Solihull Group having a Festive Afternoon Tea instead of our usual Christmas Dinner!
Natalie has booked a national planning meeting in Birmingham on 20th October and she is hoping to visit potential conference venues the day before. The next national meeting will take place in Birmingham on the 14th January 2019.
Please complete the survey link below if you are interested in being involved in planning for NWR's 60th Anniversary.
Regional 2020 planning meetings for the new year:
North East - Durham - 15th March 2019
North West - Manchester - 25th February 2019
Scotland - Edinburgh - 18th February 2019
West Midlands - Birmingham - 14th January 2019
East Midlands - Nottingham - 11th February 2019
Eastern - Bury St Edmunds or Elvedon - 28th January 2019
Central - Hitchin - 18th January 2019
South East - Tunbridge Wells - 8th February 2019
South West - Taunton - 25th February 2019
Plympton Group's Romany themed Summer party - we are holding up the beaded wind chimes we made as part of the evening.
Diss group visited local rose grower, Peter Beales, and after a walk around the gardens enjoyed a cream tea.
I took part in the London Procession on Sunday 10th June and what a thrilling and joyous experience it was!
Described by the organisers as “a spectacular living art work…a tribute to the Suffrage campaigners”, more than 30,000 women (and girls ) of all ages, colour, creed and sexual orientation assembled in Park Lane, on a beautiful sunny day, to collect our scarves. These were in the Suffragette colours. Some were worn as sashes or shawls and many were made into turbans and other (quite stunning) headdresses. The image we created was meant to be of a flowing river of green, white and violet, a gigantic moving banner. (Aerial shots show this was successful and, as we walked down Pall Mall, the procession stretched from one end to the other – simply breathtaking!)
There were banners aplenty, (Apparently one craft shop in London ran out of purple, green and white tassels and they “didn’t know why”!) Women came from many parts of England, and further afield, including New Zealand and Pakistan. There was a wonderful festival atmosphere, lots of good-natured chanting and singing, not to mention VERY loud music booming out at different points along the route!
All in all, a glorious, memorable day, when we honoured and remembered with pride the brave women who fought for the Vote for us.
Pat Holmes (Member of Finchley / Whetstone NWR)
Carlisle one day Conference.
Val Bassindale, Carlisle NWR
It was May 2017, I had just taken over as LO, and we were all sat having our annual dinner enjoying a glass or two of wine, when I made an off hand comment about hosting an NWR conference in Carlisle. After receiving such a positive response, I decided to follow it up (making sure it wasn’t just the wine speaking) with an email to all members, who again confirmed their support. I quickly set up a small sub-committee with volunteers and we had our first meeting in July. Well, since then we have never looked back !!!
Fast forward to 19th April 2018, the day of our Conference.
The venue was a modern hotel in the centre of Carlisle, within easy walking distance of the train station. We had 120 delegates, representing 30 NWR branches from as far north as Arbroath and Marchington in the south. The furthest person travelled 191 miles from Grantham, which we acknowledged with a £20.00 book token.
We had three fantastic speakers, who all have strong links to Cumbria and coincidentally their first names all began with the letter M.
The first speaker, Marcia Reid Fotheringham, a retired clinical psychologist, currently performs the role of a Magistrate and is the chair of the North & West Cumbria Bench and High Sheriff of Cumbria elect for 2019/20. She talked about her fascinating life and career in the USA & UK and how she drew positivity from the racism she has encountered. Telling us an extraordinary story about a group of Morris Dancers who blacked their faces and sang slave songs. Well that was until the formidable Marcia intervened!!
The second speaker, Marie-Elsa Bragg, writer, Jesuit Spiritual Director, ordained Anglican priest and Duty Chaplain of Westminster Abbey. Delivered a mesmerising talk on how she became one of the first women to become an ordained priest and how she led a minute silence in respect of those lost and injured in the terrorist attack in London 2017.
The third speaker, Miranda Kirschel MBE, founded ‘Women in Nuclear UK’ in 2014 to improve gender balance and encourage capacity building in the nuclear industry and to improve engagement on nuclear with women in public. Delivered a very personal and stimulating power point presentation.
We had 12 tables with 10 delegates around each table, and after each speaker there was a 20 minutes table discussion, which was led by a Carlisle member, who would produce a question. Following this, each speaker would be asked 10 minutes worth of questions.
The last event of the day was a plenary with Marie-Elsa Braggs and Miranda Kirschel, with questions provided by the delegates, providing a further interesting insight into their lives and careers.
My top 5 tips for organising a one day conference:
We were fortunate enough to have an article published in our local newpaper last year about our group and how our membership has increased.
If you'd like to view the article please use the link below.
At our Banchory meet last night, we finished the evening by thanking our outgoing Local Coordinator, Edna Harris, for all the hard work she has done throughout her 10-year stint in the position. We celebrated with cake, and presented her with flowers and National Garden Vouchers. Attached is a photo, with Edna in the centre on the sofa.
The main topic of the evening was a talk given by a volunteer representative from the charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. These clever dogs aid their 'recipients' by responding to sounds such as door bells, ringing telephones, oven alarms and even crying babies by touching the human and taking them to the source of the sound. They are trained to respond to fire alarms by touching the human and then lying on the ground as soon as they've caught their human's attention. Their owners say they gain great comfort and self-confidence through having a Hearing Dog, and for example can sleep soundly once again now they no longer have any worries about not hearing a fire alarm in the night.
You can spot these dogs in your neighbourhood by their smart burgundy coats, and we are all encouraged to speak to anyone we see with such a dog. A lovely introduction to possibly a new friend.
One of the wonderful aspects of NWR is that you never know what you're going to learn about next.
Oakham NWR and guests explored Brazil in the comfort of a member's home and garden for a BBQ.
The occasion was extra colourful as everyone dressed in yellow, green and blue, and the food was extra spicy to match.
Bossa Nova, Salsa and Samba music was easy to find on YouTube and set the tone for sipping the Caipirinhas late into the evening. By this time the Brazil quiz seemed extra challenging but who cared as we had a great time!
Members and guests of Wistaston NWR enjoying a well-earned rest after their very enjoyable walk at Mow Cop. This is a local beauty spot from the top of which you have fantastic views of the Cheshire Plain and Staffordshire Moorlands.
Members of Wistaston NWR enjoying the summer sunshine at our Garden Party organised by Dorothy (on the extreme left). Guests were also invited.
A delightful joint visit was made in May to the Sevington Victorian School, by Calne and Derry Hill and District NWR groups. We first went to Leigh Delamare church and were greeted by a lady (Dinah Starkey) in a beautiful, black Victorian costume complete with bonnet. She told us that the remains of the original derelict church were carefully removed to build the school. This work was arranged by Joseph Neeld, local land owner and philanthropist, who wished to build a school for his worker’s children and then rebuild the church in a similar style with a decorative Gothic interior. This has resulted in the School having the unusual features of a dominant bell tower, massive entrance archway and an interior wall made of a 15th century reredos. He also built cottages for his employees.
On returning to the school we were sternly greeted by Miss Elizabeth Squire, who taught at the school for 53 years. She was played by Celia Jennings who took her role very seriously and informed us we all had to pay 1d for entry, fortunately Victorian coins were provided. We were lined up for hand inspection, those with nail varnish being duly reprimanded! We entered the classroom and sat at traditional benches and desks with inkwells. Demonstrations showed us how finger stocks were used to stop boys dipping girl’s plaits into inkwells and other naughtiness, and back boards, to ensure upright posture. Class started with the issuing of slates and pencils for us to practice writing the date and a verse written on the board, a very squeaky process. We read moral verses from reading books learning such sayings as ‘If one lie is told several more will follow’. The classroom is full of material actually used by Miss Squire including a framed demonstration of how to make paper, items such as a cowrie shell and shark’s jaw , brought back by Joseph Neeld’s brother from his tropical expeditions, a chalk written attendance board and a dunces cap. The floor is also unusual being made of shaped edge-on regular logs wedged together. Finally we were somewhat intimidated by the demonstration of 3 canes!
We were then invited into Miss Squire’s parlour where a parlour maid (Sylvia Wright) helped by the other ladies, served us with tea and very tasty home-made cakes.
This was a very successful outing and we cannot give enough credit to the three ladies who reminded us of what it was like to live in Victorian times, both as children and a school teacher.
Over a hundred participants, from as far afield as Sussex, gathered in Poynton, Cheshire on Saturday 25 March. We heard eminent clinicians Dr Jenny Myers and Professor Alistair Burns from the University of Manchester medical school talk about their research and practice.
The 2015 NWR National Conference and AGM will take place on Saturday 20th June at the Grand Central Hotel in GLASGOW. There are a limited number of concessionary rate rooms available with the hotel. Please contact the NWR Office for details.