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Could you lead the way on walks for the WI?

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Could you lead the way on walks for the WI?

DO YOU love the area you live in?

Would you be prepared to share your knowledge of your part of the Surrey with other WI members?

The Home Economics Committee is looking for members with good local knowledge who would be prepared to lead walks in their area.

If you are interested in doing this, please contact Jill Mulryan — — stating the area you can cover.

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Message from our Federation Chairman (September 2021)

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REwear, REcycle, REduce, REad the label!

Dipping into an anthology of WW II instruction leaflets under the general heading Make Do and Mend, I came across flyers entitled Keep Them Tidy Underneath, Every Woman Her Own Clothes Doctor and Hints on Renovating and Recutting, I realised perhaps for the first time how brutal clothes rationing had been. Reading the advice given, for example, on how to make a “good pair of knickers” from two old pairs is in dramatic contrast to the fast fashion, disposable-after-a-single-wear clothes that are so common today.

I am sure many of you watched Sewing Bee and followed our fellow SFWI member Lawratu who did so well and represented the essence of the WI in such an inspiring way. Well done, Lawratu.

I particularly enjoyed the Skies the Limit challenge where contestants were invited to design and make a wedding dress out of 1940s parachutes. This reminded me that my mother’s wedding dress was made by the local dressmaker from parachute silk in 1950, and how beautiful it was. I recall as a child visiting the same dressmaker. For me the anticipation of the visit was whether the same bunch of mistletoe was still hanging from the lamp in the hall from the previous year. I was never disappointed!

We were in awe of the transformation challenge, but should we also be inspired by it? The restrictions of last year, which meant that we were not able to buy clothes from the High Street, has already changed our clothes buying habits, perhaps forever, but also even what we buy and how we wear it.

The practice of handing down clothes and toys, in my family and beyond, has long been the norm, with the children wearing their cousin’s clothes with pride. I recall learning from an old university friend that some smock dresses that I had made and passed on to one friend’s children had, by some weird and wonderful journey, ended up being worn by the children of a completely different friend, revealed when a photo was shared some 25 years later.

I was fortunate to have learned to sew and do basic tailoring at school. The girls at my school (it was only the girls who were taught to sew) were particularly keen, but I have often wondered whether the lure of the needlework classroom was the fact that the sewing teacher was the girlfriend of a first team player for Leeds United!

Surrey Federation has offered us all many opportunities to develop needlework skills of all kinds, from machine embroidery and goldwork to tailoring jackets and trousers, the latter led by the Federation’s own talented Beryl Havers.

Acquired skills from Denman workshops, formerly residential and more recently Denman at Home, has offered us all the opportunity to acquire new skills. For me it has been patchwork. My first, a sampler quilt, was for my granddaughter. It was made from fabric from dresses she had grown out of. I imagine these clothes will live on in their new guise for many years. On completing a project, I cut the leftover pieces of fabric into 3” or 5” squares, organise them in colour groups and craft them into quilts for the Linus Project.

Recycling-fashion initiatives are on the rise. I love the idea of some major brands inviting customers to return unwanted used clothes that are then given to charities or recycled — a very welcome step.

However, recycling is not a new concept. Born and bred in Morley, my daily bus ticket read ‘Yorkshire Woollen District’. I only questioned its significance after watching a TV programme which focussed on the production of shoddy. Waste wool from the production of high-quality cloth was shredded before being mixed with a small quantity of new wool and woven into a lesser quality cloth — shoddy. Any waste from the process was transported to Kent where it was used as a fertilizer for the hops.

I don’t know that I can claim to be a regular re-fashioner of clothes, but I am a regular re-user, although I did remodel a 100-year-old hat that had a beautifully dramatic, swooping, bird-of-paradise feather that I wore for Churt WI’s 100th birthday celebration. (see above)

I challenge you, as you bring out your Autumn wardrobe, to reduce, rewear, recycle, repair, resell and re-fashion rather than throw away clothes. I am challenging myself to rewear rather than buy new outfits for WI events in future. I did wonder however if I could ring the changes by accessorising, using things I had made during lockown — but felted hand warmers, a climate scarf and a quilt might appear a little eccentric!

But seriously, we must all review and reduce our clothes buying, and if we do buy, we should read the labels to ensure that the clothing is free from plastic, has a long life and is biodegradable. The garments may cost more but if they last longer and they are free from polyester, nylon and plastics this can only be good for the planet.

As we approach the UN Climate Change Conference that aims to Unite the World to Tackle Climate Change, could this be your small contribution to the saving of planet?

Carol A. Gartrell
Federation Chairman

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How I saved a man’s life – a member’s story

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“He just collapsed to the floor … unconscious” by JUDITH BROOME


I WAS on holiday, staying in an entertainment complex and sitting with my son and other people watching a Euros football match on the big screen.

I turned round to get the attention of a waiter to bring us a drink, when a gentleman caught my eye. He was standing with his back to the bar, holding a tray of drinks — then he just collapsed on to the floor, the tray and its contents flying everywhere.

I immediately went over to him as he lay on the ground immobile; fearing he was lying on broken glass, I rolled him over and soon realised he was unconscious.

I could feel no pulse in his neck or wrist, I put my cheek to his mouth and could feel no breath. At this point I called out to the staff to call 999 for an ambulance, which they did.

I had noticed a defibrillator on the wall as I had come into the venue. I started chest compressions, but this did nothing, so I asked someone to bring over the defibrillator. I was feeling very apprehensive as I opened it, but to my great relief the moment I turned it on, I was told what to do.

I followed the instructions which were loud and clear, and I felt as if I had someone with me telling me exactly what to do. Nothing happened after the first shock, so I did chest compressions again, then another shock as the voice advised me. Then amazingly the man took a breath and opened his eyes. Soon after that the ambulance arrived. The man had suffered a cardiac arrest and the paramedics who treated him told me I had saved his life by using the defibrillator.

Please, anyone reading this, do not be scared of attempting to help someone who needs it, you cannot get it wrong. If the patient has a heartbeat the defibrillator will not work, so you will do no harm.

Judith, a former Trustee of Surrey Federation, was in the right place at the right time to save a life. She says: Don’t be afraid to help


So if you had to — could you do it? Don’t be scared! says HILARY BROOKS (Trustee and retired district nurse)

FOLLOWING news of the footballer whose life was saved on the field by use of a defibrillator, we have sought permission from the British Heart Foundation* to publish their instructions on the use of a defibrillator in an emergency.

You will only be able to do the best you can in any circumstance but you will vastly improve your knowledge and confidence if you watch the video on the BHF website —

All defibrillators are self explanatory and difficult to misuse. Don’t be scared, be ready to help, after all you are a WI member!

If you come across someone who is unconscious, unresponsive, not breathing or not breathing normally, they’re in cardiac arrest. The most important thing is to call 999 and start CPR to keep the blood flowing to the brain and around the body. After a cardiac arrest, every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces someone’s chance of survival by 10 per cent.

If you are on your own, don’t interrupt the CPR to go and get a defibrillator. If it’s possible, send someone else to find one, or shout for help while you continue CPR. When you call 999, the operator can tell you if there’s a public access defibrillator nearby.

To use a defibrillator, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Turn the defibrillator on by pressing the green button and follow its instructions.

Step 2: Peel off the sticky pads and attach them to the patient’s skin, one on each side of the chest, as shown in the picture on the defibrillator.

Step 3: Once the pads have been attached, stop CPR and don’t touch the patient. The defibrillator will then analyse the patient’s heart rhythm.

Step 4: The defibrillator will assess whether a shock is needed and if so, it will tell you to press the shock button. An automatic defibrillator will shock the patient without prompt. Do not touch the patient while they are being shocked.

Step 5: The defibrillator will tell you when the shock has been delivered and whether you need to continue CPR.

Step 6: Continue with chest compressions and rescue breaths until the patient shows signs of life or the defibrillator tells you to stop so it can analyse the heartbeat again, or a paramedic arrives to take control.



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September’s edition of Surrey WI News now available here

By News

September’s Surrey WI News is now available for you to read online.

This month’s edition includes how one of our members saved a life, meet our two new advisors, getting ready for Christmas plus lots more! 

Please click on the following link to view on your phone, tablet or computer via Flipsnack the September edition of Surrey WI News.

If you would like some help accessing the digital version of SWIN, there is now a user guide on how to access the online version, download it and print it. The user guide can be read here.

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At your service: Our staff and volunteers

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Apart from our paid staff — a full time Federation Secretary, part-time administrator and part-time book-keeper — everything else at Federation level is undertaken by unpaid volunteers. This includes the Board of Trustees  (Chairman, Treasurer, plus nine Trustees, seven Advisers — one of whom is also a Trustee — plus two in training, committee members and those who hold Federation posts).

It is these volunteers who shape and deliver, in their own time, everything offered by the Federation.

We provide a wide range of ‘services’ that are available to members. Here are some examples, although the list is not comprehensive.

Education and Events

As a charity, the WI’s prime aim is, and always has been, education. We offer a wide range of events, such as online talks on a variety of subjects, outings to places of interest, workshops in cookery, craft, gardening etc. Many of these events are put on at cost, and many members who attend our workshops share the knowledge and skills they have acquired with their WIs, for the benefit of all.


Coupled with education is our role as a vehicle for providing training opportunities. These include preparing for the role of Treasurer or an Independent Financial Adviser, Food Hygiene Certificates, WI officer roles, public speaking, demonstrator training, craft and cookery judge training, information technology etc. Not only can the acquisition of these skills also benefit the member’s WI, but some members have found they have boosted their employment opportunities.

Adviser support

WI Advisers are available on request to support all aspects of the day to day running of the Federation’s WIs. The training of Advisers is done by NFWI but paid for by the Federation.

Public Affairs

We are active in public affairs, providing briefings on resolutions, affiliation to the Associated Countrywomen of the World, and participating in campaign initiatives.

Interest Groups

We have groups catering for those interested in photography and craft work and hopefully our choir, the Surrey Serenaders will be back in song next month.

Federation Posts

We have an archivist who advises on the keeping of current records and manages the preservation of past Federation and WI records.

Our magazine editor is a retired professional journalist who edits and designs our monthly magazine from home and also produced the booklet Stitches in Time featuring the wall hangings kept at HQ and the stories attached to them.


In addition, there are other, less visible (and glamorous) tasks, which members carry out for the Federation:

  • We have just completed a lengthy, time consuming and complex legal process to ensure that the NFWI and SFWI Articles of Association (AofA), and the WI Constitution are compliant with the Companies Acts 1985 to 2006 and the Charity Commission.
  • The Federation’s Policies and Terms of Reference are constantly appraised and revised to ensure that they are fit for purpose in an ever-changing environment.

A link between our members and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes

Our role also includes processing, interpreting, disseminating and implementing NFWI processes, policies and the election of the NFWI Board members etc.; administrating and ticketing of the NFWI Annual Meeting (which is a requirement of the AofA) and disseminating information about NFWI events, initiatives and guidance on matters such as resuming meetings.

Marketing the WI

This includes new branding for the Federation: a logo, new website, our monthly magazine and a much more visible social media presence in order to raise the profile of the Federation and its constituent WIs and aid recruitment. We ensure that the WI is represented at county shows to highlight our work, raise our profile and recruit new members.

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Why we should all bee-friend nature’s little helpers

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Bees in Your Garden, the Zoom talk arranged by the Home Economics Committee and delivered by Michelle Ernoult, was most enjoyable and extremely informative.

Michelle, who is an excellent speaker, has an allotment and took over a beehive from an adjoining plot when the previous owner retired. She has since become completely and utterly fascinated by bees and bee keeping.

Who knew that bees were active in the dinosaur era and mainly collected nectar from ferns?

There are approximately 22,000 catalogued bees, with over 200 types of social, solitary, bumble and honey bees in the UK alone. From very early in the year bees are collecting nectar from a wide variety of flowers, and in the process pollen adheres to their legs and bodies.

Some of this pollen is taken back to the hive or the bee’s home, but some is deposited on the ovary of subsequent flowers that the bee visits. This then fertilises the flower’s “egg” and leads to the development of fruits and seeds. Hence bees are essential to the production of most foods.

Flowers have developed various strategies to attract different species of bees. Poppies, for example have to be “shaken” by the bees to get to the pollen and nectar, whilst others have developed bright colours and signals to direct the bee towards the centre of the flower.

Michelle gave suggestions of how we can help bees: build or purchase bee hotels, provide shallow dishes of water, arrange small flowered plants in clumps and provide both early and late forage.

Herbs are a particular favourite of bees and when vegetables are allowed to “bolt”, their flowers provide them with extra food and seeds for the gardener. Planted containers can be a “pit stop” for a weary bee, as can a wild flower patch in your lawn. And we should all avoid using pesticides and fungicides.

If you go to Michelle’s website, www.thelittlehoneybeecompany, you will find even more information about bees and can view the items she produces with their help.

Chris Butterfield

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Can you offer a home to any of these items?

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Do you know any young people furnishing their first home, or students off to university looking for  nicer furniture for their digs? Or maybe you need something on which to practice your reupholstery skills? If so read on.

We need homes for some of the furniture from the Surrey room at Denman. On offer are:

  • One wingback chair, 35½ inches high, 16½ in. wide and 16in. deep. Light green in colour, in very good condition with a fire safety certificate. Ideal Money for Nothing project à la Sarah Moore! (There was a pair but one has been taken.)
  • A dining chair with a wooden frame and wicker seat, 37¼ in. in high, 27 in. wide and 30 in. deep. It is old but useable and in good condition with just a few scratches on the wood.
  • Mirror, 50¼ in. high, 39¼ in. wide and 1¾ in. deep, in a gold frame. This would make a lovely addition to any home.

We also have available a four drawer brown/cream Bisley filing cabinet, which is surplus to requirements.

Please email offers on any of these to by Tuesday, 31 August 2021.

If more than one offer is received for an item it will go to the sender of the highest offer. You must arrange your own transport to collect the item from our Guildford office at a mutually convenient time.

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Do you play walking netball – or would you like to?

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Walking netball is a sociable sport that can be played at the level and pace determined by the members of the team. It helps participants to maintain mobility and coordination in an enjoyable and friendly manner.

Does your WI play walking netball?

If so, the Home Economics Committee would like to hear from you. We are carrying out a survey across the county to find out how many members play walking netball either within their own WI, or at a venue with other members of the public.

We would be interested to know how many of your members play on a regular basis, where they play and who coaches or leads the sessions. Do they play matches against other teams and do they take part in any tournaments — if so, where and when?

If you have members who wish to take up walking netball, the Federation has registered an expression of interest in available funding, in order to be able to offer groups a six week course with a trained coach.

Your WI will need to find a venue, either at a suitable hall or leisure centre. Your WI can then apply for a grant towards the cost of the venue and a coach will be provided to run six sessions for approx. 20 people; they will also train up a person to lead the group after the six-week course has finished.

If there are insufficient members from your WI to make up a game you can combine with a neighbouring WI so that a course can be offered. Just let us know how many interested members you have and the venue you wish to use.

We are awaiting confirmation as to whether SFWI applies for the funding or whether WIs have to apply directly.

Please contact the SFWI office with information to help in our survey, or for further details of coaching sessions if you have members wishing to take part in the sport.

Meriel Sexton
Home Economics, Craft and Gardening Sub-committee

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Treasurer Workshops

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I am hoping to hold these workshops, but as we do not know what the rules will be by then for social distancing we might be limited on numbers for that reason as well as the limit I have for the workshops to enable participation. Hopefully, it will not be the case, but we might still have some sort of lockdown in place.

  • 1.00m – 4.00pm Monday, 23 August 2021 at SFWI HQ, 6 Paris, Parklands, Railton Road, Guildford GU2 9JX – BOOK HERE
  • 1.00pm – 4.00pm Tuesday, 31 August 2021 Oakhall Church, 181 Chaldon Road, Caterham CR3 5PL BOOK HERE
  • 10.00am -1.00pm Thursday, 23 September 2021 at SFWI HQ BOOK HERE
  • 10.00am -1.00pm Saturday, 25 September 2021 at Oakhall Church. BOOK HERE

As in previous workshops I plan to cover what I consider the essential areas together with the areas I am asked about most often.  This includes:

  • What is the role of the treasurer?
  • How or where to record transactions?
  • Reconciling the bank account,
  • What is an agent?
  • Discussion of type expenditure that is allowed,
  • Practical problems resulting from bank closures and other topics as required.

The workshop format means you can have input and will learn from other Treasurers, not just me. Participation is helpful but not essential. However, this also means the topics covered in most detail are flexible as I will concentrate on what appears to be the main requirements of the attendees.  These are for Treasurers, Assistant Treasurers, anyone thinking about the role.

If you have specific queries about your WI’s figures I might have a chance to answer them, in which case please bring laptop or accounts book with you.  WiFi access cannot be guaranteed.  The current version of the Surrey spreadsheet and the Treasurers Handbook are available in the WI Treasurers section of the Document Library page.

Tickets cost £9 for the session.  With the agreement of your Wl’s members the ticket cost and reasonable travel costs may be reclaimed from your WI. Tea and coffee will be provided.

I look forward to seeing you there

Sheena Landgraf
Federation Treasurer

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