Stanhoe & Barwick WI Annual Report 2022

WI members seated in the village hall with a fine spread of food and bunting decorating the windows

WI members in Stanhoe Village Hall for their Platinum Jubilee celebration, June 2022

2022 saw us back to a full programme of events and meetings. We held a meeting every month and, once again, we were out and about on trips and for teas and lunches.

Our reputation as a friendly and welcoming WI continues to draw in visitors, many of whom go on to become members. Nicki’s regular Facebook posts, Valerie’s monthly notices in local newsletters and Rosemary’s meeting reports on the Stanhoe webpage pay dividends, as many of our visitors come having seen this publicity. We continue to grow, ending 2022 with 36 members, despite three not renewing membership during that year.

Our new President, Nicki Smith, has headed a committee of six, having welcomed Jan into the fold. Julia has remained in the Treasurer’s post and Valerie as Secretary, with the remaining committee members, Kath, Mary and Jan, taking on the role of Vice-President. The committee held 11 meetings throughout the year. The vacant post of programme organiser was taken up by Jane and Marie.

We held 12 monthly meetings in 2022, with an average attendance of 25 members and three visitors. This included our annual Garden Party, in our President’s garden on a beautiful sunny afternoon, with plenty of tea and cake.

Our meetings deviated from the usual pattern, in that we did not have a speaker each month. The committee ran two meetings and, mindful of the numbers of new members, these were designed as ‘get-to-know-you’ occasions; the Beetle Drive was particularly popular. Two of our own members led us in a very enjoyable glass-making session and, on another occasion, we took part in research into political decision-making, aiding a local PhD student.

We did welcome a variety of speakers, including the charities Norfolk Lowland Search and Rescue and Trinity House. Jean Clarke took us through some seated yoga, Andrew Tatham returned to talk about his latest book and Joan Hocking entertained us with her singing at our December meeting.

Our Platinum Jubilee Tea was a grand occasion, with plenty of sumptuous food provided by the members and a special Jubilee cake. We were entertained in style by local choir, Harmonise. The opportunity was taken to use our vintage WI crockery along with bunting and tablecloths, all from another era.

After a delay of two years, the visit to the Textile Conservation Centre, near Blickling Hall, finally took place. Members and guests had a fascinating afternoon, marvelling at the painstaking work undertaken to preserve historical textile treasures.

Members had the opportunity to visit the private gardens of Dunbheagh, near Dereham, where we were given a tour and a chance to wander and purchase plants before tea and cake. We also paid a visit to the Forever Green Flower Farm for an informative and enjoyable talk about their work.

Teas and lunches featured heavily in our year, as always, culminating in our Christmas lunch at Briarfields. The excellent meal, attended by a majority of our members, was followed by an outbreak of Christmas carol-singing.

Nicki initiated regular bowling sessions at Hunstanton and Fakenham and these have been thoroughly enjoyed by a small, but dedicated group.

Stanhoe and Barwick WI was ‘taken on the road’ when we manned a stall at Docking Heritage weekend. Our display of WI memorabilia from our 100 years of existence drew much interest, but no new members.

We continue to support our fellow WIs, accepting invitations to a Jubilee Tea at Anmer WI and at Walsingham WI. Some members also visited Wells WI for a soup and dessert lunch.

On a wider WI front, Nicki attended the Federation Annual Meeting as our delegate, accompanied by Julia. Nicki also attended her first Presidents’ Reception.

Our annual Women Walk the World event, in support of the WI charity ACWW, saw a few members walk along the coast at Brancaster, followed by tea at Briarfields.

Our WI ended 2022 in a strong position; our finances are stable and healthy and we have an increasing membership. We look forward to another successful and enjoyable year.