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Take a walk to help ACWW

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Take a walk to help ACWW 

This year has started like no other so the urge to hibernate (aided by the weather and COVID-19 restrictions) is almost irresistible. However I would urge you to think forward to ACWW Day on 29 April.

This could be celebrated by planning a walk for Women Walk The World or if restrictions stop us walking together, or in small groups, maybe we could add the distance we walk individually each day together to make an impressive total, and contribute a sum per mile! 

As the Meetings in a Bag were so successful prior to Christmas, maybe a similar effort with an international theme could be put together to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March. There is so much information on the ACWW website under Funded Projects where you will see that relatively small amounts of money are benefiting so many women and their families. 

Finally, for those of you who knit for ACWW projects overseas, please, please continue knitting but hold on to the garments until normal travel arrangements are resumed. 

The result of the tea towel competition should be announced soon! For more information please go to

Jill Mulryan, ACWW Representative

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Surrey County Show

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Surrey County Show

The Surrey County Show 2021, which would normally take place on the late Spring Bank Holiday Monday (the last Monday in May) will not be taking place this year because of the uncertainty caused by the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The 2022 Show is likely to be on the last Monday in May, the Spring Bank Holiday Monday as this has always been the custom, although this has yet to be announced by the organisers. However, it is expected that SFWI will participate in the 2022 Show.

The WI schedule for 2021 had been created by using the 2020 one and adding two more classes. The rules were adjusted to say that entries could have been made within the previous 2 years. We are now keeping the same schedule for the 2022 Show.

In case there are any members who have “saved” made items and would wish to enter them in the 2022 Show, we are amending the rules again to say that entries made for either of the two cancelled shows can be entered in the 2022 event; i.e. items made within the previous 3 years.

An entry form and submission details will be added once it is clear that the show will go ahead.
The proposed schedule for 2022 can be seen here.

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The Huxley Cup 2021

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The Huxley Cup

This is a floral art competition held at a different showground every year. Each Federation is invited to submit one entry, and the contestant must produce an arrangement to a theme provided to them on the staging day, along with all materials, sundries and containers. The cup was presented to the NFWI by Mrs L. K. Huxley, OBE, in 1938. She was elected to the NFWI executive in 1926 when she was in her 20s and was honorary treasurer from 1930-1936.

2021’s Huxley Cup Competition had been designed with the intention of the winning entry being replicated at this year’s RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival.

Given the risks that the current pandemic poses and the uncertainty of what this may bring in the coming months, the NFWI Activities Committee has decided that the Huxley Cup competition 2021 should be amended and the link with the RHS removed.  The safety of our members is of upmost importance to us and this, together with the level of uncertainty posed by COVID-19, it was decided that it would not be appropriate to encourage members to spend time working on together and managing a project, given the current national restrictions and where the outcome may not ultimately be achievable.

The Huxley Cup competition has now been adjusted.

You can see the revised competition schedule here and download an entry form to accompany your submission here.

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Calling all Crafters for a New Campaigns Project: WI Women in Activism

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Calling all Crafters for a New Campaigns Project: WI Women in Activism

The NFWI Public Affairs team would like to invite WI members to take part in our new craft project ‘WI Women in Activism’. The project involves creating procession banners or pennant flags, with the aim of featuring them in an NFWI online exhibition to mark International Women’s Day in March (8 March 2021) and using them in any future marches we attend once Coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

What is the purpose of the project?

The project offers WI members the chance to get involved in campaigns and stay active on issues they care about. The banner/flag could focus on a particular WI campaign or cover a range of campaigns. You could choose a single issue, and highlight particular elements of that issue (e.g. climate change and the impacts on women) or create a banner highlighting all of the gender-focused issues that the WI campaigns on (e.g. equal pay, gender-based violence and women in politics).

Photographs of your completed banner/ flag should be submitted to by Friday 5th March 2021. The actual banner/ flag is for you to keep.

The website also highlights some key work on our current and key campaigns.

Key Words

Activism, a force for change, feminism, inclusivity, trailblazers, women’s rights, bold and inspiring, growing and relevant, inclusive and flexible, intersectionality, strength, education, awareness, womxn, female empowerment, justice.

Key Questions:

  • What does the WI fight for?
  • What does campaigning mean to you?
  • What message are you trying to convey?
  • What do you stand for?
  • What future would you like to see for women?

Points to consider:  

  • You don’t need to be a professional crafter to take part! Even if you are new to crafting, your banner or flag could be small and use basic techniques such as cutting out and glueing on, stapling or simply drawing on.
  • Try and include ‘The WI’ somewhere on your banner/flag big or small.
  • Be bold, eye-catching and inspiring.
  • Think long-term; we want to be able to use these banners for years to come.
  • Get creative! We know climate change is a big issue, but there are many WI campaigns you can choose from – especially issues that particularly affect women.
  • The banners and flags will be stored in homes, so the size needs to be considered.
  • If you have a regular WI meeting place where the banner can be displayed (once COVID -19 restrictions have eased), consider creating a larger project.
  • Use striking colours and imagery (people, symbols, words, campaign logos, icons, quotes).
  • There are various techniques you can use to create your piece – appliqué, embroidery, patchwork, image transfers, printing, painting, stitching and glueing, along with an array of embellishments such as ribbons, buttons, lace, braids, tassels and fringing.
  • Try to upcycle as many materials as possible for the banner/flag.
  • The top of the banner needs to be straight but you can choose to create a shaped bottom (curved, pointed or embellished with prairie points, fringe or tabs).

For more information visit, My WI and if you have any questions, get in touch with us at 

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The Lady Denman Cup 2021

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The Lady Denman Cup 2021 – ‘Let me show you what a woman can do!’ 

This painting by the artist Artemisia Gentileschi forms the basis of the 2021 Lady Denman Cup Competition, held in partnership with the National Gallery, which had planned a major exhibition by this 17th century Italian woman artist who was tortured for being raped (yes, you read that right!). 

For the competition, members are invited to submit a piece of writing, fact or fiction, in any style — story, poem etc. — based on this painting of the artist as St Catherine of Alexandria. 

Professor Emma Rees argues that Artemisia’s paintings vividly depict “revenge and female empowerment;” bold and often extremely violent in theme, depicting Biblical stories of murder, rape, brutality and subjects such as Judith beheading Holofernes, and Jael’s murder of Sisera. She asks: “Are they a provocative and unapologetic forerunner of today’s MeToo movement?” 

The Rules

  • Entrants must submit four copies of their entry, typed if possible on A4 paper and consisting of no more than 500 words.
  • The entrant’s name, Federation and WI should appear on the first copy only. 
  • Each entry must include a total word count; entries with over 500 words will not be accepted. 
  • Entries must be accompanied by a completed Individual Entry Form which can be downloaded from MyWI. 
  • Entries should be posted or emailed to SFWI HQ by Friday 30th July.
  • Any entries sent directly to the NFWI, without being approved by Surrey Federation, cannot be entered and will be returned to the entrant. 

Results will be announced by early December 2021.


1st prize: Book tokens to the value of £75.00

2nd prize: Book tokens to the value of £50.00

3rd prize: Book tokens to the value of £30.00


The winner/ winning Federation will be presented with the Lady Denman Cup.

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Revised date for 2021 NFWI annual meeting

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Revised date for 2021 NFWI annual meeting 

The date of the NFWI’s Annual Meeting has been changed from 19 April 19 to 8 June. It will still be hosted at the Royal Albert Hall in London due to the changing picture regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Further details, including a booking form, are included in the January mailing to WI secretaries. 

The NFWI board has agreed to a link delegate ratio of one in eight WIs to reflect social distancing requirements and the hall’s capacity to meet them.The safety and wellbeing of members and staff are a key priority and the situation will be monitored and reviewed as necessary.

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What’s New from HQ (February 2021)

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What’s new from HQ

After the second lockdown and the Christmas break it was hoped that we would be able to open the office on an occasional basis, but then suddenly we were all in another lockdown for a third time. 

So it was back to working from home for the staff and only going into the office when required. 

But January is a busy month for the staff at Federation HQ, as we have to collate all the information from the Information and Annual Review Forms. 

If anything is missing from the mailing sent out at the end of January to all WI secretaries, please email us at sfwi2dr@yahoo. and we will arrange for it to be sent out when someone is next in the office. 

Karen Whitehead, Federation Secretary 

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Message from our Federation Chairman (February 2021)

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It’s time women’s voices were heard 

Did you vote for one of the resolutions on the shortlist? It was a difficult decision wasn’t it, as all had a real resonance with the key issues of the moment. 

I continue to be intrigued by the fact that once a resolution becomes a campaign, that it stays ‘on the book’, as it were, for ever. It’s surprising though, and shocking even, that so many maintain their relevance for years, even decades, isn’t it? 

The one I am particularly thinking about is the Equal Pay for Equal Work campaign of 1943, equally relevant to today, which then leads me to a broader consideration of all aspects of equality for women, and the particular significance of issues of equality for all women at times of crisis. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic took on epic pro-portions, it became increasingly obvious that it was having a world-wide, momentous, detrimental effect on all aspects of life, and most markedly on that of women. 

Perhaps the most significant impact has been an economic one. In the first round of UK job losses triggered by COVID-19, for example, it was the low paid, part-time jobs, mostly done by women, that were the first to go. Even if one was lucky enough to 

keep a job, then lockdown provided the added challenge of how to care for children whose schools and nurseries were closed when they still had to work, and away from the home. Throughout the pandemic this has been a critical challenge for very many women. 

Another increasing spectre has been that of domestic violence. Whilst this is not exclusive to women, it has become a significant factor in the lives of many women, whose time in lockdown has been coloured by pain and fear, as well as secrecy and shame. 

Many of you will have followed the story of Sally Challen, who was a fellow WI member, and the No More Violence Against Women campaign. Both have given a forceful voice to women throughout the pandemic. 

Access to both education and healthcare has also taken a backseat for women during the last year, not only in the UK, but also across the world. 

During a crisis, as is inevitable, everything rolls backwards, but as the world slowly begins to rebuild itself as the rollout of the vaccine has an impact on the virus, world leaders should be encouraged to build a different way back and to address the lack of opportunity, in all its guises, for women. 

Many of us were part of that generation that pursued a career and ran a family simultaneously, aspiring to be that ‘superstar’, but never quite achieving it, with little support, no pre-five nursery care, and no maternity leave or pension rights if one had a part-time job. We must not return to such a model. 

I believe that there is a real role today for the ladies of the WI, a new dawn, just as there was after World War II, when the WI played a significant role in raising living standards for many, and much, much, more. 

The WI gives women a voice, it provides space and facilitates open and informed discussion. We should take this opportunity to raise once more the issues around, and to maintain and improve, gender equality. To hold a mirror to the real world and hold our leaders to account. 

Are we happy to sit back and let the decisions about our new future be dominated by middle aged, upper class, Oxbridge educated, white men? On December 27, the UK Prime Minister vowed ‘to focus on levelling up the country’ and to ‘deliver for people who feel left behind.’ He called on us to ‘unite and level up.’ Are we to heed this call and hold our politicians to account to the greater good of women? I hope so. 

Very many current problems for women are a direct result of deep-seated attitudes that need to be re-examined. There is systemic injustice in our society that needs to be challenged. It is our role and duty to prompt and steer change and quickly, to challenge what we are prepared to put up with, to be at every table, in every room. We need to have a clear voice and share in the decision making on issues that make a difference to women’s everyday lives. 

We, as women of the world, are entitled to dreams as big as we wish. We are entitled to our destiny, entitled to speak on behalf of the whole world and we should be recognised and applauded for it. So let us, as WI members, be an integral part of that change and work towards a post COVID-19 world that is characterised by equality of opportunity, fun and joy for all women. 

Carol A. Gartrell, Federation Chairman

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The 2021 Eileen Bowler Competition – Update

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Something to keep you occupied right now — the 2021 Eileen Bowler Competition! 

This year it is for a child’s outfit made from an article bought from a charity shop. You may add any sewing accessories and a little additional fabric if you wish, but it must make up less than a quarter of the total. A picture of the original article must be included with your entry. 

Your finished outfit should be sent (or delivered if you are local) to;

Meriel Sexton

4 Hazel Way



KT22 9QD

The item must arrive no later than Friday 19 February 2021. Please include your name, address, email address, and your WI with your entry.

Entries will be judged and the winner announced at the Zoom ACM, with all entries featuring in SWIN at a later date. 

Meriel Sexton, Home Economics, Craft and Gardening Committee. 

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February Surrey WI News now available here

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

This month’s edition includes tips from top WIs to help your WI to grow; reminiscences of a former SWIN editor (and the return of a popular character!); advice on making your winter garden a safe haven for wildlife, woman power in Surrey town halls, help for those struggling to read SWIN online and a chance to think of a new name for our magazine, plus lots more! 

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