1990-99 Records of WI members' monthly meetings

Janet Birchmore & Julie Elmes from WI record books


February – coffee morning raised £152 for the Papworth Transplant Equipment Fund. Knit-in raised £170 for Arthritis Research. Talk and slides by Bill Clark, warden of Wandlebury, on ‘Encouraging plant, bird and insect life’.

March – Minutes read of the first W.I. Harston meeting March 3rd 1920. Display of 70 years of minute books, programme cards and account books. 70th Birthday Night agreed to to go to Arundel House Hotel for 70th birthday celebration meal. Entertainment in Victorian Music Hall style by ‘Hamlyn Music Hall Group’, with variety of songs, dances and jokes. Cake made by Jean Rowell and cut by Gladys Wright who was 70 in March.

April – A.G.M. Request for donations to the Clywd-Flut Coastal Disaster Fund to help victims of recent floods. Ideas needed for ‘National Tea Party’ in September, 75th anniversary of W.I. movement in Britain, being sponsored by Tetley who would be donating £10,000 to be shared between chosen Children’s Charities. Suggestion to plant a tree or provide a seat for the village in recognition of Harston’s W.I. 70th. Talk by Roy Pitman, slides accompanied by music in an audio-visual presentation.

May – talk by Gwen Norman and Jean Bowyer, from Milton Hospice, on ‘History of Milton Hospice’.

June – Peggy Heap informed members of the Harston Social Car Scheme being set up.
Appeal for new Brownie and Guide leaders. Talk by Dr Brierley on ‘Health Issues’, including osteoporosis, diet, blood pressure and stressed the importance of education, prevention and screening.

July – talk and demonstration by Shirley Wittering on ‘Spinning a Yarn’, giving examples of the variety of animal, plant and insect materials that can be spun.

August – talk by Betty Boothroyd on ‘Life as one of the 3 Deputy Speakers at the House of Commons’, describing her role and the highlight of the week ‘The Neil and Maggie Show’, known as Prime Minister’s Question Time.

September – Joyce Wilkinson organised a Ramblers Club. Reminder of Tea Party 11th. Talk by Oliver Walston on ‘Farming’, describing his speciality in high yield wheat to suit local climate and conditions.
October – Harvest Supper entertainment by ‘Isle Singers’. Tea Party raised £60.

November – coffee morning to be held in aid of the Windmill School Hydrotherapy Pool. Talk by Maureen Armstrong on  ‘Sugarcraft’.

December – agreed raffle proceeds to go to Polish appeal of the Sue Ryder Foundation. Entertainment provided by 8 members of the ‘Kosy’ or ‘Ear of Corn’, Polish dancers dressed in National costumes.

Bridget Bromilow receiving cup for Seasonal Surprise competition from Jean Hearne at East of England show July 1991

Bridget Bromilow receiving cup for Seasonal Surprise competition from Jean Hearne at East of England show July 1991


February – number of Teddies collected for the Romanian Appeal. Information given of a ‘Wine, Cheese and Pate’ Party by Village Hall Committee and funds raised would be used to provide a wheelchair ramp. Talk by Mr Disbrey on ‘Tea, Tea-cups and Tea-pots’, bringing many examples. Also spoke about Harston as his grandmother had been born in Hurrell’s Row.

March – talk by Rosemary Wheeler on ‘History of Headwear’, informing members the word ‘hat’ had only become part of our vocabulary during the reign of Elizabeth 1.

April – A.G.M. members asked to sponsor Joyce Wilkinson walking 10 miles for Oxfam’s work in Ethiopia, and the Chambers taking part in the London Marathon for Romania’s Innoceni Orphanage ‘adopted’ by Dr Brierley. New President Denise Phillips. Motto ‘Find Fun and Friendship with the W.I.’.

May – moments silence for Audrey Northrop, long time member, who had died aged 93. Agreed to donate £25 to the village hall towards the ramp. Elaine Nurse V.C.O. Went through the guidelines that had been issued on food when selling to the public and the common sense precautions to be taken. Some members showed photographs of their W.I. holiday in Austria.

June – agreed to stop nearly new sales as money raised had been poor. Talk by 4 members of the Body Shop on ‘History of Body Shop’, explaining it started in Brighton 15 years ago with social and environmental policies, supporting local and national charities and outlining skin care.

July – crematorium kneeler was now being made and money raised for the wool. Talk by Mrs Greensfield, Chief Community Dietician, on ‘Food, Fitness and Health’, encouraging people to control food intake and particularly reducing fat and eating bread.

August – Congratulations to Maureen Rowlands, Bridget Bromilow, Sheila Edwards and Jenny Howes who took part in The East of England Show, winning 1st prize and the Peterborough Show Cup, with their entry of ‘Summer’. Talk by Helen Winter on ‘Wood Green Shelter’ explaining care is given to all sick animals from stick insects to horses.

September – members to write against the proposed cuts to grants for adult education. Talk and slides by Rodney Tibbs on ‘Fresh Look at the Fens’ illustrating varied and unusual aspects of the Fen Landscape.

October – harvest supper entertainment by ‘Stage 2’, 2 young men who sang a range of popular songs. Construction of wheelchair ramp completed. Harston’s kneeler for the Chapel at the Crematorium completed.

November – silence in memory of Gladys Hartshorn. Talk by Ann Bulman on ‘Work as a Craft Judge’ giving hints on entering items in shows.

December – Peggy Heap spoke to members about the Emmaus Project, set up in Cambridge to help homeless people to help themselves by recycling work. Raffle money raised to go to the organisation. Entertainment by Chris Goodwin and Angela Chatterton who presented an adaptation by Colin Lawrence of ‘A Christmas Carol’, covering all the characters between them.


February – £36.50 raised for Emmaus. Knit-in raised £251.30 for Arthritis and blanket made to go to the Windmill School. Talk by Mrs Isobel Darl on ‘Trip up the Nile’.

March – birthday night, talk by Mrs Cropley on ‘History of the Kimono’.

April – A.G.M. Motto ‘Welcoming Interests with the W.I.’. Cakes for May Day at the school needed. Roy Pitman showed 3 Audio-visual presentations, Floriade Serenade, Kentwell Hall and Orchid Aura.

May – demonstration by Sheila Edwards of flower arranging.

June – Harston Church fete at the Manor to be opened by Betty Boothroyd, newly appointed Speaker of the House of Commons. Talk by Hilary Gurney on ‘Life as a V.A.T. Official’, explaining aspects of the Customs and Excise Service.

July – trip to Cambridge Botannical Garden organised. Peggy Heap and Denise Phillips attended the opening of Emmaus Project by Terry Waite and Dr Runcey and gave blankets for the residents of the project. Talk and demonstration by Gloria Arbry of Mercia Roses on ‘Silk Rose Making’, members having a go.

August – talk by Mr Howard Sherrif, Consultant in charge of A&E Unit in Addenbrookes, on ‘MAGPAS’, showing slides of equipment and accidents.

September – talk by Mr Bernard O’ Conner, on ‘Coprolite Mining’.

October – harvest supper, entertainment by ‘The Gilvan Singers’.

November – talk by Sharon Hearle, from the Cambridge Green Belt Project Office, on ‘Work of the Cambridgeshire Wildlife Trust’.

December – jumble sale organised by Village Hall raised £500 for Harston Sheltered Housing Scheme’. Talk by Mrs Sue Kretzman on  ‘Slim Cuisine’.


February – Coffee morning raised £105.55 for Cancer Research. Another coffee morning for Church Funds to be held. Talk and film by Mr John Carter ‘Work of the Arthritis and Rheumatism Council’.

March 73rd Birthday Night. Members asked to write to their local M.P. in connection with the privatisation of the railways. Talk by Rev. Phillip Spence ‘Art of Cartoon Drawing’.

April – A.G.M. Funds raised for Somalia at the Hunger Lunch held at Sandra Webb’s. Motto ‘Don’t let life pass you by, broaden your view with the W.I.’.

May – talk by Susan Stockley, National Chairman, on ‘Initiation into the W.I.’, explaining her mother had left India at the beginning of the war to return to Britain. With having servants there, she didn’t know how to run a home but W.I. came to the rescue to help, giving Susan her first taste of the W.I.

June – memories of Peggy Attwood who had recently died. Talk by Mr Francois de Merlton on ‘Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine’ which began in China 2000-3000 years ago and into Europe about 1700.

July – members asked to write to local M.P. and state their support for putting an amended definition of ‘provocation’ onto the Statute Book which could be used in a murder case to include sustained domestic violence as a recognised provocation for murder. Members asked to question water companies about water leakages and water conservation. Talk by P.C. Vic Smith on ‘Safety for Women on the Road’, showing videos of bad driving which causes accidents and gave hints how to cope with a breakdown on a motorway.

August – agreed to cater for ‘Rural Action for the Environment’ lunch. Talk by Mr David Cunningham on ‘The History of the St. John Ambulance’, from the times of the Knights Templar in Jerusalem, Cyprus, and Malta up to the present day.

September – Nora Sellen asked members to write to South Cambs D.C. about repairing pot holes in Button End. Talk by Elaine Rutherford  on ‘Improving aspects of our Gardens’.

October – harvest supper entertainment by ‘Cool Breeze’ playing popular tunes on Clarinets and recorders. Coffee morning at Margaret Hancock’s raised £54 for McMillan Nurses.

November – Fraser Watts asked if the W.I. choir would sing two carols on Dec. 19th at the Church. Talk and slides by Rodney Tibbs on ‘The Nile in Style’.

December – talk and demonstration by Mr and Mrs Waterhouse on ‘Making Christmas Crackers’.


February – talk by Mr Coleman ‘Fake and Real Antiques’. Blanket made from the knit-in going to geriatric ward at the Ida Darwin Hospital.

March – birthday night talk by Mr Whitmore on ‘Magic Circle’ explaining the history of magic and then did magic tricks.

April – A.G.M. Members enjoyed trip to Bury-St-Edmunds to see clothes in the television series ‘The House of Eliot’. President asked for a recruitment drive for new members. Motto ‘ Friendships forged, knowledge gained, Pleasures shared’. Talk by Roy Pitman showing an audio-visual on ‘Butterflies’. Donation given to Mr Pitman, who would give it to the ‘Liver Transplant Association’.

May – notice given of a Harston Tattoo in aid of the Gurka Regiment to which the British Government had ceased to pay pensions. Talk by Fran Saltmarsh on ‘Six into One Will Go’, showing how a dress can be altered by different sleeves, collars and decorations.

June – outing arranged to Ickworth House. Invitation received from the Grafton Centre to view the new computer being built. Appeal for drivers in the village to help with ‘Meals on Wheels’. Talk by Mr and Mrs McQuillan on ‘The Ramsey Raptor Rescue’.

July – talk by Mr Clifford Wrate, ex-Chief Inspector of C.I.D. on ‘Work at Scotland Yard’.

August – Margaret Hancock to host a coffee morning in aid of McMillan Nurses. Part of Cambridge cycle path opened in the village. Agreed to inform Parish Council that hedges and trees need trimming along the way. Talk and slides by Mrs Pat Weisinger on ‘Treasures of the Fitzwilliam’.

September – with reference to the new cycle path, Parish Council had written to all residents along the route about trimming trees and hedges. Talk by Karen Stageman on ‘Aromatherapy’ explaining their history, uses and benefits.

October – Macmillan coffee morning raised £155.35. Birthday Night entertainment from ‘Saffron Sound’.

November – talk and demonstration by Mrs Haylock on ‘Hand-made chocolates’.

December – talk and slides by Dr Morris on ‘History of Glass Beads and Spangles’.


February – W.I. thanked for their help at the Craft Fair, hosted by Village Hall, which raised £907 towards new curtains for the main hall. Organised dinner at ‘Greyhound’ Sawston March 22nd to Celebrate 75 years of Harston W.I. Choir asked to sing at a local wedding. Talk by Sandra Little on ‘Work of the Organisation UNICEF’.

March – 75th Birthday Night, reminder about dinner at the ‘Greyhound’. Talk by Mike Petty ‘Day in the Life of the Cambridge Collection’.

April – A.G.M. Members informed that both pavements either side of the High Street are now cycle paths. V.E. Day celebrations being organised. Talk by Val Ford and Richard Howells on ‘Dial-a-Dream’ helping terminally ill children to fulfil their dreams.

May – after business, members tasted various recipes made by members.

June – request for drivers for Meals on Wheels. Talk by Mr Howson on ‘Summer Colour in the Garden’, giving comprehensive advice on what to grow.

July – talk by Margaret Webber on ‘Confessions of a Dressmaker’.

August – arrangements at the Community Centre for V.E. Day August 15th. Talk by Stephen Saunders from ‘The Pink Geranium’ in Melbourne giving an account of his career from washing glasses to owning his own restaurant.

September – talk by Sara Garner appeals Director ‘Cambridge Veterinary School’, explaining the importance of the Vet School in the world.

October – harvest supper entertained by ‘Mary and Friends’ including Yvonne Nutcombe giving a selection of songs and musical items.

November – trial pack of a new low fat spread, ‘PACT’, sent for members to try and compare with other low fat spreads. Request for W.I. to help at the village hall Craft Fair in January. Talk and demonstration by the ‘Stapleford Hand-bell Ringers’.

December – members entertained by local personality, Ted Lindley, to sing and play his instruments, harmonium, accordion, zither, several guitars and singing folk songs. The Harston WI Choir sang carols followed by Christmas readings and poems.


February – knit-in raised £142 and agreed to send the squares to the Mazabuka Association for the Handicapped in Zambia. Talk and slides by Mrs Pamela Milne on ‘Pony Trekking in the Himalayas’.

March – 76th Birthday Night attended by 37 members, visitors and guests. Jenny Howes made and decorated the cake.. Notice given of a meeting in the village hall to discuss the spare piece of land behind the Telephone Exchange. Talk by Linda Scoles on ‘Life with my American Air Force Husband’.

April – A.G.M. with many thanks from president Joyce Wilkinson to the committee and members saying without them there wouldn’t be no Women’s Institute. Decided to have a different competition rather than a motto. Talk by Mr Peter Bromilow on ‘ Taking Things for Granted’, explaining making pottery and porcelain.

May – Following the serious business of resolution voting, light-hearted talk by Bridget Bromilow on  ‘Pitfalls of my American Holiday’. Marilyn was presented with a beautiful basket of flowers as a thank you from Members for typing the monthly programme cards.

June – talk by Mrs Rogers ‘Reflexology’.

July – talk by Anne Swallow ‘History of Candle-making’. Members enjoyed a punt trip along the backs followed by tea at The Orchard Tea Rooms in Granchester.

August – £1700 had been raised at the Harston Festival Weekend. Trip to Scotdale’s Garden Centre organised. Notice of Parish Meeting to discuss the official opening of the pavilion. Members enjoyed an ‘ice-cream social’ tasting many different flavours.

September – Pavilion to be open September 8th with a charity football match. Talk by Anne Fairbanks on ‘Safety awareness for Women’ covering all aspects of daily life. Members enjoyed a Music Hall evening by Gilt ad Gaslight in aid of village hall funds.

October – Agreed to buy a clock for the pavilion with money raised from the event. Members enjoyed a coffee morning at Margaret Hancock’s house in aid of Macmillan Cancer Care. Congratulations to Mrs Wright celebrating her Golden Wedding Anniversary and being a member for 46 years, and Mabel Austin member for 50 years. Harvest supper entertained by Rupert Dick on ‘Norfolk Broads’ and John Holmes on his guitar singing a mixture of old and new songs.

November – talk by Mr Philip Wraites on ‘Past, Present and Future of Wimpole Hall’.

December – Christmas lunch at the ‘Plough’, Shepreth. Money raised from ‘Bring and Buy’ to be given to the newly formed Harston Youth Group. Talk and demonstration by Mrs Anderson ‘Christmas Cooking’.


February – Harston School congratulated on their excellent OFSTED report. Talk by Mr Alan Brigham on  ’25 Years of being a Roadsweeper’.

March – Birthday night entertainment by a group ‘Affinity’ who played and sang folk , Gospel and songs from musicals.

April – A.G.M. New President Margaret Hancock. Talk and demonstration by Roy Pitman showing audio-visual presentations of fellow photographers, roses and Valetta in Malta.

May – Fran Saltmarsh, County Chairman, explained the various resolutions to be considered.

June – talk by Mrs Fisher on  ‘Finding Treasure Trove’ explaining how she, and her husband, had found a horde of old silver coins in a rabbit hole.

July – held in the hall instead of a garden due to inclement weather. Members warned of people trying to sell goods on doorsteps and shown a ‘blow-up’ of a genuine pedlars certificate.

August – reminder of coffee morning next month. Christmas lunch at ‘The Plough’ Shepreth. Talk by Dr Jeff Hales on ‘One Man on a Bike’, journey to Germany.

September – talk by Mr Bob Leman, President of the East Anglian Bee-keepers Association, on ‘Complex Lives of Bees’, describing their life cycle. He was a former railwayman and had worked at the Harston Crossing.

October – harvest supper entertainment by ‘Two Dimensions’, an audio-visual presentation of the countryside, flowers, water and butterflies accompanied by beautiful music.
November – talk with photographs by Geoff Evans and his wife Yvonne on ‘Conquering Munros’, explaining ‘munros’ are mountains over 3000 feet high.
December – talk by Joan Riley on ‘Hand-made Christmas Artefacts’.


February – Discussion on continuing singing ‘Jerusalem’ at the beginning of every meeting, census was ‘to continue’. Petition against the closure of Moorlands Old People’s Home can be signed in the Post Office. Talk by Mr Gerry Dodds on ‘What’s that smell in the kitchen?’ describing the history of his job in the catering business, including time at Grosvenor House, Park Lane and later becoming a college teacher.

March – birthday night. Talk by Mrs Linda Scholes on ‘When the Yanks came to Great Barton’, describing when she and her husband came to England and how the community took them to their heart.

April – A.G.M. Reports. Talk by Mr Bill Wittering ‘History of Books and Glass Making’ showing many examples of bottles, including one from Tudor times.

May – members won prizes at the Federation Show. Talk by Nigel Reis, B.B.C. Broadcaster.

June – notice of a meeting about traffic calming in the village. Talk by Veronica Bonnet, National Trust volunteer on  ‘National Trust Properties’ around East Anglia.

July – talk by Mrs Patty Harris ‘The Good Life’, describing the dangers of the present day methods of producing food, with continuous spraying of chemicals and genetically altered seeds,

August – talk and demonstration by Sheila Edwards ‘Fruit and Flowers’.

September – talk by Mr Joel Jaffey ‘Homeopathic Medicine’.

October – harvest supper coffee morning raised £205 for McMillan Nurses. Entertainment by ‘The Orwell Singers’.

November – talk by Mr Ogden ‘History of Gems’.

December – informal meeting with games, quizzes and food.


February – presentation of Birthday posies. Talk and demonstration by Mrs Anderson ‘Easy Puddings’.

March –  birthday Night. Talk by Mrs Dina Ridge ‘Hindu Customs and Culture’, her flight to Britain in 1969 from Uganda.

April – A.G.M. – Talk by Miss Jane Randall ‘History of Magog Trust’.

May –  Kosovo lunch in village hall raised £320. Fran Saltmarsh informed members of the various resolutions, discussions took place and ‘Ovarian Cancer Research’ was voted for.

June – talk and slides by Miss Middleton ‘Gardens in Britain’.

July – Meeting held in the garden of Doris Durham. After business various puddings made by members were tasted.

August – talk by Mrs Barker ‘History of Crufts Show’, describing Charles Cruft, his early life as a commercial traveller, selling dog biscuits, to the Crufts Show.

September – talk and slides by Mr Evans ‘Holiday in the Scottish Islands’.

October – harvest supper members reminded of the concert by ‘Simply Reeds’in aid of village hall funds. Entertainment by Ted Lindley with singing, playing his various instruments and jokes.

November – invitation from Thriplow W.I. to attend the planting of their millennium tree by Betty Boothroyd. Plea for members to join the committee. Talk by Mrs Anne Westland ‘Printing on Silk’.

December – coffee morning in January at the home of Maureen Bloss. Notice of Flower Festival over the Millennium weekend at Stapleford Church. Members then enjoyed a general knowledge quiz, singing Carols and Christmas nibbles.

This page was added on 29/04/2020.

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