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Shiplake WI

Shiplake Womens Institute has around 60 members. We meet at 2.30 pm on the third Wednesday of every month (except August) usually at the Memorial Hall in Memorial Avenue.  The afternoon's programme includes a talk by an invited speaker and a splendid tea prepared by members.  Interesting trips and visits are also arranged throughout the year.

Contact: Audrey Simpson 01491 410256

Shiplake WI May Meeting


President, Joan Jolley, opened the meeting with her usual warm welcome.

Pam Hudgell told us about a free talk she attended at Townlands last month. Given by the Bell Surgery’s patient participation group it was about stroke treatment. Top consultants from The Royal Berks and John Radcliffe hospitals told the 40-strong audience about different types of strokes, risk factors and measures we can take to prevent a stroke.  They also talked about ‘thrombectomy’, the latest treatment. Pam said that it was a very interesting two hours, well worth going to hear.

Other free talks scheduled are on gastroenterology (June 19); ophthalmology (Sept 18) and Townlands rapid access care unit team (Dec 4).

Outings Secretary, Sue Lines, gave an update of forth-coming events and suggestions for future outings on which to ponder.

Every year members have the chance to put forward issues as ‘resolutions’ that they want to see the National body campaign on.  This year 68 issues were submitted in February, these were narrowed down to five by Federation representatives, and members then had the final say as to what issue went through to the Annual Meeting in June.  Apparently over 100,000 ladies voted this year and the issue chosen was “Mental Health Matters”.  At the May meeting members discuss and vote on whether or not to accept the Resolution, their decision then going forward to the Annual Meeting.

Shiplake members voted unanimously to accept the resolution.

A lovely tea was served by Hostesses Irene Crawford and Wendy Channell

The ACWW Flower of the Month was won by Helen Robinson with a vibrant red peony;

Lynn Boros and Viv Ellis were joint winners of the competition for “a flower arrangement in a recycled container”.

Meetings are held in Shiplake Memorial Hall, every third Wednesday of the month at 2:30 p.m. (except August).  New members and visitors are always welcome.  Please contact the Secretary on 01491 410256 for details.

Article created / last edited: 19 May 2018

Shiplake WI April Meeting


President Joan Jolley welcomed members and started the meeting by introducing the speaker. Andy Thomas’s talk was entitled The Mystery of Crop Circles and they certainly were mysterious. He explained that crop circles were known about in the 17th century and showed some amazing pictures of crop circles in the 1930s and 1940s. They became more evident in the 1970s and the pictures showed that the crops are laid flat and not cut – so how were they created? Some people assumed it was the weather that has caused them but their patterns became more complicated and by the 1980s it was clear they couldn’t be explained by weather alone. 

By the 1990s the patterns became bigger and more complex, including hieroglyphics and there was press speculation as to their origins. Andy showed some comparison photos where the crop circle had been man-made and it was clear that the crops in these had been damaged but in the pictures of true crop-circles there was no sign of damage.

Many scientific papers have been written about crop circles and some blame chemical imbalance or soil changes and some theories suggest wild animals or drones are responsible. There have been 10,000 recorded crop circle formations and their locations have also given rise to theories. In the UK there is a pattern of them on the chalk aquifers - one theory is that the underground water can create pressure or hotspots.

There is evidence that some crop circles have appeared in just a few hours and experiments have been carried out to see how quickly a man-made crop circle can be made. It can take a group of people many days to copy the design of an existing crop circle and it would not be nearly so accurate. Crop circles are reported less in the press these days but that does not mean there are fewer of them; just that reporters are not able to explain them. Some of the recent ones include binary code messages, symbols, rudiments of pi and 3D towers making the whole phenomenon more of a mystery and more difficult to understand.

After the talk, Joan Jolley gave a short report on the Beechwood Group Meeting. Janet Matthews gave some information on the OFWI resolution which is Mental Health Matters and told the meeting about the plastic soup campaign and the on-line survey about washing. She also mentioned the Food poverty and food waste debate and asked members to remember to donate suitable food to Tesco or Binfield Heath Stores.

Members were reminded to contact Pam Hudgell who would take the bulb orders. In Sue Lines’ absence, Joan told the meeting about arrangements for the visits to Burford and Leander. Joyce Vernon announced that the next walk would be on the 15th May and the walkers would meet at The Maltsters pub. Joan then reviewed some of the items in News and Views. The tea hostesses for the afternoon were Paula Benham and Barbara Rowlett and after the business members enjoyed a very tasty tea.

The winner of the best ACWW flower was announced as Frances Lefebure with a pretty camellia, second was Joan Jolly with a tiny cowslip. The winner of the competition was Viv Ellis with some intricate corn dollies.

The May meeting will be the Resolution meeting. More details about Shiplake WI are on the Villages website - visitors are always welcome.

Article created / last edited: 30 April 2018

Shiplake WI March Meeting


The floor of the Memorial Hall was being renewed so the March meeting of Shiplake WI was held at The Shiplake Bowls Club. President Joan Jolley thanked the Bowls Club committee for allowing the WI to use their meeting room. They are holding a Bowls Taster Day on April 29th and all are welcome to come and try a game of bowls. Joan then gave details of the Beechwood Group meeting on the 12th April and she told us that the speaker from the February meeting had been in contact to thank members for their generous donations to Blood Bikes, the volunteers who deliver blood for seriously ill people.

Sue Lines announced details of the visits to ‘42nd Street’, the Leander Club and to Burford. Pam Hudgell would be taking bulb orders for next season. Joan then pointed out some of the important items in News & Views, especially the V & A Exhibition, the Denman party and the piece on nuisance calls.

Then followed the AGM, which was not the usual dull affair but a celebration of the many triumphs throughout the year. Rosemary Appleby gave a very up-beat Treasurer’s report and Barbara Rowlett followed with the Catering report. Sandy Porter announced that a donation of £138 had been sent to ACWW and that the winner of the Elsie Southam Cup was Frances LeFebure.

Sue Lines gave an amusing report on all the outings during the year which included RHS Wisley, the Bombay Sapphire distillery, Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella and shopping at Hungerford. All the members thanked Sue for doing such a good job as Outings Organiser.

Pam Hudgell read the Competition report and announced that the winner of the Burge Cup was Susan Partridge. Joan then gave the President’s report and reminded members of all the wonderful things we had done during our 90th birthday year – the Birthday cruise on the Thames, a Summer party, the official birthday party in October and the Christmas lunch at The Crown. And on the more serious side, the exciting start of the new Beechwood Group and the meeting which Shiplake hosted and served tea to eighty ladies.

The committee were then unanimously voted back on to serve another year.

After the AGM a delicious tea was served.  The tea hostesses were Wendy Channel and Joyce Vernon. Thanks to the catering team for managing such a wonderful tea in a different kitchen.

The winner of the most popular ACWW flower was announced as Frances LeFebure with a lovely white Pieris. The winner of the competition was Rosemary Appleby with a very unusual yellow china cup and saucer decorated with fruit and flowers.

The speaker at the next meeting on April 18th will be Andy Thomas talking about the Crop Circles Mystery. The competition will be for the best Corn Dolly.  

Article created / last edited: 30 March 2018

Report on WI February Meeting


President, Joan Jolley, opened the meeting with her usual warm welcome. We had one visitor this month and Joan hoped that she would enjoy her afternoon with us.

Outings Secretary, Sue Lines, gave an update of forthcoming events to Burford, Leander and Kensington Palace.

Public Affairs Secretary, Janet Matthews, updated us on the progression of last years’ resolutions and what, initially, will happen with our choice for 2018.

Our speaker this month was Kamran Irani, Chairman of SERV obn – Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers oxon, bucks, berks and n’hants. 

Otherwise known as blood bikers, SERV is

"a motor cycle rapid response medical transport service delivering blood, plasma, vaccines, scans, donor breast milk and any other urgently needed medical items out of hours and free of charge to the NHS.”

Riders, both men and women, are on-call 7 pm to 6 am each weekday and a full 24 hours at the weekend and Public Holidays.  They are all volunteers, working from home on a rota system, and because hospitals would have to use taxis or couriers, or even take an ambulance off the road to deliver these items, they save the NHS thousands of pounds each year.

SERV is a registered charity and receives no government funding, relying on donations and sponsorship. Eddie Stobart fans take note – each motor cycle is named after a famous lady in medicine. Today Kamran’s cycle was ‘Sophia Jex-Blake’, a tenacious fighter for women to have the right to become doctors.

Kamran was an excellent speaker, obviously very proud of SERV obn, and we were all very impressed with what he told us about this little known, unseen emergency service.

A lovely tea was served by Hostesses Eve Staley and Rachel Lloyd.

The ACWW Flower of the Month was won by Pauline Watkins with a spray of mimosa, and Pippa Hughes won the competition for A Heart Shaped Object.

Article created / last edited: 26 February 2018

National Federation of Women's Institutes

Shiplake Women's Institute is part of the National Federation of Women's Institutes which is the largest voluntary organisation for women in the UK. The National federation has approximately 230,000 members in around 7,000 WIs throughout the British Isles with broad aims to educate women and to enable them to provide an effective role in the community, to expand their horizons and to develop and pass on important skills. 

Article created / last edited: 4 January 2014