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Women's Institute 2023

WI logoAnother good year with excellent speakers and lovely social occasions. With speakers from Tony Tucker on Naval Architecture,Co-op Estate Planning on Lasting powers of attorney, wills etc. In May, Helen Fairmaner spoke on the 2021 Census and helped members to trace their ancestors. There was a most interesting talk on Alternatives to Fossil Fuels by Steve Burnage, East Anglia Ambulance gave an excellent presentation on their work and involvements.Ken Coates spoke on the Waterways Experience origins.

Outings to Saville Gardens, afternoon tea at Peck's Farm.Birthday meal at the Swan, a visit to Ashridge Gardens and a Waterways canal trip with a fish and chip lunch.

A Harvest Supper was enjoyed by all.

We collected food for the food bank, and also collected  gifts for under privileged families, to be distributed by the local Salvation Army.

Visitors are always welcome.

-- Deirdrea Ellins

Women's Institute - tree scarves


Eaton Bray WI - January 2017

This article was published in January 2017. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

WI logoOur first meeting of the New Year 2017 in January, held in Eaton Bray Methodist Hall, was well attended.

During the report of our December meeting, members were thanked for their donation of toys to the Salvation Army; a letter of thanks had been received. The vote for WI Resolutions were taken. The majority agreement was for Alleviating Loneliness and it was agreed this should go forward to the main meeting to be held in Liverpool.

Our speaker for the evening was Victoria Poulton from Woburn Abbey. This was her second visit and her talk on the history of Woburn was delightful. During the winter months, restoration work is carried out, during the Abbey's closure. Tours for schools, give the children an opportunity to act as curators. There is a great effort being made to increase the interest of tours at Woburn to encourage visits.

The evening culminated in social time and refreshments.

Two new members attended our February meeting. Our speaker Colin Oakes was welcomed. It was a fitting evening for his talk on 'Coronations through the Ages' given the day was the 65th anniversary of our Queen's Ascension to the Throne. Since William the Conqueror, he reminded us that funny things can happen at Coronations. His talk was both informative and amusing.

Colin explained that at their Coronation, the Sovereign is first presented to the people in simple dress. After swearing an oath to uphold the law and the Church, the monarch is anointed with holy oil or chism, and invested with regalia, (riches) and then crowned. Mary Tudor was the first woman to be crowned in her own right in 1553, followed in 1559 by Queen Elizabeth I.

Many coronations have been very elaborate and were not always held at Westminster Abbey. Colin explained the Stone of Scone, also known as the Stone of Destiny or the Coronation Stone, was used for centuries in the coronation of the monarchs of Scotland and later the monarchs of England. We enjoyed hearing about the sandwiches that some of the Peers would keep hidden in their coronets, and even bats flying around at one Coronation. Vast sums of money were expended by some of the Kings for their Coronations. Colin was thanked for a very entertaining evening.

A letter of thanks had been received from Emmaus with regard to the recent Rucksack Project. Our W.I.s contribution had helped to fill 36 rucksacks with items that were kindly donated from other customers and supporters of Emmaus. Items that went into the rucksacks were warm clothes, hats, scarves, gloves and socks. A range of toiletries from toothpaste to wipes to deodorant. Sleeping bags were also included.

A WI coffee morning will be held at the Methodist Hall on 6th April. During the meeting in March requests will be made for cakes, and help on stalls.

Our President reminded members that the AGM would be held on 3rd April. She requested offers for help on the committee, and whether members would be willing to continue with their present support.

A questionnaire was distributed requesting feedback about speakers etc to help in planning the programme for 2017:

Dates for our diaries:

  • 3rd March - World Day of Prayer at Edlesborough Methodist Church
  • 3rd April - AGM Eaton Bray WI
  • 6th April - WI Coffee Morning at Eaton Bray Methodist Hall

The March meeting of Eaton Bray WI will be held on Monday 6th March, when the talk will be: Collective Legal Solutions; Tax, Care and Toy Boys.

The enjoyable evening was followed by social time and refreshment.

Meetings are always the first Monday of the month (except Bank Holiday when it is the second Monday). The Meetings commence at 7.30 pm and are held in Eaton Bray Methodist Hall. The contact for Eaton Bray WI is: Margaret Jones.

A warm and friendly welcome awaits new members. At each meeting there is an interesting speaker or demonstration, followed by social time and refreshments.


Eaton Bray WI - December 2016

This article was published in December 2016. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

WI logoOur November and December meetings were held in the Memorial Hall. The first meeting took place on 8th November, when our speaker, David Mercer, spoke on the subject of, 'A Life in Tennis'. The name David Mercer may be familiar to many of the readers, particularly to those who enjoy sports because David is a sports broadcaster, specialising in: tennis, badminton and rowing.

David is a keen and gifted sports person himself who, when at school, won the Welsh Junior Doubles title in 1968 and captained his university tennis team in 1969. Having studied law at Nottingham University and acknowledging that he was not quite good enough to be a top level tennis player he did not take up sport for a living. Instead, he became a solicitor in Swansea, having qualified in 1973.

However, the love of sport and with tennis in particular never fading, David took up umpiring and from 1973 to 1984 he umpired at Wimbledon. In 1983 he was in charge of the Men's Double Final and in 1984 the Men's Singles Final between Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe. He has also umpired many other tournaments including Davis Cup ties.

Having won a competition organised by BBC Wales, David began broadcasting part-time in 1979 and in 1984 saw him broadcasting full - time when he became part of BBC Radio Sport in London. In 1990 he was appointed its tennis correspondent and two years later he moved from radio to BBC Television. Proudly he told his audience how much he has enjoyed being a member of the BBC's Wimbledon commentary team since 1985. There were numerous interesting, fascinating and anecdotal tales he told his audience, all of which were based on and around the subject of tennis.

David also informed his listeners that he not only commentates for the BBC but also for BT Sport, Eurosport and a number of other networks. He is a former Chairman of the Lawn Tennis Writers' Association, a member of the International Tennis Federation's Media Commission, a Buckinghamshire Ambassador and a former member of the Sports Council for Wales.

David was also interested in politics. In the 1979 General Election, David came within 401 votes for being the Member of Parliament for Swansea West and during the 1983 General Election he assisted in the Prime Minister's Private Office.

David was a very interesting and informative speaker. It is fair to say that all members of his audience gleaned plenty of fresh information. A very enjoyable evening was had by all.

The second Meeting took place on 13th December when we held our AGM and Jenny was re-elected our president. The AGM was followed by our delicious Christmas meal, which was provided by Jane and her team of Happy Helpers. Poems and anecdotes were recited by members of our meeting and the invited visitors from the three WI groups which Edlesborough WI is amalgamated, were presented each with a poinsettia.

The speaker on this occasion was Colin Oakes, who spoke on the subject of his 'career' - that of being Father Christmas in a garden centre. The title of his talk was, 'Eighteen Years in a Grotto: Santa Speaks'. The talk was very festive but also reflected the change in the public's attitude towards people working with children.

The evening concluded with a very successful raffle; with lots of donations.

To those ladies, who have never been to a WI meeting or perhaps you have but for some reason have not been to one for some time, our next meeting will take place in the Memorial Hall on 14th February at 7.30. Why not come along? You will receive a friendly welcome.

-- Jackie Flint


Eaton Bray WI - November 2016

This article was published in November 2016. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

WI logoThe November meeting of the Eaton Bray WI was well attended.

We were looking forward to our speaker for the evening as it was an unusual topic; Poison as a Medicine. This proved to be a very interesting subject. Graham Harrison was suitably attired in tweed suit and he donned a bowler hat, explaining that in the nineteenth century little regulations were given to medicine. Cocaine, Opium, Morphine, Arsenic and Heroin were all used medicinally. There was much advertising for products to relieve many ailments. As doctors were very expensive this was an adequate and easy way for anyone to obtain medication. Collis Brown and Epsom Salts are two items which are still used today.

Following this very interesting subject, tea was served and notices read.

A member of Eaton Bray WI would be laying a wreath on Remembrance Sunday at the Memorial.

A Birthday Dinner will be held on Thursday 17th November at 7.30 pm when all members of Eaton Bray WI are invited. This has been subsidised by our summer afternoon tea and coffee morning.

The Group Christmas evening will be held on Friday 9 December in Caddington It will be a traditional Christmas evening this year, Eaton Bray WI will arrange a Bring and Buy stall for the evening.

Members signed their names on a tablecloth to be embroidered to celebrate our 95th Birthday.

The next meeting of the Eaton Bray WI will be our Christmas gathering on Monday 5th December at 7.30, when a special raffle and scrumptious food will be served. Member were asked to bring their cards for members for the Post Box.

Meetings are always the first Monday of the month (except Bank Holiday when it is the second Monday), commencing at 7.30 pm in Eaton Bray Methodist Hall.

The contact for Eaton Bray WI is: Margaret Jones. A warm and friendly welcome awaits new members. At each meeting there is an interesting speaker or demonstration, followed by social time and refreshments.


Eaton Bray WI - October 2016

This article was published in October 2016. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

WI logoAt our October meeting we welcomed Wendy Austin who gave us an extremely interesting, illustrated talk on Ashridge House and the part the Brownlow family played in the Estate. Starting life as a monastery in 1283, Ashridge House was saved during the Dissolution of the Monastries by Henry VIII. He favoured the area as a hunting ground. Ashridge House was bequeathed to Elizabeth I and eventually purchased by Sir Thomas Egerton. Various cousins inherited the Estate down the centuries, culminating in the Brownlow family headed by 1st Earl Brownlow inheriting the Estate in the 19th century. In 1928 Urdan Boughton bought the house and presented it to the Conservative Party when it became the Andrew Bonar Law College. The Management College has now been taken over by an American Corporation.

The talk was followed by the notices. Several sympathy cards had been received from other WI's since we had lost our dear friend and member Dorothy Bradbury. She will be greatly missed by Eaton Bray WI.

The Christmas Appeal would be to Emmaus this year, as well as the usual Salvation Army donations.

Members will vote for Resolutions on 30 November, for those to be presented at the 2017 AGM.

The next meeting of Eaton Bray WI will be on Monday 7th November when Graham Harrison will talk on Poisons for Medicine.

Meetings are always the fi rst Monday of the month (except Bank Holiday when it is the second Monday). The Meetings commence at 7.30 pm and are held in Eaton Bray Methodist Hall. The contact for Eaton Bray WI is: Margaret Jones.

A warm and friendly welcome awaits new members. At each meeting there is an interesting speaker or demonstration, followed by social time and refreshments.

-- Pamela


Eaton Bray WI - September 2016

This article was published in September 2016. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

WI logoOur September meeting, held in Eaton Bray Methodist Hall, was well attended.  During the month of August members had enjoyed a lovely Afternoon Tea at Helen's House.  Scones, tea and cakes were served in lovely sunshine.  A good sum had been raised which would be shared between the Chairman's Challenge for Denman and towards the EBWI 90th Birthday Party  on Thursday 17th November.

The minutes of the previous meeting and notices were read.  The speaker for the meeting was Paul Heley who gave a very informative talk on Chasing Polar Bears.  This was based on his trip to Spitzbergen, which is 500 miles from the North Pole.  During the trip, besides seeing the polar bears, he was inspected by seals, ignored by strange walruses and saw the Svalbard reindeers.  Paul explained how dangerous polar bears can be.  A scout would be sent out at each stop to check if they were in the area.

Members were reminded of the group Autumn meeting on Friday 23 September at Baptist Hall, Caddington at 7.30pm.  The speaker will be William Ashley Norman who is a wire sculptor.  A Craft Fair will be held at Flitwick Village Hall on Sunday 30th October.

The next meeting of Eaton Bray WI will be on Monday 3rd October when Wendy Austin will be talking on the subject of Ashridge House and the Brownlows.

Meetings are always  the first Monday of the month (except Bank Holiday when it is the second Monday). The Meetings commence at 7.30 pm and are held in Eaton Bray Methodist Hall. The contact for Eaton Bray WI is:  Margaret Jones.

A warm and friendly welcome awaits new members.  At each meeting there is an interesting speaker or demonstration, followed by social time and refreshments.


Eaton Bray W.I.

This article was published in April 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Women's InstituteA welcome was extended to the members at the March meeting.

There was a birthday card for Celia White and congratulations were given to Barbara Ilic and her husband Tony on the occasion of their Diamond Wedding.The card from the Queen was looked at by everyone (especially the code on the back). Loving thoughts were expressed to Dorothy and her daughter June, whose husband Bill had died suddenly. A newsletter was distributed giving all the forthcoming details of events and outings planned for the Summer.

Deirdrea introduced the speaker Jean Yates who spoke on Bedfordshire's Secret War.

Organisations such as the Special Operation Executive and others, conducted their secret operations from various parts of Bedfordshire.

The Met Office Central Forecasting unit was in a nissen hut camou fl aged as a haystack on top of the Downs, in Isle of Wight Lane. Another hut was involved in experimental radar, this too was camoufl aged by hay. Twenty miles of chicken wire was erected on the Downs at 400ft above sea level. Hockliffe had a secret radio station run by the Czechoslovakians who were communicating with their president and government.

Chicksands was an RAF 'Y' station, at one time it had 200 receivers intercepting the German Air Force strategic wireless network. Paris House at Woburn was used as an interim safe house for the Royal Family if Britain was invaded.

Jean showed slides with so much information written down. Most details could be found in her book entitled Dunstable at War, written by herself and Sue King. (Copies available from Focus editor.)

Jean was thanked by Sue for a most informative talk. Social time followed and the raffle was won by Barbara Collier and Megan Hall.

Next month's speakers on Monday 2nd April are Mandy and Justin James of Redbournbury Mill and Bakery. They will be bringing samples to taste.

Why not join us?

Source: Focus, April 2012


Eaton Bray WI

This article was published in December 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Women's InstituteThe 90th Birthday buffet was held in the Methodist Chapel hall,which was decorated for the occasion and a beautiful array of food greeted the members. Only one member was unable to attend as she was on holiday, but sent a lovely card. Deirdrea welcomed everyone and past members and their valuable contributions were remembered. Various 90th Birthday cards were read out.

Gladys Deamer was given a card and good wishes for her birthday and good wishes were expressed to Helen Wilkinson, for the occasion of her daughter's forthcoming wedding.

Sheila's son Jeff prepared an excellent music quiz, which kept everyone trying to hum the tunes and guess the names of the singers. He really had chosen some very different and difficult tunes for us. Then the buffet began with everyone tasting a little of everything and pronouncing it excellent. Susan's quiz really challenged the brains and it was quite difficult to have all the answers when the alloted time was up. It was much harder than Mastermind. The quiz winners were given prizes and Susan and Jeff given a thank you gift.

A Birthday raffle was drawn with some very special prizes for the lucky recipients. The cake was cut and teas and coffees served. To continue the 90th Birthday celebrations, a meal will be enjoyed at the White Horse.

Two large boxes full of gifts for children, which would be delivered to, and distributed by the Dunstable Salvation Army, were collected.

The next meeting will be on Monday 5th December, when members of the Group WI's will be guests, for a Christmas celebration. The speaker will be Jenny, the Captain of the Salvation Army, who will speak about the Canal Path Patrol. Envelopes will be given out at that meeting in preparation for payment of the 2012 subscriptions, in January 2012. Visitors are always welcome.

Source: Focus, December 2011


Eaton Bray W.I.

This article was published in September 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Women's InstituteDeirdrea welcomed the members back after the Summer break and also wecomed Roz who joined us that evening.

Everyone agreed that the outing to Sulgrave Manor, the home of George Washington's ancestors, was a great success. From the moment that the coach arrived until its departure, we were looked after. Everything was done to make sure that we had the best possible time, with attention to every detail. The house tour visiting the Great Hall, kitchen and bedchambers among the furniture and artifacts of the period, plus the other rooms depicting the era of George Washington, were made so interesting by Simon a most informative guide (quite a charmer too). The two hour tour just fl ew by and when Simon referred to the "shapely legs" in each room, he looked at Dorothy not the furniture! Walking through the village which was friendly, picturesque and so peaceful. Entering the small church there, the feeling of calm and peacefulness was so welcoming.

The September meeting saw Paul Hancock as the speaker (who stepped in at the last minute), showing slides on the National Trust and specifi cally the Chiltern Gateway Centre at Dunstable Downs. The area around the centre offers so much, the views, wildlife, various types of orchids, red kites as well as the fresh air activities of kite fl ying and gliding. The centre itself offers many facilities, with a National Trust shop, selections of food to buy, an excellent cafe, gifts, jewellry etc. It also runs many events during the year.

It was with great regret that the members said goodbye to Gladys Ruffet, a most loyal and supportive member and the longest serving member of Eaton Bray WI, who is moving away at the end of the month. She was presented with a London carriage clock and cards which the members had signed, plus cards for her new home. She will be greatly missed, especially as a person who always said thank you for everything that was done.

Helen was thanked for hosting the coffee morning which raised £150, a great result and grateful thanks go to all those who supported it. Next months meeting is on Monday 3rd October at 7.30pm at the Eaton Bray Methodist Hall,when the speaker will be Tony Woodhouse on 'Ghosts'. New members are always welcome. Why not come and try.

Source: Focus, October 2011


Eaton Bray W I

This article was published in April 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Women's InstituteThe Coffee Morning held on Thursday 7th April raised £200. Thanks go to the members who gave goods and all those who came and suported it.

The monthly meeting began with a welcome to all the members, which was followed by the business affairs for the month.

The speaker was Jean Yates who showed slides and explained about the Royal Family's exile to Albania in World War 2. LEKA-CROWN PRINCE OF ALBANIA. King Zog 1 and Queen Geraldine had to flee Albania when Italy invaded the country just two days after their son Leka's birth.This traumatic start was only the beginning of what had been an unsettled life. The royal family lived for a time at the Ritz hotel in London, before moving in 1941 to Sunninghill, Berkshire then to Parmoor near Frieth in Buckinghamshire.

After the Second World War Leka's parents moved to Egypt but left Leka in Britain for his education. After passing out of the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, he joined the British Army. He later became a successful commodities trader.

After his father's death in 1961, 22year old Leka was proclaimed king by an Albanian government in exile. He set up home in Spain with his wife Susan, an Australian, but was on his way to start a new life in Rhodesia when his plane was surrounded by troops during a refuelling stop. It transpired that the Albanian government had hired the Africans to abduct him.

Now 72, Leka has returned to Albania since the fall of communism and now lives in Tirana.

Jean was a superb speaker whose enthusiasm and attention to so much detail, left everyone wanting more. She gave a complete life history of King Zog 1 and the Queen Geraldine and their families accompanied by her slides and answered many questions. Next months meeting will be on Monday 9th May at 7.30pm and will involve discussing and voting on the two resolutions to be presented at the National AGM in June. There will be a Beetle Drive, with savoury refreshments to follow.

There will be a raffle and bring and buy stall.

Source: Focus, May 2011


Eaton Bray WI

This article was published in April 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Women's InstituteThe meeting held on Monday 7th March was held at the new venue, Eaton Bray Methodist Hall, where members and one visitor were welcomed by Deirdrea.

The members were thanked for giving back the questionnaire and sharing ideas for future meetings, speakers and outings. Suggestions were invited to select a charity for the year.

The guest speaker and demonstrator was Keith Lilley, a florist and owner of Greycourt Florists in Kempston. Keith creates many floral and plant displays in various venues and events in and around London, as well as advising clients, brides for wedding flowers, plus funeral tributes, Mother's Day posies and Easter flowers, plus working in the shop on the practical side.

Four beautiful arrangements were demonstrated making the most of colour, design and texture. Keith's easy going manner and friendly chat whilst demonstrating, contributed to a very relaxed and most enjoyable evening.

Two of the arrangements were raffled and were won by Sheila Beal and Anne Salmon.

Details of the annual outing to Sulgrave Manor in August were given out.

The next meeting is on Monday 4th April at 7.30pm, when the speaker will be Jean Yates, speaking about the Albanian Royal Family's exile in WW2 in the Chilterns.

There will be a Bring and Buy and raffle.

Deirdrea

Source: Focus, April 2011


WI Inspiring Women

This article was published in March 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Women's InstituteThe Women's Institute has been ‘rebranded’ in a bid to modernise its image, hoping to attract new and younger members. The change began about Jan 2010 when a new revamped logo stated “WI Inspiring Women”.

Encouraging women to participate in a wide variety of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities.

The reason many women joined in the first place was to get out and meet people.

Another key theme which cropped up was the friendship found within each group. “Its binding for the community”.

Eaton Bray was founded in 1921 and the stalwarts laid the foundations that still continue today. The strength of each WI lies in the contribution of its members. The more you put in-the more you get out-the WI is what you make it. With enthusiastic support from members, almost anything can be achieved. The WI is for all women, of all ages and interests,there is something for everyone.

Meetings. The main part of the monthly meeting is a talk or demonstration (the members take a hand in forwarding ideas for the programme), preceded by some brief WI business. There are outings arranged to various places of interest, meals out and other celebrations as well as joining in the activities of the other group WI’s.

We are always looking to strengthen our numbers and welcome new members to share in our activities. Subscriptions are £30 this year which includes copies of WI Life, delivered to your door during the year.

Meetings are held on the first Monday of the month. Next months meeting is on Monday 7th March at 7.30pm, at the new venue for all future meetings, Eaton Bray Methodist Hall. The speaker will be Keith Lillie, who will demonstrate the art of floristry.

Interested in joining us? Please phone the Secretary Barbara Collier on 01525 221401.


Luton Women's Aid

This article was published in November 2008. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Womens InstituteOur president welcomed the members and after the business meeting we welcomed our guest speaker. Jennie Moody MBE who founded Luton Women's Aid a charity that offers a refuge for abused women and their children.

Jennie is a retired social worker who came into contact with abused women during her professional life, and after retirement started a campaigned to set up a refuge for women living in Luton.

Women of all ages and from all walks of life come to the refuge. The youngest that has been helped was 16 years old and the oldest 83. They may be any colour, creed or religion but they have two things in common, they are female and they feel abused.

Jennie told of the various cases she has encountered during her time with the refuge and of the women who have been helped to break away from their abusive situation.

Jennie stressed that the refuge enables women to have a safe place to stay. Meeting others and often forming friendships, which help them to move on and create a new life for themselves, and their children.

The members presented Jennie with a box of essential items and treats for her to take back to the refuge.

The December meeting will have a seasonal theme, and or Christmas Charity is 'Treats' for our soldiers serving in Iran and Afghanistan.

Our next meeting is on Monday 1st December at 7.30pm in Eaton Bray Village Hall.

New members and friends are very welcome. Contact Sheila 01525 221185.

Source: Eaton Bray WI


Eaton Bray WI October Meeting

This article was published in October 2008. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Womens InstituteThe President welcomed the members and the minutes from our previous meeting were read and signed as correct.

There are several social occasions coming along during the next few weeks for members to participate in and in November Eaton Bray Women's Institute are celebrating their 84th Birthday.

The Dunstable and the Villagers WI Christmas Evening will this year be hosted by Houghton Regis WI on 5th December.

All our members agreed that we would purchase a Poppy Wreath to be place on the War Memorial on Remembrance Day.

It has yet to be decided which charity we will be supporting this Christmas, with business finished we welcomed our guest speaker Anna Conti. Anna gave a very enjoyable talk and demonstration, on the intricateness of designing and making stained glass windows and panels.

Our November speaker will be from Luton Women's Refuge.

The next meeting will be on 3rd November at 7.30pm in Eaton Bray Village Hall.

Friends and new members are always very welcome.

For more info. Contact 01525 221185.

Source: Eaton Bray WI


Eaton Bray WI Report

This article was published in September 2008. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Womens InstituteOur President welcomed the members and one visitor to our September meeting, and apologies were received from several people who are still on holiday. The minutes were read and signed. Jerusalem was sung before we got down to business.

Our summer coffee morning raised £125 for our funds, and the summer outing to Wisley Gardens was thoroughly enjoyed by all who went on the trip.

Several social evenings are planned one will be our harvest supper in October, followed by the Dunstable Group autumn meeting which will be hosted by Dunstable Downside WI.

An invitation has been received from Studum WI for Eaton Bray to join them for an autumn outing and canal cruise.

The WI Croquet tea party held at Hockliffe raised £600 for the McMillan Nurses.

We welcomed our speaker Mel Rees. Mel is an author, who, over the past nineteen years has written and self published four titles three of which have been autobiographical and one a novel and has also written and narrated a 'look at life' talking book, he has been giving talks for the past six years that look at the characterisations and situations from everyday life in a very humorous way.

Mel was very entertaining and extremely funny with his observations of people and everyday situations his talk was chatty and light-hearted and similar in style of the TV show 'Grumpy Old Men'.

Our next meeting is Monday 6th October at 7.30pm in Eaton Bray Village Hall friends and new members are always very welcome for more information contact (01525) 221185.

Source: Eaton Bray WI


Eaton Bray WI Report

This article was published in March 2008. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Womens InstituteAt Eaton Bray WI's March meeting the members welcomed guest speaker Mr Runnalls Davis who gave an interesting talk and slide show on the work carried out by women operating canal narrow boats during the Second World War.

Little is known of this branch of the war effort' in carrying out vital work, transporting essential supplies along the canal systems from 1939 until 1945.

On learning that many narrow boats had been 'tied up' because of the lack of men to operate them, a group of young ladies, most of them from very affluent families, decided to man the boats. Volunteers were recruited mostly from their friends, and despite their lack of knowledge on how to do the work they received permission from the ministry to operate the boats.

The traditional canal boat families watched the volunteers' many mistakes with much glee!

However by the end of the war the women had earned the respect of the boating families.

There has never been any formal recognition of this work; all the women were ever issued with was a badge stating they were on National Service IW (inland waterways). But some wag had given them the name Idle Women, thus the title of the talk!

The next meeting is on Monday April 7 at 7 30pm at Eaton Bray Village Hall. Friends and new members are always welcome.

Source: Eaton Bray WI


Eaton Bray WI Report

This article was published in November 2007. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Womens InstituteOur President welcomed the members and two visitors to the November meeting, and our 86th birthday celebration with wine and birthday cake. Three members also had birthdays and received birthday cards.

The business consisted of plans for our Dunstable Group Christmas Evening, in which Eaton Bray will be performing 'our version' of Snow White.

Our vice president will lay a Poppy wreath at Eaton Bray War Memorial on Remembrance Sunday and also place a poppy cross on the Edlesborough memorial.

We will be supporting Luton Woman's Refuge as our Christmas charity, and items for this will be required at the December meeting.

With business finished we welcomed our guest speaker Rusty Goffe who spoke to us about his lifetime in show business. Rusty was born a dwarf and explained that there is still no medical explanation why this happens; adding that his brother is over six feet tall and both parents were a normal height. After leaving school, Rusty's ambition was to go into show business and he joined a band show performing at the end of Southsea Pier. On entering a talent competition, he was invited to join a variety show in London and worked in many of the West End theatres. Rusty started to audition for films in 1970 and landed his first film part in "Willy Wonker and the Chocolate Factory"; he went on to work alongside Hollywood stars in film blockbusters "Star Wars" and "Harry Potter". Also having roles in the TV comedies " 'Allo 'Allo" and "Are You Being Served?" Rusty is currently working in a Saturday morning children's TV show, and will shortly be performing in his thirty seventh pantomime - but alas not in our area.

Our next meeting is on 3rd December at 7.30pm in Eaton Bray Village Hall members and friends are always very welcome.

Source: Eaton Bray WI


Eaton Bray WI Report

This article was published in October 2007. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Womens InstituteOur president welcomed the members to the October meeting, and apologies were received from several members still enjoying late summer holidays.

A number of social events are on our calendar, starting with a harvest evening, the theme being 'Scarecrows'. This will be followed by a visit to Hitchin and a guided tour of the British School Museum.

After the business, we welcomed our guest speaker Ann Parsons who gave a very interesting and humorous talk entitled Royal Connections. Ann's father was a member of the late Queen Mothers' household, and her family moved around with him when the royal household travelled to Balmoral and Sandringham. Ann spoke of her many happy memories of playing with the royal children and their friends.

She also recalled how much the London servants looked forward to going to the country estates, and what great fun they all had with parties and dances held in the village halls.

The Queen Mother enjoyed dancing and often came along to the dances. Her royal highness made a point of dancing with all the men servants!

Ann's memories gave us an insight into a less formal royal family than their public image.

Our evening concluded looking at the royal memorabilia that Ann's father and family had been given over the 50 years he was in royal service.

Our next meeting is on Monday 5th November at 7.30 pm in Eaton Bray Village Hall friends and new members are always welcome.

Source: Eaton Bray WI


Happy days with the Royal Family

This article was published in October 2007. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Womens InstituteEaton Bray WI's president welcomed the members to their October meeting, and apologies were received from several members still enjoying late summer holidays.

A number of social events are on the calendar, starting with a harvest evening with the theme of 'Scarecrows'. This will be followed by a visit to Hitchin and a guided tour of the British School Museum.

After the business, the institute welcomed guest speaker Ann Parsons who gave a very interesting and humorous talk entitled Royal Connections.

Ann's father was a member of the late Queen Mother's household, and her family moved around with him when the royal household travelled to Balmoral and Sandringham.

Ann spoke of her many happy memories of playing with the royal children and their friends.

She also recalled how much the London servants looked forward to going to the country estates, and what great fun they all had with parties and dances held in the village halls.

The Queen Mother enjoyed dancing and often went along to the dances, making a point of dancing with all the men servants!

Ann's memories gave an insight into a less formal royal family than their public image.

The evening concluded looking at the royal memorabilia that Ann's father and family had been given over the 50 years he was in royal service.

The next WI meeting is on Monday November 5 at 7.30pm in Eaton Bray Village Hall. Friends and new members are always welcome.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 16 October 2007


Dogs taught to help the disabled

This article was published in July 2007. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Womens InstituteEaton Bray WI welcomed their guest speaker Diane, from the charity Dogs for the Disabled, at the July meeting.

Diane spoke about the work of the charity accompanied by Venny, a beautiful chocolate Labrador. She told how the charity helps disabled people to increase their independence, by training specially selected dogs to live and work with them.

The group learnt how Frances Hay had founded Dogs for the Disabled in 1986. Francis suffered from bone cancer and noticed that as she became more disabled her Belgian Shepherd dog helped overcome some of her physical problems and seeming to know instinctively when Francis needed her.

Dogs are trained in practical tasks such as opening and closing doors, helping a person dress, taking laundry out of the washing machine and switching lights on and off to name but a few of the tasks.

The next WI meeting will be on Monday September 3 at 7.30pm in Eaton Bray Village Hall.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 17 July 2007


Eaton Bray WI Report

This article was published in July 2007. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Womens InstituteThe vice president took the chair at our June meeting, and apologies were received from our president who was unable to come along due to illness.

The members expressed their best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Our business consisted of finalising arrangements for our summer outing in August, and planning a coffee morning to be held in July. The proceeds from this being part of our continuing support for the refurbishment of Eaton Bray village hall. There are a number of social outings and activities taking place through out the summer months. Our guest speaker, Lorna Salmon, gave us an interesting humorous talk about '50 Years on the Fiddle'.

Lorna took us back to her childhood in Edinburgh, when at the age of 12 she took up playing the violin. Her father gave her the first full size violin, and mother had visions of Lorna becoming a concert violinist. Her parents were very strict and ensured, that violin practice took priority over any other childhood activities. It was under the tutorship of her teacher, a stickler for practice, that Lorna was introduced to the wonderful world of classical music. Lorna's father had a knack of volunteering her to play at local events that were usually Scottish dancing evenings. Her career progressed and reached its pinnacle when she played at the Edinburgh Festival, but alas never became that concert violinist her mother dreamed of. Lorna's career was in teaching children the violin, until she developed a genetic problem and lost her sight, thus ending her teaching career. However Lorna still has a wide musical repertoire, and finished her story entertaining us with a selection of Scottish reels, songs from the shows and much more.

Our next meeting is on Monday 2nd July in Eaton Bray Village Hall at 7.30pm.

New members and friends are always welcome

Source: Eaton Bray WI


Eaton Bray WI

This article was published in June 2007. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Womens InstituteEaton Bray WI plan to hold a coffee morning in July to raise further funds for the village hall refurbishment.

The group has also finalised plans for its summer outing in August as well as scheduling a number of social outings and activities throughout the summer months.

Guest speaker at the meeting was Lorna Salmon talking humorously about `50 Years on the Fiddle'.

Lorna took the group back to her childhood in Edinburgh, when at the age of 12 she took up playing the violin. She told how her father gave her the first full size violin, and mother had visions of Lorna becoming a concert violinist.

Her parents were very strict and ensured that violin practice took priority over any other childhood activities.

It was under the tutorship of her teacher, a stickler for practice, that Lorna was introduced to the wonderful world of classic music.

Lorna's father had a knack of volunteering her to play at local events that were usually Scottish dancing evenings.

Her career progressed and reached great heights when she played at the Edinburgh Festival, but alas never became that concert violinist her mother dreamed of.

Lorna's career was in teaching children the violin, until a genetic problem caused her to lose her sight, thus ending her teaching career.

However, Lorna still has a wide musical repertoire, and finished her story entertaining the meeting with a selection of Scottish reels, songs from the shows and much more.

The WI's next meeting is on Monday July 2 in Eaton Bray Village Hall at 7.30pm. New members and friends are always welcome.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 12 June 2007


Salty speaker takes the WI on a 50-year cruise

This article was published in November 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Womens InstituteEaton Bray WI members put on their sea legs for the November meeting.

The land-lubbers got the tang of sea air in their nostrils when they welcomed guest speaker Captain William Wells, who had enjoyed a career aboard ship lasting almost 50 years.

A master mariner and former ship's captain, he has for the last 35 years been a licensed commercial marine pilot, ending his career as the Snior River Pilot in the Port of London.

Captain Wells, a New Zealander by birth, gave Lord Nelson as his hero and inspiration for a boyhood dream of going to sea.

He went on to tell the group about his life at sea as a harbour pilot in the Middle East, working at the large oil tanker terminals - oftern in war zones.

Captain Wells saw many changes taking place as a river pilot on the Thames, from the demise of the busy port of London to the building of Canary Wharf and the new development replacing the commercial docklands of the city.

Institute business consisted of the members voting that their Christmas charity would be to support the work of the "Mercy Ships".

They will be celebrating the WI's 85th birthday in mid November with a dinner at Priory House, Dunstable.

The next meeting is on Monday December 4 at 7.30pm in Eaton Bray Village Hall.

New members and friends are always very welcome.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 14 November 2006


WI and the Mercy Ships

This article was published in October 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Womens InstituteGuest speaker at the Eaton Bray WI October meeting was Anne Giles who is a volunteer on "Mercy Ships" that sail along the west coast of Africa, assisting very poor countries with medical help and other skills to improve the quality of life for the citizens.

Ms Giles took along slides of her trip to Liberia and explained that Mercy Ships only sail in to a port at the invitation of the country's goverment whose only obligation is to agree to provide free moorings, water and the removal of rubbish.

Mercy Ships are a Christian organisation whose crew is interdenominational and has nationals from 40 different countries, all are volunteers and the spoken language is English.

The volunteers work alongside the village elders in helping to set up schools and sanitation projects in areas that have often been devastated by years of civil wat.

Ms Giles is a trained nurse and her husband works as a surgeon at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital, both took early retirement to join the Mercy Ships and spend around six months each year around the coast of west Africa.

Eaton Bray WI has a lively autumn programme with several social events starting with the annual Halloween evening in mid October.

A vote was taken to buy and lay a poppy wreath at the Eaton Bray War memorial in November and the Christmas charity project is to support the work of the Mercy Ships by donating toiletries and stationary items for Ms Giles to take on her next trip to Africa.

The group's next meeting is on November 6 at 7.30pm in Eaton Bray Village Hall. Friends and new members are always welcome.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 17 October 2006


Body language is very revealing

This article was published in September 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Womens Institute"Body Language" is a more important form of communication than most people realise - in fact only 30% of our communication to others is verbal.

This was the subject of guest speaker Mr Vic Botterill's interesting and humerous talk to the September meeting of Eaton Bray WI.

As an ex police inspector his work gave him many years of observing other people's body language.

He demonstrated some of the various signals that we all use in different ways when communicating with other people, and the reactions to these depending on the relationship with the person we are communicating with.

Animals have the ability to instantly recognise our human body language and know if they are to be fed or go out.

Mr Botterill highlighted the signals our body language conveys to others when our personal space is invaded, by demonstrating with members, causing a great deal of laughter.

Included in the monthly business was a request for members to help in promoting our local WIs on special promotion days at local garden centres. This is part of a national WI scheme that is taking place throughout September.

Members were sad to hear of the death of Joy Cuss after a long illness. Joy had been an active Eaton Bray WI member and supported for many years, and sympathy was expressed to her family.

The next meeting is on Monday October 2 at 7.30pm in Eaton Bray Village Hall.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 12 September 2006


Yellow sets the fashion

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Womens InstituteEaton Bray WI held a themed yellow colour evening, and demonstrated some very original decorative ideas on hats and dresses. The evening raised money for the Pasque Hospice, which the group has supported for a number of years.

Business was kept to a minimum, and details were finalised for a members and friends' day trip to Stratford on Avon in August. Dates were noted of various other outings and activities during the summer.

The guest speaker was Mr Parry, who gave a very insteredting talk on "Paxton and the Great Exhibition".

Paxton designed the Crystal Palace building, which stodd in Hyde Park and housed the great exhibition of 1851.

He was a "local lad", born in Milton Bryan of humble origins, who rose to great heights in the Victorian age.

The Duke of Devonshire invited him to manage and develop the gardens at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, which included designing a model village for the estate workers.

It is said that a greenhouse was the inspiration for the Crystal Palace with the original drawing doodled on a piece of blotting paper!

All that remains in Hyde Park of the Crystal Palace are the entrance gates. A fire destroyed the building in 1936.

Eaton Bray WI's next meeting is on Monday September 4 at 7.30pm in the village hall. New members and friends are always welcome.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 18 July 2006


Eaton Bray WI Report

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Womens InstituteOur president welcomed the members to the June meeting. Among the items discussed before welcoming our speaker, were the summer walk and our outing to Stratford on Avon in August.

An invitation has been received to join with our Dunstable WI friends for a back stage tour of Covent Garden Theatre, and the Eaton Bray Methodist Church has invited us to a service and afternoon tea on 15th June.

A national WI membership promotion is to take place later this year and discussion took place on how we can participate.

Our guest speaker was from the Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals, the largest animal charity in Europe. Their aim is to provide free care for animals of people who live in deprived areas and cannot afford veterinary fees. They also aim to promote responsible pet ownership.

The founder Marion Dickin opened a clinic in Whitechapel in 1900, the first hospital opened in Ilford Essex.

The PDSA Dicken Award is given to dogs of "outstanding deeds". The most recent recipient was Buster, an explosives dog in the Gulf war.

The PDSA annual budget is £37 million with 47 Pet Aid Hospitals and 329 practices who provide one and a half million free treatments a year. All the veterinary staff are professionals and the charity is the biggest employer of veterinary nurses. The charity receives no government or lottery money and relies entirely on fundraising and donations with income from PDSA charity shops.

Our speaker concluded in revealing that the most common pet ailment is obesity!

The next WI meeting is at 7.30pm on Monday 3rd July in Eaton Bray Village Hall, new members and friends are always very welcome.

Source: Eaton Bray WI


Eaton Bray WI

This article was published in May 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Womens InstituteOur President welcomed the members to the March AGM meeting. A review of the past years activities was read by our minute secretary and the financial report given.

Various WI matters were discussed with debate on the proposed NFWI subscription increases and changes for next year.

The Committee members were re elected and we welcomed a new member on the committee. Many thanks were given to Dorothy Bradbury who is hanging up her WI committee hat after a 16 year tour of futy. Dorothy was presented with a large potted Hydrangea and a thank you card, for all her past work and support.

A successful coffee morning raised money for WI funds. Eaton Bray WI hosts the Dunstable Group evening later on this month.

With business completed the members thanked the committee for their past years work. The meeting concluded with a social evening of games and delicious nibbles.

Our next meeting is on Monday 8th May at 7.30pm in Eaton Bray Village Hall. Friends and new members are very welcome.

Source: Focus, May 2006