling station on that day. Our speaker will be John Newmeir telling us about 'Unusual experiences of a Paramedic'. You are welcome to join us.
More details: Helen 01366 328589 or Maggie 01366 327023

Helen Ranger


Meeting - March 2017
At its March meeting, Beachamwell WI welcomed Louise Gayton, who is a local magistrate where cases are heard and judgements are arrived at. Some lively discussion ensued. The members also made plans for future outings, which include an excursion to Castle Rising in April and our annual celebration meal in June. Several ladies who recently attended a workshop on the techniques of wet felting, described what they had learned and showed off the items they made.

Next month’s speaker will be Neil Chadwick, who is a warden for the Hawk and Owl Trust at Sculthorpe. He will be presenting an illustrated talk about the work of the Trust and the birds that can be seen at Sculthorpe. This meeting is on Thursday, April 6th at 7:30 pm. As always, prospective new members and visitors are very welcome to come along.

Contacts: Helen 01366 328589 or Maggie 01366 327023

Maggie Mackenzie


Meeting - February 2017
Beachamwell WI went West for its February meeting with an illustrated talk by Maggie Mackenzie about a US road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco, via the scenic national parks: Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Death Valley and Yosemite. What amazing scenery. “Awesome !” as the Americans say.

Over refreshments, members puzzled over a Wild West Quiz and got nostalgic about the TV westerns we used to watch. It was amazing how many could remember Davy Crockett’s hat! Leah Spencer ended the evening with a reminder of the work of the Associated Country Women of the World, a charity that supports women-led groups to improve quality of life for rural women and communities. We support this charity with small change collection boxes and regular sales tables. We were pleased to welcome three visitors and hope that they enjoyed the evening.

Our March speaker, Louise Gayton will be speaking about “Life as a magistrate”, and in April, we will welcome Neil Chadwick, a warden from the Hawk and Owl Trust who will give us an illustrated talk about the work of the Trust and the birds that visit and breed at Sculthorpe.

Visitors and new members are always very welcome. Contact Helen 01366 328589 or Maggie 01366 327023, or just come along.

Maggie Mackenzie


Meeting - January 2017
Our January meeting was one that demonstrates that the WI is not all “jam and Jerusalem”, for this was Resolutions month (but not the New Year kind). Every year, members all over the country decide which current issue they most want the WI to adopt for its national campaign. Some past campaigns have been ground-breaking, for instance, one that led to the NHS cervical screening programme, another that ensured better support for individuals in the criminal justice system with mental health issues, and more recently one that alerted the world to the plight of the honey bee. At our January meeting, there were presentations by members and discussion about the six issues on this year’s shortlist, before we cast our votes in the national ballot. Some resolutions concerned issues which direct affect the lives of women: calling for action on female genital mutilation, access to specialist mental health support for pregnant and postnatal women, safe spaces for women and children in refugee camps and refuges for women who suffer domestic abuse. Action to alleviate loneliness was the fifth resolution and the problem of microplastic fibres in our oceans was the final one. We agreed that all are weighty and pressing issues, and so it was a difficult choice. After refreshments, the members discussed plans for the future of our group.

A table sale of unwanted Christmas presents raised £18 for the Associated Country Women of the World.

Beachamwell WI always welcomes new members. We meet in the Village Hall on the first Thursday of each month at 7.30. The varied programme for 2017 includes speakers on the Hawk and Owl Trust, on Being a Magistrate, the Blickling Belles and Historical quilts. There are also occasional trips and outings and a regular craft evening for those who are interested.

Becoming a member of the WI is a really good way to get to know people and to make new friends. If you are perhaps interested in joining us, why not come along for an evening to see what goes on. Call Maggie Mackenzie 01366 327023 or Helen Ranger 01366 328589 and we can arrange for one of our members to pick you up or meet you if you would rather not come alone.

Next month’s meeting, on February 2nd, features an illustrated talk about a road trip through the scenic national parks of Western USA.

Maggie Mackenzie


Meeting - December 2016
We all really enjoyed the St .Marys Handbell Ringers from Denver at our December meeting. They certainly helped us to think “Christmas”. The buffet prepared by members was excellent. Maggie MacKenzie our President informed us that over £1000 was made at the Christmas Fayre held in November and we thank everybody who came and purchased our wares and supported the event. We received excellent feedback so it was well worth all the hard work in preparing for it.
Carole Wilson


Meeting - November 2016
The Annual Meeting is always held in November. Members listened to the Officers Reports and Maggie MacKenzie was voted in as President. The Committee will decide at their next meet-ing who will be Secretary and Treasurer. A tasty buffet prepared by the Committee was followed by a competitive and fast moving word game which kept everybody laughing.

The 2017 programme is now being planned and includes items on America’s National Parks, the Hawk and Owl Trust, the Blickling Belles and Heritage Quilts. Watch this space for more information soon.

Well done Kathy for winning the Ruth Rix Vase, the annual award for Craft. Your fabric picture was brilliant.

Carole Wilson


Meeting - October 2016
The Speakers at our October Meeting were Members of the Beachamwell History Group. Maggie introduced the session explaining how the Group started, Leah elaborated on the Project “Connecting Threads” and Carole talked about the artefacts that she and Brian had found in their garden at The Old Rectory. The artefacts have been dated by Gressenhall Rural Life Museum and included amongst many items a 14th Century shoe buckle, a neolithic scraper and axehead and a palaeolithic blade, just think people were walking the garden thousands of years ago. Pat talked about the information she had found on the men named on the War Memorial which is in St. Marys Church and what became of them. Anita thanked the History Group very much for a most interesting and informative talk. If anybody reading this is interested in local history, then why not join us? Contact Maggie 01366 327023

The Memorial Hall Committee thanked Members for their fantastic effort in baking cakes and organising and manning the Refreshments at the recent Fete. It was certainly a busy afternoon and we were proud to have raised in excess of £700.

Next Meeting is our Annual Meeting with Cheese and Wine too. Nominations for Committee should be sent to President Irene.

Carole Wilson


Meeting - September 2016
September is the month when the Members plan the meeting, giving the Committee a well deserved rest. Leah acted as Secretary and myself as President. Visitors were welcomed and we all sang Jerusalem.

The Speaker for the evening was Pippa Pease of Personal Creations. Pippa gave a very interesting talk and demonstration on Dressmaking. We all now know how to insert an invisible zip into a garment. This followed a fashion show by members of her class of the clothes they had made with her and the garments all looked so professional. WI Members also modelled their garments. I think Pippa may have more join her class soon. Vesna presented the Committee with small gifts and thanked them very much for their hard work.

We all enjoyed the delicious buffet prepared by the Members. Members were thanked for their contributions to the Purfleet Trust for homeless women. Helen will deliver them as soon as possible.

Irene thanked the Members for a very enjoyable evening.

Carole Wilson

Meeting - August 2016
The August meeting was certainly different and most enjoyable. It started with a video made in the early 50s and showed families really enjoying themselves at Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft and included a new facility called Butlins Holiday Camp! There were so many people on the beaches and in the sea!! All were enjoying doing the usual things, donkey rides, Punch and Judy, candyfloss, rock and ice cream cornets. This lead to group work to discuss childhood memories of holidays enjoyed. The Competition was to try and identify “who owned the childhood photo” but this proved really difficult, how everybody had changed. Heidi managed top score. Thanks to the Committee for organising something different.

Pat won the flower of the month with her amazing Dahlia and she also won the raffle. Next meeting will be the Members Meeting and will be held at Barton Bendish Village Hall. Time for the Committee to have a well earned rest. Thought for the month: Try to do unto others as you would have them do to you and do not be discouraged if they fail sometimes. It is much better that they should fail than you should - Dickens. Carole Wilson

The afternoon Strawberry Cream Tea, which was held on August 15th at the Old Rectory, was delightful – very relaxing. The weather was perfect; the garden was brilliant as usual and the tea scrumptious. It was a pity that not all members could attend but we did have several visitors including the guests who were staying at the Rectory, including a lady from New Zealand and six Beachamwell residents. Thanks and ‘well done’ to Maggie and Carole who organised this extra event.

Eileen Powell

Meeting - July 2016
Mark Taylor gave a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable talk on the life of Howard Carter including fnding Tutankhamen's tomb and his connection with Swaffham.

Our next meeting, 4th August is "Oh I do like to be beside the Seaside". The Craft evenings held on the third Tuesday of the month, are continuing to be very popular.

If you would like to find out more just call Irene Ranner on 01366 328325

Eileen Powell

Meeting - June 2016
Nine of us enjoyed a visit to Narborough Hall for afternoon Tea. We had hoped to explore the Gardens but the poor weather put paid to that! The June meeting, our ‘Birthday’ Meeting, was held at the King’s Arms, Shouldham where we enjoyed a delicious meal.

The July meeting is entitled ‘Howard Carter and Tutankhamen’. It is an Open Meeting so do come along and join us – you will be more than welcome. The Craft evenings are continuing to be very popular.

Eileen Powell

Meeting - May 2016
We had to travel to Barton Bendish for our May meeting because voting was taking place in our Hall. Irene, President, welcomed Jean our new member and then our speaker for the evening Mr. Philip Shipp the Shepherd. Mr. Shipp was a very interesting and natural speaker who had no notes or prompts and spoke from the heart. As well as having a full time job during the day, very early mornings and late nights he cared for his flock of 350 sheep. He went through his year month by month explaining what he had to do to keep his flock fit and healthy. Lambing in Feb/March was particularly busy for him, his wife and sometimes his daughter. He was passionate about his sheep and his work with them. He made us laugh especially when he told us about Billy, the cheeky lamb, who was now a house pet after becoming an orphan and then fed and nurtured by the family. We really enjoyed his talk to us.

Irene reminded us about next meeting which is our Birthday Supper and the outing to Narborough Hall for afternoon tea.

Carole Wilson (Photograph Eileen Powell)

Meeting - April 2016
Twenty two members attended the April Meeting and five were visitors who had come to listen to Mrs Vanessa Scott, our Speaker for the evening, talk to us about Norfolk’s Own Cook Book “Everything Stops for Tea” The following is an extract from the preface of the book and explains all: “This excellent book is the result of much hard work and the amazing generosity of two remarkable women from the food industry in Norfolk. Vanessa Scott and Mary Kemp. They have donated countless hours and a huge amount of work, at no cost, contacting contributors and ensuring that top professionals are involved with the design, editing and photography. They have trialled the recipes, cooked for the photo shoots, publicised the Cookbook and prepared for its launch. Incredibly busy people in their own right, they undertook this project to raise funds for Marie Curie. Ness and Mary you are very special people indeed and this book is a tribute to you both”

The book has been a sell out as 5,000 books were published at a cost of £20 per book, the price of one hours Marie Curie nursing care, resulting in £100,000 being presented to Marie Curie who are funding a special nursing post in Norfolk with the money. Vanessa is an excellent speaker, passionate about local produce and we enjoyed her talk very much.

The title of her book Everything Stops for Tea fitted in very nicely with our refreshment break as we were celebrating a Member’s Diamond Wedding, Betty and Ian Phillpot had celebrate their Anniversary during the week and we enjoyed delicious cake that her daughter had organised for us. Thank you Betty and many congratulations to you both. Irene, President, reminded us that next meeting will be held at Barton Bendish, due to our hall being used for voting, speaker will be Mr. Philip Shipp “A Shepherd’s Year”

Thought for the day “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away”

Carole Wilson (Photograph Eileen Powell)

Meeting - March 2016
Once again a superb talk, ‘Textile Art’, had been arranged for us. Mrs Jane Clarke, the speaker, was a joy to listen to. Her enthusiasm and love of her subject shone through. The examples of her work which she brought were amazing and her slide presentation fascinating. Some of you may know her as she has a studio shop in Swaffham.

During the business part of the evening we were joined by Ed who is Cathy Friend’s cat. He paraded in front of the Top Table, moved behind the WI cloth and proceeded to entertain us with a ‘shadow show’ walking one way then walking another…….. the photograph shows him relaxing after his performance. Thought for the month: ‘Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured’. Mark Twain

If you would like to join us you will be more than welcome just call 01366 328325

Eileen Powell

Meeting - February 2016
We were treated to another brilliant presentation called ‘Plants-a-Plenty' by Sue Pennell. Sue has an amazing knowledge of wild plants quite unbelievable and her photographs are stunning.

She kept everyone enthralled, eager to learn more and determined to visit the places where we can see them for ourselves. Thank you once again for all your hard work Sue, it was very much appreciated.

As always, we enjoyed the social side of the evening. The business was covered admirably by Irene in spite of her not feeling too good and Maggie. The very popular ‘Craft Evenings’ are starting again this month on Tuesday, March 15th at 7.30. Non WI members are welcome to join us. You will find more details on the notice elsewhere in the magazine.

The thought for the month is ‘One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted…….do it now!’

Eileen Powell

Meeting - January 2016
The January meeting was a discussion and debate on the eight potential new resolutions for NFWI campaigns.

1. Ban the microbead.
2. British Fruit – reviving our heritage.
3. Free sanitary protection for homeless women.
4. Prevention of sudden cardiac death in young adults in the UK.
5. First aid saves lives.
6. Mind or body – equal funding for care.
7. Avoid food waste, address food poverty.
8. Appropriate care in hospitals for people with dementia.

After exploring the eight resolutions thoroughly our individual choices were given to Helen who will pass them onto Federation. The final Norfolk Federation choice will be forwarded to the 2016 Annual Meeting.

Thought for the month ‘Know where you're going in life, you may already be there! Many times in life, money is not everything’.

Eileen Powell

Meeting - December 2015
We were entertained at our December meeting by Leah and her four friends from “Threes Company”. Their drama was entitled "Momentuous Times" and was based on Five Diaries, Five Women and One War (WW1). The Group had traced the diaries and the women’s experiences and entertained us with readings, lyrics and songs, at times emotional and very moving. It was most enjoyable.

Seasonable refreshments were prepared by the members and enjoyed by members, cast and the guests who had joined us for the evening. As it was our Christmas meeting we took a gift from the Bran Tub to be opened on Christmas Day. Our new Treasurer Maggie McKenzie announced that when expenses had been paid we will have made in excess of £800 for the recent Christmas Fayre. What a triumph.

Thought for the month ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you'

Carole Wilson

Meeting - November 2015
November is the month when we have our Annual Meeting and 18 Members arrived to listen to Irene, President, give her Annual Report. Jenny, Secretary and Heidi, Treasurer had posted theirs on email enabling members to read and digest them at home. Irene thanked all the Committee for their hard and dedicated work during the year and special mention to Carole and Heidi who were standing down from the Committee and a very big welcome to Cathy who was joining the team. A cheese and wine supper was enjoyed by Members and prepared by the Committee. Then the fun started in the form of a Beetle Drive. After Helen explained what to do we were off, whooping when we threw a SIX - great fun.

Members brought their craft work to be judged for the Ruth Rix Vase and Pat ’Donnell was delighted to take the lovely vase home for her beautiful cross stitch picture.

Our next meeting is Thursday December 3rd, our Christmas Meeting. Three’s Company will be performing ‘Momentous Times’. This is a dramatic presentation of the extraordinary experiences of five women in Europe during World War I. Stories from their personal diaries and journals, tell us about their lives from 1914 – 1918; falling in love, fleeing from the front, meeting death for the first time, growing up … knitting socks for soldiers is referred to, but these women were far too busy for such homely war efforts.

Why not join us you will be most welcome.

Carole Wilson Photograph by Eileen Powell

Meeting - October 2015
President Irene welcomed 19 members plus 3 visitors to the October meeting, one has since decided to join us. She also congratulated the Beachamwell Connecting Threads Project, four WI Members were part of the Project, for winning the CPRE Boldero Award for “Access to the Countryside”.

Sue Nulty was the Tutor for the evening. October is the month for Craft and our Workshop was to make a Christmas decoration from ribbons. Sue is an excellent and patient teacher and we all went home delighted with our finished decoration.

Remember that November is the Annual Meeting, nominations for Committee were welcome. Kathy won the Competition, the Raffle was won by Helen and Joan won the Flower of the Month. Heidi, Irene and Ann have Birthdays in October and they chose a gift from the Birthday Basket. A most enjoyable evening

The Beachamwell WI Christmas Fayre 2015 will be held in the Memorial Hall, on Saturday, 28th November from 12 till 3pm. There will a variety of goods on sale; craft items, Christmas table decorations, cakes, jams and preserves, festive foods and much more. Refreshments, including hot soup and sandwiches will also be available, so why not come along for lunch?
Maggie Mackenzie

Carole Wilson Photograph by Eileen Powell

Meeting - September 2015
It was the Members’ Meeting and they organised a most interesting evening. The talk was ‘Correct Recycling’ and given by Breckland Waste Engagement Officers, Emma Lewins (who lives in Beachamwell) and Katie Ogilvie. There were several visitors, including friends of Ann Lewins from Hampshire, our District Councillor and his wife and Emma’s Mum and Grandmother. Val Sidey arranged a quiz, super refreshments were provided and there was plenty of socialising.

All in all it was an excellent evening, so once again, many thanks to the members for organising it and for the lovely lavender bags they gave to the committee as a thank you for work they have done throughout the year! Leah Spencer gave the thought for the month – ‘Blessings come from care, troubles from carelessness’.

Eileen Powell

Meeting - August 2015
We all really enjoyed the August meeting which was held inmaggie and Murdo's lovely garden. The weather was superb as was the delicious strawberry cream tea which Maggie had prepared. We decided on what we would like to have in the 2016 Programme and the outings were organised. The next meeting is the Members Meeting which is being held on Thursday September 3rd watch the village notice boards for more details. Pat presented Maggie with a lavender plant as a thank you for a lovely afternoon. It was Maggie’s lucky day as she also won the raffle. Eileen gave the Thought for the Day “Life is fragile and no matter how much we fight to control its outcome, all we can do is live in the moment”.
Carole Wilson Photograph by Eileen Powell

Meeting - July 2015
As Programme Secretary I need to organise speakers and events that span a range of interests for all members to enjoy and benefit from. I try to include a health related event or speaker in the yearly programme. One of our members Ann Lewing from Eastmoor is a Yoga Teacher trained through The British Wheel of Yoga and has a Teaching Diploma. I asked Ann if she would do a short session for all members to sample Yoga. Some did exercises while sitting on chairs, and others rolled out their mats and were happy on the floor, We all enjoyed the session very much and I am sure some will be joining Ann at her Yoga class in Stoke Ferry. Thank you Ann.

The usual business side of things took place after refreshments and members were told of the next meeting on August 6th which will be our annual Garden Meeting and will be held at Maggie McKenzie’s garden at 2pm. At this meeting we will be discussing the Programme for 2016 and possible outings and workshops. We welcome new members and for more information contact our Secretary Jenny Gabrielsen on 01366328297

Carole Wilson Photograph by Eileen Powell

Meeting - June 2015
Our meeting in June is traditionally our Birthday Supper and this year we made it our Centenary Supper. The venue was the Kings Arms at Shouldham. Twenty past and present Members enjoyed excellent food and service.

Our President Irene Ranner presented us all with a Centenary Photograph taken by Allan Hale last month. A copy is to be placed in our Village Photo Album.

Next Meeting will be a Yoga Session taken by one of our Members Ann Lewing. New Members are always welcome.

Carole Wilson Photograph Jenny Gabrielsen

Meeting - May 2015
We travelled to Barton Bendish for the May meeting as voting was taking place in our Memorial Hall. Irene welcomed us and also to our two new members who have recently joined us. Allan Hale arrived to take The Centenary Photograph, a copy of which will be put in the Village Photo Album. May is the month for Resolutions and Helen took us through the Resolution that had been chosen for us to vote on. She had dissected the Resolution very thoroughly and after much discussion Members decided to vote against it until further information became available.

It was also the last meeting for Marie Rich. Marie joined Beachamwell W.I. in 1997. She was President for four years and a Committee member for many years. We all enjoyed a farewell tea party with Marie and ended the meeting with Jerusalem which I am sure everybody in Barton Bendish heard. Marie loves to sing and was a member of the Church choir until recently. We will miss you Marie, enjoy your new Bungalow and being with your family in Staffordshire.

Next Meeting in June will be our Centenary Supper at The Kings Arms, Shouldham.

Carole Wilson Photograph by Eileen Powell

Meeting - April 2015
The April meeting was enjoyed by 16 members. There was a change of plan as our Speaker, Imogen Ashworth, was unable to come and talk to us on the subject of Witchcraft in the Brecks due to a family bereavement. This was a disappointment but good old Leah stepped in and gave a most interesting talk and demonstration on one of her many hobbies ‘Printmaking’, it was an excellent evening and we enjoyed watching the steps of printmaking. Leah is certainly a lady of many talents. The Centenary Supper was discussed and this year we will celebrate 100 years of the WI at the Kings Arms, Shouldham.

At the next meeting in May we will go to Barton Bendish because our Memorial Hall is being used for voting. At this meeting the Centenary Photo will take place. Thank you Allan Hale for organising this. We will also discuss this year’s Resolution and take the opportunity to discuss and organise the Programme for 2016. Helen and Maggie have organised lots of outings and craft workshops so watch for posters in the village. Irene won the raffle which was a bowl of pansies.

Carole Wilson Photograph by Eileen Powell

Meeting - March 2015
The speaker for the evening was Laura Cowland (who used to be one of Irene’s Brownies). I met her at West Acre’s Christmas Craft Fayre last year and she very kindly agreed to give us a talk, ‘Aromatherapy and Therapeutic Massage’. It was very informative and we learnt lots about the oils. Anita offered to have the demonstration massage, thor-oughly enjoyed it and felt totally relaxed.

Our next meeting is “Magic and Witchcraft in the Brecklands”. It is an Open Meeting on April 2nd and everyone is very welcome to come. When this talk was give at The Breckland Society it was a great success so now you have the opportunity to hear it for yourself…..

The thought for the month was:- A husband read an article to his wife about how many words wom-en use a day... 30,000 to a man's 15,000. The wife replied, 'The reason has to be because we have to repeat everything to men... The husband then turned to his wife and asked, 'What?'

Eileen Powell

Meeting - January 2015
Once again we had a thoroughly enjoyableevening. There was a fascinating presentation from Sue Pennell. Her knowledge of butterflies and moths is quite incredible and the photographs were stunning. Thank you for all your hard work Sue, it was very much appreciated.

Thought for the month is ‘Never ignore a person who loves you, cares for you and misses you because one day you might wake up and realize you lost the moon while counting the stars…’

Eileen Powell

Meeting - December 2014
The December meeting was great fun. Our speakers for the evening were Leah and her friends Irma, Sonia and Ian. Their topic “Count Down to Christmas” consisted of poetry, prose, songs and even cracker jokes to get us in the festive mood. Fantastic entertainment that we all really enjoyed. Thank you Leah for a great evening. We three Kings will never be the same!!!

A delicious buffet prepared by the members followed and was much enjoyed. President Irene informed us that the recent Christmas Fayre made an amazing amount of £600 plus (before expenses were deducted), she thanked everybody most sincerely for their hard work and enthusiasm. Joan Forster won the Ruth Rix Craft Vase this year for her excellent padded box which she made at Maurice’s Box Workshop.

We have welcomed new members this year and pleased that old members have returned. We have an excellent Programme for 2015 which you can see posted in the Memorial Hall. Why not join us you will not be disappointed.

Thought for the month provided by Eileen was “Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money but you cant get more time.”

Carole Wilson (Photograph Eileen Powell)

Meeting - November 2014
Fifteen members and one visitor enjoyed an excellent supper cooked and served by the Committee before the Annual Meeting. Vesna Hudson, President, Jenny Gabrielsen, Secretary and Heidi Hale, Treasurer all gave their annual Reports. Awards were presented to Val Sidey (the Ann Berchem Vase for most points gained in the Flower Competition) and Joan Forster (the Silver Plate for most points gained in the Monthly Competition). The Ruth Rix Vase will be judged next month.

The new Committee will be Irene Ranner (President), Jenny Gabrielsen (Secretary), Heidi Hale (Treasurer), Carole Wilson, Eileen Powell, Maggie McKenzie and Helen Ranger. Vesna Hudson stood down and we would like to thank her very much for being an excellent President these last two years.

The thought of the month provided by Eileen “No relationship is ever a waste of time. If it didn’t bring you what you want, it taught you what you don’t want”.

Next meeting will be Thursday December 4th, come and join us for our Christmas meeting. New Members are always welcome.

Carole Wilson

Meeting - October 2014
Fifteen members and three guests attended the October meeting which is traditionally a Craft Evening. Joan Forster, one of our Members, is a volunteer needlewoman at Oxborough Hall. Joan happened to mention to us during the summer about her work which involved repairing and placing items on the many costumes at the Hall and we asked her to talk to us about her work at the October Meeting. At the moment she and the other volunteers are working on Tudor costumes and the need to remake buttons. Some of the costumes needing up to 25 buttons each. We spent a very enjoyable evening making Tudor buttons. Thank you Joan for passing on this skill to us.

The Box Workshop which Eileen organised was a great success. Ten members and two visitors came with a “Fat Quarter” and went home with a wonderful box. Thanks to Maurice for being such a patient teacher.

We were reminded that next meeting on November 6th will be the Annual Meeting and nominations are required for Committee. The usual Halloween Supper will be served by the Committee so remember your “tools”.

Another reminder was to keep knitting, sewing and cooking for the Christmas Fayre on November 29th. We hope everybody will come and support us. New Members are always welcome.

Carole Wilson

Meeting - September 2014
The members organised a very interesting meeting. People brought items relating to ‘Memorabilia of the First World War Period.’ A fascinating collection was presented - medals, clothes, books, poetry. Each were lovingly explained why they were important to their owner. A scrumptious buffet was provided and Joan’s husband sent in a cake for her birthday - very impressive.

The Committee members were each presented with a plant to thank them for their work throughout the year.

There will be a workshop in October ‘Making a Fabric Box’. Visitors are always welcome to the meetings.

Eileen Powell

Meeting - August 2014
Many of you will have seen the stunning displays at the recent Flower Festival. Our display was quite spectacular. Irene is to be congratulated on stitching the kneeler which was a fitting centrepiece. Heidi and Vesna, with help from Peter Hodgson (Gooderstone) assembled the actual display. Several other WI members produced individual or group displays which were duly admired.

The August Meeting is traditionally a Garden Meeting and this year it was held at The Old Rectory. The weather was fantastic and we enjoyed an afternoon of warm sunshine. Lots of business was discussed including which products are to be made for the Fete. Ann talked about the recent Crochet afternoon and plans were made for another session. Next years Programme was discussed at great length and hopefully an interesting Programme for 2015 will be prepared. After wine and savouries Members had two Competitions on offer. ‘A Cartoon Quiz’ and ‘Name the Tree’. Members who chose the ‘Name the Tree’ had the opportunity to walk around the Old Rectory Garden (as immaculate as ever) and match the tree to the number hanging on it, not an easy task as some of the trees were most unusual. Maggie won the Tree Competition and Joan the Cartoon Quiz. Next up was Tea and Cake. It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon together. Anybody wishing to join us would be most welcome.

Thought for the month was ‘Worry is a total waste of time. It doesn’t change anything. All it does is steal your joy and keep you very busy doing nothing’.

Carole Wilson and Eileen Powell

Meeting - July 2014
At the July meeting it was good to have Vesna, our President, back and we thank Irene for doing a sterling job as Vice President in her absence. Vesna welcomed two visitors this month and noted that Pauline had now joined us. Jenny thanked Ann on behalf of the Members for organising a very successful Crochet afternoon. Members were reminded about the Village Fete and help needed for the Festival of Flowers later in the month.

The Speaker for the evening was Claire Dunne, owner of Ceres Bookshop, who gave a most interesting talk about her involvement as a Rotarian. She told us that the movement was founded in 1905 in Chicago and there are 1.2 million members throughout the World. In Swaffham a Rotary Club was formed in 1969 with 27 Members. Their aim is to have fun, make friends and raise money for local and international organisations. Claire gave a very interesting and emotional account of her involvement in the Immunisation Project against Polio in 2006 which took place in India. We were all very moved with what she told us. Claire is an excellent Speaker and we enjoyed the talk very much.

There were two Birthdays to celebrate Brenda and Anita. Flower of the Month was won by Vesna, Competition Jenny and the Raffle by Brenda our lucky visitor.

Eileen gave the Thought for the Month ‘Every day is wonderful if only you could see how the threads are woven on the looms of destiny. Some day you will understand how time is working out – a plan and purpose for your own good. Believe and never doubt……

Next Meeting is August 7th and will be held in the Old Rectory Garden at 2 pm. New Members would be most welcome.

Carole Wilson (Photograph Eileen Powell)

Meeting - June 2014
We celebrated our Birthday meeting at The Twenty Church Wardens, Cockley Cley, with a splendid meal. Thanks to Irene for organising this and the staff of the Pub for excellent service
Eileen Powell

Meeting - May 2014
May is the month to vote on the Resolution that will go forward to the final vote at the Annual Meeting in June. “The NFWI notes that three people die every day whilst waiting for an organ transplant. We call on every member of the WI to make their wishes regarding organ donation known, and to encourage their families and friends, and members of their local communities to do likewise”. This Resolution was discussed in great detail and it was decided that Beachamwell would support the Resolution. More information can be found at or Tel: 0117 975 7575.

Irene, acting President, dealt with the business side of things, including the arrangements for our Birthday Supper which will be held at 20 Church Wardens this year. Ann showed us some lovely craft ideas she had made for the Village Fete and Christmas Fayre. Val has become totally “hooked” on crochet following the recent Crochet Workshop and she showed us her efforts which were brilliant considering she could not crochet before the Workshop.

Refreshments were served by Brenda and Margaret. We finished a very interesting and useful meeting by suggesting ideas for next years Programme. Thanks to Leah for organising this.

We welcomed Pauline Bennell, who has moved into the village, to the meeting and hope she enjoyed the evening enough to join us.

Thanks to Eileen for providing us with the Thought for the Month – “The only people who think there is a time limit for grief have never lost a piece of their heart. Take all the time you need”.

Carole Wilson

Meeting - April 2014
The April meeting was rather interesting. Pauline Main demonstrated how hats and fascinators can be made for very little outlay.

As always, after the speaker we had time to socialise and then we continued with the business part of the evening. Final arrangements were made for the forthcoming outing to Dents Restaurant at Hilgay and catering for the Walking Weekend on the Sunday. Five of the members provided excellent and well presented refreshments for the returning walkers and visitors to the exhibition.

Nine of the members enjoyed a workshop, lead by Gilly Spencer, on how to crochet. She is such a super teacher it is impossible not to enjoy and learn whilst with her. Remember, you will be very welcome to join us at the next event, so think about it.

Eileen Powell

Meeting - March 2014
We had a most interesting talk at the March meeting ‘From Pigs to Packaging via Oil Lamps’. Richard Wright is a local farmer who talked about the history of his family farm, the highs and lows of farming and the challenges that he is facing now. His enterprising oil lamps were superb and his new unique packaging is amazing.

We hosted the Nar Valley Group meeting with Leziate WI on March 12th - another successful event so thanks to all concerned. Don’t forget, you will be very welcome to join us at the next event, so think about it.

Eileen Powell

Meeting - February 2014
The February meeting was enjoyed by a quite a large group of members and guests. Our speaker for February was Sue Pennell who gave a fascinating talk on the work of ‘The Breckland Society’. Sue is so knowledgeable about the area and its flora and fauna which made her presentation so enjoyable. It was very interesting for everyone as it was all about the local area we live in and I think most of us learnt a lot too.

Brenda came first in the competition with Joan a close second. Val won the flower of the month. Jill and Vesna won a raffle prize each – lovely hyacinths.

The next meeting on 6th March is an OPEN MEETING so guests are very welcome as always. Our speaker will be Richard Wright with a talk entitled ‘From Pigs to Oil Lamps’

Jenny Gabrielsen Photograph Eileen Powell

Meeting - January 2014
The January meeting was once again very interesting. The speaker for the evening was Mr George Gearing from Swaffham Home Start. It was a thought provoking talk. He showed a DVD which illustrated the feelings of one recipient who had received help and support from Home Start.

Two new members, Leah Spencer and Anita Horgan, have joined. We wish them many happy times with Beachamwell WI.

Eileen gave the Thought for the Month: "Of course you meant to do it We wouldn't call your bluff; But good intentions, as you know Are really not enough. You'll drop a note, you'll lift the phone As soon as things allow. You're going to help and cheer a friend So why not do it now.

Eileen Powell

Meeting - December 2013
The December meeting is always a festive one. This year we were entertained by Tom Golden who played festive Christmas songs and we enjoyed singing along. Leah Spencer and her friend Irma Fowler read Christmas Stories which worked well with the songs. We all really enjoyed the evening and it put us in the Christmas Spirit. The buffet food provided by everybody was pretty good too.

We all took a parcel from the Bran Tub and I hope nobody opened it until Christmas Day! Heidi informed us that the Christmas Fayre raised a fantastic sum of £450+ so thanks to everybody who came and spent some money. We had good feed back and we hope to repeat the event in 2014.

The new Committee was announced:- President Vesna Hudson, Vice President Irene Ranner, Treasurer Heidi Hale, Secretary Jenny Gabrielsen, Committee Eileen Powell and Carole Wilson. Val Sidey had a lucky evening because she won the raffle, flower of the month and the competition.

Eileen gave the Thought for the Month: “Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about the ones who don’t. Believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.”

New Members are always welcome.

Carole Wilson (Photograph by Eileen Powell)

Meeting - November 2013
The November meeting is traditionally the Annual Meeting when reports are presented and a new committee elected. Before this took place, we enjoyed a very tasty Halloween Supper which was served and provided by the Committee – Marie’s apple pie was as delicious as ever.

The election of the new committee took place and the results were Jenny Gabrielsen, Heidi Hale, Vesna Hudson, Eileen Powell, Irene Ranner and Carole Wilson. Vesna was prepared to stand as President next year so was duly elected. Marie Rich and Val Sidey have stepped down. Special thanks to Marie who has been a Committee Member for many years but now feels it is the time to have a rest. We have really enjoyed having our committee meetings at your house Marie around your lovely big table. Ann Lewing thanked the Committee for a wonderful year of friendship. Awards were presented to Brenda Branch for highest marks in the Competitions. Joan Forster won the Ann Berchem vase for flower of the month and I was absolutely delighted to receive the Ruth Rix vase for Craft Work. My mohair cardigan seemed to impress the judge.

Members were reminded to get knitting, sewing and baking for the annual Christmas Fayre on December 1st and we hope all readers will come and support us. See you at Beachamwell Memorial Hall 12-3pm, free mulled wine and lots of goodies to buy and eat.

Carole Wilson (Photograph by Eileen Powell)

Meeting - October 2013
The October meeting is traditionally a Craft one. This year Sue Nulty came and showed us how to make a Christmas Decoration. We all really enjoyed making it and were amazed that everybody actually finished theirs so look out for them at our Christmas Fair to be held on December 1st from 12-3pm. There will be other Christmas items and the usual cakes and preserves for which the W.I. is famous. Further details to follow just book the date in your diary, an event not to be missed. Members were reminded by Jenny that next meeting is the AGM and nominations for the Committee should be handed in asap. There will be a Autumn Supper and please remember your china and cutlery.

New Members always welcome.

Carole Wilson (Photograph by Eileen Powell)

Meeting - September 2013
The September Meeting is when the Members take over the organising and run-ning of the Meeting and the Committee can have a well earned rest. Brenda acted as President, Carole as Secretary and Ann as Treasurer and Organiser. It was a great success and everybody really enjoyed the evening. There was no Speaker but instead Members brought along a piece of craft or an interest and spoke to the Members about it. Ann talked about her Granny’s beautiful hand made quilt, Carole had an apron that one of her pupils made and which won a Schools Design Award, it was a special apron. Margaret had some wonderful beadwork. Brenda showed all the work she had completed for previous W.I. Competitions, she certainly is a very gifted lady, Irene had some lovely hand crochet tablecloths and Joan talked about her work for the National Trust at Oxborough as a volunteer, she is working on buttons at the moment from the Tudor period and beautifully made too. Heidi had some interesting wooden items. Leah told the story of some beautiful red shoes. The seven visitors we had were very impressed too.

Members were reminded about the Christmas Fair on Sunday December 1st from 2-5pm. The refreshments provided by the Members were delicious and Marie thanked them all very much for the gifts they gave the Committee and for providing such an interesting and most enjoyable evening.

Carole Wilson

Meeting - August 2013
Our August Meeting is traditionally held during the afternoon and if possible in a Members garden. This year was no exception and our Hostess was Ann Lewing who lives in Eastmoor. It was one of those baking hot days with the temp above 30 but we enjoyed being in Ann’s marquee for the afternoon.

Vesna welcomed three visitors to the meeting, Leah Spencer, Victoria Lee and Maureen Buck. We enjoyed the “What’s in a Sock” game and for the competition we made a floral table decoration from materials brought from home. Brenda’s display was decided to be the best and won the competition. Vesna won the raffle and we all enjoyed delicious refreshments made by the committee washed down with cool white wine or fruit juice. A lovely way to spend a summer afternoon. Special thanks to Ann for allowing us to enjoy her garden. Eileen gave the vote of thanks and presented Ann with a charming pot plant.

Carole Wilson (Photograph Eileen Powell)

Meeting - July 2013
What a nice change it was to have a sunny evening for our July meeting. The Speaker was Major Leigh Pinner from the Downham Market Salvation Army. She gave us an insight into the Salvation Army history and her life as a Major.

It was good to welcome Vesna back from Croatia looking tanned and healthy. The Competition was won by Irene, who also won the raffle so she had a most successful evening, Vesna won the flower of the month. Next meeting is our Garden Meeting held at Ann Lewings Ravens House, Eastmoor at 2pm on August 1st. New Members always welcome.

The thought for the month was given by Eileen.
Smiling is infectious
You catch it like the flu
When someone smiled at me today
I started smiling too.
If you feel a smile begin
Don’t leave it undetected.
Let’s start an epidemic quick
And get the whole world infected.

Carole Wilson (Photograph Eileen Powell)

Meeting - June 2013
The June Meeting was a most enjoyable evening arranged and run by Jenny and Heidi. The members did not have to make anything towards the party food, just pay a minimal amount towards the cost of it. What a treat to roll up and just enjoy an evening, a rare opportunity for members to chat amongst themselves, the food was wonderful ordered from Waitrose and added to with salads by Jenny all really nice and ‘hit the spot’.

Then we were treated to poems by Gilly Spencer really funny and life analysing poems that touched us all, I am sure Gilly won’t mind being compared to Pam Ayres.

Thank you to all those who helped by weighing inwith clearing up, Carole lending cutlery and making flower arrangements, Alan for putting up the tables so that we could all sit together. It all pulled together to make a memorable evening.

Val Sidey

Meeting - May 2013
Our May Meeting had to be held at Barton Bendish Village Hall, due to ours being used for voting. What a lovely Hall it is and we enjoyed having our meeting there.

The main part of the meeting was to discuss the Resolution which this year involved using our local shops or loose them. It was obvious that everybody voted for the Resolution. The Windmill Handbell Ringers were our Speakers/Entertainment for the evening. The three ladies who came were very skilled at handbell ringing and obviously really enjoyed playing them. They told us many interesting facts about the bells and played different songs which we could hum along too. It was really relaxing and enjoyable.

Val won flower of the month, Heidi the competition and Maggie the raffle. Irene and Carole were on refreshments. Thought for the month was given by Eileen:-
As each new dawn is breaking
As each new day unfolds,
Take strength and hope and courage
From the promise that it holds

It was wonderful to welcome Jill Mason back for the evening as a guest. Next Meeting will be our Birthday Supper to be held on the Memorial Hall.

Carole Wilson

Meeting - April 2013
Members and visitors enjoyed the talk this month entitled ”How the WI came to Sandringham”. It started in 1913 by a WI Member from Canada and its first members were Queen Mary and her daughter. We wonder if The Duchess of Cambridge will join either Sandringham or Anmer when she moves to Norfolk.

Flower of the month Competition Val. Brenda and Carole won the raffle. Vesna reminded us that the next meeting will be held at Barton Bendish due to our hall being used for voting. May 2nd Resolutions and Hand Bell Ringing. New Members always welcome.

Thought for the month
Life is like a jigsaw puzzle
With shades of dark and light,
And it is up to us to make
The pieces fit in right.
For into every life must fall
Deep shadows of despair,
But if we search we’ll find the sun
To chase away our care.

Carole Wilson - Photograph by Eileen Powell

Meeting - March 2013
Following the business part of the meeting, Leah Spencer, Irma Fowler and Lesley Mardle entertained us with ‘The 7 Ages of Women – Through Humorous Poetry’ and they were indeed very entertaining. Some of the poems made us reflect, some made us sad but some made us laugh lots.

Hopefully the weather will improve soon and Margaret Webster will be able to join us again. Quite a few members were unable to attend this time but those who made it had a very enjoyable evening.

The flower of the month was won by Brenda who also came first in the competition. Raffle prizes were won by Maggie and Val. Vesna read the thought for the month which had been provided by Eileen.
Don’t let the mistakes of days gone by
Ruin the joys of today.
Bury the past and let it lie
In peace as you go on your way.
Life is too precious to waste in regret,
Time is too fleeting and swift
So live for the present, forgive and forget
And accept each new day as a gift.

Next WI meeting: 4th April, ‘How the WI came to Sandringham’ with Mrs. Maureen Rispin. Visitors most welcome.

Jenny Gabrielsen (Secretary)

Meeting - February 2013
After the business part of the February meeting was completed, the speaker, Mr Steve de Roeck and his wife were introduced. We were expecting a talk on ‘Travels in South America and China’, however, we were given instead a fascinating presentation on Africa.

Mr de Roeck is a professional pilot and specialises in aviation and travel, photography and photo journalism. His photographs were stunning and his informative talk was littered with humorous comments.

Margaret Brooks was unfortunately unable to be there but she sent in a beautiful flower arrangement for the table. Sadly Margaret Webster was unable to join us – we wish her well. Maggie Mackenzie, who is new to Beachamwell has become our latest member, we too wish her well.

All in all it was a most enjoyable evening.

Eileen Powell

Meeting - January 2013
Our Speaker for the evening was Mr. Maurice Cornelius who gave a most interesting demonstration on Decorative Boxes. He showed us in detail how he made the boxes and came with a large selection for us to see the different shapes and sizes. We hope to have a Craft Afternoon sometime during the summer when Maurice will help us make a box. Watch this space for more details. He makes many boxes during the year and donates the money to various charities. This month his charity is “Smile” and last month it was “Help the Heroes. There were three Birthdays to celebrate, Jenny, Eileen and Marie.

Come and join the largest Women’s Organisation. We would love to see you and you will be very welcome.

Carole Wilson

Meeting - December 2012
Vesna Hudson President, announced the new Committee:- Vice President - Val Sidey, Treasurer - Heidi Hale, Secretary - Jenny Gabrielsen, Publicity Coordinator - Eileen Powell, Programme Coordinator - Carole Wilson, Door, Raffle and Gazettes - Marie Rich. Vesna thanked Eileen for her dedicated work as Treasurer over the past 18 years and helping our WI to build a healthy bank balance.

Vesna then thanked the members so much for making our 1st Christmas Fayre such a success. Many people commented on how enjoyable it was to see this type of event in the Memorial Hall and how much they enjoyed browsing the home-made produce on display and chatting to other local residents whilst tucking into the delicious mince pies and sipping their free glass of mulled wine. We hope to have raised £375.00.

The proposed Resolutions for 2013 were included on the Monthly Presidents Newsletter as were the aims and objectives for 2013.

Speaker for the evening was Mrs. A. Furness who demonstrated “Christmas Chocolates”. We all enjoyed the samples and agreed they should be included in the 2013 Christmas Fayre. Irene gave the vote of thanks, Joan won the flower of the month and the raffle and Brenda won the competition.

Vesna wished all members a Happy Christmas and a Healthy New Year.

Carole Wilson

Meeting - November 2012
The nineteen members and guests who attended the November AGM Meeting really enjoyed the supper provided by the Committee. Thank you to all who prepared and served it. Jenny, Vesna and Eileen gave their annual reports and Meg Dorling, our Advisor, was on hand to help with voting for the new Committee.

Maureen gave the 2013 programme which certainly looks interesting.

Awards were presented to various members. The Ruth Rix Vase for Members Craftwork was presented for the first time. John Rix thought it would be an excellent way for members to remember his Mother and we were all delighted with the idea. His Partner, Susie, looked very carefully through the many items to view and in the end decided on the lovely cardigan designed and knitted by Vesna. She was absolutely delighted to be the first to receive the lovely vase and also a bottle of bubbly from Suzie. Members thank John for providing this vase,

The table flowers were presented to Margaret Webster who has been unwell recently but is now well on the way to recovery. Members were reminded of the Christmas Fayre to be held in the Memorial Hall on December 1st 12-3pm.

Next Meeting December 6th (Homemade Chocolates) If you are interested in belonging to the Largest Women’s Organisation in GB then come and join us, you will be most welcome.

Carole Wilson

Meeting - October 2012
Liz Cooper, House Manager at Oxburgh Hall, gave a fascinating presentation about the Textiles – including the Marian Hangings – which are there. These famous needlework panels were made by Mary, Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick and are well worth seeing if you haven’t done so already. Liz’s knowledge and enthusiasm for her subject were obvious and the result was an excellent evening.

Thanks must go to Val Sidey who was acting president. It was the first time she had done this and her friendly, enthusiastic manner was much appreciated.

Eileen Powell

Meeting - September 2012
The September Meeting is traditionally Members Evening - the members organise it to give the Committee a well earned rest. President was Brenda (she thanked the committee for their hard work over the year and presented them with tulip bulbs) secretary Carole and treasurer Ann. Brenda and Margaret had done much of the planning earlier in the year and organised the speaker, Mrs Liz Wright, who talked to us about the Donkey Sanctuary. This is an International Welfare Charity based in UK and working to protect and care for donkeys and mules. Liz was an excellent speaker and very informative, she told us of the care and help given to special needs children who loved to ride on the donkeys.

The Organisation also works with families in Asia who rely on their donkeys for work, they are given advice from vets on donkey hygiene and health so they are able to work the long hours expected of them. Members were invited to knit a woolly donkey or a donkey cap and these can be sold in their shops. Anybody reading this can also help by knitting a donkey too, contact a Committee Member. Everybody really enjoyed the talk. More information can be obtained from their website.

The flower of the month and competition were won by Joan. Raffle won by Ann. Sheila gave the Vote of Thanks to the Members. We welcomed Karen a visitor who has since expressed a wish to join us. Carole Wilson Unfortunately I wasn’t able to be at this meeting but I must thank the members for organising what I understand was a superb evening and much appreciated. The hand made gift tags made by Brenda were terrific.

Eileen Powell

Meeting - August 2012
The August Meeting is traditionally in a Member’s garden and this year it was at The Old Rectory. We were blessed with a warm and sunny afternoon which made the occasion most pleasant. Vesna, acting president, read the following poem by Mollie Caird (1922-2000)

On a Wet Summer
O damp marquees where I have sat and sat,
O grandstands where it gurgles down the drain,
Why did I buy this garden party hat?
At the school sports I saw a water-rat;
At prize giving I put it on in vain;

O damp marquees where I have sat and sat!
At Lord’s they never even touched a bat,
At Wimbledon came flooding in the main;
Why did I buy this garden party hat?
At Ascot ? don’t remind me now of that ?
I suffered from acute rheumatic pain;

O damp marquees where I have sat and sat!
The vicarage flower-beds were all laid flat,
At Henley everyone was drenched again;
Why did I buy this garden party hat?
It cost ten guineas (all right, laugh, you cat!) ?
I might have known that it would pour with rain.

O damp marquees where I have sat and sat,
Why did I buy this garden party hat?

She reminded us of the Village Jubilee Fete and asked for goodies to sell on our stall. This is one of our main fundraising events so everybody is asked to bake or make as much as possible.

Another event will be a talk by Ian Berchem on October 17th, more details later. An outing to Denver Windmill and a possible Craft Day are also being organised. Heidi won the raffle, Brenda the flower of the month and Ann the competition. There were two quizzes, ‘What’s in the Sock’ won by Jackie and ‘Name the Trees’ won by Jill. Excellent refreshments were provided by the Committee. A lovely afternoon was enjoyed by 17 members.

Carole Wilson (Photograph by Jackie Palmer)

As Carole wrote the above report she obviously couldn’t praise her own garden. Needless to say, it was as immaculate as ever - always a joy to visit. Carole, Brian and Jim are to be congratulated on the outstanding work they do – well done. On behalf of the WI, I would like to thank Carole for hosting the garden meeting. A lot of thought and work had gone into this and was much appreciated. Eileen Powell

Meeting - July 2012
Our acting President, Vesna Hudson, took the meeting in July and started with reading a delightful poem entitled ‘The Hedgehog’ which was very apt as the Speaker for the evening came from the Wildlife Centre at East Winch. The talk was most interesting and through showing slides we saw the type of animals and birds which come through the Centre for care and attention. The Speaker was very passionate about her work and explained that charity kept the Centre going, there are only four wildlife centres in the UK and Norfolk has one. We were reminded of the Flower Festival on 21st 22nd and 23rd and the W.I. has chosen Madam Butterfly as their theme.

Heidi won the competition, Vesna the flower of the month and Irene and Jill won the raffle. Brenda and Jackie have a birthday this month. Next month’s meeting will be held in The Old Rectory at 2.00pm where new members would be made most welcome.

It was with great sadness that the family informed us that Peggy Sutton had recently died. Peggy was a very long standing member of the W.I. We will remember her fondly for her great knitting skills. The slippers she knitted from recycled wool helped to raise funds for the W.I. We will certainly miss her.

Carole Wilson

Meeting - May 2012
Sheila acted as President as Jenny was visiting Eigil in hospital. The May meeting is traditionally Resolution Meeting. This year the Resolution was to try to get more midwives. This was passed by Members. Pat and Maureen organised an auction and members bid against each other for some interesting objects. This raised £21.46p. Refreshments and then a really good quiz. A most enjoyable evening.

Members discussed the possibility of a Craft Day.

A trip to Stody Gardens has been organised and on 21st June a tour around Aviva in Norwich. The show Madam Butterfly is the theme for the Flower Festival in July. Next Meeting is the Birthday Supper to be held at George and Dragon, Newton by Castle Acre. New Members are always welcome.

Thought for the Month
It’s a heap of satisfaction
When a helping hand I lend
Just to know someone’s happier
Because I paused to be a friend
Provided by Sheila Smith and taken from ‘A Day of Grace’

Carole Wilson

Meeting - April 2012
Jenny, President, had lots of messages to give the Members, our Birthday Supper on June 7th will be at the George and Dragon, Newton by Castle Acre this year. The Garden Meeting is to be held at The Old Rectory, a Workshop on Quilting is being organised by Vesna, and at the next meeting there will be an auction and members were asked to find things they no longer require to be auctioned.

The speaker was Ann Etheridge from Diss who came with her husband and was entitled "A Passion for Plants". Ann certainly did have a passion for plants and her talk was most interesting and informative. She showed us a selection of the plants she had brought with her and described the care and attention needed. We were able to purchase our favourites too. It was a most enjoyable talk. Competition was won by Heidi, Raffle by Jill and Flower of the month by Val. Margaret Brookes had a birthday this month.

Carole Wilson

Meeting - March 2012
The speaker for the evening was Leah Spencer with her talk on ‘Books and Book Groups’. Leah led us through her life in books from an early age up to the present day. She involved everyone asking us all to think back to books we had read as children, our favourite over the years and what kind of books we were interested in now. It was a very enjoyable evening with Leah making it fun for everyone.

The raffle was won by Pat and the Flower of the month by Maureen

Thought for the Month
Each new day is full of promise,
Each dawn is filled with hope,
So if today you find life weary
And feel you cannot cope,
Remember that tomorrow may
Turn out to be a happier day

Jenny Gabrielsen

Meeting - February 2012
Sian Hogarth from Swaffham Museum was the speaker for the evening. She brought along a fascinating display. Her talk was very informative and amusing. In addition to telling us the history and work of the Museum we were told about the current oral history project ‘Swaffham within Living Memory. She was delighted to hear that Brenda Branch will be able to help her, what an amazing memory the latter has…… If you haven’t been to the Museum recently, it is well worth a visit.

Maureen Buck gave an update on the outings which are proposed for the current year.

Everyone was pleased to learn that Vesna Hudson has been co-opted onto the Committee. Flower of the month was won by Vesna, competition by Marie and raffle by Pat.

Eileen Powell

Meeting - January 2012
It made a real change to go to the January Meeting in a light weight jacket and not a thick anorak and boots because of the snow. There were 14 members present and the President accepted 3 apologies for absence.

Janet Walker, Community Librarian at Downham Market, gave a most interesting talk on the library and all the courses that were on offer absolutely free. There were also courses for children. Janet encouraged us to use the library and what was on offer.

The Speaker for the evening was Bryan Reynolds who gave us a most humorous and interesting talk on "A Career in Farming". He spent some of his time at Barton Bendish. Brenda Branch and Margaret Brookes were hostesses for the evening, flower was won by Jackie, raffle by Val and the competition by Brenda. Members were reminded to return their Resolution Slips to Jenny.

Carole Wilson & photographs by Eileen Powell

Meeting - December 2011
At our December Meeting there were 19 members present including two new members who have joined us from Foulden. We welcome them. Members brought and received a Christmas gift from the bran tub and we all enjoyed a delicious buffet to get us thinking of Christmas. The Speaker for the evening was Trevor Burlingham a professional wedding photographer from Thetford. His hobby is wildlife and he enjoys taking photographs of wildlife in Thetford. His talk was called ‘A Walk through Thetford forest with a Camera’.

It was so interesting, he told us that 1.5million visitors arrive in Thetford forest each year, it covers 20,000acres and there are of course many deer including 18,000 muntjac (not so good for the gardens) His coloured slides included many visitors attractions in the forest, trees, wildflowers, butterflies and insects. High Lodge is certainly a good place to visit with the family for the day, cycles can be hired too.

The raffle was won by Margaret Brookes, flower of the month by Val Sidey and the competition by Betty Phillpot who also gave the Vote of Thanks.

Carole Wilson & photographs by Eileen Powell

Meeting - November 2011
The November meeting is traditionally the A.G.M. Before the meeting the Committee kindly provided the food and served the annual Halloween Supper which was delicious. The Committee have all agreed to stay on and the President/Secretary remains as Jenny Gabrielsen with help from Sheila Smith and Eileen Powell, Treasurer Eileen Powell and Committee Marie Rich, Maureen Buck and Pat Ensor. The members thank them for all the hard work they do during the year.

Awards were presented to:-
Maureen Buck received the Ann Berchem vase for Flowers and the Full Attendance Award.
Joan Forster won the Competition Plate.
Brenda Branch won the Accumulated Points.

A new award will be created for next year. John Rix has very kindly donated an award in memory of his mother Ruth. Members have yet to decide how the award will be set up so watch this space. I was on holiday for the October meeting and I understand from members that they all really enjoyed the Christmas Card Workshop taken by Sheila Smith. Sheila provided the materials and showed everybody what to do. It turned into quite a hilarious evening as some got very stuck up and made a few mistakes. However everybody went home with a Christmas card or two that they could proudly send. Thank you Sheila for your patience and for providing a really enjoyable and productive evening.

Carole Wilson

Meeting - September 2011
September is the month when Members take charge giving the Committee a well earned rest. This time the meeting was held at Barton Bendish allowing the bric a brac ladies to get ready for the Fete. Brenda Branch was President and Carole Wilson was Secretary. We celebrated a special birthday for Betty Phillpot and a birthday for Joan Forster. Our Speaker for the evening was the famous Peter Carter - The Eelman - he has been on TV many times, the most recent on Michael Portillo's train journeys. He is a real Character and gave us a most interesting and amusing insight into his work with eels in the Fens. He showed us many slides and talked about his family going back many generations. We laughed a lot that night at his tales. It looks as if the ladies from Foulden who came as visitors last month will be joining us which is good.

The October meeting will be a Craft Evening and Sheila will be showing us how to make Christmas Cards, please bring scissors, prit-stick and £1.00. Maureen Buck thanked the Committee for the evening and Brenda Branch gave the thought for the month. "Our world is full of wonder, there is beauty everywhere, if only we would take the time to stop and stand and stare."

Carole Wilson

Meeting - August 2011
The August Garden Meeting ended in the same way RAIN but the big marquee in Ann’s garden saved the day. We descended to Eastmoor and really enjoyed being in the marquee. Sixteen members and one visitor attended along with two prospective members who live in Foulden. Jenny dealt with the business side of things, Carole talked about the September Meeting which is the Members’ Meeting and reminded members there will be a trading stall and that the meeting will take place at Barton Bendish. Maureen gave information about the outing to Bure Valley Railway and Wroxham. Jenny talked about the produce required for the Village Country Fair on September 4th. Betty won flower of the month with her beautiful rose, Maureen the competition for her delicious individual fruit tarts and Carol won the raffle. Refreshments were supplied by the Committee. It was too wet to enjoy Ann’s garden but we enjoyed the mardle and the quiz.
Carole Wilson

Meeting - July 2011
Sixteen Members and a visitor attended the July Meeting. Jenny gave notices and the usual information and then asked Michelle Tucker-Lowe from Fincham W.I. (our representative) to talk about the AGM she had attended in Liverpool. Michelle was very informative and told us that there were now 209,033members of the W.I. with 102 new Institutes. The speaker for the evening was Lou Brundell who had come from Diss to talk to us about Hearing Dogs for the Deaf

It was a most interesting talk with slides and everybody enjoyed listening to Lou and learning more about this Charity. She told us the best dogs to be trained to help deaf people were Labradors, Spaniels, Poodles and Yorkies. Sheila won the raffle, Betty the competition. Next meeting is our Garden Meeting and will be held at Ann Lewings, Raven House, Eastmoor.

Sheila read the Thought for the Month.
If you would plant for days, plant flowers.
If you would plant for years, plant trees.
If you would plant for eternity, plant ideas

Carole Wilson

Meeting - June 2011
June is the month when we have our Birthday Supper. This time we decided to dine at The Berney Arms. Members had a good time together. We toasted ‘Absent Friends’ and remembered our dear member Ruth, who recently died.

Next Meeting is July 7th and the topic is ‘Talking Dogs for the Deaf’.

Carole Wilson

Meeting - May 2011
The May meeting was held at Barton Bendish with 15 members and 1 visitor attending. Sheila acted as President in Jennie’s absence. Members were informed about various outings that were being organised and a reminder tha the Birthday Supper this year will be held at The Berney Arms. May isResolution month and Sue Overton our Advisor talked us through the ‘for and against’ of the two Resolutions and we made our decision on which way to vote. The Speaker for the evening was Vanessa Scott of Strattons Hotel who described how her husband Les and their two children had 29 years ago purchased the Palladian Villa in Swaffham and transformed it into an award winning Green Hotel. The Hotel uses environmentally friendly products and is the only Hotel in the Country to weigh waste. It was a most informative and thought provoking talk and very enjoyable too.

Betty won the Raffle, Maureen submitted the most beautiful Peony and Joan won the competition - A Norfolk Recipe.

The ‘Thought for the Month’ was given by Eileen:
Grumbling gets you nowhere
It makes other people mad
So think before you grumble
Is your life so very bad?
Remember there is always
Someone who endures
Troubles which are often
Twice as bad as yours

Carole Wilson

Meeting - April 2011
17 Members attended the April meeting with one visitor. Marija gave the thought of the month and Jenny dealt with the correspondence. An evening has been arranged with Waitrose, who will discuss, wine, beer and cider and bring along cheese to match. September 7th is the date so watch out for further details. Members should be congratulated for the many wonderful pairs of slippers that have been knitted for funds, some of the slippers are on their way to Swaffham Hospital. The Birthday supper will be held at The Berney Arms, Barton Bendish this year. A gift from the Birthday Basket went to Margaret and Marija. Speaker for the evening was Prue Kahn, landscape gardener, from Gooderstone who won a silver medal for her garden at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in 2010.

She showed us slides from start to finish of her work which was outstanding. It was most interesting. Prue also works at Gooderstone Water Gardens.

Maureen won the flower of the month and the competition ‘An Easter Bonnet’, and Carole won the raffle.

Carole Wilson

Meeting - March 2011
The speaker for the evening was Sharon Hayns who gave a most enjoyable and informative talk on skin care and makeup. Maureen was happy to be the model and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The new ‘Birthday Basket’ instead of Posies was introduced and was well received. As always, the evening was very sociable and enjoyable.

We were delighted to welcome new member, Vesna Hudson, who joined that evening.

Thought for the Month (Quote from Benjamin Franklin provided by Sheila Smith)
Be civil to all
Sociable to many
Familiar with few
Friend to one
Enemy to none

Eileen Powell

Meeting - February 2011
Mervyn Gribbon gave a very entertaining and informative talk on the work of Heygate Farm, a family run business. He happily answered the many questions which were put to him. Brenda Branch gave the vote of thanks.

Flower of the Month: Brenda Branch.

Competition:1st Joan Foster, 2nd Mary Cross, 3rd Maureen Buck. We were delighted to welcome new member, Marija Njegomir, who joined that evening.

Thought for the Month was given by Jill Mason
The past is history, the future is a mystery, Today is a gift which is why it is called the present.

Eileen Powell

Meeting - December 2010
What a fun evening the December Meeting was. Meg Browne, our Speaker, found her way here despite the terrible weather, lots of snow and ice around. Unfortunately only ten members managed to get to the meeting which as a shame as Meg showed us many brilliant waistcoats she had made all beautifully worked and with a different theme. She also showed us some patchwork wall hangings. Afterwards we all enjoyed some delicious refreshments, especially Brenda's delicious sponges and scones. Jill received a lovely plant for her birthday and we all had a small gift from the bran tub. To round off a splendid evening Brenda showed us some amazing articles that she had found in her loft. They were garments her aunt had used whilst in service. The pantaloons would have been useful during the recent cold spell but they were certainly not very fashionable.

At the end of the meeting Jenny, our new President, welcomed Janet as Minute Secretary onto the Committee also Pat. The January Meeting was held in the afternoon and was a Workshop on Blackwork Tapestry. The meeting was "open" and was very well attended by villagers and visitors. All Saints Way was very well attended with residents Jane, Vera, Verina and Alma as well as members, Eileen, Jenny, Heidi and Marie. Visitors were from Barton Bendish, Swaffham and a friend of Ann's from Sussex. After an introduction from tutor Gilly Spencer, everybody decided on their design and tried the new skill of Blackwork, at times there was silence in the village hall as everybody concentrated on their work (very unusual at W.I. events) Margaret gave the vote of thanks and described the afternoon as most challenging and enjoyable, everybody agreed with this comment.

The raffle and the competition was won by Pat and the flower of the month by Marie. Heidi and Betty produced delicious refreshments.

Carole Wilson

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold:
Bring me my arrows of desire:
Bring me my spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire.
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.

The Alberta Creed (Mary Stewart)
Keep us, O Lord, from pettiness
Let us be large in thought, word and deed
Let us be done with fault finding & leave off self seeking
May we put aside all pretence and meet each other face to face, without self pity and without prejudice
May we never be hasty in judgment and always generous in thought
Teach us to put into action our better impulses straightforward and unafraid
Let us take time for all things, make us grow calm, serene, gentle
Grant that we may realise that it is the little things that create differences; that in the big things in life we are one
May we strive to touch and know the great woman’s heart common to us all;
Oh Lord God, let us not forget to be kind