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WI - January Meeting

Our first meeting of the New Year was at the Rathbone Pavilion on 12th January 2017. Paula Vallance, the Operations and Development Manager for the Basingstoke Trussell Trust Foodbank, gave us a comprehensive talk on the charity and its important work. The Trussell Trust supports communities and churches to open foodbanks across the UK. The Trust has a network of 428 foodbanks across the UK providing emergency food for local people in crisis. According to the Trust’s website, thirteen million people live below the poverty line in the UK, with individuals going hungry every day for a range of reasons. Their circumstances may suddenly change from things like redundancy, benefit delays or receiving an unexpected bill on a low income. It is sobering to realise that many people are only two pay cheques away from crisis. It can happen to anyone.

In Basingstoke the charity is run by Churches supporting the whole community and the Foodbank is at Sarum Hill Trinity Methodist Church. Our own Dave Foster and Colleen Gould are heavily involved in raising money for and helping at the Basingstoke Foodbank. Some of you may have attended Colleen’s now famous yearly Pancake Day fundraiser enjoying lots of delicious pancakes for a donation to the charity. Donations to the Foodbank of packaged and tinned food can be left at the back of St. Michael’s Church, North Waltham for collection by Colleen. Companies such as Marks and Spencer regularly donate excess food to the Foodbank and the helpers have to weigh everything that comes in and sort it all out. Colleen says it is hard work but very rewarding and of course the people that arrive there with their vouchers for three days-worth of meals are very grateful for this vital support.

We thanked Paula for her informative talk and we were all impressed and full of admiration for the work carried out by her and her many dedicated volunteers that work so hard to support the charity. To find out more about The Trussell Trust visit www.trusselltrust.org.

For our February meeting, Salina Mills demonstrated vegetable and fruit carving. Salina is originally from Thailand where they are taught carving from about the age of 10 years. Salina has been doing carving in the UK for the past few years following a comment from her mother-in-law suggesting she turn it into a business. As well as talking at WI meetings, Salina also produces carvings for special events, such as weddings. The knives required for carving are very sharp – I’ve never seen a knife cut a fine sliver of swede with minimum effort. Salina still buys her knives from Thailand, more specifically, from her teacher so she can ask their advice when needed. Salina then demonstrated the carving for us – carrots and a cucumber were turned into flowers, swede was transformed into a rose and a butterfly and a banana into a dolphin. Prior to the meeting, Salina had carved an owl from a watermelon, which took her about 30 minutes – it was absolutely stunning. She very kindly said we could keep this so we used it as a raffle prize which was won by Carol – I wonder how long it lasted. We were totally mesmerised by the carving and, at times, you could even hear a pin drop we were so quiet, a very unusual event indeed!!

Next meetings

Thursday 9th March 2017 – Our 81st Birthday Party. Clive Howes, stage name Billy Clayton, will entertain us with music from the 60s and 70s – please note the venue for this evening is Dummer Village Hall. No doubt there will be lots of singing and maybe some dancing! If you’re not a member of the WI but you would like to come along please can you let Carolyn know so that we have enough food for everyone!

Thursday 13th April 2015 – unfortunately our planned speaker has had to cancel. So we are having an “ad hoc” meeting. A few of us have been going through the WI photos and archive material and now this is sorted out, we thought it would be interesting for everyone to have a look and see how things have changed, or not, over time. And if anyone has anything they would like to share with us, a recent trip, a poem, etc, then please do bring it along.

Why not come along as a guest, a potential new member, or as someone who is interested in listening to a particular speaker? You will always get a cheery welcome from this fun-loving group! If anyone would like to come along or would like more details please contact Carolyn Brown.carolynbrown50@googlemail.com


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