Our 83rd Birthday Meeting was held on March 14th 2019 in the school hall at North Waltham. The hall was full of members and guests, including members from another WI and some from the Hampshire Federation of WIs. Sadly we were missing two stalwart, long term members, Margaret Harris, who died last Christmas, and Sheila Baker, who died more recently. Our sincere sympathies go to their husbands, Martin and Derek, and to their families. It was good to see Jackie Osmond back on her feet and sharing what turned out to be a very glamorous evening.
NWWI members provide plates filled with delicious food for our buffet, and we know that everybody attending appreciates our birthday parties. After the buffet, we were treated to a talk by Simon Meanwell-Ralph on the topic of ‘Marvellous Millinery’. Simon is a milliner (ladies’ hats) and hat maker (men’s hats), and he works at his studio in Winchester. He offers a friendly, professional service for designing and making bespoke hats and fascinators for that special occasion, normally making hats for mothers of brides or mothers of bridegrooms, wedding guests, hats for races such as Ascot, Goodwood, or hats for ladies attending Buckingham Palace garden party guests, or Investitures. Simon gave us the history of hats and hat making and explained the different types of hats for men and women and the different beautiful fabrics and decorations he uses. He was wearing a wonderful trilby hat and matching waistcoat that he had designed and made. Simon has a degree in Jewellery Making and uses a lot of these skills and jewels in his work as a milliner.
Simon had brought two huge cardboard boxes. He peered into one of the boxes and revealed the first of his fabulous creations. Then he walked calmly up to place the delightful hat on the lucky recipient’s head. That was just the beginning of a wondrous session of Simon presenting glorious hats for at least half of the ladies present to model. We soon realised that he was skilfully selecting ladies who were wearing tops or dresses that were the exact colours of his hats or fascinators. The last lady to be chosen to model a hat was Carolyn, and she had the top-to-toe treatment when he wrapped a matching silk stole around her shoulders, placed a beautiful necklace he had made around her neck and gave her a fantastic handbag he had also designed and made to complete the outfit. It was a dream evening, and we would all like to have a hat made by Simon. Sadly he wanted everything back, and we had to return to reality. Simon’s advert states, “Each design is a work of art…” and I am sure all present at the meeting would agree with that. His website is: www.marvellousmillinery.co.uk
April 11th 2019 – Our speaker at this meeting will be someone from St. Michael’s Hospice in Basingstoke – our local hospice that cares for patients with life-limiting illnesses.
May 9th 2019 – AGM and Resolutions, plus a social evening.
Why not come along as a guest, a potential new member, or as someone interested in listening to a particular speaker? We are a cheerful group of ladies, and we do have fun! If anyone would like to come along or would like more details, please contact Carolyn Brown