Monthly Press Report

Press Report June 2019

Brockenhurst WI

On June 10th 41 members and 3 visitors left the comfort of their own homes to brave a horrid wet and windy (Summer?) evening to attend the meeting in the Village Hall.

After stretching our lungs with a rendition of “Jerusalem” we embarked on quite a lengthy business agenda. A Welcome Pack was presented to new member, Janice Pettigrew, who is already making a valuable contribution to the Darts Team! Another Welcome Pack will be presented to Karen Lanning at our July meeting. The President thanked various members of “The Team” for their help in ensuring an enjoyable and smooth meeting – Janette Smethurst organised the raffle, Anne Nolan provided pretty flowers for the President’s table and Pat Worn and Valerie Letley provided welcome post-meeting refreshments. June is a busy month for birthdays! Home-made decorated cupcakes with a candle in each were presented to Elaine Barrow, June Helyer, Mary Jeans, Maureen Phillips, Anne Nolan and Liz Wingham. Happy Birthday One and All!  Sue Garrod gave a brief update on the finances and Karen Whitty ran through all the correspondence.

Each year, we offer a bursary to a member to support their attendance at an activity of their choice at the WI’s Denman College. Members who wanted the chance to win the bursary put their name badges into a box and the Speaker for the evening drew out the lucky member’s name – Carole Blaylock. We look forward to hearing about Carole’s time at Denman College in due course.

Every month a “Flower of the Month” competition is held. Members bring in a flower from their gardens and we judge which flower we consider to be the best by putting silver coins next to it. Records are kept of the winners each month and a trophy is awarded to the overall winner at the June Meeting. This year, congratulations and the trophy were offered to the winner, Maureen Phillips. The money raised each month is donated to one of the WI charities.

Members were reminded of forthcoming events including a Luncheon Club date at the Forest Park Hotel, a swift spotting walk in Lymington, an outing to Highcliffe Castle (with optional cream tea!) in August and a talk on the lore of tea-taking by Jane Glennie. Also, members were encouraged to take part in the village Scarecrow Festival to be held in August.

The highlight of the evening was a talk by Colin Van Geffen on “Calshot – a Place in Time”. Colin described in detail the history of Calshot Castle from the time it was built by Henry VIII in 1539-40. Its’ purpose at that time was to protect against invasions from France and Spain and to defend Southampton Water as it met the Solent. Thereafter the castle was in use for many years, surviving the English Civil War intact and being extensively modernised in the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was used by the coastguard as a base for combating smuggling. Latterly, the castle has been used as a base for seaplanes in the First World War followed by a development of airbase RAF Calshot, hosting the Schneider Trophy air races. When Second World War broke out, Calshot was rearmed in readiness for a possible German invasion. After the war, the station continued in use until military seaplanes became obsolete and it closed in 1961. In the 1980’s, English Heritage opened the castle to the public having restored it to its’ pre-1914 appearance. Colin also described the architecture of the castle and other developments along Calshot Spit. This was an extremely interesting illustrated talk enjoyed by all those present. Diana Fletcher offered the vote of thanks to Colin.

The July meeting will take place in the Exhibition Room of the Village Hall on Monday 8th July at 19.15 for 19.30 start. The Speaker will be Alan Grace who has extensive experience of ENSA and the Forces Broadcasting Service. All WI Members and visitors are welcome to attend!

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