Meeting Reports

We meet in the Hindmarsh Hall, Northumberland Street, Alnmouth, NE66 2RS, on the 1st Monday of every month at 7.00pm (On Public Holidays we meet on the 2nd Monday of the month). 






























































Well the good weather didn’t hold out as we were hoping in September’s Report – it was pouring on the evening of the 1st October, which of course was our meeting night, but it didn’t deter our members as we had a good turn out – we are a  hardy lot – what’s a bit of rain!

The meeting started in the usual way with a warm welcome from Janis   mentioning  the various up and coming outings and events,  including our Winter Warmer, which  will be on Wednesday the 31st October  and  as, of course, that is Halloween there  maybe one or two witches in evidence as  part of ‘the help! .

Pam, our secretary, then went through the Agenda, paying tribute to Susan Frater, a long and very active member of Brizlee W.I. who sadly died of cancer very recently.  Susan was a lady who did much in her life and she will be a great miss to both the W.I. and many other organisations in the area.  Also on the Agenda  under Events was  notice of  our Federation Carol Service, which this year is at our beautiful  Cathedral in Newcastle and as it is the first time in a number of years it has been at St. Nicholas  we are really looking forward to it because there is easy access by train from Alnmouth and a short walk from the Central Station, or bus a little further up from the Haymarket – not to mention passing a few very rather well known shops which just might  be worth ‘a look round’.  One of the ‘events’ Pam had organised was a visit to Trinity House the day after our meeting which we all enjoyed very much indeed.  Our Guide was a lady who was well versed in the history of this beautiful building and kept us enthralled with her coverage of the paintings and the surroundings which are beautiful.  Unbelievably we were standing in a Chapel dating back hundreds of years and still in use by the Trinity Brethren and just to add to the atmosphere our Guide told of us of a little girl from the past, who occasionally silently appears like a shadow.  That shut us all up.!!    Our day finished, of course with a meal at the Quay Side before heading back to Alnmouth.

Our Speaker, Sylvia Fancy, had been patiently waiting whilst we got through the Agenda with her beautiful golden Labrador ‘Sookie’ and was more than ready to start her talk, entitled ‘Hearing dogs for deaf people’.    After her introduction to Sookie, who of course was the star of the evening, Sylvia briefly went through how and why Sookie came into her life, changing it completely. Given that Sylvia has no hearing at all it is amazing how Sookie is constantly by her side and knows exactly what is needed, giving Sylvia the security of being able to venture into the outside world in the knowledge that she is in safe hands (sorry paws).  She showed us various videos of other recipients of ‘Hearing Dogs’ whose lives were equally transformed, reducing the feeling of isolation, depression and vulnerability and indeed giving them their lives back again.  The ‘Hearing Dogs Charity’ is completely independent of any financial funding except their own fund raising and all the trainers are completely voluntary; it is wonderful that there are so many willing helpers giving up their time and by the looks on their faces something they enjoy very much.  There is a web site ‘Hearing dogs for deaf people’ which is excellent and well worth looking at, giving you an in-depth view of all the stages of training the dogs from puppies.  I think given the silence in the room and the atmosphere, Sylvia held everyone’s attention throughout – not to mention Sookie of course.  Her talk certainly gave us an insight into what a wonderful service the dogs give to their owners, changing their lives and bringing their love and loyalty with them – certainly a talk we will remember.

Janis thanked Sylvia very much for sharing Sookie with us for the evening and giving us something very much to think about.

It was a pooled supper which was excellent, so we all tucked in enjoying a cup of tea and chat; the birthday flowers this month went to Margaret Mayfield and the competition was won by Di Sparks, with her lovely ornament of a lurcher.

Our Speaker for November is Isobel Shaw and her subject is ‘Rothley House Garden’, the competition being a jam jar flower arrangement.

There will be a sales table for scarves and gloves




Well summer is officially over and we are now into autumn but we are still having pretty good weather for this time of year, so we haven’t quite got into our padded jackets etc. yet – let’s enjoy it while we can.
It was a very busy meeting to start off as Janis went through ‘matters arising’ which covered all of the activities we were involved in through July and August namely (the big one) our Centenary ‘tree dedication’ which was a great success and a good opportunity to invite our Federation ‘Chair’ Hilary Robson, to join us and with great pleasure we can now say our beautiful Oak Tree has its roots firmly planted into Alnmouth Common now for all future W.I. members to enjoy. Also the afternoon tea we were asked to do for ‘Hullabaloo’ (a village festival on the hill) was very busy but enjoyable and lastly the lovely lunch we had at Foxton, as a get together in August.
Looks like lots of things going on up to Christmas by the info. Pam, our Secretary, put on our tables which look very interesting and decisions have to be made the main ones for the moment are an W.I. informal coffee morning at the Old School Gallery on the 20th September, followed by the Macmillan Coffee Morning which members help with on Friday the 28th September and the Hotspur Group Meeting which this year is a ‘Speakeasy’ hosted by Shilbottle W.I. on the evening of 4th October, our calendars are going to be pretty full for the winter months.
Our members by now were more than ready to hear our Speaker for the evening Tina Stroud, who gave us a little resume of how and when she took up her present occupation –she trained some time ago and loved taking classes when she finished work; then gave up for a time while she and her husband travelled. Sadly he died and she was on her own in Devon until a relative suggested a move to Northumberland and she clearly has got back into the swing and, having re-trained and re-qualified in ‘Keep Fit with Dancing’, she is running several classes. Then she got down to the actual physical side of her subject. It really was a lot of fun and even those who thought it might be too much for them thoroughly enjoyed it with lots of laughter at each other’s efforts – In fact I think she might have some budding students by the sound of things. Di Sparks our Minute Secretary, gave an excellent vote of thanks on behalf of everyone as without doubt it was very enjoyable
Needless to say everyone by now was more than ready for the ‘in house’ catering team’s supper which was again pretty good and beautifully served – with of course no calories, especially after everyone’s exertions.
There were two birthday girls: August – Rosie Ross and September – Barbara Emmerson; each were presented with lovely flowers.
Next month our Speaker will be Sylvia Fancy (and Sookie) and her talk is entitled ‘Hearing dogs for deaf people’ The competition is for a dog ornament and a decorated bra for the Hotspur Group competition and there will be a pooled supper. J.D.


(not to be seen for a long time -ALNMOUTH W.I. June  Mtg.    A bit late doing this month’s report, as 7 members of our committee (including the writer) attended the Annual Meeting of our N.F.W.I. at the  Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff and we left the day after our meeting  – hence the delay.

It was an excellent meeting, well worth the journey down,  and as one or two  in our group hadn’t experienced seeing 5,000 W.I.members  from all parts of the U.K.  with a common interest  it was quite emotional when we all stood up to sing Jerusalem followed  by ‘Land of my Father’s’  the latter sung in Welsh of course.     Our NFWI Chair Lynne Stubbings introduced herself as it was her first Annual Meeting, being newly appointed and our day started.   The meeting was packed with information and inspiration including three brilliant speakers; the first was Andrew Molodynski, a Consultant psychiatrist at Oxford Health NHS and senior lecturer at Oxford University on  Mental Health  and as our resolution this year,  we were later going to vote on was ‘Mental Health’, we found it particularly interesting.   Our other two speakers were Dame Stella Rimington, the first female Director General of M15, also an authoress and journalist and BBC newsreader Huw Edwards.   Both were excellent and it was a pleasure to listen to them.   All were questioned very thoroughly by members from the floor, and one question got our immediate attention ‘equal pay for female and male BBC Presenters’ .  All three Speakers were delightful and easy to listen to, the atmosphere great and it was good to meet fellow W.I. members.    The full report of the Annual Meeting will be in the next issue of WI.Life and will be well worth reading.

Our July Meeting, the night before we went off to Wales, was very good indeed; Janis welcomed everyone and reminded us of  various matters and outings in the pipeline such as our invitation to Howick Garden Party to celebrate the W.I. Centenary on the 22nd June; a Quiz, also Howick on the 4th July and outing to Rothley House Gardens on the 13th August.  The birthday girls this month are Monica Aitken and Kathryn Brunton, both going home with a lovely bouquet.  Janis also asked for donations of wool jumpers/hats/ socks etc. to be given to the Seamen’s Mission  and finally suggested members were welcome to bring husbands/partners or anyone interested in listening to Paul Bolly and Cath Ingledew give us a talk of Basic Life Support with Defilbrillators.  The talk will be at 7.00 on 2 July, before our actual meeting starts.

Our Speaker for the evening, Marjorie Mountain, who had been sitting patiently whilst we went through all the above was introduced by Janis and we eagerly awaited her talk which was entitled ‘Cross Roads to Cairo’.  She gave us a quick hilarious talk of how it all started, working in London, getting itchy feet and applying through an Agent abroad and being offered a job teaching in Cairo.   Her journey started by arriving at the Gard du Nord in Paris where her trunk disappeared (not to be seen for quite a while), spending a few days in Paris where she had various offers of help from ‘gentlemen’  but discovered they  required rewards!; going on to the Port of Marseille; boarding a Greek Boat, SS Iona to Egypt, taking 10 days to reach Alexandria; this was all on her own of course and in her early 20s.   As it was August it was extremely hot so she was glad to arrive at Manor House School where she met her very diverse group of pupils, as apart from 6 American children, none could speak English.   Marjorie gave a wonderful description of her pupils and we were all spellbound with her memorable story of the year in Cairo teaching children she will never forget.    Pam gave an excellent vote of thanks, Marjorie was given resounding applause for her very entertaining  talk and Janis presented her with a bouquet of flowers  to show our appreciation.

A pooled supper was on offer this evening so after Marjorie received many questions from the members we tucked in, the room still full of chat of Marjorie’s escapades.  J.D.


ALNMOUTH W.I. MAY REPORT.  Our report is a little later than usual his month,  as, of course, we had our first May Bank Holiday, which delayed our Meeting until the 14th May.  However it  didn’t alter our turnout of members  as the attendance was pretty good and what a difference an hour makes, now we are in ‘summer time’ as our daylight hours are much more enjoyable than the cold  dark evenings we turn out in the winter.

Janis Crook, our President gave us her usual hearty welcome and started the meeting with an update of our ‘Centenary Oak Sapling’ now firmly planted at the base of Bracken Hill.  As it is necessary for the tree to be watered every morning for 3 months  to help get it established,  enthusiastically done on a rota system by committee members , I’m delighted to say it is looking good, as there are quite a few  green shoots appearing.  The Alnwick Estates kindly donated ‘the oak sapling’  to our W.I. to help us commemorate 100 years of being a very much  part of our village and we are delighted it has taken root and is beginning to look perfectly at home at its site on Alnmouth’sCommon.   We have purchased some seating from the Estates  and are now just waiting for them to be put in place beside ‘our tree’.  The Burgess Holders, have kindly offered to clear the site around the tree and install the seating, so once  everything is completed  we will officially welcome our ‘oak tree’ in our usual way with a good cup of tea and a freshly baked scone!

Pam Muggleton, our Secretary then read out the various roles of the new committee:-  Our President and  Secretary are ‘Status Quo’  Asst. Secretary: Di Spark, Press Secretary: Joan Davidson, Programme Secretary: Celia Collinson.  Membership Secretary: Caroline Martin.  Catering Team: Ethel Cook, Judith Williams and Ann Coyne.  Website: Di Spark.  This was followed by the distribution of next year’s Programme, which looks very interesting.   Janis then quickly went through various events both local and and Federation Events  including an informal Coffee Morning, this month at the Bistro in Alnmouth from 11.00  on Thursday the 24th May  and a Garden Party at Howick Hall on the 22nd June, the latter to celebrate the 7 local W.I.s  who have all reached their  Centenary.

Our Speaker, Stephenie Yearnshire for the evening was more than ready to commence her talk, which was ‘The Other Side of Elvis’.  It gave us a different aspect of Elvis, a personality most of us in the Hall remember very well, mainly  for his music and action of course, having rocked and rolled with all the energy we wish we still had a little of!  Her talk was as her title said, all about the other side of Elvis which we found very interesting, as he was a complicated man.  Janis thanked her on our behalf for her very informative talk and before we had our refreshments, the competition ‘An interesting Elvis fact or myth’ was won by Kathryn Archibald.

As our new Catering Team had a special tea in mind, with a nod to a wedding which was going to take place on the 19th May, 2018 we were asked to wear a hat,  which of  course, most of us did wondering why; but we are up for most things, so we did as we were told, and then these  beautiful ‘Granny’ china  teapots  were produced and placed on our tables accompanied by large plates of very dainty sandwiches,  strawberry cream scones and the most delicious Victoria Sponge Sandwich cake. It was absolutely beautiful   As we have all by now, of course, seen the wonderful wedding of Harry and Megan, I can say honestly our Catering Team was right up to the mark and would match anything the Prince and his lovely bride’s guests would be offered – perhaps I am a little biased, but it was a marvellous start to their year in control of ‘catering’

Our great first meeting of 2018 with the new committee came to a close and feeling positively very well fed, we headed home.   Our June meeting’s Speaker is a well-known lady from our village, Marjorie Mountain, and her subject will be  ‘Cross Roads to Cairo’ which we look forward to very much. J.D.


ALNMOUTH W.I. –  2018’S ANNUAL MEETING.   –  Janis started our Annual Meeting off with a warm welcome to our members and Di read last month’s Minutes,  after very quickly going through outstanding business,  Pam took over  in her role as Secretary, giving us a very full and interesting report of all that has happed in the past year, and boy there certainly has been a full programme of events since our 2017 Annual Meeting.  Our main task last year was fund raising,   given that this is now our Centenary Year,   we fortunately ,  managed to do enough to cover our overheads,    actually enjoying doing it, as of course,  its always a good get together of members using their many talents.   Our main Centenary  events,  to start  our year off were the  History Wardrobe Ladies,  who gave us a wonderful evening going through each decade from 1918 dressed appropriately,  as of course,  were most of the members, with an abundance of ‘suffragettes’  in evidence,  Our second great celebration was our W.I.  celebrating   100 years being in Alnmouth,  which  was a party,  starting off with a very well presented  ‘in house’ buffet’ and then   entertainment  by The While Gardenias,  when most of us attempted to dance our supper off.

Our Programme secretary Celia did us proud with  very interesting and entertaining evenings   as did Pam with our many ‘outings’  of all descriptions which most of us managed to get to.  Looking back we did indeed have a busy  year, including    Di Spark, our assistant secretary and IT expert,   setting  up a secure mail system  to keep our members informed as to what’s happening  also setting up our own Facebook Group which is certainly worth a regular look.

The Annual Meeting now commenced.      Prudence Marks, our expected W.I.  Adviser  was unfortunately ill so in her place we had Jo Dixon from Stannington who, expertly  took over the helm.  It followed in the W.I. traditional format,  covering Finance etc   then our Secretary Pam,  giving  a very good Annual  Report followed by, our President,  Janis who sincerely thanked the whole committee for their input starting with – quote   ‘the invisible ones who do not get the star lights for events but are the stalwarts for making things happen’, naming everyone individually and describing their ‘talents’ .  Jo then went through our chosen Resolution  ‘The W.I. supporting Mental Health’  which will be voted on at our Annual Meeting which this year is at Cardiff.   and then went through the procedure of committee selection, there being no change this year,   followed by a vote for President, who we were glad to hear will be Janis,  staying with us for another year.    Hazel Shell thanked the outgoing committee and Jo for standing in at the last minute  which we greatly appreciated  and also gave us a very full  report of the Council Meeting held in Newcastle which she was attending as our Representative, including  a quite illuminating description of one of the meeting’s Speakers,   suitably dressed in a beautiful Tudor costume the subject being ‘Sex and the Tudors’!.   No problem of Hazel not getting attention from her audience during her very good Report!    She also had the task of collecting our Centenary Certificate from the W.I.  National Chairman which we all appreciated very much

Pam, our secretary, was the birthday girl this month so she was presented with a lovely bouquet and Jill Bourne won the Rose Bowl for the highest competition  points

Among Celia and Pam’s many talents,  they are our Archivists and had fitted time in to set up some wonderful old pictures of our W.I. from its inception in 1918 which we had to be dragged away from to start the meeting.  So hopefully we will take a rain check and see them sometime at one of our meetings in the future.

We finished our evening with a Northumbrian flavour  – a ham and pease pudding filled  bun and a good mug of tea.

Our May meeting’s speaker is Stephenie Yearnshire, her subject being ‘The other side of Elvis’  and the competition   this month is,   an interesting Elvis,  ‘fact or myth’.   J.D.



ALNMOUTH W.I. 100th BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION REPORT – Despite our great misgivings about whether our special speakers, the ladies from ‘The History Wardrobe’, would get through to Alnmouth because of the ‘Beast from the East’, all was well.  They arrived outside the Hindmarsh Hall as promised, giving themselves plenty of time to set up before the arrival of most of our members plus guests from Federation, Marjorie Read and Barbara Kilkenny and representatives of the W.I.s in our Hotspur Group.  The weather wasn’t going to stop us celebrating 100 years of our continuous presence in the village, including through two world wars!

Pam and Janis quickly went through what business was necessary mentioning our up and coming Annual Meeting in April – one of the most important points being the dreaded election of committee members for this coming year and to make the meeting more interesting, a display of our archives will be available to show what our members got up to during the past 100 years.

Lucy and Merry i.e. The Wardrobe Ladies were more than ready to start after listening to Pam and Janis and they started with a bang introducing themselves and describing what they had in store.  They had certainly done their homework about our W.I. starting in 1918 just before the end of the First World War, as they dressed in authentic clothes of that era and gave us a pretty good description of how it started in the village; ladies of a certain standing were, of course, on the committee and the rest of the members  were just glad to be involved in improving their very variable skills; having a night out with the ‘girls’  and a good chat over a cup of tea did not come amiss.  1918 saw the end of the first Word War and most of the village wives had been left in charge, singly, of feeding and bringing up their families so joining the W.I. changed a lot of their lives, giving them the confidence to do just that by having a variety of ladies to advise them

Each era was covered by Lucy and Merry dressed appropriately and all done with great humour and laughter, and there was much murmuring among members of ‘that’s exactly how my mother/grandmother dressed’.  There was a serious side to it of course as the W.I. played a great part during WWl and WW2 knitting socks and balaclavas plus sending food parcels and cigarettes (everyone smoked it seems – woodbines) and also just sending letters to the soldiers far from home – actually in our own W.I. Archives there are letters of thanks from the ‘boys’ which we treasure and these will be on view as part of the display mentioned above.   Apart from dressing in authentic fashion of the time, Lucy and Merry had certainly done their homework as they covered the Resolutions that were voted on during the 100 years; some were quite eye openers as most concerned issues affecting women.  Needless to say they mentioned a top Member of Parliament who addressed them at one of our Annual meetings in the Albert Hall when they took him on for being Political in talking about the National Health Service.  To say he was flabbergasted is an understatement.  He may have thought we were just a bunch of pussy cats but discovered, when the slow clapping started and gathered momentum that we were, as the late Claire Rayner described us, ‘a sleeping Lion’

This was an excellent evening and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.  We had been very worried because of the snow but we needn’t have been as everyone turned up full of good cheer.  Celia our Programme Secretary and Pam waiting ready to receive them, breathed a sigh of relief to see them spot on time.

Janis gave the vote of thanks on behalf of us all, especially appreciating the in-depth research into our W.I. over the last 100 years.

Our members, as it was a pooled supper, turned up trumps.  What was on offer was fabulous and as it was a very special occasion, ‘our 100th Birthday’  the catering team headed by Ethel Cook, even set the tables with our traditional  W.I. china teacups, plus lovely teapots raided from members  cupboards – ‘tea how our grannies used to serve it.‘

Our next centenary event is our birthday party on the 16th March when it will be very informal -just members only and our entertainers for the evening are the White Gardenias.   After that it is settling down to normal W.I. life back to ‘homemade biscuits for supper!!!   J.D.




Another year just slipped by but we certainly have a lot to look forward to this year as it is now 100 years since our village W.I. was formed by a very formidable lady, Mrs. Ann Scholefield, who lived in Lint Close at the top of the village, now home to The Friary of St. Francis.  Obviously a lot has happed nationally as well as locally, and many changes have occurred during that time, but the ladies of the W.I. are still around and making their presence felt.  We finished 2017 with a wonderful night, starting with a delicious buffet prepared by our ‘in house caterers’ then  being entertained by the great group ‘Misspent Yuke’, all 15 of them, each one an individual talent, sometimes performing together and sometimes singly or in smaller groups; whatever they did was excellent.  By this time our members were on the floor ‘boogieing’ followed by our  W.I.’s Auld Lang Syne – not sure how the ladies of 1918 would have approved but we enjoyed it.

Into January now – our ‘Members Evening’ consisted of five workshops – Hand held posy, Making a Centenary Card, A bouquet from the garden, Making an orange liqueur (W.I. recipe!) and lastly, Pilates.  Before starting in groups, as it is Resolution time, Pam our secretary went through the 5 Resolutions, whittled down from many put forward by members, which we voted on.  Actually they are all detailed in our national magazine ‘W.I. Life’ which is a very interesting read, and of course on the W.I. web site.  We also had a quiz  (our Programme Secretary Celia was really keeping us on our toes) before sorting where our chosen workshops were situated – our member tutors were Ann Hobbis and Margaret Mayfield, Caroline Martin, Judith Williams and Ethel Cook, Judi Hill, and Jean Humphrys.  It was certainly a busy night, but a very enjoyable one indeed – many thanks to all members who organised the night and our tutors of course – where would we be without them.

Janis and Pam did manage to get a bit of ‘business’ in, especially about our forthcoming Centenary Celebrations.  All members must have tickets for our next two March Meetings.  On March 5 our speakers are rather special as we have booked The History Wardrobe’ which will take us through the ages of Alnmouth W.I., of course a very momentous time for women – BECAUSE WE GOT THE VOTE !!!!  The second event will be our 100th birthday celebrations on the 16th March – our entertainers, I’m delighted to say, will be ‘The White Gardenias’.  Both events are for members only so it is imperative that everyone has a ticket because we have quite a number of guests invited from Federation and of course The Hotspur Group so space is at a premium.

January Birthday girl is Carol Knowles and she was presented with a beautiful bouquet and the ‘busy’ meeting ended with a very welcome cup of tea and cheese and biscuits.

Our Speaker for February is Stoker Frater and the title of his subject is ‘Who says there is no money in farming?’ – sounds interesting. Competition is for home-made biscuits.

A Happy New Year to everyone and keep warm.   J.D.


W.I. NOVEMBER REPORT 2017      Apologies for missing Alnmouth’s September and October’s Report but just had a short holiday in Cramlington Hospital,  not by choice, but to be highly recommended as you certainly come out a lot better than when you went in.  Pleased to say now back to the W.I. and certainly picked a good time to return, as our November meeting was excellent – more on that later.

Janis Crook (President) and Pam Muggleton (Secretary) were ‘top table’ and after giving us a very warm welcome Janis, started off by thanking everyone for all the hard work put into  both our Nearly New Sale and Winter Warmer which were enjoyed by helpers at both venues and of course our ‘customers’.  It was good to meet fellow W.I. members from various W.I.s  who joined us for the day for lunch and of course, a good mooch through the Nearly New.  The food was certainly a credit to our W.I. cooks and the choice of ‘Nearly New’ was excellent – a big thank you to all who contributed, as after much sorting by our dedicated ‘N.N.’ team  the choice was very wide indeed.  Actually nothing came amiss, as what was left was very gratefully received by a local representative of Homeless Women, so although completely exhausted,  we all sat down to a wide choice of (leftovers) which we all enjoyed.

Pam then went through our diary of events, including our visit  to the Tyne  Theatre to see ‘Paint your Wagon’  and’ Christmas shopping  in Edinburgh’ also  pointing out the various W.I. activities at Cresswell  House, on the notice board, lastly mentioning our Coffee Morning at Scott’s Deli, in the village starting at 10.00 on Thursday  the  16th November.  Our next meeting will be our Christmas Party in the  usual format – bringing our own place setting, including a glass and whatever you choose to put in it  and of course a wrapped present for  ‘Secret ‘Santa’.   We have  ‘Misspent Yuke’ entertaining us this year, so all we have to do is – eat, drink and just sit back and enjoy – sounds a good way to spend an evening.  Can’t believe Christmas is almost upon us.   Janis asked members to put their name on the list which was being circulated to give our ‘in house’ catering team an idea of how many members will be with us.

Our entertainers for the evening ‘Fools Gold’   had already set up all their instruments and after introducing themselves with great humour, told  us a little of their background,   describing the type of music they played and  sang, which is folk based, and  telling the stories  behind the music  with the visual accompaniment of  very cleverly done pictures on a large projection screen.    Both Carol and Steve Robson  are very talented musicians  and played quite a choice of instruments singing and  telling their stories .  They call folk singing story  telling which  of course it is,  as most were written  describing the living and lives of bygone days.    Given the audience, most of their  music and stories had a local flavour which of course, we all enjoyed,   recognising  some of the views of old Newcastle showing on the screen – and there was no shortage of singers when asked to join in as we all love singing (or trying to) belting out  ‘Keep your feet still Geordie Hinnie’ .  Judging  by the very enthusiastic  extended applause  by our members, it is very safe to assume that Fool’s  Gold  gave us an excellent night.

Janis thanked them  for a wonderful evening and we ended with our usual cup of tea.   The birthday girl  this month was  Margaret Stephenson  and the  competition,  which was for an interesting rock, was won by Jill Bourne.  Her interesting rock was a find in a field in Cornwall  and I believe dates back to quite a long time ago – it was certainly very heavy.

Our December  meeting is of course our Christmas Party.        J.D.

JUNE 2017  W.I.  REPORT –  

Not a bad evening weather wise, not as good as last week, but the Hindmarsh Hall is a good venue for our meetings as it is within yards of one of Alnmouth’s superb views over the estuary and sea, regardless of the weather,  something we never tire of on the way to our monthly meetings.

The meeting started in the usual way, Janis welcoming all members and giving Pam Muggleton’s apologies, her secretary’,  for not being by her side,  as her husband Alan is not too well at all,  at the moment,  her stand in was  ‘the writer’,  so with pens poised the meeting started.   There seemed quite a bit of outstanding business to discuss so Janis started off with plans for our centenary year 2018,  asking members to note the date of our 100th meeting, which is 5th March, 2018 and to celebrate this great occasion,  we are having very special ‘Speakers’ –  ‘ The  History Wardrobe’  who will take us through fashions from 1918 up to date and on  Friday the 16th March, 2018 we will have our usual birthday dinner, but this time we will be entertained by  the White Magnolias, a great local group who are known to many of our members.     Back to 2017 –  various events and invitations were mentioned including our Nearly New Sale in October, and also the Hotspur Group Meeting which  this year will be hosted by Lesbury W.I.,  also in October and the entertainers will be ‘Best of Fettle’, lots to look forward to throughout the coming year.  One thing we will miss this year in August,  is our traditional ‘trip’ but we have decided to postpone it until later in the year just for a change and finally reminding members that our informal coffee morning this month will be at Foxton Hall Golf Club from 10.30 on Thursday the 15th June.

Our Speaker was patiently waiting,  to talk about ‘Poisons in your Garden’ , so Janis introduced us to one of Alnwick Garden’s specialists    Rob Wilson, who of course is very knowledgeable about this particular subject.

We were amazed as his introduction to his talk was,   did we know we were surrounded by  beautiful plants in our garden,   many of which were very poisonous indeed.    We all had a vague idea of some herbs being a bit ‘dodgy’ but the amount of every day flowers, vegetables, bushes and trees with a poisonous element was an eye opener.    He covered a wide field of the various    plants used in medicine and cosmetics  today  and in days gone by,  such as, of course Bella Donna, to enhance the eyes supposedly used in the painting of the Mona Lisa,   Absinth – a favourite of Van Gogh, eventually causing madness,  Hemlock,   taken by Socrates, causing a very slow death, leaving only his brain alive enabling him to lecture his students,   and many many more both for the good of all and  definitely for the opposite.   Rob was an excellent speaker, and kept us very well entertained  with this fascinating subject.  Sue Ellis thanked him on behalf of us all even inviting him back sometime in the future to tell us more!

An excellent pooled supper was waiting for us (hopefully with no ‘additives’) so with much to discuss we gave it full justice.  The winner for this month’s competition  ‘a flower arrangement in a jam jar’ was Margaret Mayfield and the birthday girl was June McQuade

Next month’s speakers are Anya Simpson and Trisha – ‘Silks and Satins’ the competition this month being a silk item.

See you next month   J. D.


 MAY REPORT     –   Our first meeting with the new Committee and in the chair was Janis Crook, who was thankfully re-elected  as our President and by her side,  Pam Muggleton,  in her new role as Secretary, both looking forward to a busy year ahead as we are heading into  100 years of being a part of Alnmouth W.I., started by Mrs. Scolefield, in 1918.  Many changes of course have occurred during that time but we are fortunate that Alnmouth is still a lovely village and our W.I. still thrives. 

Janis started the meeting after her welcome, by thanking all members for their  input into the ‘Food Festival’ ,  which was a great success due to their baking and selling skills and of course enjoying meeting the other stall holders will all their various wares and visitors from far and wide.

It was straight into ‘business’ after that and  as our next year’s Programme was complete, thanks to the sterling work of Celia Collinson our Programme Secretary,  Janis mentioned particularly two up and coming events the first, ‘Tea in the Garden’ (Blue Dolphins)  supporting the Art Festival Weekend on 17th and 18th June and just to keep us on our toes a ‘Nearly New’ Sale in October where she reminded us to face something we always mean to do – go through our wardrobes and sort out those clothes  which are either too big,  or too small, but we keep just in case.

Pam reminded us of up and coming events including our guided tour of the Grainger Market in Newcastle, which was actually,  on the 10th May, and  certainly  to be recommended  as it was so interesting,   also going through the recommended Resolutions to be voted on at the N.F.W.I.’s Annual Meeting in Liverpool, followed by a report by Hazel Shell, our Representative ., to the N.F.W.I. Council Meeting held at the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle,   which she enjoyed very much and which we enjoyed listening to, – even including a joke told by one of the Speakers.     Our birthday girl’s name was then  drawn from the hat and it was Pat Edwards, who was presented with a lovely bouquet.

Margaret Woodliff Wright, our speaker for the evening and having previously set out examples of the hats she designs and makes,  started her presentation by going through the procedures of how she achieved making such  beautiful hats for every occasion.      She studied couture millinery at Leeds College of Art before starting her career,  and it was fascinating hearing how she creates such beautiful designs, even from old jumpers, her favourite sources of material being  the Oxfam Shops –  truly amazing.   At present some of her designs are on display at  Fenwicks of York, in their ‘An English Country Garden’ exhibition plus one of her designs is jetting off to Nebraska to an exhibition there.  A very interesting  talk, one we enjoyed very much.   Our competition this month was of course ‘a hat’ and we had quite a selection modelled by their owners, quite hard to choose, but Jean Humphreys  was the winner  in a very fetching hat.   Janis thanked Margaret for her excellent presentation and of course we finished our evening in the usual way by scones, cake and a cup of tea.

Our June meeting Speaker is Rob Wilson, and his   subject  is ‘Poisons in your Garden’  which sounds intriguing  and it will be a pooled supper.      J.D.



APRIL W.I.ANNUAL MEETING.  Given that this is not the most  popular meeting  of the year, there was a good turnout of members, possibly a ‘just in case’ factor as they just might have found being voted in as this year’s President in their absence,   was not quite what they had in mind.

After Janis, still in the chair for this meeting, welcomed everyone including our W.I. Adviser Ann Dixon and her companion Brenda Houlison, . the Agenda  was quickly gone through before the Annual Meeting started. Janis keeping everything as short as possible.  ~The main item mentioned being a reminder to our wonderful bakers of the need to show their skills for the up and coming first Food Festival which is due to be held  this coming Sunday and also names to man our stall.  It is traditional for the committee to serve supper at the Annual Meeting so no tea girls needed tonight.  The birthday girl was Pam Mugggleton who was presented with a lovely bouquet and Ann Coyne was the winner of the year’s competitions  .

 Our monthly meeting was now closed and our Treasurer, Clair Smith started the Annual Meeting by the presentation and adoption of the Financial Statement ,  followed by the presentation of the Committee’s Annual Report, which in the absence of our Secretary Yvonne Farmer, was presented by Pam Muggleton her assistant covering  the many  diverse range of excellent speakers  we had   throughout the year organised by our Programme Secretary Celia Collinson, particularly mentioning Members Night  with members sharing their knowledge and taking workshops covering a multitude of talents.  It was also our 99th birthday Party this year,  held in the Hindmarsh Hall, which was very enjoyable. indeed. (its our big one next year 100 years the W.I. have been in Alnmouth – wow)    Our present President then addressed the floor thanking everyone for all their efforts and input into our W.I. which wouldn’t run without them. Particularly thanking , Sue Ellis, Barbara Galbraith and Yvonne Farmer , who are standing down this year, for their sterling work which was much appreciated.

.Janis then handed the meeting over to  Ann Dixon, , our W.I.A. who gave a brief talk of N.F.W.I. activities plus a very funny poem,  before starting the vote for the new committee and President.  As the present committee are staying on apart from Sue, Barbara and Yvonne,  ~Ethel Cook and Di Sparks  are joining the committee in their place and we are delighted to welcome them and after a vote for President was carried out ,  we are delighted to welcome back Janis Crook our previous President who we are sure will lead us into our 99th year with her usual enthusiasm and humour. To conclude the  Annual Meeting, Esme Forster, thanked   the outgoing committee for all their input in 2016,  on behalf of the members and also Ann Dixon for her help in the election.

We were now more than ready for our pie and peas with the very necessary cup of tea Sue Stancliff and Ann Coyne were by now at the ready so we all relaxed and enjoyed a good catchup.

Our Speaker for the May meeting should be interesting  as it is Margaret Woodlif Wight her subject being ‘HATS’  and our competition surprisingly, is a hat.

Just an extra paragraph, although I started my report just after the Annual Mtg. because I didn’t actually  get it finished  due to running out of time, it worked in our favour as The Food Festival in Alnmouth is now over and I can report it was excellent in every way.  The sun shone, lots of happy people, all sorts of interesting and good food, shared the Hindmarsh   Hall with fellow stall holders from all parts of Northumberland, (we were next to the  Alnwick Rum Co. – what a spot!)  and sold all our cakes and produce so it was quite a day.      Thanks to everyone involved..      J.D.


Our 99th Birthday

We celebrated with a delicious dinner thanks to Susan and Donald of “Beaches” in Alnmouth and their helpers Lesley and Sam.  Now looking forward to next year, our CENTENARY!!

(Thanks to Esme for the photos)


W.I. MARCH MEETING.   Janis and Yvonne, our President and Secretary respectively, commenced our meeting in the usual way with a warm welcome and especially thanking everyone for helping to make our Winter Warmer such a success.   The various soups on offer plus delicious fruit crumbles, all ‘member made’ went down extremely well and it was good to see so many of our fellow W.I.members from various points in Northumberland joining us for lunch.

Various up and coming events were covered, including a quiz at Shilbottle, an outing, arranged by Pam Muggleton to visit Grainger Market in Newcastle on the 10th May plus our ‘informal’ coffee morning at The Alnmouth Gallery   from 10.30, the 23rd March. Also mentioning the  need once more,  for our wonderful bakers to fill the stall which we have taken, at the first ever ALNMOUTH FOOD FESTIVAL on Sunday the 9th April.

As our next meeting is our Annual Meeting – (usually not the most popular one of the year!) Janis went through the proceedings of volunteers for both officers and committee members which will be supervised by a W.I. Adviser so everyone sat very quiet, which in our W.I. is very unusual – just in case! It appears we are having a ‘pie and pea’ supper so that is something to look forward to, as by supper time our next year’s President and committee will be in situ, so we can relax.

Our Speakers for the evening were, Alan and Pauline Giles and Peter Cryer, who had been waiting patiently whilst Janis and Yvonne went through all ‘Matters Arising’ and after an introduction from Janis, Peter began his presentation of Press Gangs in the North East.

We learned what a cruel way of life it could be in our part of the world, as being on the coast and as the local industry was fishing it was the ideal area to forcibly take both old and young men who of course were experienced seamen, to fight for their king and country without even a goodbye to their families. Their wives of course were left to look after their children in anyway they could, which probably meant the workhouse,  with no hope in all probability, of ever seeing their husbands or sons agai, n as life aboard a Royal Navy Ship must have been horrendous as discipline was extremely harsh plus injuries and disease. Unbelievable as it is, Press Gangs were legal, as it was the only way they could get their seamen.   Actually, quite a bit of their tales were set to music as this is the way the story of their lives   was passed on as of course most people were illiterate in the 18th century.    It certainly didn’t lessen the impact of how awful life was in the day of press gangs but we did enjoy their music, played on, guitar, flute and northumbrian pipes.     We thanked Alan, Pauline and Peter for their excellent presentation and of course for also coming up from Newcastle

We thoroughly enjoyed our cup of tea and delicious cakes but did feel a bit guilty thinking how different our lives are now.

The Birthday Girl was Rosi Ross   and as mentioned our next meeting will be our Annual Meeting.     Look forward to seeing you. J.D.


FEBRUARY REPORT  2017  We certainly had a good attendance at our February meeting some new faces mingling with the old, which of course meant quite a lot of chat going on, catching up with each other –  but Janis put a stop to this by starting our Meeting  with the help of Yvonne quickly going through various up  and coming events

Our Winter Warmer was first on the agenda, reminding members to put their names down under various ‘headings’ to enable us to look after our, for the most part, fellow W.I. members who are joining us on Wednesday the 22nd February,  and also our 99th Birthday  celebration which will be in the Hindmarsh Hall on Thursday the 16th March.  Also a new venture for us, we are taking part in the Alnmouth Food Festival which will be on Sunday the 9th April,  Janis asking us to put our making and baking skills to the test as we will be having a ‘W.I. Produce and Cake Table’ – to join in Alnmouth’s first Food Festival.

Before announcing our Speaker for the evening, Yvonne went through  other events that our local W.I.’s are having such as a Hotspur Group Quiz Night, at Shilbottle on the 23rd March and various activities at Cresswell House which sound interesting after which Janis introduced Clair Dowgill, whose talk was entitled ‘Follow your Dreams’.

We were all intrigued wondering which path her subject would take and it was we discovered,  Going around the world, aged 55′,  camping in a very basic $20.00 tent across the, USA, camper vanning round New Zealand, driving 10,000 kilometres around Australia, topped off with using public transport doing ‘proper’ back packing through S.E. Asia, with her husband – both of whom are eclipse followers.   They had many adventures,  experiencing amazing scenery, awe inspiring sunsets, sunrises, endless encounters with fantastic wildlife and so many friendly and welcoming people.   The highlights were Angkor Wat, an erupting volcano, the Barrier Reef, the mud pinnacles in New Zealand and of course the eclipse . each incident adding to the overall thrill  of being free and able to explore with very little restriction.    There was no ‘epiphany’ moment Clair said, but as they relaxed into their now chosen lifestyle, their attitudes to lots of things  changed.

After 9 months on the road they realised they were no longer teenagers and were a tad weary and just a little homesick,  so  they returned to England, unemployed, homeless but with a confidence about  living their lives differently.  It took a little while for them  to realise the subtle change – but the process took them down the route of more living the dream and less a salary/career orientated lifestyle.   Janis thanked Clair very much  for her intriguing talk and it actually inspired our Programme Secretary, Celia Collinson, to ask members to put down the dream they would like to follow and actually one or two did, which we will put on our web site under The Craic –  we don’t actually know the authors of Living their  dream’, but  they are very interesting.  A final tip from Clair, anyone contemplating to follow their dream in a little tent – ‘take more than 3 pairs of knickers and be prepared to use wet wipes like you never believed possible.

The evening  ended in our usual way with a cup of tea, plus  some little cakes and scones and the birthday girl this week to get the bouquet of flowers is Ann Gledall.

Next month’s  speakers are Alan and Pauline Giles and Peter Cryer their subject being ‘Press Gangs in the North.  J.D.


‘Follow my dream’

(which one of the following was Barbara’s?)

Just one or two of   various  members  ‘musing’:-

  1. ‘Travel in luxury around the world.’
  1. ‘I always dreamt of one day sky diving and living abroad.  I have achieved both dreams – I did 20+ jumps in Germany.’
  1. ‘Mine was simple, it was to move from the City to the countryside near the sea… and I’ve done it and made lots of wonderful friends too.’
  1. ‘Singing in tune’
  1. Finally play golf better and enjoy it and maybe take off again as a crew member on the high seas, should the opportunity come up.

Nice to know so many of us still  have dreams.


  ‘ what a place to finish our holiday ‘The Orchid Garden’ in Singapore – back to Alnmouth tomorrow’


Members quenching their thirst on arrival at Singapore.

Just arrived and out on the town.Early night,really shattered.x


January 2017 Meeting.

Well our first meeting of 2017 was bursting at the seams with both members and prospective members and after a hearty welcome from our President, Janis, she quickly gave us a briefing of  how the evening will run as to start the year off our meeting was going to be a ‘Members Night’.



The evening’s business was quickly gone through, particularly mentioning that our subs are due – this year, £39.00  –  and that there will be a vote on the  Resolutions shortlisted on the available handout later,  during supper.  As,  of course,  it is getting near our Annual Meeting  members  were encouraged to think about joining the committee and any members interested in keeping the  website looking fresh and up to date would be very welcome indeed.

As it is our centenary next year, 2018, plans are underway for various celebrations being organised by an appointed  sub committee  –  more details will follow when they are finalized.   March 2018 seems forever away, but no doubt it will soon be upon us, like most celebrations you think you have plenty of time and suddenly its happening.  Our last reminder is about our usual Winter Warmer  which this year will be on Wednesday the 22nd February  when we will be serving homemade soup served with crusty bread, fruit crumble and custard followed by coffee or tea all for £5.00    We will be having two sittings this year one at 12.00 and the other 1.00 and if anyone would like to make a booking please email and we will happy to keep you a place.


Our Workshop  Leaders were eagerly awaiting their ‘pupils’ so Celia our Programme Secretary together with Caroline Martin and Ann Coyne helped members find their chosen subject.  There were two sessions available to members, chosen in advance and all were well subscribed,   so the fun began.  Actually there were excellent crafts of all sorts on offer including a tasting of cocktails (not sure of that category, but well attended!) all of the tutors being members.  They were:   Wool Wrapping,  Peg Loom Weaving,  Crochet flowers,  Winter Planting,  Making a place mat, and Cocktails – our inhouse ‘tutors’ were amazing and the buzz of conversation and laughter proved that our Members Night got our New Year off to a good start.

We finished our excellent evening by our usual  member’s pooled supper, which everyone was really ready for  and of course the vote of our chosen resolution.

The Speaker for our February meeting is Clair Dowgill and her subject will be ‘Follow Your Dream’  and the competition is a ‘Dreamcatcher’   J.D.


   Janis, our President, gave us her usual warm welcome and as Yvonne, our secretary, was unable to be with us, Pam Muggleton, her assistant, was her side kick.   The usual list of up and coming events were announced, in particular November Meeting 2016 Report   Janis, our President, gave us her usual warm welcome and, as our secretary Yvonne our Christmas Party, Janis reminding members, that whilst supper will be supplied, everyone is to bring their own place setting, including a glass as it us a b.y.o., plus a gift to add to Santa’s pile. Clair, our Treasurer, gave us an update of finances and Janis read out Thank you Cards from fellow members of the Hotspur Group. We have also received an invitation from Berwick W.I. to join them for their carol service on the 14th December, which quite a few accepted, so Christmas appears to be well on the way.   The last notice was of a coffee get together at The Gallery in the village on the 17th November, from 10.30 which is a catch up of members between meetings, and of course, a reminder of our Edinburgh visit on the 29th November, leaving Alnmouth station at 11.08.

Before announcing our Speaker for the evening, who was already with us, one of our members slipped in a request for us to dig into our drawers and cupboards, to find items to give homeless women, in particular any products relating to personal hygiene, toiletries, underwear, socks in fact anything unused that is just sitting there which would be more than welcome, as particularly over the Christmas period there can be a lot of hardship to women due to various circumstances, made homeless Although our next meeting will be our Christmas Party, any items brought that evening will get to where they are needed we are assured.

Sandra Kerry, who patiently sat through our meeting, was introduced by Janis and the lighter part of the evening began. The title of her presentation was ‘Women’s lives and experiences’ but we didn’t realize that for the most part of it was her songs that expressed her descriptive title.   She started well with a Northumbrian song, asking us to join her in the chorus, which we did of course, whether we could sing or not, and then introduced herself.   She is certainly a lady that has done a lot over the years, including being a writer of ‘Bagpuss’ a familiar name, and harking back a few years, being a great favourite of quite a few of our children’s t.v. viewing and of course being involved for 20 years in the very well know local choir ‘Weca’s Folk.   Although she had a bad bout of bronchitis that didn’t stop her singing or giving the background of the lyrics, as well as accompanying herself on various instruments – a guitar, Apalacian auto harp and concertina, in fact she included in her repertoire a song she has written about the W.I., which of course we particularly enjoyed.   She was excellent and certainly entertained us very well on a miserable November evening.   Janis thanked her on our behalf for both her music and words, some of which were hilarious!

The birthday girl was Margaret Stephenson and the competition for a poem relating to women, was won by Isabel Chalmers.

As our next W.I. meeting is our Christmas party and the last meeting in 2016 we at Alnmouth W.I. wish everyone a peaceful, healthy and Happy New Year. J.D.




~The usual buzz of members greeting each other, sorting a place to sit and of course the buying of raffle tickets from Sue Stancliffe in the hope of winning whatever she produces on the evening, got the evening off to a good start. As Yvonne, was not in the secretary’s chair as she is off to sunny Greece, Pam Muggleton took her place, and Janis welcomed all members and visitors before going through the Agenda.

The Hotspur Group Meeting was high on the Agenda which we are hosting this year on the 26th October covering the arrangements etc. followed by various announcements of outings etc. the first is our ‘informal coffee morning’ in the village, this month to be in the Village Tea Room (next to the Gift Shop) at 10.30 on the 20th October our trip to Edinburgh by train on Tuesday the 29th November and looking ahead a little a Winter Warmer in February and the much awaited fashion show by Seasons of Alnwick in March. Janis left all the’ Northumberland News’ for us all to go through at our leisure as time was passing quickly and as there looks to be some interesting ‘happenings’ it will take more digesting than a quick mention.

Having previously had John Yearnshire talking about forensic science at one of our meetings we this time had the pleasure of hearing his wife Stephanie, formerly   Commander of Police and Detective Superintendent, talking to us about Mary Ann Cotton, who was convicted for the murder of her son and hanged in Durham Gaol in 1873 for killing three of her four husbands, apparently in order to collect insurance policies.   Her method of poisoning was arsenic and in actual fact she may have had as many as 21 victims, including 11 of her 13 children.

Stephanie enthralled us with her storey, unbelievable as it was that any mother would murder her children for it seems a very small insurance policy, not to mention her husbands.     We were asked at the end of her talk to make up our minds as to Mary Ann Cotton’s guilt or innocence and with no hesitation it was a unanimous vote of GUILTY.  Barbara Galbraith gave an excellent vote of thanks on our behalf for a very enjoyable talk indeed.

The birthday girl chosen out of the hat this month was Margaret Mayfield who was presented with a lovely of bouquet of flowers, and the evening ended with our usual cup of tea and chat.

Also been asked to mention the return of Eleftherious Kousmasidis of Aegina (wow) on Saturday the 15th October at 7.00 at Saint John the Baptist Church, Alnmouth who will be entertaining us with a piano recital featuring the music of Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Marcello, and Debussy with guest artists, Josie McDonough and Alison Rudd.   Entry is by donation.

Our November speaker will be Sandra Kerr, and her music will be based on ‘Women’s Lives and Experiences.   Sounds interesting.   J.D.                                                     



A good start to our autumn/winter season – we had a full house of members as well as visitors. Sue Ellis, who was in the chair (Janis is at the moment exploring Rome) together with her side kick, our Secretary, Yvonne, started the meeting.   Various notices of up and coming events were read out, in particular information regarding the Hotspur Group Meeting, on the 26th October, which this year our W.I.,   is hosting. The theme is to be Spanish and Outcook, from Alnwick, are demonstrating and making canapes etc. so together with a suitable Spanish atmosphere and the occasional burst of flamenco music it sounds very promising! Tickets are available from member’s own W.I. and we look forward to the evening very much.

Yvonne read out quite a lot of what is going on within the Federation and all are listed on the ‘Newsletter’ for further details.     Two items mentioned which were important and applicable to our W.I. because of needing to order and book,   the former, W.I,. diaries and calendars,   the latter our trip to Edinburgh by train on the 29th November which were luckily sorted out before the ‘cut off’ date – there appears to be a lot to ‘catch up’, after our ‘summer break’.   Another item which is imminent, our informal coffee morning, which this month, is Thursday the 15th Sept and will be at the Village Grocery Store, in the coffee shop at the rear, from 10.30 a.m. The lucky birthday girls drawn by Yvonne are,   Lorna Ternent for August and Hilary Buckley, September.

During our meeting , two fine looking gentlemen were waiting patiently and perhaps looking a little confused in the midst of our members   but after being introduced by Sue all was revealed as they were at our meeting to tell us all about the ‘Northumbria Blood Bikes’ a subject quite a few of us were not really aware of .     All was revealed however, as it appears they are ’ gentlemen of the night’ known as the ‘Northumbria Blood Bank Bikers, their hours of duty being from 7.00 p.m. going on to 7.00 a.m. and their task, which is purely voluntary involves delivering blood and urgent clinical supplies out of hours between Health Care sites, laboratories and clinics in the North East, covering Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and Co. Durham, by for the most part, motor bikes.   The Blood Bike Groups across the country, seek to carry out this service free of charge, ensuring the limited resources of the N.H.S. can be used elsewhere . They are a charitable organisation relying entirely on donations and fund raising, truly amazing isn’t it and to be honest a good portion of our members, had just a very vague idea of their existence.   Their presentation was excellent as is their commitment to this cause and it is the importance of what they do that is mind blowing as with blood being on hand so quickly   gives the medical team a fighting chance to help those   in need of i blood.     They do have a web site under the name of ‘Northumberland Blood Bikes, which gives you a real picture of what they do and is well worth looking up.   Just an add on, they brought one of their bikes to our meeting which was a great success showing us their mode of very fast transport which some of our members tried out (in a stationery position of course) but they can dream.

Sue Ellis gave an excellent vote of thanks on our behalf and after much discussion and digesting of what we had heard from the Blood Bank representatives and our usual mug of tea accompanied by homemade cream scones made by some of the committee, the meeting ended.

The Speaker for our 3rd October meeting is Stephanie Yearnshire and her subject will be ‘Historic Murder Cases, which sounds rather interesting.     J.D.


July Meeting.

Lot of buzz this evening so with a full house, Sue Ellis our Vice President (Janis unable to join us this evening) and Yvonne, in her usual place by her side, started the meeting welcoming all members, especially some visiting W.I.s from Lesbury, Warkworth, Felton and Amble.   As Sue had no wish to keep our Speaker waiting for long, outstanding   business was quickly gone through, and as most of the information of up and coming events at Cresswell house, were itemised in the W.I. Newsletter she suggested we catch up during supper, as copies were on each table to go through and consider which are the most appealing, among the many to choose from.

Yvonne did mention however that this year we wont be doing our usual cake stall for Hindmarsh Hall at the Friary Day, which will be on Sunday the 17th July and instead will be running a tombola stall asking of course for interesting items to fill the stall. I think our members have the ‘white thumb’ from all the baking we have done celebrating the Queen’s Birthday event, which was a great success, hence the change of track.

Sue then introduced, Sean Murray, our patiently waiting Speaker for the evening, and as most of us had seen him on T.V. receiving his Gold Award for the winner of the Great Chelsea Garden Challenge , we were really looking forward to meeting him in person and hearing his story of how it all happened and he didn’t let us down, as he was spellbinding in a very laid back casual way.

Sean was the son of an Ashington Miner and from a very young age loved growing things, including designing and redesigning his father’s garden where they lived in a council house at Newbiggin, much to his father’s neighbours interest. He took up nursing, very successfully as his first career, which lasted 35 years and because of his love and talent of gardening his daughter, backed by his wife, suggested entering The Chelsea Gardening Challenge after seeing a programme on T.V. whilst on holiday at Centre Parks ., which he did.    He was one of 5 applicants accepted after many interviews with the R.H.S.judges, and POW it became the start of his second career at 53 after being accepted. He did have some critics being the only applicant without any qualifications, other than his natural gift of growing and design, but by elimination  almost becoming a nervous wreck, he eventually won.   The brief asked for by the R.H.S. ‘ was a ‘front garden with room for a car’  incorporating empty rusty baked bean tins into a sculpture, coal of course, and after raiding skips and the tip using his imagination all intertwined with a beautiful assortment of flowers, he successfully came up with an amazing garden in fitting with the challenge.

He gave his talk without any notes whatsoever, and with great humour and knowledge, a delightful Geordie lad who has done exceedingly well through his own endeavours. Pam Muggleton thanked him on everyone’s behalf and wished him well with his new career, in,    ‘Garden Design’ based in Ashington.

As it was a pooled supper produced, of course by our own members, we all tucked into delicious savouries and sweets (didn’t care about the calories) with much to talk about following our excellent evening.  

Our birthday girl this month was Caroline Martin and as there is no meeting in August, see you all in September.   Have a good summer   J.D.



It was good to see such a good turn out of both members, visitors and fellow members from local W.I.s on this lovely June evening, and after a very warm welcome from Janis, our President, accompanied by Pam Muggleton, assistant secretary, Yvonne was off to her home country of Wales for a few days, the meeting started. 

As our Speaker was already in situ, surrounded by his wonderfully smelling products, Janis quickly went through the Agenda and as all relevant correspondence and last month’s Minutes were displayed on the table for members to read she covered other outstanding issues. The most current being a reminder to our wonderful bakers of ‘Party in the Park’ on this coming Sunday, the 12th June, which the Parish Council have organised asking us to share in the celebration of the Queen’s 90th Birthday, doing our usual of course ‘ scones, cakes and tea served in the marquee.   Plus mentioning a ‘casual coffee’ visit to The Sun’ on Thursday morning 23rd July, a good place to recuperate after voting and our trip on the Spirit Bus to Rothbury on the 7th July.

There was one very important part of our meeting when Celia Collinson, our archivist introduced Susan Frater to the floor, who wished to present  our W.I. with a silver spoon, she found in her house (when she was having a good sort out!) The spoon was actually presented to her Grandmother, Harriet Margaret Frater, of Bilton Barnes, in 1928, a founder member, of Alnmouth W.I. . as were all the members 154 of them, from Mrs. Scholefield of Lintclose, now of course the Friary, who was actually the founder of our W.I., in celebration of the first 10 years of the W.I. in the village   It was indeed an honour to receive this wonderful momento from Susan and it brings home what an important organisation the Women’s Institute is, all thanks to Mrs. Scholefield and the input of Susan’s Grandmother and the rest of the first members..   We will treasure it Susan as we do the memories of the first stalwarts of our W.I.

Chris Harrison of Waulkmill Cider, was  more than ready to tell us about his enterprise and we of course, were eager to hear.   He is actually based just over the Border between Langholm and Esdalemuir a beautiful part of the country and prides himself as being the first brewer of cider in Scotland, a part of the world more known for another product!

He has obviously put a lot of research and work into this enterprise and it appears to be working out for him as he had an amazing selection of ciders, using Scottish apples blended with traditional cider apples to acquire the various flavours he produces.   The apples and pears he uses are, when possible, from local sources, back gardens, small orchards, even single trees, never turn downs any offers of apples and pears all of which are hand pressed on his site, all waste going to local pig farmers, so he is certainly very enterprising.   On all our tables were a couple of small bottles of cider, we were invited to open and taste, which we did of course, with great enthusiasm sharing other tables’ bottles as they were all different and of course the sales table seemed very popular indeed.    He also mentioned his Cider vinegar is supposed to be an appetite depressant,  which was greeted with great interest but his other flavours were equally interesting i.e. toffee apple, sticky ginger, blackcurrant – Oh and by the way Babycham (a drink we cut our teeth on!!) is becoming popular again.  After answering many questions from the members, Sue Ellis, on our behalf, gave him all our thanks, especially travelling so far, for giving such an excellent presentation.

The usual chat and cup of tea ended our evening but not before drawing the birthday flowers, which this month went to Monica Atkins.

Our topic for July is Garden Design and Question Time by Sean Murray and it is a pooled supper.   J.D. 



This was our first meeting with our new committee in place, not many changes actually, but as Yvonne our Secretary was unable to attend, Pam Muggleton, in her new role as assistant secretary, helped President, Janis, to go through the usual formalities, of which there seemed to be quite a lot.
A copy of last month’s Minutes was on each table to keep us up to date with various points in ‘Matters Arising’ such as an update of the fashion show which was held at ‘Seasons’ and was a very enjoyable evening, the ongoing fund raising for our W.I. fund, payment to Pam for the theatre trip and a reminder of the first sub- committee meeting on Monday 16th May, to discuss our centenary celebrations. Caroline went through various Federation events followed by a reminder of our annual outing to Beamish Museum in August. Last, but far from least, we have been asked by the village Parish Council to do the refreshments at the ‘Party in the Park’ for the Queen’s 90th Birthday on Sunday the 12th June. Volunteer bakers and helpers needed of course!
Apart from these items, a request was put to the floor for a member who would be interested in being our ‘resident photographer’ so that we may have a record of ‘our goings on’ especially with regard to keeping our new web site updated, also anyone wishing to join fellow members for a coffee at The Old School Gallery next Thursday the 19th May, would be very welcome – and lastly we thought we may try out the Spirit bus for an informal outing to our beautiful Coquet Valley now that summer is on its way, probably in June.
There was another issue discussed and that is the problem of the X18 no longer running a service from Alnmouth village during the day, which we brought up with our M.P. Anne- Marie Trevelyan and having had a reply from her we hope that she can help us in reinstating this valuable service to the village as it was well used, especially during the summer months by visitors to the village travelling by train and leaving their car behind, a great advantage to the village given our parking problem.
We had noticed a lady walking through the door with some big boxes which looked a bit like a bee hive and that is exactly what it was, as our speaker for the evening was Sandra Carrott, a member of Alnwick Beekeepers Society and her subject was ‘Fantastic Facts about Bees and Beekeeping’. Sandra gave us a wonderful talk on this subject and it is pretty obvious she is very passionate about her bees. She took us through the history of her subject and given bees have been around for a long long time, honey having been found in a pharoah’s tomb thousands of years ago, the bees still produce honey in the same way as they have ever done. The Queen Bee of course is still the centre of their universe and is highly protected by the drones but each layer of the bees in their hives has a job to do from collecting pollen, cleaning the hive, feeding the baby bees and of course producing this wonderful product called honey which apart from being delicious on our toast in the morning has multiple uses and has done for centuries as a great healer among many others.
I can’t really do justice to Sandra’s talk as it was so good; her knowledge of ‘her bees’ is phenomenal and it was certainly an eye opener for most of us listening to her. Sue Ellis thanked her on our behalf for certainly an excellent talk both humorous (I think the bees are all her friends!) and certainly fascinating.
We finished our evening by the presentation of the birthday flowers to Judy Woodford and the usual cup of tea, but this month accompanying our cupper were some delicious honey buns made by Michelle Irving, (nee Hume), a member of our committee.
Next month our speaker, who will give a talk regarding the production and uses of cider, is a gentleman coming all the way from Dumfries and Galloway named Chris Harrison. J.D.



As our meeting this time of year is no less than our Annual Meeting, the evening started with the usual monthly business.  Janis, our President, warmly greeted everyone, quickly went through outstanding business and of course greeted our W.I. Adviser Prudence Marks.

Items on the Agenda included – the winner of the monthly competitions, Caroline Martin, who was presented with a £10.00 Voucher; a theatre trip to see West Side Story on the afternoon of 21st July, tickets £21.00 to be paid to Pam Muggleton by the end of April; our annual outing on 11th August, to Beamish, and a mention of next month’s Speaker, which will be a talk by Sandra Carrott, entitled ‘Fantastic facts about Bees and Beekeeping, which sounds intriguing.  Janis also mentioned our contact with Swaziland W.I. had sadly died suddenly, but we hope to continue into the future our relationship as it was always interesting to hear of how their W.I. helped their local community which we endeavoured to play a part in a small way.

Sue Ellis has kindly offered to arrange a fashion show in her shop, Seasons, on April 20th and tickets were on sale at the meeting, £10.

Prudence then took over the meeting in the usual format with the presentation and adoption of the Financial Statement by our treasurer, Claire Smith, seconded by Judi Hill, followed by our Secretary, Yvonne Farmer, presenting her report, which was seconded by Pam Muggleton and voted for by a show of hands from the floor.  Our President, Janis Crook,  then gave her annual report thanking the committee for their support and hard work, a copy of which was put on the tables for members to read.  Prudence then read out the proposed committee, which is status quo with the exception of Esme Forster and Jean Cullen who have decided to retire and the addition of Pam Muggleton and Joan Davidson who have rejoined.  A secret ballot for President resulted in Janis being re-elected; Yvonne will continue as Secretary, Claire as Treasurer and the committee for 2016 are Caroline Martin, Celia Collinson, Barbara Galbraith, Sue Ellis, Sue Stancliffe, Ann Coyne, Michelle Irving, Pam Muggleton and Joan Davidson.

Prudence finished the Annual Meeting by discussing the two resolutions chosen to be discussed and voted on at the W.I. Annual Meeting, which this year is in Brighton –   ‘Appropriate care in hospitals for dementia patients’ and Avoiding food waste’  followed by a couple of her very humorous stories.

There was a delicious smell in the Hall by this time, which was Turnbull’s pies waiting to be served to the members, who were more than ready for them, accompanied by peas and gravy, so a good end to a good evening which is, traditionally, not the most favourite meeting of the year. 

So here is to another year of Alnmouth W.I. which I am sure will be as diverse, interesting and fun as ever.



Although still a bit on the chilly side, there was still a bit of light around which gave us hope that spring may not be too far away, when we made our way to our March meeting.

It was a good turnout of members both old and new so Janis and Yvonne quickly got the meeting started by reminding us firstly, that our next meeting is the Annual Meeting, secondly to think about joining the committee, and thirdly volunteers needed for a sub-committee to form a ‘think tank’ to get ideas of how to celebrate our 100th birthday in 2018 and just to show our W.I. is not all about committees finalizing details of our birthday dinner, which is on Wednesday next the 16th March.    There were also a couple of very nice invitations from local W.I.s – Embleton and Lesbury, plus Sue Ellis, our Vice President, owner of Seasons of Alnwick, has volunteered to host a Fashion Show at her premises on the evening of 20th April at 7.00, tickets for this event will be on sale at the next meeting.

Our Speaker for the evening Daniel Turnbull of Turnbulls of Alnwick was more than ready to demonstrate his skills with meat products so after being introduced by Janis we eagerly awaited hopefully to improve our skills.  He started off with a chicken which he quickly ‘spatchcocked’ all ready to pop in the oven, followed by creating two small roasts out of a shoulder of lamb and finally his own version of a beef wellington all of which looked delicious. Throughout his endeavours he chatted and answered various questions put to him by our members such as how long he had been butchering, his answer being, he started weekends whilst still at school at 15, leaving at 18 to go to University to study physics, at the behest of his father Mark son of John son of Robert et al   and returning 3 years later back into the firm, where he is now firmly part of the family team.   It was an excellent presentation both in his demonstration of his butchering skills and personality, we are very lucky to have such a well established, very much a family firm in our County town who has survived the ups and downs of today’s climate.   The only negative thing to say is, as much as we were pleased that certain members won these delectable treats in the raffle, we were very jealous, consolation is we can go to Turnbull’s any time and know they are available.   Sue Ellis gave Daniel an excellent vote of thanks on our behalf and asked him to choose the winner of this month’s competition, which was a rabbit (a nod to the Easter Bunny of course not a real one!) and the winner was Jill Bourne and runner up Caroline Martin.   The birthday flowers this month went to Celia Collinson.

A good chat and the usual cup of tea etc., ended our pleasant evening.

As already mentioned our next meeting in April is our Annual Meeting when our supper will be good old fashioned pie and peas (Turnbull’s pie of course!) please bring your own plate and cutlery 





In January Alnmouth’s Dancing Girls, paid tribute to one of their members, Ann MacLean, a member both of the ‘Dancing Girls’ and our W.I., who sadly passed away recently,  by ‘going public’ and doing their first show, and as part of the venture, included an afternoon tea.  We (the W.I.) were asked to come  on board.

As this was also a fund raiser for the floor of upstairs in the Hindmarsh Hall, which is in dire DSC_0825modneed of  renovation, (and of course is very important to us as this  is our meeting room) we agreed.  The call went out for cakes and scones from the members and the ‘dancing girls’ and they came up trumps.  At the time, we didn’t quite take in that it might be a sell out; as the day approached we did get an inkling from picking our papers up from the village P.O. that the tickets ‘were in great demand’  so it turned into quite a challenge – one we met face on, of course – WE ARE the W.I.  We didn’t even have time to catch up with ‘the craic’.  Must admit  the finished product would not have come amiss in any  5* hotel – congratulations to all our bakers.

Ann would have been proud and we are delighted our Hall also benefits.






FEBRUARY W.I. REPORT     As our President, Janis, had an unfortunate accident on the day of the our meeting, her ‘Vice’ was in the chair, Sue Ellis, who together with Yvonne, our Secretary, opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and thanking them for battling the wild winds prevailing in Alnmouth that night.

Yvonne began by going through up and coming events, including our 98th birthday dinner which we are celebrating in the Hindmarsh Hall with a 3 course dinner, with the luxury of being catered for by Beaches in Alnmouth, which is a big treat for us, especially the ‘catering team’.   This will be on Wednesday at 7.00 on the 16th March and tickets are available from Yvonne, our secretary, and it is a B.Y.O. (bringing your own glasses of course).

Our own website is now back in action, we are delighted to announce, under (if you care to check us out!) and we have a certain gentleman named John Bailey, who we have to thank for this. He calmly dealt with four ladies (all with strong opinions of course!!) and created our beautiful web site, which we are delighted with.

Before Sue asked our Speaker, John Yearnshire, to start his presentation there was an unexpected event as the W.I. ‘songsters’ (I use the term loosely) were asked to parade in singing our Suffragette song and we were presented with a beautiful scroll from Mary Hollins for taking part in ‘Years to Remember’ which she produced, directed and also took part in (brilliant lady). Sue Ellis also, on our behalf, thanked Mary for all her endeavours and presented her with a lovely bouquet.

John, who had been very patiently waiting, started his fascinating talk, beginning at the start of his career in the police force aged 16, until he retired.   He had an amazing journey through his police years gradually working his way through C.I.D., both Task and Special Forces, then an Instructor in forensics at the National Police College in Co. Durham before moving to Abu Dhabi to train both men and women in their police force.   Quite a career and one that lead him to us to talk about Forensics.

He covered three cases in his talk to us –   The First – the Soham Murders which happened in 2002 when two school children, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, were murdered by a College Caretaker. Named   Ian     Huntley , subsequently given 2 life sentences , who still refuses to apologise The Second – The Great Train Robbery, in 1963, well publicised, involving 15 ‘robbers’ the most famous of which was Ronnie Biggs who escaped prison and spent most of his life in Brazil just to name one of the ‘15’ and The Third – The A6 Murder, in 1962.   James Hanratty, hanged at Bedford Gaol in 1962 after shooting and killing Michael Gregsten, as well as raping and shooting Valerie Storey who survived but now is permanently in a wheelchair. It was voice recognition at the time that convicted him, by Valerie Storey in a line up.   Many questioned the evidence and claimed it was too weak to convict him but after carrying out DNA tests in 2002 it was proved beyond doubt that he was guilty. The first and third cases were both solved by DNA, first used in 1995, the most expensive case to date being the Soham Murders which was solved by fibres found under the new tyres he put on his car after valeting it after the crime.   John’s talk was just amazing, as he said DNA is absolutely foolproof, of course human, error is not, which is why we see the police (in Silent Witness of course!) entirely covered up from head to toe to avoid contamination. Sue thanked John for an excellent talk which everyone enjoyed and we appreciated his long journey on such an atrocious evening.

We ended in the usual way by a good cup of tea and much chat of course. Next month our Speaker is Daniel Turnbull from our local butchers, who will talk about meat and cooking methods, something most of us are always interested in.   Stay warm   J.D.


Compliments of the season to everyone.  It’s good to be back to normal and, apart from the atrocious weather which seems to be lasting forever, a fair proportion of our members bravely battled the elements and made it to our first meeting of 2016.

Janis, our President warmly welcomed us and started the meeting by thanking all who had helped make our Christmas Party such an enjoyable night.  The food was excellent, our usual ‘inhouse caterers’ of course were up to their usual standard; the Hindmarsh Hall looked very festive indeed, having been beautifully decorated by our very accomplished ‘florists’ and the welcome glass of Proscecco didn’t come amiss either, to get us in the party mood.  The atmosphere was great – lots of hilarity and chat of course, helped by a game we hadn’t played before called ‘measles’, then trying out our dancing skills to the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ theme and our traditional exchange of presents.  It finished all too soon with the singing of Auld Lang Syne (sign of a good party) and a great start to our Christmas.

Yvonne and Janis then got down to the business of the evening, going through all the  correspondence that had accumulated, including various events and invitations received, suitably noted in our 2016 W.I. Diaries of course.  In particular a Winter Warmer Lunch organised by Longhoughton and Boulmer W.I., and a meeting of our Hotspur Group , both in February.  Quite a few events listed in our Federation News Letter also, so plenty going on over the winter months.  This is the month we have to pay our subscription also so Claire Smith, our Treasurer, was kept busy taking our money!

By this time we had discovered that our Speaker, had unfortunately to cancel at the last minute because of flooding, so Janis and Yvonne took the opportunity to discuss the Resolutions.  Each year members have the chance to put forward issues that they want  the NFWI to campaign on, or raise awareness about, and have done since the W.I. was formed in 1915.  There are some even still relevant today actually and all the successful  Resolutions over the years are on the NFWI web site and are really interesting.     Yvonne quickly gave a talk on each one as listed in the WI.Life and then threw the discussion out to the floor which promoted many diverse opinions.  Although members are asked to consider these resolutions and select which they would like to take forward for discussion and final voting at the Annual Meeting next June, Janis took a ball park count out of interest and by a show of our member’s hands, it appears Food Waste seemed to get the most votes and Mind and Body very close.

It was an interesting night and after all that discussion of course we were more than ready for a cup of tea and a mince pie which set us in good stead to face the elements again.

Joan Davidson