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Lady Denman Cup Update

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The theme for this year’s Lady Denman Cup is “What I heard on the bus”.

Using no more than 500 words, WI members were invited to submit a piece of writing, either comical, serious, fact or fiction, based on a conversation they have overheard, or imagined they had heard, on the bus.

We’re excited to announce that from the entries submitted from WI’s across Surrey, the following members have been selected to go onto the national judging with NFWI:

Maureen Smith (Redstone WI)

Angie Leach (Streatham WI)

Georgina Wagner (Streatham WI)

Keeping our fingers crossed for you!

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On the scavenge — teams go on a virtual hunt

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Four groups took part in our virtual scavenger hunt last month, some out- doors and some home-based. 

Streatham WI (Mandria Mystery Mob) joined us from sunny Cyprus, with antics from around the pool, house and pub; Tadworth WI ( Walton Wanderers) were based in a house in Pyford; Weybridge WI (Walton Wingers) joined us from Wal- ton town centre and found themselves singing and preaching about their WI around the town, while New Haw and Woodham (Pyford Squirrels) also hunted from home. 

The teams had a list of 30 objects to find or tasks to carry out, with points awarded for each successfully achieved. Pictures to prove the task had been completed had to be emailed to the organisers within two hours. 

This is what they had to do/find (points awarded in brackets): 

Bus selfie (5), Random act of kindness (4), Most expensive and cheapest jams (1), Best selling book by a female author (1), Team pic (2), Christmas comes early (2), Film/book on slavery (2), Plas- tic-free veg (1), ‘Beatles’ zebra crossing (4), Pick a bag of litter (3 per bag), Local alcohol (2); Green space (2), ‘Free From’ item (1), Human WI letters (2) “Smear” something (3), Tell a stranger a joke and make them smile (5), Represents resolutions (4), Small ran- dom item in random place (2), Preach about the WI (4), Indepen- dent shop selfie (1), Calendar Girls (5), Home-made (3), Pollinator picture (1), Drink from your reusable cup/bottle (1), Worst charity shop find under £3 (1), Inspiring women (4), Public Jerusalem sin- galong (5), Zoom (4), Find a hybrid car/electric car charging point (4), ‘Too hot to handle’ (4). 

Weybridge were the winners with 91 points. 

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Growing your WI: The Southey Cup 2021

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Growing your WI: The Southey Cup 2021 

Next year the Southey Cup will be awarded to the WI which has used social media or technology to grow and maintain their WI in the most effective, creative and innovative way. 

The challenges to all WIs from Covid 19 have highlighted the value and the potential of increased use of social media and technology. 

Some WIs were already using social media to inform and care for their members and to at- tract more, and they have been able to expand their range. 

Some took the plunge in order to keep in touch with their members. Lots have taken advantage of SFWI’s offers of advice and train- ing and the simple tutorials on MyWI. Zoom has enabled many WIs to “meet” and to thrive. 

Technology is certainly a way forward, both in running and promoting your WI in your community. 

So get ready to email the office with a link to your Facebook page, website etc, plus a description of how technology has helped you to maintain and grow your WI. Entry details will be announced soon.

Ann Lillywhite, Membership Committee

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Let us entertain you…the ELF Committee

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Let us entertain you… the ELF Committee

HELLO fellow WI members. I should like to introduce you to the Events, Leisure and Fundraising Committee, lovingly known as ELF. 

My name is Marion Mitchell and I am the Chairman. Lynne Simpkins is Vice Chair and the members are Judith Broome, Sally Digby, Shirley Reed, Debbie Playle, Lesley Stedman, Sue Sargent, Jennie Hemal-Cooke, Margaret Lamb, Jackie Purrett and Pat Whiffen. 

I know that many of you have attended one or two if not more of the events or leisure pursuits that the ELF team have organised over the years and I wish to personally thank you for your support. 

This year a new committee member who lives in the Dorking and Reigate area has joined us and we were hoping to introduce events more accessible for WIs in that area but unfortunately the virus put a stop to that. However, new events for 2021 are being investigated. 

Regular attendees of our events will be aware that we occasionally repeat some events and pursuits each year, purely due to their popularity and demand. However, we are endeavouring to include new events in between the more popular ones. 

This year we had a great 2020 programme to offer, and it was thought by many as being the most exciting and educational that has been organised for some time. It included three Blue Badge London guided tours, two Croquet Taster Days, a Bridge Tea, a Mah Jong Refresher day with lunch, the Federation’s Supper Quiz, the ever popular annual Literary Lunch that was due to be held in a larger venue seating 140, a trip to the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, with afternoon tea at a Sussex WI, and as a finale, booking all 180 places at the Brick Lane Music Hall for Federation members 

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 outbreak in early March only the two London walks went ahead. All other events had to be cancelled — including Brick Lane.

There have been a few new introductions to the programme in the last few years – an Indoor Bowling Tater Day and a trip to the Hawk Conservancy, both of which had to be cancelled due to a lack of applicants.

I am immensely proud of my ELF committee who work tirelessly to bring you events that are both educational and for your enjoyment and entertainment. The team are encouraged to seek out and investigate any suggestions, recommendations, or requests that you send to us via the office. 

This year a new committee member who lives in the Dorking and Reigate area has joined us and we were hoping to introduce events more accessible for WIs in that area but unfortunately the virus put a stop to that. However, new events for 2021 are being investigated. 

We are looking to replicate the 2020 programme in 2021 so if you were ready to book your favourites this year please look out for them in next year’s programme. I encourage you to get your applications in early! 

Thank you again for the support you have given the ELF team over the years. We look forward to seeing you soon so take care and keep safe.

Marion Mitchell, Chairman, Events, Leisure and Fundraising Committee

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A new WI for Surrey – but it’s online only!

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A new WI for Surrey – but it’s online only 

Surrey Federation has agreed to be one of the Federations trialling a virtual WI. 

It will run like any other WI, with fully paid up members, a committee, officers, monthly meetings, subgroups and all of the fun of a “normal” WI — except its main venue will be virtual, on Zoom or similar. 

The virtual WI is not intended to replace any existing ones and is seeking to attract women with no previous WI experience as well as current members who would find an onscreen-only WI more suitable for their needs than a physical one. 

For example, it would be ideal for WI members or non-members who are full-time carers and find it difficult to leave their loved ones for too long, or women with disabilities for whom getting out and about is not easy. 

Advisers are gathering names and planning introductory Zoom meetings to get this WI started. If you are interested or know of non-WI members who may be, please get in touch by sending an email to 

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Coming to a screen near you… our one stop training workshop

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Coming to a screen near you… our one stop training workshop

In March 2019 the Membership Committee held a very successful One Stop Training day in Kennington, featuring a series of workshops aimed at helping you make the most of technology to promote and improve your WI. 

Not only did it provide a valuable educational opportunity, it enabled Surrey members to meet and mingle and share experiences. 

We are repeating the exercise on Saturday, February 6, 2021. But with Covid-19 hanging over us, this time we will use the technology and conduct the event via Zoom. 

There will be a series of workshops be- tween 9am and 4pm — timings as follows: 9am-10.40am; 11.10am-1pm; Lunch 1-2pm; and 2pm-4pm. 

The workshops will include: 

  • 􏰀General Committee, Presidents, Secretaries and Treasurers; 
  • 􏰀How to make a Powerpoint presentation; 􏰀 
  • Get the most out of your email account; 
  • Getting the best out of social media; 􏰀 
  • Promoting your WI; 
  • 􏰀IT help with setting up social media accounts; 
  • Ideas to grow your WI;
  • Resolutions, campaigns, extra activities, programme planning. 

The cost will be £10 per person and for that you get your choice of three workshops, an informal lunch time Zoom chat and an ‘after hours’ informal chat with other attendees at the end of the day — so the interaction with other members will not be lost. Look out for more details of the full programme. 

So make a note of the date, decide which workshops will be the most use to you, and get ready to book your place! 

Angie Leach, Chairman, Membership Committee

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Come for a virtual tour down on the farm

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Come for a virtual tour down on the farm 

Some of you will have met farmer Ian Jones when he came to our Farm to Fork presentation at Great Bookham last July. Now Ian is inviting you to visit his farm — virtually of course — set in the beautiful Surrey Hills near Dorking — for a tour and talk, Farm to Fork — Adapting to Survive a Pandemic. 

Two dates/times are available: Thursday, October 15 from 10.30am-12noon and Friday, October 16 from 2.30pm-4pm, both via Zoom. The cost is £3 for each event and you can book online via Eventbrite. 

Ian Jones left a senior role within the hotel industry in 2018 to set up Hill House Farm with his father, rearing pedigree free range Gloucester Old Spot pigs and Southdown sheep. They quickly established themselves as a leading light in the Surrey food scene, picking up multiple awards and supplying homes, hotels, restaurants and retailers, as well as developing a successful outside catering arm using their farm produce. 

2020 was budgeted to be their bumper year, with a growing list of wholesale customers and multiple events booked for their catering operation. 

Then on Thursday, March 18 everything changed. The hospitality industry closed, all their events were cancelled and their customers were forced to close their doors overnight. 

Having invested heavily in the business, Ian and his father were not willing to roll over in defeat. Four days later Ian had created a catalogue of products for home delivery, partnering with a local dairy and artisan baker. Working off the backs of envelopes, 

emails and telephone calls, they quickly developed a home delivery business, supplying hundreds of homes in Dorking and around the whole of Surrey. 

By May they had launched the online farm shop, which now has over 240 products from 18 carefully selected farmers and producers from Surrey and Sussex and have developed a successful mail order business sending gifts and hampers of Surrey produce to homes all over the country. 

As butchers and chefs, with decades of experience between them, they work hard to prepare their produce to the same high standards you would expect in any high- end establishment. 

Ian will show you around the farm, the food production facility and talk about their ethos as farmers and food producers and give an illustrated talk on butchery, using a variety of cuts that can offer great value, including the cheaper cuts of meat. There may be an opportunity to ask questions.

Meriel Sexton, Vice Chair, Home Economics Committee

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What’s New from HQ (October 2020)

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What’s new from HQ

The following mailing was sent to WIs at the end of September: 

􏰀WI Annual Review Form 

􏰀WI Information Form 

Please complete any forms very accurately and clearly in print and return to the office as soon as possible. The information is needed to update our records to ensure that WIs and officers receive the most up to date information. 

The 2021 NFWI Annual Meeting (AM) is planned for Monday, April 19 at the Royal Albert Hall. The NFWI will inform us of our ticket allocation this month. We will send you the information as soon as we receive it. We have been told the price for observer tickets is £22. 

Please remember that this is written at least a month in advance so please check the letter that comes with the mailing for the most up to date information. Please contact the office, preferably by email, as soon as possible if you have not received any of the above. 

The Annual Review and Information Forms are also on the Surrey Federation website to save on paper and postage. 

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Message from our Federation Chairman (October 2020)

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What will our Covid legacy be?

What was your legacy from your forebears? Mine was from coal mining. Many generations on both sides of my family worked in the South Yorkshire coal field. Benefits there were many — relative wealth, education, housing and a strong sense of community — but chronic disease and even death, was an unwelcomed spectre. I benefited from the former, but fortunately not from the latter. 

Such thoughts lead me to wonder what the legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic will be. What have you noticed about the new normal within your WI? Have you experienced the added value of meeting WI members in new and different ways and environments? What benefits did you reap from the imposed lockdown? A squeaky-clean house perhaps, strong friendships nurtured via a telephone line, a window box or a garden burgeoning with flowers or vegetables that you would never normally have grown. My garden has been taken over by a fascinating collection of gourds. 

Have you experienced a new sense of be- longing to the WI as members have demonstrated their imagination and ingenuity as they have found different ways to engage, through socially distanced teas, garden visits, curated walks, small craft meetings and Zoom get-togethers? 

Finding new ways to engage with WI members is currently what the Federation is working on — capitalising on the wonders of the digital age which have brought welcome interactions with our families and friends into our homes (many of which you have been forcibly required to engage with) but to hitherto unbelievable benefit. 

Similar blue-skies thinking has been happen- ing at Federation level where committee Chairmen and Vice Chairmen have got together to develop and produce an exciting programme for all members for the autumn and winter, including workshops with an aim to reinvent our offerings to reach a wider audience and to bridge the gap until we can resume cross county meetings. 

You will be offered social meetings with your advisers, craft and cookery workshops, take a farm tour, challenges, training opportunities, talks, quizzes, a murder mystery and much more, via Zoom on weekdays and weekends, mornings, afternoons and evenings, enabling the widest possible audience to be engaged. All will be advertised in SWIN, on the web- site and social media. The programme will be constantly updated. Bookings will be made via the online ticketing service, Eventbrite, which you will have used if you have booked to visit a National Trust garden this summer. 

Returning to my thoughts of legacy. What will your legacy be? A hand crafted quilt made for a baby born during lockdown, a tree planted for many future generations to enjoy, a cli- mate change scarf or blanket, poppies for the RAF Memorial Museum, greening an un- tended patch of community land, scrubs for the NHS and care homes? I would love to know. But what might our legacy to the Earth be? 

In 536 AD ‘The sun gave forth its light without brightness like the moon during the whole year,’ the Byzantine historian Procopius recorded. For 18 months the world was without sunshine. This was followed in 541 AD by the first recorded pandemic which, it is believed, killed up to half the world’s population. This mysterious climate catastrophe and first global pandemic left its record in the rocks, ice, rings of fallen trees and in the sediments of rivers, lakes and seas. 

Modern technology has enabled the collection and analysis of a 72-metre-long ice core from a Swiss glacier. It is a time capsule that tells the story of the Earth for the last 2,000 years. Scientists traced the source of the darkness to an Icelandic volcano. It reveals a 100-year economic stagnation, evidenced by the lack of lead emitted in the silver smelting process. A similar record was found between 1349 and 1353, the period of the Black Death, when the economy once again collapsed, and traces of chemicals from industrial processes disappeared in the Earth’s record. 

How will our current pandemic be recorded by the Earth? 2020 has seen a rapid fall in cadmium, lead and sulphur in the atmosphere, some of the key elements of pollution. The level of absorption by trees will record this fall. But the huge amounts of non- recyclable personal protection equipment dumped in landfill will show up as a dramatic and unwelcomed spike in the sediments of seas, lakes and rivers in the future. Covid-19 has challenged the very way we live. It has prompted us to consider what changes we wish to make to our world as things return to a new normal. 

‘The Time is Now’. Will we commit to reducing carbon emissions, to improve communities, to travel less and to strengthen our health service? Can we make this a reality? Will future generations be able to say that the year 2020 marked the time the world changed course by reducing its fossil foot- print, thereby mitigating climate change? 

Together, we as WI members can contribute to making this a reality. Will this be our legacy? It would be an incredibly valuable one. 

Carol A. Gartrell, Federation Chairman 

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October Surrey WI News now available here

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

In this month’s edition there is exciting news about Surrey’s first virtual WI, help on how to get online with Zoom, news about next year’s One Stop Training day and plenty of events news too.

Please click on the following link to view on your phone, tablet or computer via Flipsnack the October 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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