June is a busy month and no less so for Brockenhurst WI. We welcomed two guests and 43 members, Jerusalem was heard (due to the open windows) nearly a mile away and we hope they enjoyed our singing. A record month for the birthday posies and celebrating this month were June Helyer, Pat Farr, Anne Nolan, Mel Carter, Sue Griffiths, Liz Wingham, Geraldine Angel, Mary Jeans and Doreen Risso. Welcome packs were given out to a new member, Ann Gardner, and we all warmly welcomed her.
Our treasurer was on holiday so Karen Barber stood in for her and updated us on our finances and also gave an update on the historical walk that she has organised for 1 July in Salisbury. Then our secretary was also on holiday (it must be the weather) so Liz Wingham stood in for her and gave us more information on the forthcoming Autumn Meeting in Basingstoke, an exciting trip to Amsterdam, the continuing exhibition at the Science Centre in Winchester. Some members had also undertaken a recent walk around Royden Woods and it was proposed that we did a walk of Romsey (with a green badge guide and hopefully a lunch).
Our talented darts team won all three of their recent matches and the quiz team came third however, it was not disclosed how many teams took part in the quiz! There is now a waiting list for our visit to the Cadland Estate on 20 June and Christine O’Connor is busy organising our August outing (which comes around so fast) and final payments for our New Forest Show entries were required.
Members were encouraged to put their name badges into the hat for one of two Denman Bursaries which are paid for by the club and this year Geraldine Angel and Sue Clarke were the lucky winners. Isobel Toward was awarded the trophy for being the winner of the Flower Competition 2017 and Di Fletcher won this month’s flower competition. The monthly flower competition raised £26 in 2017 but it was unanimously decided to raise that to £50 so we can make our annual donation to the Associated Country Women of the World.
We had the absolutely fabulous Trisha Lewis back with us again who gave us a talk about Joyce Grenfell OBE (nee Phipps) who was born on 10 February 1910 to a wealthy family with great connections (her aunt was Lady Astor) and was a British comedian, singer, actress and monologist, and one of the country’s best loved entertainers. She was immortalised in roles such as the gym mistress Miss Gossage in the 1950 film The Happiest Days of Your Life and Sgt Ruby Gates in the St Trinian’s film. She achieved success as a writer and performer of songs and monologues at a time when it was unusual for a woman of her social background to work as a performer. When WW2 broke out she wanted to make more of a contribution and was persuaded by her friend Noel Coward to entertain the troops on active service so she travelled with her pianist, Viola Tunnard, to many far-flung destinations such as Italy, Algiers, India and Baghdad. She was very well received by the troops and the military code ENSA never applied to her! She kept a journal and, after she died, a book was published from them entitled The Time Of My Life which is still available today. She wrote much poetry and was generally considered to be a very funny woman, one of her most famous characters being the nursery school teacher and she coined the phrase “George – don’t do that”.
She died in 1979 from cancer and in February 1980, a memorial service was held at Westminster Abbey, the first time such an honour had been granted to a comedian. She was created an Officer of the Order or the British Empire in 1946 and it was confirmed after her death that she would have been made a Dame Commander (DBE) in the 1980 New Year Honours List. In 1998, the Royal Mail memorialised Grenfell with her image on a postage stamp as part of a series of stamps celebrating Heroes of Comedy. The talk which Trisha gave us was both witty and funny with her singing and acting and we were sorry it came to a close – Louise Parker gave the vote of thanks.
Why not join us every 2nd Monday of the month at 7.30pm in Brockenhurst Village Hall, we would love to have your company.