1980-89 Records of WI members' monthly meetings

Janet Birchmore from WI record books

WI wall hanging in Village Hall completed 1983
WI book


February – window boxes for school being made. Jubilee dinner in March. Talk by Miss Lucie Timpson, journalist and W.I. member from Bedford ‘It’s your age Dear!’, discussion of issues in middle age.

March – Birthday Night 60 years since WI started, Jubilee celebration. Dinner to be held on Saturday 8th March. Consideration of a tapestry suggested by Mrs Wilkinson depicting the past sixty years. W.I. to run a cake stall at Harston School May Day. Talk by Mrs Hurrell –  ‘Life as the wife of the Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire’.

April – A.G.M. Congratulations to the Harston entry, ‘The Three Old Ladies’, at the ‘Scene 80’ Festival at the Mumford Theatre which won the certificate of merit and may be included in the regional finals in Colchester. Talk by Mrs Dowding ‘Have Dog will Travel’. Mrs Wilkinson to continue as President. Motto ‘Strength through unity, tolerance and friendship’.

May – Mrs Heap to host a ‘Cruse Fund’ lunch. Proposed to set up a sub-committee for the tapestry.

June – Mrs S Webb to research Harston History for the Tapestry. Talk by Mrs Mann ‘Safety in the Home’.

July – £50 sent to Cruse Fund. Tea money increased from 5p to 10p. Speaker failed to turn up, so members recounted holiday adventures.

August – thank you letter from Cruse. Apologies for the window boxes not in place yet. Talk by Miss Wheeler ‘Life as a Woman Butcher’.

September – appeal for help with collecting for the jumble sale and selling on Saturday. Talk by Mr Brewer.

October – harvest supper entertainment by Sawston Youth Drama Group. Jumble Sale made £91.50.

November –  talk by Mr R Phillipo ‘Engraved Glass’.

December – talk by Mr Lawrance ‘Wine Making’.


February – talk by Mrs Muller ‘Denman College’.

March – talk by J. Satter ‘Canals’.

April – A.G.M. Talk by Mrs Lowe, V.C.O. Need to raise money for W.I. expenses. ,rs Heap new President. Motto ‘We can learn something new at any age’.

May – letter of thanks from Mr Burroughs of Harston School for help on May Day. Tapestry committee to ask advice about layout and design.

June – jumble sale raised £133. Applied for a link Institute of the ACWW in the U.S.A. talk and demonstration by Mr and Mrs Sheiber ‘Resuscitation’.

July – plenty of produce needed for the Victorian Fayre on Parkers Piece Victorian costumes to be worn. Talk by Mrs Weisinger ‘Places to visit in Holland’.

August – suggestion to see the Royal wedding gifts. Talk by Mrs V Wall ‘Science in the Home’.

September – outing arranged in January to St James Palace to see wedding gifts. Jean Hearn to organise sick visiting. Talk by Peggy Morgan ‘Mother Theresa’ descibing the work she did in India and ways all could help.

October – congratulations given to members who were successful in the Home Economics Autumn Show. Collection for Pennies for Friendship. Harvest Supper – thanks given for the meal by Mrs Howlett and told members about the new surgery being built in Church Street. Entertainment by ‘Singers from Cambridge’, old favourites and action songs.

November – members to sing 2 carols at Wesley Church in December. Linden Players performance in November. Talk by Mr Chowings ‘Best Varieties of Vegetables to grow’.

December – appeal for mince pies for London down-and-outs. Talk by members Sheila Edwards and Sheila Gale ‘ Christmas Decorations’ from greenery and hand-made flowers. Children’s Party in the Village Hall. Floats and arm bands purchased for the patients at the Ida Darwin Hospital.


February – Sucessful Children’s Christmas Party. Members shown floats and arm bands purchased for Ida Darwin Hospital.

March – letter of thanks from Ida Darwin. Reminder of nearly new sale March 11th. Talk by Mr Ritson ‘Graphology’.

April – A.G.M. Newly new sale raised £60. Cakes needed for school fete. Small gifts needed for stall at Village Fun Day. Discussed possibility of a bar being a permanent fixture in small committee room by village hall committee. Proposal to put meeting in the 2nd week of January and cancel August meeting as this is usually poorly attended.

Motto ‘ Enthusiasm is the electricity of life’. Mrs Heap to continue as President.

May – members asked to make a team for the Knock-out competition on Fun Day. Talk by Jean Hearn ‘Journey down the Nile’.

June – information given about 3rd Age meetings.

July – next meeting at the home of Sheila Edwards. Talk and demonstration by Miss Smith ‘Wholefood Cookery’.

August – talk by Sgt. Atkinson ‘Local Drug Squad’.

September – reminder of charity lunch in aid of ‘Lesotho Project’. Coffee morning to be held in aid of Missions for Seamen. Talk by Mrs Newdich ‘Weddings around the World’.

October – Harvest Supper entertainment by musical group ‘CATS’, Campaign Amateur Theatrical Society, who were collecting for cancer research. Many first prizes won by members at the Produce Show. Appeal for members to help at a creche while their mums attended keep fit.

November – fund raising needed for ‘Jam for Cambridge’ in aid of County Funds. Talk by Miss Bonnett ‘Guide Dogs’.

December – appeal for mince pies for down-and-outs in London. Talk by Mr Andrew Pye ‘Tracing your Family Tree’.


February – reminder nearly new sale for Federation funds. Talk by Miss Caister ‘Holiday in Borneo and Bali’.

March – Handicraft Exhibition theme ‘Treasure chest for Brides’. Proceeds from evening raffle to Australian Disaster Fund. Talk by Miss Anne Harris ‘Life as National Chairman’. Unveiling of the Tapestry, thanks given to all concerned, especially Grace Richardson, who had the difficult job of sewing the panels together.

April – A.G.M. Appeal for cakes for May Day at the school and a stall for Fun Day, organised by The Limes Resident Association. New President Sheila Edwards. Talk by Mrs Mullen ‘Visit to the Holyland’.

May – talk by Sylvia Jones ‘Holiday in Sri Lanka’.

June – talk and demonstration by Mr Hirdestane? ‘Bamix food mixer’.

July – meeting held at V. Baldwin’s home in London Road. Congratulations to members who won first prize for their ‘Summer Buffet’.

September – visit to see ‘Pride and Prejudice’ at the Arts Theatre proposed. Talk and demonstration by Mr Scott ‘Glass Blowing’.

October – village hall Jubilee, members asked to make desserts for Senior citizens lunch. Harvest supper entertained by by the ‘Audley End Singers’.

November – talk by Mr Rodney Tibbs ‘Restoring a Country Garden’.

December – members asked to help with the cooking at the lunch club. Talk by members of Melbourn Camera Club ‘Natural History Slides and Films’.


January – Congratulations to Mr Alf Gale who had been honoured by the Queen with an O.B.E. Talk by Miss Sanderson ‘Bell Ringing’, history and demonstration.

February – Appeal by District Nurse Gerrard for equipment needed by medical staff, of a pump, cost £260 + £50 running cost. Funds to be raised towards this. Talk by Mr Andrew Cowan, of the Scott Polar Institute, showing slides of Arctic and Antarctic and explaining the work of the Institute.

March – members asked to join in a sponsored ‘Knit-in’ in aid of Arthritis and Rheumatism Research. Talk and demonstration by Cambridge Scottish Society performing Scottish songs and dances.

April – A.G.M Motto ‘Enjoy the W.I., come and give it a try’. Talk by Jean Rowell ‘Holiday in Australia’.

May – Talk and slides by Ann Pitman ‘Holland’.

June – Sponsored ‘Knit-in’ raised £167. Talk by Mr Petty, from Cambridge Collection, Old Harston and Harstonians’, with members trying to recognise the faces.

July – Meeting in Sheila Edwards garden, who had won the Huxley Cup for flower arranging at the Royal Show.

September – members invited to a coffee morning in the Guildhall to raise funds for the ‘Cheshire Home’ in Brampton. Talk by Mr Sherwood of thr Cambridge Theatre Company ‘Running of the Company’.

October – harvest supper entertainment by Sawston Youth Group. Congratulations to members who won prizes at the Home Economics event.

November – Donation of £50 to the Village Hall. Talk by Mrs Macrae ‘Sainsburys’ describing the history, present day super stores and how medical checks are done and the very careful control of packaging.

December – Entertainment by The Linden Players ‘Christmas Cheer’.


January – Barbican outing in March. Talk by Dr Ray Gamble ‘International Whaling Commission’.

February – reminder of Music Concert in the village hall. Talk by Mr Bradford, manager of the University Arms, ‘Hotel Management’, who remembered Harston from his boyhood days.

March -outing to Gamlingay Vineyards in July. Talk by Mr Goodesham of Cheffin, Grain and Chalk, ‘Antiques’, members bringing items to be valued.

April – A.G.M. Agreed to purchase 2 dozen cups and saucers. Sheila Edwards President. Talk by Thomas Heap and Martin Evans ‘Tour of South America’ showing slides.

May – appeal for cakes for May Day. Coffee morning to raise money for Decho Guide Dog Fund. 1p for every wrapper collected. Motto ‘Don’t sit and watch the world go by, get in a spin join the W.I.’. Talk by Colin Lawrence ‘Hospital Radio’.

June – coffee morning in aid of N.S,P.C.C. Talk by J Rowell ‘Cake Icing’ and demonstration of flower arranging by Sheila Edwards.

July – talk by Dr Cummings ‘Dietary fibre in our food’.

September – County President presented Sheila Edwards with The Huxley Cup, won for flower arranging at the Royal Show. Invite for members to do another ‘Knit-in’. Talk and demonstration by L. Ehrhart from Helena Rubenstein, ‘Facials’.

October – harvest supper entertained by ‘The Saffron Sound’, Barber Shop Harmony.

November – W.R.V.S. appeal for clothes and shoes as they were having difficulty supplying the many people who need help. Talk by Mr Harradine ‘Lesser Known Cambridge’.

December – finished blanket for Meldreth Manor shown. Talk by Mrs Bissett ‘Christmas Table Decorations’.


January – Talk by Mr Hacher ‘Country Man’s Pursuits’ showing pictures of his fruit farms.

February – talk by Mrs Gardner ‘History of Quilting’, members having a go and making a card.

March – reminder help needed for nearly new sale. Talk by Mrs Spence, from County Centre, ‘Wok Cookery’.

April – A.G.M. Cakes for May Day required. New President Bridget Bromilow. Motto ‘Broaden your knowledge, interests and skills W.I. fits this bill’.

May – talk and film by Mrs Hutchinson ‘Job as a Concord Pilot’, describing her husband’s job as a Concord Pilot.

June – proposed stall at Christmas Bazaar, ‘W.I. comes to Town’, yellow items for the stall would be gratefully received. Talk and slides by Miss Staunton, Custodian of Wimpole Hall, ‘Cleaning the Hall’, describing how the furnishings and hangings were preserved.

July – meeting in President’s garden. Appeal for more yellow items for the stall. Talk by Mrs Ellis ‘Herbs and their Uses’.

September – help needed for nearly new stall on 18th September. Talk by Mrs Keith ‘Christmas Toys and Decorations’.

October – harvest supper, entertainment by Alistair Kielman, 14 yr old, on the electric organ.

November – agreed to make a donation to the ‘Baby Illness Research Project’. Talk and demonstration by Mrs Godfrey ‘Cake Decoration’.

December – £36.53 raised at ‘Yellow’ Stall. Agreed to make a donation towards the tuning of the piano in the village hall.


January – No meeting due to the poor weather conditions.

February – Proposed a meeting in August and not in January. Congratulations to Joyce Wilkinson for gaining her B.A. from the Open University. Talk by Mr Ketch of the Cambridge Swan Rescue Service on their work.

March – Birthday night.Talk by Mrs Betty Wilbraham ‘6 Wives of Henry V111’.

April – A.G.M. agreed to provide cakes for May Day. Agreed to have meeting in August, not in January. Bridget Bromilow to continue as President. Talk by Adrian, hairdresser in Hauxton, ‘Work as a Hairdresser’ and gave the secretary a new hairstyle.

May – motto ‘Learn from the past, work in the present and plan for the future’. Thanks from Oxfam for donation to the Mozambique Relief. Talk by Reverend Sharman ‘Work as a Prison Chaplain’.

June – members to look out for posters about where the August meeting would be as the village hall were having new flooring. Talk and slides by Mrs Dank? ‘ The Bronte Family and the Countryside in Yorkshire’.

July – meeting in the President’s garden. Talk by David Francis ‘Bee-keeping’.

August – successful visit to Ely cathedral. Members enjoyed tasting each others cooking. 5p for a recipe in aid of MAGPAS.

September – reminder of ‘W.I. Comes to Town’ stall. Talk by Eric Rogers ‘Anecdotes and Toastmaster’.

October – Birthday Night – entertainment by ‘Can Brio’ singing a range of songs. Reminder of the coffee morning at Sheila’s in October.

November – cancellation of Harston stall at the ‘W.I. Comes to Town’ event due to lack of things to be sold. Knit-in for Arthritis in January. Agreed to do a summer outing for children as only a few attended the Christmas Party. Talk and demonstration by Sheila Edwards and Jean Hearn ‘Christmas Decorations’.

December – reminder of knit-in. Christmas party, games, food and carol singing.


February – Knit-in raised £93.60. Harston W.I. asked to take part in a celebration pageant at the Mumford Theatre in October ‘Tibbs Row to Warkworth Street’. Talk and slides by Mr Hacker ‘Visits to Scotland’.

March – Birthday Night, talk and singing by Riva Green ‘My Career as a Singer’.

April – A.G.M. Motto ‘She who Dares Wins’. Cakes for May Day needed. New President Ann Pitman. Talk by Mr and Mrs Brown ‘Bygones’.

May – President reported and warned members that many purses had been stolen from baskets. Nearly New Sale raised £151.07. Talk by Mr Carter of Cellini ‘History of Pearls’ showing examples.

June At Group Meeting Harston won Spring Bonnet Competition, designed by Patsy Jones and modelled by Peggy Heap. Talk by Sue Thirkettle, journalist for 20 years, 12 with Cambridge Newspapers, ‘Parish Pump’ describing its joys and pitfalls.

July – proposed outing to Nottingham Lace Exhibition. Talk and slides by Christine Whitby, born and brought up in Harston, ‘Neo-Natal Unit’ explaining the work needed for premature babies. Donation from raffle to the unit £30.

August – talk by David Coleman ‘Life as a Craftsman’, showing examples of his work and the different wood he uses.

September – helpers needed for Nearly New Sale, talk by Dorothy Horner ‘Use of a Microwave Oven’.

October – Nearly New Sale raised £105. Nottingham trip cancelled due to lack of support. Reminder to support W.I. pageant. Harvest Supper entertainment by Sawston Youth Group singing a range of songs from musicals.

November – members presented the sketch they opened with at the ‘Tibbs Row to Warkworth Street’ pageant. This was made up of dialogues of 1918 and songs from First World War. Some members attended the Autumn Council Meeting, where Dr Mary Archer gave a talk on ‘Rupert Brooke’. Talk by Mrs Beatrice Braude ‘Blue or Gold’, explaining each of us has either blue or gold undertones and should choose clothes and make-up accordingly and whether you belong to spring, summer, autumn or winter group.

December – reminder to members to contribute at least one item for ‘A Year in the Life of the W.I.’ being compiled for the ‘Diary Competition’, illustrations, sketches, photographs and pieces of writing all needed. Funds for ‘Rosie Net Appeal’ to raise £500 to install computer links between hospitals and GPs and a further £50 per year for running costs before Government would consider a grant. Christmas food, games and carol singing were enjoyed by members. Raffle raised £22 for the Cambridgeshire Ambulance Service.


February – Coffee morning raised £92.75 for ‘Rosie Net Appeal’. County Activities launch of the ‘Cambridgeshire Village Book’. Talk and slides by Dr Kaebuer from Plant Breeding Institute ‘Wheat Breeding’ explaining the complexities in the strive for greater yield, resistance to disease and improved quality.
March – 69th Birthday night entertainment by Richard Morris and the Showtimers, 4 vocalists and a pianist, presented a wide range of songs from musicals. Spring Council Meeting, talk by Lady Catherwood ‘The European Parliament through my eyes’.
April – A.G.M. Sandra Webb to take part in a sponsored Hot Air Balloon Race in June for ‘Rosie Net Appeal’. Agreed to provide 100 High Tea’s for Norfolk Federation on their return from a trip to Hatfield. President Anne Pitman again. Motto ‘Confident in Friendship’. Talk and slides by Sheila Edwards ‘Visit to Canada’.
May – agreed not to run a stall at the ‘W.I. Comes to Town’ event. Suggestions asked for 70th Birthday celebration next year. Talk by Tracey from Elizabeth Arden at Robert Sayle ‘Skin-care’, explaining importance of cleansing, toning and moisturising.
June – talk and slides by Dr Knapton ‘Tour of Papua New Guinea’.
July – Rounders team in the final. Congratulations to Sandra Webb for gaining her science degree. She described her hot air balloon journey. Talk by Peggy Newell ‘Basketry’ showing examples of willow, cane and rush and demonstrating the first stages in making the bottom of a basket.
August – agreed fund raising would go towards 70th celebrations. Talk by P.C Colin, Harston’s last policeman, ‘Crime prevention’ showing examples of locks and markers for property.
September – talk by Peter Bromilow ‘Royal Crown Derby Miniatures’, describing an imaginary pre-war 1939 tea party with a story using the china miniatures.
October – harvest supper entertainment by Mary Ellis, who gave a variety of monologues wearing appropiate different hats.
November – Knit-in to be held in January. Talk and demonstration by Sally Kingman, President of Hauxton W.I. who lived in Harston, ‘Gifts’.

December – request to run a cake stall at a Spring Fair at the School in aid of the Children’s Society. Talk by Quentus Benziger ‘Music Lesson’, based on the development of the harpsichord, piano and recorder or English flute.

This page was added on 29/04/2020.

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