Chairman's Report 2019

Chairman’s Annual Review

Looking back over 2019, I am once again amazed at the number of events that have taken place within our small Federation. The drive to recruit more members onto subcommittees was very successful and, as well as benefitting from new ideas, the workload has reduced on the busiest sub committees, meaning that committee members are sometimes actually able to sit back and enjoy themselves!

We have seen most of the events organized extremely well supported by members and it has been pleasing to see our regular attendees as well as some new faces. The subcommittee members are always happy to receive suggestions from members as to what else they could provide. They would particularly welcome suggestions from WIs where few members currently attend Federation events.

At our Annual Meeting in April, held at Neale Wade Academy in March, we heard about the School Readers’ Project and the need for more people to volunteer to regularly go into local schools to hear children read. Our speaker was quite overwhelmed by the response from members who signed up during the refreshment break. Later we heard from Nick Grounds about his life as an auctioneer. He entertained us with some very amusing tales before letting us all experience a live auction of plants.

Three WIs received special certificates at the Annual Meeting, from both NFWI and our Federation, in recognition of their Centenaries in 2019. I felt honoured to be invited to share in their celebrations. I was present at the unveiling of a new Village Sign, made by Metalcraft in Chatteris and presented by Doddington WI to their village. This was followed by a lunch for members and guests. Stretham W.I. invited me to a Garden Party at the home of their President. During the afternoon photos were taken at the Village Sign, beneath which a new flower filled planter had been installed. Whittlesey WI held a special meeting to which WI members from the group were invited. Everyone enjoyed a delicious Buffet Supper, the Federation Choir sang and we watched a hypnotist at work with some willing volunteers.

In the autumn we travelled to Wisbech St Mary Community Centre for our Federation Day. Our morning speaker was Johnny Walkers of Walkers’ and Taylors’ bulbs. He showed slides of many different spring and summer bulbs and described their medicinal properties. In the afternoon we welcomed Lady Carnarvon whose home, Highclere Castle, was the setting for Downton Abbey.

Some 50 members went to Norwich in February with morning shopping and lunch, followed by an afternoon visit to the Theatre Royal. From our seats in the stalls we enjoyed an excellent performance of Calendar Girls, the Musical.

Members of the Board of Trustees and subcommittees spent a day with National Federation trainers Sue Beavan and Lynne Stubbings, on what was described as an MOT of the Federation. It was a time to focus on our responsibilities, the things we do well, the ways in which we could improve and our plans for the future. One topic for discussion was the possible change for the Federation to become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation in 2020.

Chairmen of our different sub committees have each reported on their activities during the year. I would like to thank them, together with their committee members, for all that they have done throughout the year. I also want to thank my extremely supportive team of Officers, Trustees and Advisers who all voluntarily give so much time and commitment to the Federation. Finally, thank you to all members who support Federation events. It makes our efforts worthwhile.

Val Ware

Federation Chairman

Whittlesey, Stretham and Doddington WIs all celebrated their Centenary in 2019

Whittlesey WI

StrethamDoddington WI