Latest News from Little Bowden WI
February Meeting – Show the Love
February was a busy meeting where we were delighted to welcome Sallie Butt from the Environment & Waste Team at LCC and Beth Lambert from Refill Revolution. Both speakers gave interesting and inspiring talks on reducing single use plastic and recycling. We were also happy to welcome representatives from our local Morsbag Pod and our former member Kim Oldfield with her bright and colourful brap wraps. We really hope the meeting inspired you to make small changes. Over 45 green heart pledges were made as we committed to choosing just one thing that we can do in order to make a contribution to the war on plastics.
On January 17th president Louise and vice president Angela visited the Dementia Cafe, a monthly social event held by Dementia Harborough to present the cheque for £400 that we raised at our recent fashion show.
We had a great time at the meeting chatting to people and finding out more about the great work Dementia Haborough do. It was also really nice to be able to reciprocate Jan Meredith’s visit to us back in July when we gave her a cheque for £600 after our quiz.
This means that during our time supporting Dementia Harborough we have raised a fantastic £1000. Peter Hines, chairman of Dementia Harborough asked us to pass on their thanks to everyone at LBWI. Dementia Harborough rely solely on donations for the vital work they do our in our community, which has an ever-increasing demand.
January Meeting – Get Knotted
For our January meeting we were delighted to welcome the very talented Sally Wilson of Knot Sew Simple, fresh from her appearance on Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas.
We had a fantastic turnout out on a cold January night as Sally guided us through the process of making lovely feather-shaped bag charms.
Great to see so many people there. Look forward to seeing you again next month!
December meeting – Wassail!
There was a run on cider in Little Bowden last Wednesday when Phil Saxby of visited us to tell us the story of Saxby’s cider and treat us to some samples of his wares.
The fact that Phil pretty much sold out says it all. Another great LBWI meeting. And it’s very good to know that slider (a mixture of sloe gin and cider) is a thing!
Have a very merry Christmas everyone and we look forward to seeing you next year.
November Meeting – Butterfly Brothers
We had a great evening with Jim and Joel Ashton of Hazelwood Landscapes who gave us a whistlestop tour of how to create a gorgeous wildlife-friendly garden.
At the end of the evening we headed into the cold November night dreaming of poppy-filled meadows, dragonfly perches and wildlife ponds.
Big thanks to Jim and Joel for an evening that was as entertaining as it was educational.
October Meeting – AGM
As always, October saw us having our AGM. We adopted the financial report and the committee report and celebrated autumn with some delicious homemade fruit pies. Also, as is customary at this time of year, we said goodbye to some committee members. Our treasurer Karen and programme secretary Grainne are both former presidents and founding members of Little Bowden WI. They will be hugely missed on the committee, however after eight years service and all the work that went into setting up LBWI, they thoroughly deserve their time enjoying our meetings as part of the wider membership!
Not such a long shot!
For the first time in our eight year history, LBWI have entered a team into the Leicestershire & Rutland long alley skittles tournament. It’s early days yet, but we’re pleased to report we won our first game!
Best of luck going forward ladies!
September Meeting – Whores of Yore
It was great to see such a packed turnout for our meeting with Dr Kate Lister, aka @whoresofyore. Kate travelled all the way from Leeds to regale us all with a look at the sexual history of the Victorians. Kate’s presentation was enlightening, educational and entertaining by turns so it was no surprise that it prompted one of the most lively Q&A sessions we’ve ever had at LBWI.
Huge thanks to Kate for a truly memorable evening.
July Meeting – Yellowbird
For our July meeting, we were very lucky to be joined by Harborough’s hottest foodie ticket, Yellowbird, aka the very talented E’lain Spreadbury and her mum Pauline, who treated us to a mouthwatering array of Peranakan cooking including rendangs, coconut pancakes. We also enjoyed prawn crackers and pickles – but not as we previously knew them! The gourmet experience was enhanced by E’lain’s fascinating presentation on the history of the Peranakan people, the descendants of Chinese immigrants who settled in Singapore in the 17th century.
We were also very happy to welcome Jan Meredith from Dementia Harborough to our meeting to be presented with a cheque for £600 from our recent fundraising quiz. We are so pleased to be able help make a difference to this extremely important local cause.
There was also the small matter of the England v Croatia World Cup semi final on the night. Those who attended were kept up to date not just by the discreet screen at the bar, but by the less discreet cheers and ultimately (sadly) groans emanating from the Cherry Tree just across the bowling green.
Huge thanks to E’lain for a fabulous evening.
Dementia Harborough Fundraising Quiz
What a great night we had when 91 of us filled St Nicholas Church Hall on a sunny Friday night for our quiz in aid of Dementia Harborough. We’re delighted to say we raised a fantastic £600 for this very worthy cause.
Thank you so much to everyone who came, donated raffle prizes and bought raffle tickets.
Thank you also to our fantastic host Mike Conroy, who gave up his time to host the evening for us.
Performance Poetry with Jess Green
What a fantastic evening we had when performance poet Jess Green joined us in June. Jess started the evening by performing two of her poems, which went down a storm. Then, taking Leicester suffragette Alice Hawkins as an inspiration, we worked with each other to come up with our very own poems. It was brilliant to see everyone getting involved in the process and coming up with excellent and original ideas.
Huge thanks to Jess for a truly inspiring evening.
Right Royal Resolutions
Our royal wedding-themed annual resolutions meeting was jam packed…so much so that we hardly got any photos.
We started the evening with our annual rendition of Jerusalem. After a short presentation about this year’s resolution, Mental Health Matters, we voted in favour, which means our vote will be taken to the Annual Meeting in Cardiff on June 6th.
Then, we raised a glass of prosecco to Meghan and Harry before enjoying some top notch homemade fruit and lemon and elderflower cake, courtesy of our committee.
The final part of the evening tied in with the NFWI’s current resolution of Alleviating Loneliness. First we heard from our member Rohini Corfield who told us about the fantastic work Voluntary Action South Leicestershire do in our community, with a particular focus on the Community Champions project, which aims to reduce loneliness amongst people over 60 in the Harborough District. Next, our guest for the evening, Jan Meredith told us about the important work of Dementia Harborough, who rely totally on donations for the fantastic initiatives they run to support those suffering from dementia in our community. Our minutes secretary, Angela Farrow then spoke to us about her role as a Dementia Friend with the Alzheimer’s Society.
Finally, we drew our bursary. Our members who will be receiving £150 towards learning a new skill are Jayne Lander and Martine Burton.
Pork Pie Making at Brockleby’s
On Tuesday May 1st, some of our members donned hairnets and enjoyed an evening learning to make their very own pork pies at Brockleby’s in Melton Mowbray.
In true WI style, everyone brought home a delicious pie to bake and enjoy at home. Thanks to Brockleby’s for a fantastic evening.
April Meeting – Blooming Lovely
For our April meeting we were joined by CarolAnn Keith of CK Flowers who guided us through the process of making a beautiful hand-tied bouquet. After Carolann made the beautiful one pictured, we all had a go with our own flowers.
It was great to welcome some guests, new members and some returning members on an evening that was as busy as it was enjoyable.
Big thanks to Carolann!
Little Bowden WI Bursary
We’re pleased to announce our brand new Little Bowden WI Bursary.
At our May meeting we will draw two names out of a hat and the winners will receive £150 each to put towards learning a new skill.
We had lots of entries at our March meeting and entry slips will also be available in April. If you can’t make those meetings, you can also enter by emailing us.
Winners will receive their money when they let us know what they plan to do with it. We are excited to contribute towards a wide range of new skills, but as the course or activity has to be in line with the values of the WI, we do reserve the right to approve the activity before giving out the funds.
So if you are keen to learn a new craft, language, culinary skill, sport or something else, make sure you get your entry in!
March Meeting – Time for Tea
In March we enjoyed the company of Anna Stasinska of the Old Brickyard Tea Garden in Melton Mowbray.
Our thanks go to Anna who gave a charming talk about all things tea-related before we sampled some of her delicious wares including camomile, gunpowder, darjeeling and good old-fashioned English afternoon tea.
Here’s to putting the kettle on for a (china) cup of (loose leaf) tea!
February Meeting – Show the Love
For our February meeting we were delighted to be joined by the ‘Wire Lady’ aka local artist Sue Clews, who guided us through how to create a beautiful bead-adorned wire heart. Yes, it was Valentine’s Day but it was also the day to Show the Love by making our hearts, not just to adorn our walls but to pledge our commitment to doing our bit when it comes to environmental issues.
Thank you to Sue for what turned out to be a lovely, relaxing meeting
January Meeting – Tai Chi
It was fantastic to see such a great turn out at our January meeting when we were joined by the Confucius Institute from De Montfort University. Our Chinese visitors treated us to a memorable evening, showcasing and teaching the ancient Chinese art of Tai Chi. There was even a bit of Kung Fu thrown in!
If nothing else, the stunning scarlet fans with their satisfying snapping sound cheered up what was a particularly cold and foggy January evening.
November Meeting – Christmas Crafting
We were packed to the rafters at our November meeting when LBWI-favourite Katherine Wright of the Leicestershire Craft Centre guided us through how to make a beautiful burlap wreath just in time for the rapidly approaching festive season.
It was great to welcome Katherine back and also the new members and guests who came along to try us out for the night. We hope to see you again next month.
October Meeting – We are 7!
If it’s October, it’s AGM time at LBWI. Traditionally this means saying farewell to some committee members and welcoming some new ones. This year was no different, although it was an especially significant occasion as our fantastic president Grainne Purkiss and our wonderful secretary Jackie Jones stepped down from an impressive five years in their roles. All of us raised a glass to these inspiring women who have been the driving force behind making us the brilliant and thriving group we are. We will also miss the smiling face of committee member Penny Wallace who also stepped down. But as ever, it’s not really goodbye – Grainne remains on the committee and we look forward to seeing Jackie and Penny enjoying the purely social side of LBWI in the coming year. Also watch out for Jackie who will be treading the boards on a stage near you in panto very soon!
Louise Smith was elected our new president and Elaine Foote and Angela Farrow will be taking on Jackie Jones’ secretarial duties in the year to come. Luckily for us we also have several other new committee members onboard so watch this space for more information on our new members and their roles.
As well as the electioneering, we also adopted the financial report and reviewed our year. Sounds routine but the former was accomplished via a game of pass the parcel and the latter was delivered in the form of a poem by our imitable out-going secretary Jackie Jones. All this was accompanied by chocolate, chocolate cake and some homemade mini cupcakes courtesy of Elaine Foote that were as delectable as they were beautiful.
Business of the evening over, we ended proceedings with some chocolate liqueur and our most hilarious game of bingo yet courtesy of outgoing president but never-to-be-replaced bingo host Grainne Purkiss.
Happy 7th birthday LBWI – many happy returns!
As part of our recent drive to explore new ways to get active, some LBWI ladies had a go at golf under the patient and positive guidance of Steven Whittle from Market Harborough Golf Club. Although most of us had never picked up a 9 iron before, we were soon getting (some) of the balls off the ground and heading vaguely greenwards. We also got some expert insight into the art of putting.
Big thanks to Steven for two extremely enjoyable Saturday mornings and watch this space for more golf opportunities with LBWI.
September Meeting – Thoughtfully Wrapped
What a packed and fun-filled evening we had on Wednesday 13th September when we welcomed Alan from Thoughtfully Wrapped and his daughter Amanda to our meeting.
Alan gave us some very handy hints for wrapping in style including the following gems:
- Matt tape is for matt paper, shiny tape is for shiny paper.
- Be aware that papers are displayed in landscape and portrait in shops and buy accordingly.
- Never underestimate the power of a sticky dot.
- The new-fangled double-sided sticky tape with no back is a game-changer.
- Match your paper to the gift; no huge patterns for tiny boxes please.
- Use tissue paper for little kids – ripping it to shreds is all part of the fun.
- Watch out for pesky bar codes popping up in the wrong places.
- You get what you pay for – always use good quality wrapping paper for the best results.
Under Alan’s expert guidance we made beautiful home-made wine bags complete with hats. And the best bit of all? Just like the boring wine-bags available in shops, these are reusable.
Big thanks again to Alan for a very enjoyable evening and for reminding us it’s the thought that counts when it comes to the presentation as well as the content of a gift.
July Meeting – Summer Cooking
On our last meeting before the summer break, we were treated to the mouthwatering offerings of Mark Hughes of the Gourmet Spice Co. Mark gave us plenty of food for thought when it comes to making our steaks sizzle and salads sing this summer and beyond.
On that note, enjoy your summers ladies and if we don’t see you at one of our August social events we look forward to welcoming you back, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in September.
When we booked our Market Harborough Yard Walk following the success of our recent Ghost Walk, we were crossing our fingers for good weather on the longest day of the year. However, little did we know our historical explorers would be basking in the hottest weather since that long-ago summer of 1976!
Undaunted by the frankly unfeasible temperatures, our members enjoyed seeing a fascinating and often hidden side to our town.
Thanks to everyone who came along and made it such an enjoyable evening.
June Meeting – Knickers Model’s Own
In June we were delighted to welcome Caroline Jones, founder of the phenomenally successful blog, book and website Knickers Model’s Own.
The idea for Knickers Model’s Own was born on New Year’s Eve 2014 when Caroline resolved to channel her grief over her mother’s recent death from cancer into a challenge. But rather than sign up for a sponsored walk, Caroline decided to wear a different outfit sourced from Cancer Research UK shops for the whole of 2015. What followed was a whirlwind year of hard work, media attention and a whopping £63, 000 being raised for Cancer Research UK.
As well as sharing her inspirational story with us, Caroline divulged her tips for putting together a great wardrobe. Whether we regularly pick up hidden gems from charity shops or not, her advice to rid ourselves of the ‘wardrobe of disappointment’ by regularly editing our wardrobe to suit the shape and size we are right now as opposed to when we lose that half a stone resonated with most of us in the room. Her advice to buy less but buy well in our modern world of fast fashion was also well received.
Caroline’s mantra that age and size are no barrier to feeling confident and looking good was an incredibly uplifting message to take home. So charity shops of Market Harborough – watch out for a sudden influx of LBWI ladies on the prowl for a thrifty fashion find!
May Meeting – Resolutions
As always, our May meeting was a busy one. We enjoyed a cream tea as we gave feedback for the past year and came up with ideas to take LBWI from strength to strength over the coming 12 months. We also gave our tonsils their annual work out with our traditional rendition of Jerusalem. The serious business of the evening was attended to when we voted as a WI to back both of this year’s national resolutions. Many thanks to our guest for the evening, Great Bowden WI member and link delegate, Jenny Parr for attending so we could complete this process.
We also cast our votes for the new local charity we will be supporting over the coming two years. Many thanks to everyone who nominated a cause close to their heart. Watch this space for the results of the vote.
We were also pleased to welcome Emma Andrews and Ellen Bridges from Active Harborough to our meeting. Emma and Ellen gave us plenty of food for thought on how we can get active in our district regardless of our age, confidence and fitness level. We look forward to more conversations with them about this important subject.
On the subject of fitness, we also said a huge congratulations to our inspiring member Anne Linsell, who recently completed the London Marathon, giving her a personal tally of no less than seven marathons. Anne, we salute you!
A fun and varied evening was rounded off with a round of Pointless.
April Meeting – citizenAID
In April we were pleased to welcome Brigadier Tim Hodgetts CBE and Consultant Nurse Andrew Thurgood from the major new national initiative citizenAID. Tim and Andrew shared their expert medical experience to empower us to take action to help others in the unlikely yet real possibility that we are caught up in a terrorist attack or mass casualty event.
On the evening we were delighted to host Leicestershire & Rutland Federation Chair Janet Kirk and Vice Chair Glenice Wignall. It was also great to welcome Police Community Support Officer Vince Preston to our meeting.
citizenAID’s crucial key message of ‘be prepared, not scared’ is at the heart of their campaign to educate ordinary people on how they can save lives in the event of a terror incident. We learned practical techniques commonly needed in the event of a stabbing, shooting or bombing incident such as how to improvise a tourniquet for a casualty suffering from severe bleeding.
As recent events in Stockholm and London have unfortunately highlighted, incidents of these kind although rare, are a fact of modern life, so we all agreed it makes sense to be prepared.
The citizenAID app can be downloaded for free and more information can be found here.
Annual Council Meeting 2017
A great day out was had by all the ladies of LBWI who joined other WIs from across the county at the annual ACM held at Leicester Grammar School on March 11th. The highlight of the day’s speakers was the talk by TV historian Lucy Worsley on the changing nature of the home over the centuries.
Big thanks to our members whose generous raffle donations had the attendees flocking to buy tickets for the chance to win one of our gorgeous hampers.
As always LBWI members came up trumps with their creative entries into the various categories. Thanks to the talented offspring of LBWI, we enjoyed a clean sweep in the children’s categories and Eileen Crocker’s delicious hidden beetroot cake scored an impressive second in the cooked cake category.
Big thanks also go to Anne, Liz, Martine, Theresa, Grainne, Sarah and Rachel for their fantastic entries.
March Meeting – Cocoa Amore
Chocolate came with a Leicester-meets-Colombia flavour at our March meeting when we were treated to an evening of education and delectation courtesy of our speaker for the evening, Cocoa Amore‘s chocolatier-in-chief, Pete Gardner.
Not only did we get to taste some truly exceptional chocolate, we also learned a lot of fascinating facts. Who knew that cocoa beans start out white, artificial vanilla flavouring comes from an unmentionable part of a beaver’s body and that in ancient Mayan currency 100 cocoa beans would buy you a male slave, 200 a female slave and 300 a turkey?
Big thanks to the team from Cocoa Amore for a delicious evening. You have definitely gained some loyal afficionados!
February Meeting – The Menopause
Our February meeting saw us welcoming GP and menopause expert Dr Louise Newson.
Even if we’re one of the lucky 20% who have no symptoms, the menopause is an experience that every woman has to go through. Why then is it still such a taboo subject in 2017?
Louise not only addressed this question with aplomb, she empowered us with the essential knowledge we need to navigate the menopause. For example, none of us knew that in 1900 the life expectancy for women was 59, with an average menopause age of 57. These days the average age to experience the menopause is 51, yet with most of us being lucky enough to live into our eighties, we spend more than a quarter of our lives in this phase.
We learned that of the 80% of women who experience symptoms of the menopause, 25% will experience severe symptoms that have a detrimental and sometimes devastating effect on their personal and professional lives. In fact these symptoms are so debilitating in 10% of women that they have to give up work.
Finally and perhaps most importantly, Louise took us beyond the scaremongering newspaper headlines to debunk widely-believed myths surrounding HRT. 75% of women recently surveyed reported that they don’t know enough to make an informed choice about HRT. In 2000, around 26% of menopausal women took HRT. Today this figure is down to around 10%. This is despite the fact that HRT is proven to involve no health risks to women under 45 and is also safe for the majority of women under 60. For the vast majority of women, any risks are smaller than those incurred by alcohol, lack of exercise and carrying excess weight.
So the message is, get informed, spread the word and don’t suffer in silence. Oh and for those of you who were at the meeting – enjoy your party bags!
January Meeting – Ukulele!
We certainly weren’t playing the January blues when we were joined for our first meeting of 2017 by the fabulous and flamboyant La Bella Band who gave us a whirlwind lesson in how to play the ukulele.
Not only did we manage rousing renditions of classics such as Yellow Submarine and La Cucaracha, some of our more intrepid musicians stepped up to the front to form a La Bella and Little Bowden supergroup at the end.
Needless to say a great evening was had by all!
December Meeting – Christmas Cupcakes
For our December meeting we were joined by the lovely Katie from Bumble Cottage Cakes. Katie showed us how to create showstopping festive toppings for cupcakes. Even the less nimble-fingered among us headed home proudly proffering our professional-looking creations to our impressed (incredulous?) family members. Be sure to check out Katie’s website for details of cake-making and decorating classes suitable for beginners in the new year.
In other news Jennifer and Shirley, our stalwart barmaids of the past five years and counting were given a token of our huge appreciation for keeping us supplied with mini bottles of wine, G&Ts and prosecco over the years. Here’s to enjoying the meetings sitting down and enjoying a drink somebody else has poured from now on ladies!
Finally, because it’s Christmas we indulged in sherry and mince pies thanks to Martine and Penny and enjoyed our usual Secret Santa which meant the helpdesk was resplendent with beautifully wrapped gifts. Also, for the second year, we arranged a collection for the Jubilee Food Bank. Thank you so much for your generous donations, which will go towards hopefully making the festive season a little bit brighter for local families in need this Christmas.
It’s been such a fantastic year at LBWI. Merry Christmas to you all and we really look forward to seeing you on the other side for what promises to be a great 2017.
Eating, Drinking and General Festive Merriment
Thanks very much to everyone who came along to our Christmas dinner at the Oat Hill on Friday 25th November.
Christmas may still be a month away, but we all enjoyed getting into the Christmas spirit with great company, seasonal food, plenty of wine and sparkly attire.
We all agreed it was the perfect way to kick off the festive season.
November Meeting – Christmas Spirits with Duncan Murray
For our November meeting we welcomed Market Harborough’s alcohol icon Duncan Murray to a full house (funny that). Duncan introduced us to a few hitherto unknown wintery tipples that are a sure fire way to make Christmas merrier or let’s face it, November less nail-biting or January less jading.
We tried Sir Robin of Locksley gin (a DM exclusive) swiftly followed by liquid heaven in the form of Niepoort’s Senior Tawny Port and LBV Port. It was a revelation for many to discover that both of these are best served chilled, the former as an aperitif or with sweet treats, the latter with cheese or any time at all quite frankly.
Next on the menu was what was for many, proved to be the highlight of the evening, the Briottet Salted Caramel Liqueur. Comparing to this to a certain mass market cream liqueur was akin to likening the dancing skills of Rudolf Nureyev to Ed Balls.
Finally we ended on an Italian note with Expre Espresso Coffee Liqueur. Galvanised by this, some ladies went on to sample their choice from a bonus selcection of Amaretto Saliza, Pain D’Epices (gingerbread liqueur to you and me), Jelley’s Elderflower Vodka, Las Medallas Manzanilla and Pedro Ximenez Colosia (both sherries but not as your granny knew them).
Unsurprisingly, everyone at the meeting had a great time. If you missed it, don’t panic. Duncan told us that his collection of artisan spirits are always available for tasting if you pop into the shop, apart from one special bottle of can’t-quite-remember-what-at-that-point-of-the-evening from 1966.
Those of us at the meeting agreed that not only was this a great night, it was a fabulous example of why it pays to shop local and why we’re really lucky to have one of the UK’s leading independent wine merchants right here on our doorstep.
Renew for 2017
We are now accepting membership renewals for 2017.
Forms will be available at meetings from November onwards. The cost for 2017 will be £39 and as usual you can pay by cash, cheque or BACs.
Thanks to our brilliant members, we’ve had a fantastic 2016 and we look forward to seeing you there as we go from strength to strength in 2017.
New for 2017 – LBWI Book Group
From January LBWI will also stand for Lovely Books Wine Included.
That’s right, we’re launching our very own book group.
Meetings will take place on the first Tuesday of every other month.
Two books; one fiction, one non-fiction, will be discussed at each meeting.
First meeting: Tuesday 3rd January
Fiction book: The Widow by Fiona Barton
Non-fiction book: The Outrun by Amy Liptrot.
Read either or both of these Waterstones bestsellers and come along to discuss them at our first meeting. And don’t forget to bring along your suggestions for future reads.
If you’re interested in joining the group, please email us so we can get an idea of venue size.
In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the first two books.
AGM = Another Great Meeting
The main headline from October’s action-packed AGM is that our president Grainne Purkiss has been voted in for what will be her fifth year at the helm of LBWI. This is wonderful news for us as Grainne works tirelessly behind the scenes in her inimitable style to make us the thriving, fun and ever-growing group we are.
Another highlight was secretary Jackie Jones’ review of the year. Any initial disappointment that she didn’t stand on a chair to deliver her report like she did in 2015 was quickly assuaged when we realised she had compiled her review in poetry form. Her warm, funny and sometimes touching look back at what has been an action-packed year was a real treat. Watch this space to see it here.
Treasurer Karen explained the all-important numbers as we adopted the financial statement and Sasha supremo Penny Wallace treated us all to a fabulous presentation detailing the intrepid LBWI Sasha’s travels over the past year.
Grainne also took the chance to say some thank yous. Firstly, we said a heartfelt thanks to founding member Charlotte Staff, who has decided to step down from the committee. Departing committee members Sarah Conway, Wendy Savill and Jane Bartholomew were also thanked for all their hard work over the past year. We were also very pleased to welcome our new committee members Sarah Pollard and Julie Cuthbertson.
Shirley Dimblebee and Jennifer Purkiss were thanked for all their sterling work keeping us supplied with prosecco, mini bottles of wine and G&Ts over the years. And last but not least, two male friends of LBWI, John and Wal were given a token of our appreciation for their recent support without which our Thames Path Challenge wouldn’t have been possible.
Finally, we ended the evening with a bingo session with a fun and frankly surreal twist.
Here’s to another great year at LBWI!
Happy Birthday to Us!
Six years ago this month, a group of friends and neighbours launched Little Bowden WI with a bang when a full house of ladies turned up to our inaugural meeting.
Fast-forward six years and LBWI has more than lived up to the initial hype. We continue to go from strength to strength as a fun, friendly and forward-thinking WI group for all ages and interests.
Every month we welcome ladies who showed up that first Wednesday evening in 2010 as well as new members and guests who’ve heard how fabulous we are and want to be a part of us.
All our members, new and old are what makes us such a large, lively and lovely group, so many happy returns to all of us!
The summer is all very well, but it was nice to be back to business as usual for our September meeting, where we were joined by Kitty from the Leicestershire Craft Centre, who taught us the not-so-ancient art of arm knitting.
It may have been one of the hottest days of the year, but that didn’t deter a full house of ladies who embraced the chance to craft something creative to wear in the colder days that can only be around the corner.
We look forward to seeing you in October when it will be AGM time again. How time flies when you’re having fun!
WI Sports Week
From the 12th-18th September, it’s WI Sports Week where members are encouraged to try new activities and focus on the benefits of leading an active lifestyle.
Here at LBWI, it turns out we’re an extremely active bunch. A quick straw poll on Facebook revealed that we count running, walking, spinning, studio cycling, body combat, pilates, HIIT circuit classes, cycling, tennis, swimming, body pump, skiing, yoga and of course cake lifting amongst our active pursuits.
Oh and did we mention that we recently completed a trekking challenge?
LBWI Rovers Conquer the Thames Bridge Trek
Tired but happy!
We did it! The LBWI Rovers had a fabulous day in London taking on the 23km Thames Bridge Trek on Saturday 10th September.
The skies were grey and we did get a bit damp, but only in body, not in spirit! New friendships were formed and we all enjoyed soaking up the sights of London as we progressed from West to East.
We started off in style with Ian’s Chain founder, Wendy Savill, taking to the stage and telling the assembled walkers all about this fantastic charity. We then did a bit of Mr Motivator-style limbering up before setting off on our challenge that took us from Bishop’s Park in Fulham all the way to King’s Stairs Gardens in Bermondsey where we received a restoring hot dog and glass of Cava.
So far, we have raised a fantastic £1853.70 for Ian’s Chain. This includes £83.70 raised at our meeting on Wednesday. All the money raised will directly help families who are living in the aftermath of a loved one’s suicide, so all your generous donations are so much appreciated.
LBWI Rovers Hit the Headlines!
Check us out in this week’s Harborough Mail ahead of our Thames Bridge Trek on Saturday 10th September.
On the evening of Monday 5th, our fantastic walk coordinator John Conway and his canine companion Nora the dog were kind enough to lead us on our very own Harborough Bridge Trek on a route that took in the town centre, Welland Park and Great Bowden.
Many thanks to John and Nora for organising all our training walks this summer and sending us off on Saturday with a spring in our step!
Thanks again for all the generous donations we have received. You can still donate here.
LBWI Rovers Smash their Target!
Thanks to the generosity of LBWI members and their families and friends, we have now smashed our fundraising target of £1250 for Ian’s Chain. At the time of writing we have raised an amazing £1300!
Of course there is still time to donate here if you haven’t already.
Again, huge thanks to everyone who has so generously contributed. It’s very much appreciated and your support will certainly put a spring in the step of us LBWI Rovers!
Good Luck to the LBWI Rovers!
Not long now until the intrepid LBWI Rovers tackle the Thames Bridge Trek in support of Ian’s Chain.
To set our nine walkers off on their way in style, our final training walk, which will take place on Monday 5th September, will follow a route around Harborough’s bridges. We’re meeting for this final walk and photo opportunity at the bridge between Sainsbury’s car park and the Croft Wingate gallery car park at 7pm.
Even if you’re not joining us for the trek on the 10th, we would love to see you on Monday.
Big thanks to everyone who has supported us by donating. We’re pleased to say we’ve nearly reached our fundraising target, but the more funds we can raise the better, so there’s still plenty of time to donate here.
Also, if you would like to take one or all of the four spare seats on the minibus, we can offer you a bargain day return to London for £15 per seat. If you’re interested in this, or indeed are able to help us out by being our designated driver for the day, please email us.
Help Us Raise £1250 for Ian’s Chain
As most of you know, a team of us are doing the Thames Bridge Trek on Saturday 10th September to raise money for Ian’s Chain, our chosen charity this year. Ian’s Chain was set up in 2013 by Wendy and Ian Savill to provide much-needed support to people who have lost a loved one to suicide.
The LBWI Rovers are looking forward to the challenge but we still need your help to meet our fundraising target of £1,250.
Please help us get to our target by donating to our JustGiving page here.
Many thanks in advance!
LBWI Goes to the Races
…Or rather the races came to us for our last meeting before we take our usual short break for the summer.
Not only did we dress up to enjoy a flutter, we indulged in an ice cream alongside our usual tea, cakes and prosecco.
We hope the good weather persists and everyone has a brilliant summer. We look forward to seeing you in September.
Fly Away Home
For our June meeting, we enjoyed a fascinating talk from Ladybird book collector Helen Day. Yes, we were transported back to a nostalgic world of shiny shoes, short trousers and sherbert dips, but we also discovered that Ladybird’s cosy, middle-class image is only part of the story. Not only did Peter and Jane walk to the local comprehensive every day, they were part of a family where Peter was expected to lay the table and Jane enjoyed helping Daddy tinker with his car in the garage.
Not only that, the books were never put into boys and girls categories until the Ladybird imprint was sold and Ladybird published many books on the forward-thinking topics of conservation, technology and the gorier side of history.
Just goes to show, you should never judge a book by its cover!
Many thanks go to Helen for an absolutely delightful evening.
It was another super busy meeting in May and we were thrilled to welcome our latest new members.
We voted overwhelmingly in favour of the two NFWI resolutions for 2016, Avoid food waste, address food poverty and Appropriate care in hospitals for people with dementia.
We were also very happy to welcome Denman College Ambassador Glenice Wignall, who spoke to us about the campaign to save this fantastic WI institution. Glenice is a member of Humberstone WI and also Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Public Affairs committee for Leicestershire and Rutland.
We also heard about this year’s main charity fundraiser for our chosen charity Ian’s Chain , which will see the LBWI Rovers team take on the Thames Bridges Trek on Saturday 10th September. If you haven’t already signed up and fancy joining us then please do!
Finally we enjoyed a sumptuous Dutch supper and a beetle drive after our rousing annual rendition of Jersusalem!
Happy Birthday Your Majesty
We celebrated the 90th birthday of WI patron Her Majesty the Queen by doing what the WI does best – baking up a storm! Our fabulous stall was part of the beacon lighting event at Harborough Town FC and thanks to our fabulous members’ donations of sweet and savoury baked goods, we managed to raise a brilliant £295.40 for our chosen charity Ian’s Chain and the Harborough Community Trust.
The jewel in the crown was the fabulous cake for the ‘guess the weight’ competition. This creation fit for a queen didn’t just attract compliments on the night, it created quite the storm on Twitter, gaining fans in WI Life, East Midlands Today and The One Show, to name a few!
Huge thanks go to all our members who baked, organised and manned the stall on the night.
It was a full house for our April meeting with the return of the talented Claire Webb from The Paint Pottle.
This time, we graduated from mere plate painting to actually creating our own outdoor tealight holders from scratch. We will see our unique finished products in all their glazed glory in a few weeks time.
It was wonderful to welcome four new members, bringing our current membership total to 90; a good omen in the week the WI’s most famous member Her Majesty the Queen turns 90!
We were also very pleased to welcome Susan Woollard, member of Great Bowden WI, Chairman of Show Committee, Home Economics Committee and Trustee and Country Markets Rep of Leicestershire and Rutland Federation of the Women’s Institute.
ACM at Leicester Grammar School
The Annual Council Meeting was held at Leicester Grammar School on Saturday 12th March and it proved to be a great day out for Jackie Jones, Karen Rawlings, Grainne Purkiss, Angela Farrow and Rachel Henwood of LBWI.
As always, the proceedings began with the ritual of ‘scarf-laying’ to reserve seats before a mad panic to register our many competition entries, buy aprons, pick up yearbooks, schmooze with county bigwigs and finally join the mile-long tea queue.
Speakers included Tim Diggle from the Leicestershire Hospitals Charity who told us about the important work his charity does, including the crucial funding initiative for provision for mothers of stillborn babies. We also heard from Jenny Gilbert from the undertaking firm A J Adkinson in Oadby, who can boast the honour of being undertaker to the interment of King Richard III.
The main speaker of the day was Tory MP turned TV train enthusiast Michael Portillo who cut a dash in a red jacket and blue trousers as he entertained us with tales of the corridors of power and the TV world.
We’re proud to report that LBWI submitted 17 entries in five categories to the various competitions and as always, we came home with a great haul of prizes!
Congratulations to Sarah Chambers who won the Craft category with her beautiful 3D flower.
Well done to Rachel Buckby who bagged us third place in the 3D flower category with this lovely piece of book art – a skill she learned at LBWI last year!
Congratulations to Anne Steed whose gorgeous creation came second in the Jose Smart Trophy category where the challenge was to make ‘a Corsage for the Olympic Year.’
Finally, thanks to the talented children of Jackie Jones, Karen Rawlings, Claire Durrant, Sarah Pollard and Jane Bartholomew, we achieved clean sweeps in both children’s edible necklace categories.
Big thanks also go to Grainne Purkiss, Scarlet Sanders, Ann Weston, Theresa Outhwaite, Wendy Savill and Steph Bridger for their competition entries.
Welland Valley Group Meeting
On Thursday evening LBWI’s Karen Rawlings, Grainne Purkiss, Elaine Foote, Jackie Jones, Louise Harris and Gaynor Forryan were treated to a lovely evening of afternoon tea-style refreshments and entertainment courtesy of Caldecott WI.
The speaker was ex royal butler William French, who regaled us with stories about serving in the Royal Navy during the Falklands conflict, working for the royals onboard the Royal Yacht Britannia and catering to the whims of the rich and famous including Nicole Kidman.
Big thanks to Ann Weston whose beautiful biscuits bagged LBWI second place in the Easter biscuit competition. We also flexed our powerful quizzing muscles to come first in the ‘Pointless’ themed quiz, mainly due our extensive expertise on the subjects of Roald Dahl, pasta and bears.
Many thanks to the ladies of Caldecott WI for a lovely evening.
What Not to Wear
We were delighted to welcome ten guests and two new members at what turned out to be a very busy and sociable evening on Wednesday.
We were joined by fashion stylist Vicky Smith, who shared her secrets of how we can all look our best. Key messages included finding out which colours suit us and sticking to them, ditching cardigans in favour of the far more stylish option of jackets and wearing the stuff we love rather than saving it for best.
Some of our members volunteered to be guinea pigs so Vicky could demonstrate how we can use accessories to make a style statement and we discussed where celebrities like Kate Middleton, Miranda Hart, Florence Welch and Victoria Beckham shop and what that says about them.
And if anyone’s planning a shopping spree any time soon, bear in mind that the ‘sports luxe’ look is in and the 70s vibe is being heralded by the return of flared jeans.
Forget chocolate, we were treated to an (almost) Valentine’s Day selection of all things deliciously cheesy at our February meeting, courtesy of Tim and Lyn Brown of the Melton Cheeseboard
Not only were we able to sample and buy delicious Blue Stilton, White Stilton and Red Leicester among other stunning cheeses, Tim also reminded us of the importance of shopping local. Yes, we may pay a few pennies more, but we reap the rewards not just with the superior taste but also with the warm fuzzy feeling of supporting local businesses.
2016 Starts With a Bang!
We well and truly banished the January blues with the help of the Great Bowden Recital Trust Carnival Drums. Not only did they entertain us with the magnificent sound of their Afro-Brazilian samba, they soon had us all creating our own samba beats, LBWI style!
Everyone agreed that what we managed to accomplish in just a one-hour workshop was absolutely amazing!
The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House
Back in the summer members of the WI were invited to a very special performance of the Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House, home of the Royal Ballet. It was a case of fastest fingers first when the tickets were released back in September and on Saturday 19th December, those members and their families lucky enough to have bagged tickets headed to Covent Garden for this Christmassiest of treats.
Not only was the ballet the breath taking spectacle you’d expect from the Royal Ballet, the Royal Opera House arranged lots of extra activities before the show, including demonstrations by dancers and the chance to play with props and try on costumes in the sumptuous surroundings of the Crush Room. And in a lovely final touch, all children were given a Royal Opera House snow globe as they left.
Those of us from LBWI who were lucky enough to be there agreed that it was a magical end to our Centenary celebrations.
Spirits were high at our last meeting of the year with a visit from Jamie Baxter of Bureleigh’s Gin. Not only were we treated to a history of the UK’s long love affair with gin, we also sampled some of Burleighs finest offerings, eschewing the traditional lemon for a twist of on-trend pink grapefruit!
We also said merry Christmas with a bumper Secret Santa and built up a similarly large pile of supplies for Jubilee Food Bank.
Merry Christmas to all our members and we look forward to seeing you for what promises to be a varied and interesting 2016 programme of events.
Christmas Dinner from Edward I to Edward VII
Wow – what a fantastic November meeting! Not only did we welcome lots of old and new faces to a full house, we enjoyed a whirlwind history of Christmas dinner from Medieval to Victorian times from the wise and witty food historian Dr Annie Gray. Annie would have had us laughing out loud anyway but our mood of jollity was helped along by her restorative Georgian Punch which you can make as follows:
Equally generous measures of GIN and GINGER WINE
The juice of ½ a LEMON
The peel of ½ a LEMON
A pinch of CINNAMON
One or Two CLOVES
1tsp BROWN SUGAR
Some grated NUTMEG
Put the above into a MUG and top with BOILING WATER. Stir
Drink fast, for it is both a medicine and a joy
Give it a go this Christmas – you’ll never go back to mulled wine. And as for its medicinal properties; it certainly beats a lemsip! While you’re at it, you can raise a glass to the fact that before the Victorians got hold of it, Christmas was a proper 12-day feast that had nothing to do with children and shopping and everything to do with eating, drinking and being very merry indeed!
AGM and Fifth Birthday Party
Our October meeting was a very successful combination of AGM business and fifth birthday celebrations. It was great to see so many familiar faces and welcome six new members to LBWI.
We got down to the AGM business straight away with Karen, our treasurer’s annual financial update followed by secretary Jackie’s report where she reminded us of everything we’ve been up to this year. Meetings have seen us being reintroduced to the wonders of Tupperware, learning about human trafficking with the charity Unseen, practising our Regency-style dance moves and sampling gin and the culinary creations of Ralph Skripek aka the Wild Chef. Social highlights included our trip to the Birmingham Christmas markets and our fabulous Hats & Heels centenary tea party at the Oat Hill. We also hosted the Welland Valley group carol service and launched our Sasha’s Travels initiative where members take our trusty sash on their global adventures. This year we were also delighted to select Ian’s Chain, a local charity that supports people who have lost a loved one to suicide, as our chosen charity.
We then voted in our “new” president Grainne Purkiss and welcomed Elaine Foote back to the committee. We also thanked Dionne Kirby for all her hard work on the committee, a recent high point being making the Oat Hill’s marquee look absolutely stunning LBWI-style for our centenary tea party. Part of this included painting a pebble for every year of the WI’s existence.
Then it was time to toast our five fabulous years with a glass of prosecco and a round of bingo. Here’s to the next five ladies!
And of course it wouldn’t be a proper fifth birthday celebration without party bags complete with balloons, bubbles and cake. Our ‘lifers’ were awarded with pretty WI centenary badges.
Look forward to seeing you next month for some pre-Christmas fun.
Hats, Heels and High Jinks!
We scrub up well
A fabulous time was had by all at our sparkling tea party to celebrate the centenary, on what may have been the last sunny, warm afternoon of the year! How lucky were we to have such lovely weather for our big celebration?
Tuck in ladies
We enjoyed a drop of prosecco and a mouth watering array of sandwiches, cakes and scones in our finery as we listened to a very eclectic selection of music from the past century!
Wonder where they ended up?
Finally we released 100 balloons (each with an interesting WI-related fact) into the late afternoon sky.
Hats off (as it were) to everyone who came along and made it such a successful event. A full gallery of pictures will follow soon.
Roll on our LBWI 5th birthday celebrations at our next meeting on October 14th!
Centenary Afternoon Tea
This is the last call to sign up for our WI centenary and LBWI 5th birthday party next Sunday at 3pm in the lovely marquee and gardens of the Oat Hill. We’ve got just a few places left so if you fancy joining us for a proscecco-laced celebration in your best hats and heels finery, don’t delay, email us by Monday 14th! Cost is £20 per member.
At the moment the weather forecast is looking pretty good, so let’s hope it stays that way.
Our release of 100 balloons to mark the centenary will take place at 4.45pm.
Looking forward to seeing you all at what promises to be a fantastic afternoon.
Spot the process
At our first meeting after the summer break, we were joined by some very welcome new faces at what was a busy meeting. The presence of prosecco at the bar was also a welcome new addition!
Many thanks to Katherine Wright from the Leicestershire Craft Centre , who showed us how to make stunning book art from everything from a discarded Dickens to an old Screwfix catalogue!
See you next month.
Family Performance of The Nutcracker at The Royal Opera House
Calling all ballet fans and lovers of everything festive!
As WI members we have the chance to attend a very special family performance of The Nutcracker on Saturday 19th December at 12.30pm, with extra family-friendly behind-the-scenes events starting at 10am.
The tickets go on sale on Tuesday 8th September at 9am and to be in with a chance of bagging some, you need to register at www.roh.org.uk/treat. Details of how to buy the tickets will be emailed by the Royal Opera House on September 1st.
Hats and Heels Sparkling Centenary Tea Party
Plans are coming along nicely for our centenary celebrations at the Oat Hill on Sunday 20th September at 3pm. It’s going to be a great event, and it will soon be time to start digging out your Ascot-style finery to celebrate in style!
We’ve still got a few spaces left so if you haven’t already, drop us an email to bag your place.
If you’ve put your name down and still haven’t paid, don’t forget to pay by BACs or bring your £20 to the next meeting on September 9th.
Thank you and we look forward to raising a glass with you on the 20th!
Thanks to everyone who came along to our treasure hunt. A great time was had by all and no one went home empty handed – our unlucky losers were awarded two loo rolls (Andrex no less!) in their bottle gift bag.
Our speaker for July was Chief Planning Officer for Harborough District Council, Stephen Pointer.
House building in our town is an emotive and sometimes controversial subject, so everyone was interested to hear about Harborough District Council’s vision leading up until 2031 and the Q & A session after Stephen’s presentation was certainly a lively one!
The main message was that after the large scale development of the Airfield Farm site, future development in Market Harborough will be on a ‘moderate’ scale so as not to prejudice our status as one of the best small market towns to live in in England.
As always, there will be no meeting in August but check out our events page for details of what’s happening over the summer.
Have a lovely summer and see you on September 9th when Leicestershire Craft Centre will be showing us how to get arty with old books.
Our June meeting started with Penny Wallace talking about her and Jo Cameron’s lovely experience at the Buckingham Palace Garden Party and her introduction to Princess Alexandra who said she would like to attend an LBWI meeting! Karen Rawlings also talked about her trip to the centenary AGM at the Albert Hall in London.
We were then educated by Tahir Ahmed about the Universe. He talked about the history and basics of astronomy including planets, stars, comets, black holes, how objects move in our galaxy, and discussed if there could there be life beyond Earth. We looked at star constellations and why Greek mythology was used to explain patterns in the sky and the use of Polaris for navigation and using stars as direction finders for other objects in the sky. There was an outside demonstration showing the Earth’s distance from its neighbouring planet and some astronomy software was used to show us what we can see in the night sky in Market Harborough, during the course of the night.
And as always there was tea, tipples and a truly excellent selection of cake!
Join us on July 8th when we’ll be joined by Stephen Pointer, Harborough District Council’s chief planning officer.
Karen Goes to the AGM
On Thursday 4th June, our treasurer Karen Rawlings went to London for the centenary AGM. Here’s her report of this very special event:
It was a day that had it all. There were 5,000 ‘seriously influential’ women (aka the WI delegates) in attendance at the historic venue of the Royal Albert Hall. The rather impressive guest list included the Queen, Princess Anne and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, no less!
Guest speakers Baroness Tannu Grey-Thomson and TV historian Lucy Worsley had the audience in gales of laughter and there was an abundance of talent present in the form of WI competition winners, choirs, orchestras and public speakers.
There was also the odd technical challenge with link-ups to WIs across the country and a dash of controversy when this year’s resolution was abandoned.
All in all it was a fantastic day with glorious weather and I’m already looking forward to the next one!
WI in the News
It seems like the WI is everywhere this week! Radio 2 listeners may have heard Rabbi Julia Neuberger talking about the importance of the WI in her life on the Pause for Thought slot on the Chris Evans show this morning. Chris mentioned that he’s been asked to speak at WI events but he’s too scared!
There was also lots of press coverage of the centenary garden party at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday and if you missed ITV Central News’ item celebrating 100 years of the Leicestershire and Rutland WI on Wednesday 3rd of June, you can see parts two and three on Thursday and Friday this week.
Also, today our treasurer Karen Rawlings has gone off to the Big Smoke for a very special centenary AGM at the Royal Albert Hall in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen, HRH the Princess Royal and the Countess of Wessex no less. Can’t wait to hear all about it Karen!
LBWI Go To Buckingham Palace!
And as if it wasn’t enough of a treat to have tea in the presence of the Duchess of Cornwall, Jo and Penny were also chosen to be presented to the Queen’s cousin Princess Alexandra, who can rest assured her invitation to our next meeting is in the post!
Watch this space for more pictures and details from Jo and Penny on their big royal day out.
This Year’s Charity: Ian’s Chain
At our May meeting we were given several worthy causes to vote for to devote our fundraising efforts towards during the coming year. The charity we voted to support is Ian’s Chain, a charity set up by Wendy and Alan Savill after their son took his own life aged just 23 in December 2012. The initial aim was to raise funds through music concerts to buy a second hand motor home to lend free of charge to those who have suffered the loss of a loved one to suicide. This was achieved in a year.
Since then, Ian’s Chain have found themselves also helping people who have family members suffering from mental health issues and assisting other charities and those closely aligned with their aims.
At LBWI, we’re looking forward to supporting Ian’s Chain over the coming year.
Last night was a busy one. We kicked off with our traditional annual rendition of Jerusalem before voting in the NFWI’s annual meeting resolution; Failing to Care – Assessment of Need in Long Term Care.
We then enjoyed a glass of prosecco and a bit of bingo.
We also picked up the beautiful plates that we made at last month’s Paint Pottle evening.
See you at next month’s meeting when we’ll be exploring the mysteries of the galaxy.
National Public Affairs 100 Years Survey
What are the big issues are women facing today? Who are the role models inspiring the next generation?
To mark our centenary, the NFWI is conducting a special survey of WI members. The aim is to understand the views of WI members on some of the major issues in Britain today, to find out how members see the world and to understand what role members think the WI has to play in today’s society.
Members are invited to take part in a short survey here
For the @womensinstitute centenary, each week a different WI are tweeting to showcase a week in the lives of their members and organisation. During the week beginning June 8th, it’s our turn, so if you’d like to take part please tell us at the next meeting – or you could even tweet us