Blandford Parish Church organise a Christmas tree competition every year and Sheila Morgan, one of our 'artistically' gifted members volunteered to take on the task. Her thoughtful efforts produced a beautifully decorated tree which represented
the essential Christian message of sincere good wishes to all with 'Happy Christmas' written in numerous languages dispersed amongst the traditional decorations. A local Primary school received the prize but members were very proud of the
Blandford W.I. entry.
Our outings sub committee members Vicky and Diane arranged an excellent Christmas lunch at the Ashley Wood Golf Club. The festivities began with celebratory drinks in the bar which started proceedings on a happy note. The private room was traditionally
decorated with a lovely Christmas tree and a festive table made more attractive with Vicky's delightful hand made sweet boxes. This happy and jovial occasion was very well attended and the time seemed to fly by much too quickly. Members agreed that
our Christmas get together had provided a lovely start to the festive season and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Members worked hard to ensure we enjoyed our W.I. Christmas Party. Tables were decorated with crackers, party poppers and 'sweetie' packages. The supper table groaned under the weight of delicious sweet and savouries cooked and provided by all
which made a super festive banquet for everyone to enjoy. Mulled wine was provided which got the party going! Entertainment for our W.I. party was provided by Shroton Ukulele Band who provided informal, relaxed traditional Xmas songs. They were attired
in fancy red waistcoats and sported flashing bow ties. The music was of a high standard and instruments included a bass guitar, Kazoos and a wash-board. Their members were engaging and had a fine sense of humour which added to the fun. Members quickly
got into the jolly atmosphere and joined in the singing including our Vice President Sheila who danced with one of the musicians! The party ended with a free raffle. Five lucky members won £10 vouchers and all members went happily home with
'doggy bags' of goodies.
Our W.I. was represented by Carol Denton who laid a wreath on our behalf at the Remembrance Day Parade held in Blandford Forum on Sunday, Remembrance Day.
Along with a huge range of societies and clubs our W.I. takes the opportunity each year to support the Blandford Expo which offers a platform to promote and explain our amazing wide range of interests and activities. Having set up our promotion materials
we were armed with free W.I.News and W.I.Life magazines and tickets for sale for our forthcoming Barn Dance. Once again members of the public seemed to appreciate the information available and some expressed interest in joining our group and we assured
them of a warm welcome. Members felt that the morning was well spent showing our W.I. as a positive part of such a vibrant and talented community.
The Harvest Moon shone down, the dancing shoes were on, the fiddlers were all tuned up and off we went. The Blandford Evening WI Barn Dance was a whirling success. The only casualty was the Vice President who two dances in, pulled a calf muscle and spent
the rest of the evening hobbling around. The band, Arish Mel from Weymouth, led by Steve Earwicker, provided the spirited music while their lovely caller, Teresa Rabbetts, kept us all in order. The WI ladies would like to thank everyone for their
help and participation, especially Sarah of Indulge Catering for the gorgeous fresh bread, Chrissy of From Dorset with Love for the tasty, tangy chutneys and Hall and Woodhouse for the beverage donation and raffle prize. It is hoped that this successful
Harvest Home Barn Dance can be developed into an annual event by the Blandford Evening W.I.
Our meeting in August gave a rare chance to enjoy an informal social evening with no 'speaker' or business agenda. Members joined in making bunting for the forthcoming Barn Dance. It was great fun and enthusiasm was such that by the time they
had finished there was enough to decorate two halls! The evening culminated with a most enjoyable supper purchased at the local fish and chip shop. Such evenings as this are an excellent opportunity to become more acquainted with members, old and
new. As the photographs on our website record, it was a very happy and successful meeting.
It was lights, camera, action as 9 ladies went off to the Plaza Dorchester to see the new Mamma Mia movie and a good time was had by all. For some it was their first visit to the Retro 1930's cinema and they were greatly impressed by the large, comfortable
seats with ample leg room even for the most elongated person.The entry fee was more than economical while access from within the town was easy. There will definitely be a repeat visit when the next worthwhile film is released.
Sara Jacson attended our meeting on behalf of the Dorset Women's Refuge to accept a cheque for £60 with some 30 pairs of knickers donated by our members. She thanked BEWI sincerely and went on to outline the work of the Dorset Women's Refuge. Sara
had chaired the committee in 1999 which started up the Refuge with funding from the Government, North Dorset and Purbeck Councils. The refuge can accommodate 10 families and monies raised are used to ensure that when women arrive they have new bedding,fruit
for the children,toiletries in the bathroom and any immediate finance that they require.The Refuge requires approximately £1k per month to continue it's work and is on target for this financial year.
Early on a bright, sunny morning twelve of our ladies plus two honorary members boarded the mini bus for Bletchley Park, the home of the legendary code breakers. An increasingly torrid journey found us at 11.30, a wee bit wilted, outside the fence of
the famous establishment. We were counted off the bus, and through the gate, a little like it must have been in the dark days of W.W.2. The stark green of the utility building and the high security fence displaying the desired effect of seriousness
and secrets. But once inside it was a complete change. A welcoming visitor's desk a small tea shop, souvenir shop, helpful guides, the entrance to the visitor's centre and out into the original site itself. A large lottery grant had been well spent.
Everyone knows a little of the story of Bletchley but it really takes a visit to this place to appreciate the dedication and sacrifice of these men and women and the enormous contribution they made to the war effort and its aftermath, the ongoing
security of this country and the dawn of the computer age. We were counted back on to our bus on departure for the homeward journey. Thanks again go to Vicky and Diane for an amazing and well planned trip.
It was a lovely sunny day and the Blandford Evening W.I. members were on hand in the Parish Rooms to provide a wide selection of homemade cakes and beverages for visitors to the fayre. Mr Chord, a busking band, consisting of Jo, Alan and Mike provided
the music for the day. Our ladies worked very hard and a good contribution was made for this years fundraising.
13 of our members visited the Blandford Fashion Museum which is in a lovely Georgian House dating from the 1700's. To commence we were given a most informative and interesting talk by Stella Walker, Costume Manager, about the social history and heritage
of the museum which led to a guided tour. We were amazed to find ten rooms to explore which offered superbly presented models and displays in a variety of settings.There was so much to see, learn about and discuss plus helpful and informative staff
on hand all of whom are volunteers. It was a most enjoyable and unique experience. Among several new additions this year and one not to be missed is a most beautiful and elegant Edwardian Ladies Room. Our members then retired to the pretty Tea Room
to tuck in to delicious cream teas, cake and copious pots of tea which ended a delightful social afternoon. An outing definitely to be repeated.
Simone welcomed 22 members and one guest for our Annual Meeting. She praised the group on the way that it had gelled over the past five years and commented on the good communication that we have between members. The Treasurer gave a financial statement
and stressed the importance of fundraising to keep us in the black especially as we have lost one of our biggest fundraising events for this year. The Secretary said that it had been a busy and successful year and thanked everyone for their hard
work. We had a short talk from our visitor, Heather Bartlett, she gave an interesting account of her role as a W.I. advisor and she explained how she visits branches all over the county and acts as a trouble shooter when required. The Committee was
then elected for the next year and Simone was chosen to be our President.
Our members were on to hand to provide and serve some delicious refreshments, in the interval, for the three performances of the Forum Drama production of The Thwarting of Baron Bolligrew. The drama was performed in the Blandford Corn Exchange and our
President,Simone,took the leading role in the play.
The ladies of Blandford Evening W.I. had plenty to celebrate at their February meeting, as they gathered to toast their 5th anniversary. As well as cake and champagne, the committee entertained the ladies with their own version of the panel game "Would
I Lie To You " with it ending in a draw. Toasting Blandford Evening W.I. our President, Simone, thanked everyone for their support and hard work, including local businesses who support them, and hoped that everyone was looking forward to another
busy and enjoyable year.
We launched the New Year with a lively and interesting group discussion, led by committee member Marilyn Flower. We considered and debated the five proposed 2018 W.I. Resolutions.
1. Positive body image in a digital age 2. Stop female genital mutilation
3. Raise awareness of modern slavery in the U.K. 4. Mental health matters 5. Healthier mouth, healthier body.
Each topic was explored, offered fresh insights and members expressed compelling views. We also discussed the importance of voting for topics which may be achievable with regard to lobbying government and have positive outcomes for our work in the
community. All the votes cast are anonymous and sent to County, National Officers, our Public Affairs Officers and Board of Trustees. The result is based on the highest number of selections from all W.I. members across England, Wales and the Islands.
(Approximately 220,000 in 2017). Typically only two or three resolutions are chosen for the A.G.M. agenda in Cardiff in June where nominated W.I.delegates from all areas will vote and make their final choice. Our President Simone has agreed to be
the delegate for the group that we are linked to this year and will report back on the results.