Wimborne NWR dives into the virtual world during lockdown

See their article here  Wimborne-article-in-Viewpoint-May-2020 

or read below.

Maryanne Pike, local organiser for the Wimborne National Women’s Register, gives readers some insight into the organisation and how it is coping during the Covid-19 pandemic. She writes:

Yes, it was definitely the pill! It had been a lively discussion topic, ‘The Most Influential Thing to Come out Of the Sixties’, so many contenders: fashion, music, free love (possibly due to the aforementioned medical advance?) to name but a few. However, the new opportunity for women to control their own fertility was certainly the majority favourite.

It was also the decade that started NWR, the National Women’s Register, formerly National Housewives Register, and it was the members of the Wimborne group of NWR that had been debating the topic as part of NWR’s Sixtieth Jubilee this spring. All over the country members were celebrating the week when Maureen Nichols, the founding member, wrote a letter, with a brilliant suggestion, to a newspaper.

Maureen had been moving around the country with her young family following her husband’s job moves. This was the era when greater mobility of the workforce was becoming more usual. She thought how wonderful it would be to have a group of like-minded women, a register she called it, who would be readymade friends wherever you went.

The need for such an organisation was shown by the overwhelming response to her letter and NWR was born.

So there we were, 60 years later, and looking forward to our spring programme of discussions, visits, trips and talks, (not to forget the odd party). Then something shook the world and all our activities were put on hold.

It took a couple of weeks to come to terms with the situation and our disappointments. Then, like so many people and organisations, we decided we were not going to be beaten and we took a dive into the virtual world.

Our fortnightly meetings usually take place in each other’s homes but now we meet in a virtual room and, instead of twice a month, it’s twice a week. We have a weekly coffee morning (bring your own coffee), and a weekly evening get together (bring your own…whatever you fancy, most often it’s in a glass).

Of course it’s very different and there’s been a lot to learn, not least the etiquette of this new social contact. Many of us have also learnt that we are not as bad at technology as we thought. Each meeting has a topic, the discussion mentioned at the start of this article was at one of our evening meetings, sometimes we need to give it a bit of thought beforehand and, most importantly, it is giving everyone an opportunity to stay in touch.

We are very grateful to the National Organising Group too. They have stepped up to provide access for all members to the Digital Theatre resources and have organised webinars with interesting and entertaining speakers and quizzes for any members throughout the country that would like to take part. Their regular newsletters with useful links and ideas help us to feel less alone.

So, this remains a difficult and challenging time for us all but, being a member of NWR is helping to make it more bearable.

Membership of NWR is open to all women. Enquiries can be made by filling in the contact form on the website nwr. org.uk or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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LIFE GOES ON IN LOCKDOWN

"Oh the times they are a-changing" as Bob Dylan sung and at NWR we are also trying to adapt to the new challenging conditions.  Many groups are getting far more technically savvy than they ever imagined possible, holding ZOOM groups with aplomb and forming WhatsApp groups. Here at the NWR office we are also working hard to keep people connected and entertained . 

  • We have managed to procure free access for all our members to the Digital Theatre Plus online platform.  Here you can access thousands of wonderful plays and stage productions. 
  • We have also increased the number of newsletters with much useful information at this time, and including many quizzes provided by our wonderful members
  • We are offering online events and quizzes which are getting wonderful feedback
  • We are putting together a book of your poetry inspired by this unique time

So although we are all social distancing and meeting physically isn't yet possible, in some ways it feels as if we have never been closer.

Keep alert (as the government is saying now) and unleash your creativity!

 

 

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Robina Fisher
Hi, great to see the use of technology from links in the Newsletter and how individual groups are finding ways to stay in touch.... Read More
Tuesday, 12 May 2020 11:41
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Buckhurst Hill & Woodford Green "old timers" reunion

Buckhurst Hill & Woodford Green "old timers" reunion

Initiated by the 60th Anniversary of NWR, Buckhurst Hill & Woodford Green reunited some "old timers" as we call ourselves (going back forty years in some cases) and, having arranged a date in early March, we were pleased to be able to go ahead with our plans before the full  restrictions were put in place.  Most had moved away, but travelled to London for a very enjoyable lunch.  In the event, twelve were able to attend (some travelling long distances), and for those who couldn't make it, it was good to have been in touch again.  It inspired us to try and make this an annual event!

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NWR Office notice

Please note that the office is currently closed due to the Corona virus but staff are continuing to work from home.  

We would appreciate if members could email the office if you have any questions This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Alternatively you can leave a message on the office answerphone 01603 406767 and we can pick it up remotely.

We appreciate your patience and understanding.

 

Sam & Adelia

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WhatsAppening?

WhatsAppening, WhatsAppening ?

Confusion, chaos reign

I try to answer Maureen but

Kath interrupts again

From Canada to custard creams

Camels, change and crocus

Such abundance of the C word

Makes it very hard to focus

Kaiser Chiefs and croquet

Covens, haircuts will be fun

Clever curtains closing

Crosswords, colouring, cajun

I’ve a finger that’s arthritic

Which slows me down somewhat

I’m always getting left behind

Slow down, you rotten lot

The typos keep on coming

With gauge tees, mooing couse

The doves seem to be coping

But groping photo’s not allowed

It was late when Antje joined us

She couldn’t find the link

Connected to another line

Talking to herself we think

You can’t have your cake and eat it

It was virtual you see

And we also lacked a hostess

To make our cups of tea

That did not seem a problem

For in reality

Our ladies, safe behind their screens

Were sipping G&T

One by one we said Goodnight

And signed off for a rest

I so enjoyed my time with you

Bedale Ladies, you’re the best !

Written by Judith Brickwood, a member of Bedale group after their first WhatsApp meeting.  

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Women of the World

Women of the World

we see your life,

in a world of conflict,

pain and strife.

 

Women being wives,

we feel your pain,

trying to build towards

a life of gain.

 

Women being mothers,

we know your cry,

aiming, for your children,

for the best of life.

 

Women being strong,

we share your loss,

humiliation, degradation,

and the heart-felt cost.

 

Women being heard,

your voice is loud,

it can also be seen

through the dark, dark cloud.

 

Women of hope,

never give away

your pride, and the effort

towards a better day.

 

Women of the future,

work through this test,

to help you all

we’re doing our best.

 

The women here

have not forgotten you

and send strong support

for all that you do.

 

Nikki Bennett. Copyright

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'Bring an Object' Meeting

NWR BSE

Bury St Edmunds group held a 'Bring an Object' meeting which always provides an opportunity to learn something and have a bit of a discussion.

Objects are deposited in a bag and then they are picked out one at a time and members try to work out what it is, what it's importance might be, and who it belongs to.

The tems shown are a cherished 'Brumas' toy bear, a St Thomas' hospital nurse's badge, a Lincoln Imp brooch, Fitzroy Storm Glass, butter curler, walking stick ferrule, Romanian egg ornament, Dorset button rings, and tiny metal sticks to draw peg numbers on a shooting party. Quite a mixture!

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Poetry - The Founding of NWR

A Saga in a nutshell

Lively minded ladies, that is who we are

Finding fun and frienship in the NWR.

Researching topics of many diverse kinds

Laughing at our gaffes as we're broadening our minds.

Our association was started by a few

of stay at home Mother who had the idea to

Host meetings in their houses to enjoy a lively chat

Sharing views and ideas and starting something that

Led to home group meetings that spread out wide and far

And thus became the founding of NWR.

by Rosemary Crawford (Plympton NWR)

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Scrapbook Examples

 

NWR Diamond LogoCompleted Scrapbook examples from Hampshire

Before we break for the festive holidays we wanted to share with you these examples of completed anniversary Scrapbook pages which have kindly been shared by some groups in Hampshire.

 We hope that you will find these helpful and please do share with your groups.

Likewise if you have completed your pages and are desperate to show them off then please do email them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - I'd love to share a few each month!

 Don't forget that you can also look at our Pinterest pages for more inspiration. https://www.pinterest.co.uk/nwrorguk/nwr-uk-2020-scrapbook-project

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Poring over the Past – NWR at the Women’s Library

Poring over the Past – NWR at the Women’s Library

This week our chair of trustees, Josephine Burt, along with National Organiser Natalie Punter and Mary Stott Award winner (and former National Organiser) Antoinette Ferraro visited the Women's Library at the London School of Economics (LSE). This library holds records of the women’s’ movement in 19th and 20th centuries including the NHR/NWR archives.  Here's what she had to say.

Antoinette, Natalie and I recently spent a wonderfully interesting day at The Women’s Library (part of the British Library and currently housed at the London School Of Economics, LSE, in Central London) looking at 60 years of NWR heritage.

The Women's Library houses England’s primary library and museum resource on women, women’s issues and history, and the women’s movement from, primarily, the 19th and 20th centuries. The main collection dates back to the mid-1920s, though the core collection was formed from a library established by Ruth Cavendish Bentinck in 1909. These archives moved to LSE, as part of the British Library collection, in 2013.

We had the opportunity to view photos and marketing materials dating back to the early 60s even the official annual reports and financial returns, though we decided to leave those for another day!

It was lovely to see photos of the women who set up and ran the organisation from 1980 - having read the book that details our first twenty years 1960-1980 (“The Lively-Minded Women” by Betty Jerman published in 1980) and it was great to see the original materials upon which it was based. Antoinette was delighted to find some photos of the National Group in the 1980's which included her.

Some of the publicity materials looked very dated, as they would, but the Golden Anniversary literature (from 2010) looked fresh and vibrant. We also found a hidden gem – a poster from the 1960s – which we are thinking of rejuvenating for our anniversary! (watch this space).  It was sobering and yet reassuring to find that the problems and issues we have today have been there over the years and are really a feature of informal organisations such as ours.

I felt very nostalgic when I found some local press cuttings from Leighton Buzzard from the 1980's and recognised the names of friends I met through NWR. I’d like to thank our members and LOs for keeping such excellent records of our history and I think we owe it to the next generation of NWR to ensure we continue to send in materials from the last 10 years and onwards.

For those of you (individually or as a group) who would like to see the archives for yourselves NWR members are welcome to visit by appointment - see http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/collection-highlights/the-womens-library or call LSE Library 020 7955 7229

Josephine Burt, Chair of Trustees


Celebrating 60 years of the National Women’s Register and the National Housewive’s Register – 1960-2020

 National Conference 2020 – Precious Gems - A Celebration! 11th-13th September 2020

#NWRDiamondDays #NWRdiamondconf2020 #LivelyMindedWomen

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Equality and accessibility - NWR's commitment to you.

This year NWR made a commitment to our members to improve our accessibility as an organisation, including our responsibilities under the Equalities Act and financial accessibility, and to become and remain a Carbon Neutral organisation.

One initiative, launched in April, is the NWR members’ hardship fund. This is designed to ensure that members are never forced to leave NWR due to financial issues, illness etc. It also allows potential new members to receive subsidised membership, should hardship otherwise prevent them from joining.Our first hardship fund applicant came almost immediately via Susan, an LO.

Susan explained that a longstanding member, Belinda, had become seriously unwell and, when group subs renewals came around, found herself in difficulties. Her group felt — as I would — that it would be inappropriate to approach Belinda or her husband. So, what to do? Previously Belinda’s membership would have lapsed, along with that all-important connection with other women through our organisation’s local groups, regional events and conferences, regular newsletters and magazines and, of course, our very popular national conferences.

Fortunately, LO Susan knew about our new hardship fund and approached me directly. We discussed what NWR meant to Belinda and the nature of her illness. I decided to grant a three-month membership subsidy. Three months rolled by and Susan and I spoke again. Belinda had approached the group to ask about remaining a member and, to our delight, she said “Of course I want to stay!” Happy Days!

However, this isn’t about NWR or about one NWR group losing a member: it’s about making sure that women who want or need to be connected to likeminded women may do so - regardless of financial restrictions. Sitting at home today you might not consider that the loss of one member, long-term or new, matters - but it matters to them and it matters to me.

I am delighted to be with NWR to celebrate the diamond 60th anniversary and I am excited to see what we can do to involve as many women as possible in the years to come. So, as you peruse the magazine and attend your meetings, please think “What can I do, in my group or as an individual, to make sure that the objectives of NWR — to connect, to educate and intellectually stimulate women in my community — are honoured?” We all need to be thinking back over the past (nearly) 60 years and asking “What did I need?” and “What can I do now?”

Happy 59 and a halfth anniversary, and I look forward to seeing you all next year! AMH 

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Women, beget women!

Women, beget women!

NWR was established to enable women who were at home with small children to connect with other women and, from time to time, members tell me that "women don't need this any more".

I disagree.

I have at various times in my life been at home with a small child; been caring for an adult family member, working in a male-dominated environment, working alone from home; and I have moved to a new area where I knew no-one. It is these women, women like me, that we are reaching out to now!

Women can find it particularly challenging in this day and age to maintain and begin new friendships. There are hundreds of dating websites, and dating - including speed-dating - events across the country but where does a woman go who just wants to talk? Or walk? To keep her mind active? To find kindred spirits? They come - we hope - to NWR.

So, on International Women's Day, look at you group and ask - are we providing that friendly, welcoming environment that enabled us to join 10, 15 - even 30 years ago?
Here at NWR we are reaching out to women countrywide through local radio and television, local open-evening events, and by making sure that we can start to get our name known as a space where "you can do you"

Finally, if you want help attracting new members to your area just let me know! 

 

 

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Which NWR group describe themselves as "a very lively, noisy and friendly group with a good range of interests"?

Shoreham 1

We are the Shoreham (1) group based in Shoreham-by-Sea on the Sussex coast between Brighton and Worthing. Our group has 16 members currently and we are looking to recruit new members. We are a very lively, noisy and friendly group with a good range of interests.

Our meetings usually take place in the evenings and in 2018 we enjoyed the following - “Bag Lady” (5 items in a bag, guess the owner), Anti-Bucket List, My personality in a collage, What’s in the newspapers?, Talk about someone famous who shares your birthday, Pictures of members in past fashions, Unexplained happenings, Guess the year (5 clues), Talk from local charity, 4sight and Interesting Pub names. A few months ago at our ‘Time Travel’ evening we welcomed our area organisers, Jenny and Marilyn.

We’ve recently enjoyed a talk on aromatherapy, lunch at a local college prepared and served by the students, a pottery painting evening at a local garden centre and a craft evening. We also enjoyed a pre-Christmas buffet with Secret Santa presents – the budget was £5 and gifts had to be bought from a charity shop. Other than our evening meetings we have a monthly coffee morning, restaurant visits (an annual post-Christmas meal), a book group plus visits to museums and gardens, including NGS ones. We have also played croquet, an area event and have joined the Shoreham 2 NWR group for shared events

Last summer we went to Driftwood, the amazing award-winning coastal garden in Seaford, owned by Geoff Stonebanks. After a talk where we learned it takes Geoff seven hours over two days to water his plants, we visited each corner of the garden before sitting down to tea and cake made by him. “A perfect summer’s day in a beautiful garden” and “an inspirational garden” to quote two of our members.

Lorraine Nightingale and Cathy Ford, Shoreham 1 NWR group.

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Hello from Hatfield!

We are the Hatfield group from Hertfordshire.

The question of when we started caused some debate among the original members we still have. The consensus was we split away from another groups in about 1970. We currently have 19 members.

We try to meet weekly and in the past 6 months our activities have included research on Paddington Bear, mistresses, Romania and things beginning with A. We have shared poetry on the sea and readings on gardens. We have discussed idioms without ignoring the elephant in the room. Speakers have talked on Human Rights and Stonehenge. We have discussed a variety of books, some more popular than others. Outings have included a walk round Surrey Docks, lunch at a local pub (with discussion topic) and a visit to look at church graffiti.

We look forward in the next 6 months to a programme with quizzes, talks, book, plays and poetry on winter, as well as discussions, including something beginning with B. We clearly have a topic that will last some time! Do contavt us to find out more about our group if you would like to join us!

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Dorking NWR on parade!

Dorking NWR Visit to Sandhurst

On a beautifully sunny day in September, 9 ladies from Dorking NWR had a guided tour of the Old College at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. We were met at the entrance gate by one of our two Guides who were both members of the Sandhurst Trust which organises the tours, and were both retired officers who had passed through Sandhurst.

Our tour lasted about 3 hours, despite interruptions for a US General and about 50 British soldiers who were also visiting like us. After coffee we were given a brief history of the magnificent old college building which was designed by James Wyatt and was opened in 1812 as the Junior Department of the Royal Military College. The force behind the College was General Le Marchant, who decided that Britain needed properly trained officers if it was to be successful in battle. The present Royal Military Academy Sandhurst was founded in 1947 when the existing College, merged with the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and since then subsequent buildings have been added. The Academy's stated aim is to be the national centre of excellence for leadership and all British Army officers, as well as men and women from overseas, are trained at The Academy. 

We had a tour of various prestige rooms including the Indian Army Memorial Room with splendid stained glass windows, and rooms with remarkable military memorabilia. As we were admiring an impressive modern painting of the Queen in the Grand Entrance, a somewhat dignified but very pleasant military gentleman stopped and talked to us and only afterwards did we discover that he was the Commander of Sandhurst. We also visited the newly refurbished Catholic Chapel and the awe inspiring Royal Memorial Chapel, made even more poignant by the several transparent Perspex soldiers sitting in the pews as part of the WW1 Remembrance Day Soldier Silhouettes. The plaques on the walls reminded us of the sacrifice made of thousands of lives, so it was humbling to see some of the new recruits going through their rigorous officers’ training in the beautiful grounds.

 Our only disappointment was that after our tour we had lunch in the canteen like a regular squaddie and not in the Officers’ mess! ...but we had a very interesting visit.

Sue Jamieson, NWR Dorking Group member

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Poetry, Plays and Petanque in Poole...

Poole has two thriving NWR groups, here Cynthia Wood tells us a little more...

"We have two groups based in Poole, Dorset, one meeting on a Tuesday and one on a Wednesday. Originally we were all one group but we had to split about 5 or 6 years ago owing to the group becoming too large to fit into anyone's living room. We now have a total between the two groups of 17 members. The original group started in the 1960's and we still have one or two members who joined in the very early years.

In the last twelve months we have included in our programmes such topics as a poetry evening where one of our members composed a lovely poem about her dog, a play reading using the brilliant play written by a Congleton member, a discussion about the New Year's Honours list, Harvest Fayre tasting using local produce and a discussion about computer Apps.

We have also had a couple of speakers this year - a lady who had been the Queen's dresser, and a man who has been a coach driver for 40 years who has a fund of amusing stories!

The two groups also meet regularly for lunches and coffee mornings and we have about 4 events a year to which partners are invited.  These have included a games evening, a petanque session, and a walk in the New Forest. All the social events of course include food!!

Poole

We also take part in NWR national events such as the Telephone Treasure Trail, the national country theme (this year Romania), and the theme of Dangerous Knowledge. Some of our members will be attending the Area Meeting organised by the Salisbury group."

We are always on the lookout for new members who can be assured of a warm welcome."

Cynthia Wood from Poole Wednesday group

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NWR proving popular in Chester!

Introducing the Chester Grosvenor NWR group...

Chester Grosvenor Group photo 2018

Chester Grosvenor NWR group was formed after the original Chester South group grew too popular and accommodating members in our homes - even using the stairs to sit on - became a problem. Chester South was subsequently split into two groups, Eaton and Grosvenor in, we think, 1979.

We meet every fortnight, in the evening, and have recently started a programme of daytime outings. Our evening meetings cover topics as varied as universal suffrage - the right to vote for all adults; Room 101: What would you banish into Room 101 – what object, or person, really annoys you; Naughty but Nice, Underwear from 1840 to the present day; ‘The colour purple’, wear purple and bring interesting things or facts along; Art critic night: Choose a painting and research/review it for the meeting. One of our favourite evenings is to choose a letter from the alphabet, for example the letter A, and then we each select something beginning with this letter to talk about - the range of topics is astonishing! Theatre visits are also an annual treat.

Our daytime outings include walks, museums, art exhibitions, National Trust properties and anything else that has caught our interest.

These are some of our members' experiences of NWR:

"I joined NWR 25 years ago when my youngest child started school as I wanted some 'me’ time after all those early years at home. I had been urged to join by a friend and although I already knew a few people locally, I have met so many more on joining and since. I find it a good way to keep in touch and see people without having to arrange too much! And I have learned a lot (e.g. the saxophone was invented in Belgium, where incest is still legal ...). Most of our meetings are within walking distance so a relaxing evening with friends and a glass (or two) of wine is very possible." Penny White.

"I first joined in Culcheth after I had my first baby in 1972, to meet other people and talk about topics other than small children. Not that I said much then, but NWR did give me confidence gradually to join in!" Chris Westcott.

"We arrived in Chester in 1979 with a 20 month old toddler and two week old baby. Apart from my husband I knew nobody but we hadn't been in the house for long before a knock on the door resulted in the introduction to NWR. I am eternally grateful to Christine for making contact - we remain close friends and NWR has played a big part, both directly and indirectly, in establishing Chester as our home." Mary Pole.

"I’ve really enjoyed being a member of Chester Grosvenor NWR. As a relatively new member, having only moved to the area three years ago, I was fortunate to be introduced via a friend of a friend and immediately found myself part of a group of lively women. I have made new friends and feel that membership has eased me into feeling part of the local community. I have found the range of activities and discussions stimulating and fun. I like the way the group is always thinking of new things to do, explore and talk about." Julie Savory.

Some of our members have been in NWR for over 40 years and we are pleased to say that we continue to welcome new members to the group. Do get in touch if you would like to find out more.

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Meet the Houston Group...

Balfron NWR 2018 2709 Copy

The Houston group, Renfrewshire, meet twice monthly and have around 15 members many of whom are long standing since we formed in 1981.

Recently we have had lively discussions stimulated by newspaper cuttings and a book evening on ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ by Gail Honeyman.

One of our members visited Romania and was able to give us first hand information accompanied by a slide show and Palinca schnapps.

The photo was taken in Balfron, Stirlingshire, where we had a most interesting guided tour of the village. We have also walked round Glasgow city centre discovering many amazing hidden murals painted by various street artists.

We are eagerly awaiting the Telephone Treasure Trail which always gets our brains fired up.

New members are always warmly welcomed to join us in stimulating company and friendship.

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NWR POSTAL BOOK GROUPS AND ME by Catharine Woodliffe

 

CW

 

The Postal Book Groups began in 1986. I am the third Organiser, taking over in 2012, after being a member for over fifteen years.

When I started there were six Groups of 12; this has now halved. I changed from having the Groups starting at different months of the year; to having them all start on 1st April. Although this was hard to set up initially, the organisation is a lot easier as when membership changes, I can re-arrange the Groups accordingly.

 

How does it work?

Each Group is given an address circle with arrows indicating to whom they are to send their book.

The members each select a book to post on the 1st April and send it to their designated recipient, together with a small notebook in which others make notes. The book can be of any genre – fiction or non-fiction. I have known poetry and short stories be sent. The only things I recommend is that the book must be in print (sometimes books have been lost in the post), and is not of any personal value. The book is sent First Class in a jiffy bag with a certificate of posting which is free of charge.

On the 1st of each month, the books go on their merry way around the country until they eventually come back to their original senders.

Being a member of a Postal Book Group is like having a birthday every month, as you do not know what will drop on your mat. Sometimes you may have already read the book (very rare), and very occasionally, the same book can be sent twice within the Group. The same author and different books have also occurred.

A member of each Group keeps a list of the books and then sends it to me at the end of the year, so I can then send out the list and ask for 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices of their favourites for the year. I then work out which is the 1st, 2nd and 3rd. The way I do is to score 3 points for 1st, 2 points for 2nd and 1 point for 3rd.

 

NWR and me

I joined NWR in January 1991 when my older son was 10 months old. I have been LO of Boston Group a couple of times and also on the Organising Committee of the two very successful Good Read Day Conferences in 2004 and 2007. I am also involved with the 2020 Celebrations, having been to the Inaugural Meeting earlier in the year.

I was also a member of a Correspondence Magazine for about 10 years, but eventually gave up as my children did not like me writing about them.

I was originally a member of Boston Group until 2006 when I became an Independent Member. This was because I had to work on the evening that Boston Group met, and I did not want to miss out on NWR membership. I still went to Boston Group when I could, together with Grantham and Horncastle Groups who both made me very welcome. I re-joined Boston Group last year.

My first Conference was Nottingham 2001. I always said that I would go to Conference when it was near enough, and when I felt my sons were old enough to be left. I have been to every Conference since apart from two. I thoroughly enjoy the buzz of Conference and meeting up with old friends and making new ones, which is what being an NWR member is all about!

 

Catharine Woodliffe

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Liz Valette
Well done Catharine, you're doing an excellent job. I'm sure members of the postal book group appreciate your efforts.
Saturday, 03 November 2018 19:26
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An Independent Woman!

I am Gill Wignall, Independent Member and trustee of NWR.

Gill Wignall

Before moving to Poland in Spring 2003, I’d been a member of NWR for almost twenty years. It had been an important part of my life since having our children, providing me with friendship, fun, support and intellectual exercise. In addition to our normal meetings, we would meet for coffee or lunch, go swimming or sometimes for camping weekends. In the summer, we would take turns to host a ‘summer playscheme’, keeping our children active and amused and our sanity intact. I still count many of the ladies I met then as friends and our children have become friends too.

Mostly out of loyalty, when we moved abroad, I became an Independent member of NWR. Loyalty, but also because I didn’t know if or when we would return to the UK and where we might be living. I knew from experience of moving in the UK, the value of that National Register of groups. Living in a foreign country with no language skills, family or friends, I quickly recognized again, the benefits of belonging to a women’s group. I checked, but NWR didn’t extend to Poznan. Luckily, I found Open Door, which is like NWR, in that it provides a listing of groups of ladies, but this is international and includes groups from all over the world. I found, and joined, the Poznan International Ladies Club, which provided me (us) with help, new friends, a busy social life and excellent dentistry! When we later moved to Germany, I joined other International Ladies Groups, but In Trier, where none existed, I found an NWR group just a few miles across the border in Luxembourg. The Register had worked for me again and I enjoyed several meetings with the Luxembourg ladies, until we moved on once more.

Back in the UK, my local NWR group had folded. Other things like Book Club, Flower Club, Yoga and Bridge, seem to have taken its place for us oldies, whilst younger people say they are too busy and aren’t interested in joining groups like ours. Maybe, one day, they’ll come to appreciate the value of women’s groups. I have always found that they offer a special friendship and support network, which is particularly important when families no longer live close together.

Anyway, I’m happy to remain an Independent member, although I know that I would be made welcome if I wanted to go along and join in with any of the (not very!) nearby groups. I enjoy looking at the Website, reading other people’s blogs and look forward to reading the magazine, particularly to see what our lively members have been up to. I have joined several Facebook groups, enjoying the interesting debates that go on there, and although I am not a part of it, the Postal book group is ideal for independent members. With my friend, who is also an Independent member, I have been to several excellent day conferences and this year I also attended the Annual Conference in Chester. It didn’t matter at all that I was on my own, everyone was very welcoming and friendly. The whole weekend was great fun and it was lovely to catch up with old friends

There are activities for us Independents to enjoy and be a part of, but without the benefit of an Area or Local Organizer, it isn’t always so easy to find out about things that might be of interest. A good website is a great asset, whilst newsletters and emails from the Office and Natalie are always a welcome way of keeping us informed. I think it’s very important that every effort is made to ensure that Independent members particularly, are kept up to date and made to feel a valued part of NWR.

Gill Wignall, Independent Member and Trustee of NWR.

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