The fun has started, Jill and I joined Carol Gartrell and members of Bagshot WI for their Centenary cream tea. Members past and present (and maybe future) were in attendance and the room buzzed with over 100 years of local history and knowledge, as well as hope for the future with a doubling of member numbers and a desire for this WI to grow and stay relevant.

I have also managed to use great gardening tips I learned at one of my own WI meetings (Jacquie Felix spoke on ‘The principles of garden design’. She has made me rethink areas of my tiny SW16 garden and how best to use the space. It sometimes blows my mind how much value I get for my subscription money each year and what I can learn whilst having fun with friends.

Another thing I have learnt this month, with the help of WI friends, is to knit a baby jumper on a circular needle, working top down. Please let us know what you learn and experience with your WI and if there is something you would like to learn that we may be able to help you with. I am looking forward to a few weeks of exploring the show schedule for the Edenbridge and Oxted show to see what other skills I can practice or learn.

Angie Leach, Federation Co-chair


As our first joint event together, a 100th Anniversary Party is not a bad start. Carol Gartrell, President of Bagshot and her committee made us so welcome. They also invited back a previous President to share the fun. So, June Green, the previous president would have been very proud to see ‘her’ WI out of the suspension zone, due to the work by the members to increase their membership with the support of their Adviser.

I have also visited Chipstead WI, to deliver a talk about the history of ACWW, how the charity was started and developed by Madge Watts, the first to introduce the concept of a WI to a Group of Women in Llanfair PG. Look where that has led us to, the largest women’s organisation in the UK.

To think by the time this is read we will have had a Coronation, I hope you will be sending in to SWIN your stories and photos of the Celebrations you enjoyed with your WI’s and your communities. Who remembers the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, how did this one compare?

We would like to hear from you all, to share ideas about the events you would like to attend, particularly the Annual Federation Meeting in 2024. Yes, we do have to start planning so far in advance.

Some of you will be joining one of the London Walks or attending the Floral Art Demonstration or, like Angie, enjoying organising her entries to the Edenbridge and Oxted Show where we are able to show case the talents of the WI members.

Whatever you choose to do, enjoy the learning experience!

Jill Mulryan, Co-Chair, Surrey Federation

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