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Guarlford Women's Institute


There has been some reorganizing by the County Federation, and at the beginning of 2017 Guarlford WI was moved from the Malvern Hills Group of WIs into the Severn Group, which covers a large area and now consists of Hanley Castle, St Gabriel’s (Hanley Swan), Hot Peppers (Upton), Queenhill & District,  Ripple & Earls Croome, Welland, Poolbrook, Wells & Wyche and Guarlford. We are getting to know our new colleagues.

Meetings in the Village Hall

After a very good Sunday Lunch in January 2017 at the Worcestershire Golf Club with our husbands and partners, our meetings in Guarlford Village Hall resumed at 7.30 pm on Tuesday 14th February, when we were treated to the second episode of member Jackie’s journey, sailing around the world with her partner in their 40 foot ketch. We had heard the first part in February 2016 and were looking forward to the next - we were not disappointed. On this stage of the journey, still with their two cats, they sailed on from the Panama Canal heading for New Zealand, via the Galapagos Islands and French Polynesia. They spent four to five weeks in the Galapagos, and we were shown photographs of wonderful views and wildlife, including Minke whales and the famous tortoises.

On their journeys the couple make landfall and call at islands for expeditions, so they had many anecdotes and photos to share with us. One island they visited was Suwarrow, and we heard the story of New Zealander Tom Neale, who spent a total of 16 years in three periods in isolation on this coral atoll, way out in the Pacific Ocean. Tom wrote a book about his adventures, called “An Island To Oneself” and is commemorated on the island with a statue and rock inscribed “1952 – 77, Tom Neale lived his dream on this island”; you can read his story and see photos on the Internet. We left the pair at the end of this section of their nine and a half year journey, having visited the Cook Islands, on their way to New Zealand.

In March Hazel Robinson came to talk to us about ‘How to look our best’. Hazel is an Image and Style Consultant specialising in working with women in business, based in Malvern, and gave us some useful advice.

Then on April 11th we welcomed back Rosemary Prosser as our speaker for the evening. Rosemary has visited us before and has never failed to entertain, and so it was again. One of her mottos is that 'laughter is the best medicine', and she began with a joke:- 

A married couple in their 60s were visited by a fairy who granted them each a wish. “I want to travel around the world with my darling husband," said the wife, and two tickets for a luxury cruise magically appeared in her hand. Her husband said, “Sorry love, my wish is to have a wife 30 years younger than me …” *So the fairy waved her wand and the husband became 92....

Rosemary grew up as a farmer's daughter, married a farmer, worked in agriculture and also spent ten years as a Police Officer. When the family moved into a six bedroom farmhouse in the 1980s Rosemary decided to start a Bed & Breakfast business, and her talk "One Egg Or Two?" was based on her experiences. It was hard work but enjoyable, and Rosemary had many anecdotes to tell us. Towards the end of her talk Rosemary did strike a serious note, when she told us about her campaign to ensure that people know about the dangers of Lyme Disease, as her daughter and son have caught it at different times and suffered considerably. Rosemary warned us to keep arms and legs covered to avoid picking up ticks when walking in woodland, on moors and even in parks and gardens, and to check our pets, as ticks can be dealt with simply. You can find out more about this on www.LymeDiseaseAction.org.uk.

Of course, Rosemary couldn't finish on a gloomy note but told us that "A true friend thinks you are a good egg, even though she knows you are slightly cracked!"

At our Birthday Meeting on June 13th, a very tasty supper was provided by the Committee, and entertainment by members - a selection of monologues, spoken and sung, and a competition to identify our friends in childhood photographs. In July we had a presentation of Victorian and early twentieth century Magic Lantern slides, to be followed in August by a demonstration of "Neck and Shoulder Massage" by one of our members who came with a Red Cross colleague to speak about the benefits of massage. They told us about their work with elderly and recuperating patients and how their massages can help people relax and so aid their recovery. Several members benefitted from a neck and shoulders or arm and hand massage and everyone reported that it had been a very enjoyable and relaxing experience - more than one set of eyelids was seen to droop.

On October 10th members enjoyed a talk and demonstration by Avril Pulley, who had worked for Worcester Porcelain making flowers. Avril showed members how to make Christmas Plaques, which are 10 cm discs of hard sugar paste, known as Mexican Paste, onto which she assembled other small pieces that had been stamped out to create flowers, animals, snowmen, foliage numbers, letters etc. The completed plaques can be used on cakes or for other decorations, as they are very strong when completely dry. They were very attractive. Avril also demonstrated how to make sugar roses - it looked so easy in the hands of an expert! Altogether a very interesting evening.

Resolutions Meeting

At our Resolutions Meeting in May we discussed the two Resolutions to be put to the National Annual Meeting in June. The first was about ‘Alleviating loneliness’:

This meeting calls on every WI and the NFWI to work alongside health and social care providers and their local community to raise awareness of the causes and impacts of loneliness, thus ensuring better identification of lonely people in order to be able to offer them the appropriate assistance and support.

The second Resolution was ‘Plastic Soup: keep microplastic fibres out of our ocean’ which says

Microplastic fibres are shed from synthetic clothing with every wash and are the main contributors to microplastic contamination of the oceans. The NFWI calls on Government and industry to research and develop innovative solutions to this problem in order to stop the accumulation of microplastic fibres in our oceans.

Charity Make

For our ‘Charity Make’ in 2017 we decided to knit ‘Twiddlemuffs’ and sew ‘Fidget quilts’.

Fidget muffs

Fidget muffs

Several organisations are creating these items at the moment, which are destined for people with dementia. Those caring for dementia patients noticed that many fidgeted constantly, pleating fabric or twiddling buttons, so someone designed colourful muffs (also keep the hands warm) and lap quilts, with various items safely stitched to them: ribbons, buttons, zips, Velcro and even pockets for a photograph. These not only had a calming effect but, depending on what is attached, also prompted conversation. So we used our knitting and patchwork skills to create some of each.

Fidget quilts

Fidget quilts


Other events

Some of the Guarlford ladies had an interesting afternoon visit to Hellens at Much Marcle, where the guide was very enthusiastic and told many tales about the fascinating old house and Gardens. The tea room was very welcoming - the pea soup and cream teas come highly recommended!

In July the Skittles team acquitted themselves well at the Group Skittles Evening, finishing with the third highest overall score and one of the team knocking all nine pins down.

September was an Open Meeting with a presentation given by retired scientist Mike Burstow, entitled “How TRE Changed Malvern”. He is an excellent speaker with well chosen photographs showing familiar places in Malvern and how they were adapted to accommodate so many scientists when the Telecommunications Research Establishment was quickly moved to Malvern from Swanage in May 1942.  This move had a great impact on the development of the Malvern area during and after WW2.  After the presentation, husbands, partners and other visitors joined members in a lively session of questions and personal recollections.

Fun Quiz

Every two years we have a Fun Quiz to raise funds, and in 2017 this took place on September 29th. It was a hectic but very successful evening with sixteen teams of four taking part. There was a lot of good-humoured banter and a pleasingly close result. It was also generally agreed that the refreshments of home made soup and puddings were up to standard. A satisfactory amount was raised for our own funds and a generous raffle result meant that £104 could be donated to the ACWW water project.

End of the year

Our Annual Meeting took place on November 14th, when the Committee was re-elected with the welcome addition of a new member. The Guarlford Christmas Fair took place on the afternoon of Saturday December 2nd, and members were very involved in providing refreshments and running stalls. The Craft stall raised almost £250 for the Village Hall and the two parish churches. Unfortunately our Christmas Meeting on December 12th was cancelled because the heavy snowfall the previous weekend made the lane beside the Village Hall very slippery - and it was very cold!


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