NWR National Conference

Please note that due to technical difficulties outside our control the booking site for the Conference is not yet live.  We will be emailing all members as soon as we have a date when the site will be up and running to take your Conference bookings.

Registration for our 2018 conference will open soon and we are looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible in Chester in 2018.  In the meantime, here is another great write-up about this year's conference in Lincoln by NWR member Sandra Sellers...


The annual NWR Conference held this year in the historic city of Lincoln was on the theme of Wonder Woman (yes we knew the film would be doing the rounds this summer) appropriate as the film has become the biggest live action film ever directed by a woman and has been so successful it is the highest grossing film eve directed by a woman so truly an inspirational theme celebrating the success women can achieve.

On Saturday morning around 300 delegates gathered at the venue to be welcomed by Karen Crow the Lincoln Town Crier in her full regalia. She gave her Home Cry about how lucky Lincoln is to be known for Lincolnshire Sausages and then a specially written cry for the day stating that we are all Wonder Women!

Our first speaker was Sophie Wells who is a renowned Dressage rider who was born In Lincoln and grew up on her parent’s farm. She shrugs off that she has just one finger on each hand and no feeling at all in her feet. She told us that she was determined as a child to take up riding just like all her pony loving friends. She loves training her horses to learn the intricate movements required for an accomplished routine set to music. Her hard work and determination have led to success in World championships and Paralympics so that at the age of just 27 years old she has 23 medals.

Our second speaker was Mary Powell who led the team that has raised and spent £22 million on the refurbishment of Lincoln Castle. Mary took us ‘behind the scenes’ to see images of special highlights of the project and gave us an interesting insight into the challenges and how she overcame them. We were all delighted to share in her excitement that just the day before the conference Lincoln Castle had been voted the best castle in England.

After lunch we held the Annual General Meeting. It was as usual a vociferous affair. The lively minded women had their say!

For those who wanted activity there was the choice of Chasamba line dancing or African drumming. Both were in high demand so apologies if you missed out. Then for those who like to meet other members there was a choice of two discussion groups. One on what we consider makes a wonder woman and the other on the Lincoln castle project and what difficulties a good project leader can overcome. In an effort to make sure we had something for everyone we had the choice to listen to a guest speaker from the Woodland Trust. Many of us were members and enjoyed hearing more from the organisation.

It was then time for the last speaker of the day, author Sophie Hannah. I know of at least two delegates who booked to come along purely so that they could meet Sophie!! Others of us had never read any of her books. Some writers find it difficult to speak to audiences much preferring the chance to craft each sentence carefully in the quiet of their office but this does not apply to Sophie Hannah who kept the whole audience enthralled as she explained how she came to branch out from poetry to crime novels and now to writing novels for the Agatha Christie foundation. She told us of the day she had a caesarean birth for her daughter and how this led her to the theme of her book ‘Little Face’ in which a mother is convinced her husband has switched their baby for another. Like many authors she said that friends often suggest topics that she may like to write about and one such was a friend who said that the Sat Nav in her car had an address programmed into it for HOME which was not her home address. Sophie uses this premise in her book Lasting Damage where the heroine wants to find out who lives at the unknown address.

Next Year the Conference will be held in Chester and we hope many of you will decide to invest the time in coming along and making it a highlight of your year. We all enjoyed our time in Lincoln very much and were inspired by the life stories of all our guests. It was truly a Wonder-ful day!!

Sandra Sellers

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Deepings at Lincoln Conference 2017

The Deepings Group is in South Lincolnshire, and when it was announced that Conference 2017 would be in Lincoln, two of our members immediately offered to be on the organising committee. 
 Many thanks to Ann and Faith for the hard work involved in making this year’s Conference a huge success.
There were eleven of us in all…..nine staying Friday night to enjoy the wrap-around events and dinner (with an excellent table quiz produced by Faith) plus the interesting, funny after-dinner speaker.  
Some of us went on a boat ride, some to the Art Gallery, some to the Lincolnshire Archives.
 Two more drove up early for the Main Conference on Saturday morning.
The University of Lincoln has a wonderful site on the bank of the Marina, looking up at the much-painted view to the castle and cathedral on top of the hill. 
 All three speakers were great - Sophie Wells lost fingers and nearly lost both legs (from amniotic band syndrome) - but that has not stopped her winning shed-loads of medals (including three golds and three silvers between the London and Rio Para-Olympics) in horse dancing (as she called it). She has also won able-bodied international dressage events.  
Mary Powell has been in charge of the wonderful reconstruction at The Castle with heart-stopping times like winching the huge spiral staircase over the wall, pushing the new lift shaft through the gateway which only just fitted it, finding a Saxon sarcophagus when they dug down to make the vault for the Magna Carta.  
Sophie Hannah, a poet (her work is used in GCSE, A level and degrees) and crime writer (the famously guarded Agatha Christie family chose her to write two new Poirot novels) was very entertaining.  We enjoyed our workshops on Chasumba, Drumming, the painted knights sculptures which are all round the city, the Woodland Trust and discussion groups.
No one was nominated for the Mary Stott Award this year, so we remembered back to when our own Rita won it for setting up her Mustard Seed Project in the slums of Mombasa, providing a Primary School and many other resources for the local community in Kenya (which she and her husband Geoff continue to do - check out their website...)
We are looking forward to next year’s Conference at Chester.
Thanks to Kathy Ward [LO] for this report.
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