After starting with singing Jerusalem, standing orders were adopted and minutes approved. Trustees, who were sitting on the platform, were introduced by Sarah Buck (Secretary). Chairman, Pauline Goddard, then welcomed everyone and gave the annual report of the year. Much was about the Centenary celebrations, which had produced increased camaraderie she thought. She spoke about the handing over of the baton and its tour round the county; the garden party at Buckingham Palace, the AGM at the Albert Hall with Royal guests; a trip to Harrogate Craft Show; and the banners parade and service in Christ Church cathedral. All had given the WI good publicity. Only disappointing event was John Craven at Radley Hall where we had a poor turnout. By contrast, the Royal Ballet was oversubscribed. In the year ahead, OFWI will be running two literary lunches (27 July and 11 August) and a quiz night (23 May). Denman College is facing difficulties financially but still is okay. Special events will be run only for fundraising for Denman and there will be sponsorship sought as well as members being asked for donations. There is an OFWI challenge in May to knit Twiddlemuffs, for Dementia week in May. (Pattern has been sent around by Anne)
OFWI’s financial statement and accounts were presented by Julie Pearce. Income was down from committees, affected badly by loss made at one event (John Craven). Affiliation fees are same, total income is £13k down. Expenditure up . This meant a deficit of £5800 which could be abated from the Celebration Fund. Accounts approved. Auditors for next year – proposed – accepted
Then we had a draw of Memorial bursaries – and Brightwell won a 1 day bursary to Denman
A new competition to recruit members was announced – £50 prize for the WI with largest percent increase in members.
The first speaker was on Sourdough Bread making at Sandford bakery. Though the subject was interesting the presentation unfortunately was poor and rather boring. However, the bread is delicious and worth a trip to Sandford to get it.
By contrast, Janice Langley – NFWI chairman – gave a very good presentation, covering her history of WI membership and then her time as Chairman, especially in the Centenary Year. It included the Inspiring conferences, WI Cookbook, and some amusing incidents with the Royals and palace protocols. She ended by pointing out to members that in the future, WIs will have to embrace technology more and also be aware of how women manage time.
After lunch, there was the Presentation of Awards, Denman Dip and appeal for WIs to use Denman more to keep the idea going – join the Denman / OFWI weekend in December, take a Denman taster day or come to special Denman fundraising event at Halloween on Monday 30 October.
The second speaker was Richard O. Smith, author of ‘Town and Clown’ and comedy sketch writer. He gave a rather irreverent and amusing talk about Oxford and its customs.