Forest Group, County & National Events


Forest Group - Spring Meeting - April 23rd St George's Hall, Bewdley

A packed St George's Hall listened intently to a fascinating and inspiring talk by Major Sandy Hennis. She is a reservist officer with the 37 Signal regiment and was one of a pioneering team of six women who last winter crossed the Antarctic on skis, using muscle power alone. It was a tough undertaking - two years ago 250 women applied and eventually a squad of 22 began a winter survival skills course which included time with the Norwegian Army. After rigorous training expeditions a final team of six was selected. The applicants had to leap into frozen lakes with skis and rucksacks, be suspended above crevasses, drag tyres behind them and take part in intensive training in the final months, including pyschological preparation. The Ice Maiden expedition was also an opportunity to collect ground breaking medical data for women, measuring the effects of extreme polar endurance on the female body, which will help in future research projects. Each individual's vital signs were constantly monitored and relayed to the UK. No team of women had attempted this feat before, they covered 1700 km in 60 days, pulling 80kg sledges. They were only resupplied twice so had to pull enough supplies for 600km, temperatures would drop to -40C, wind speeds would reach 60mph and sometimes there would be zero visibility. They ate 5,500 calories per day, stopping only for 5 minute intervals during the day to snack or use the she-wee and had hot meals for breakfast and supper. They had to cover 28km per day as the start was delayed by bad weather. Despite the isolation during the day (strong winds, being well wrapped up against the cold and walking in single file made it impossible to talk) every evening they would gather in one of the three tents to discuss the day and iron out any problems. The result was an incredibly strong, mutually supportive and well motivated team. At the end of Sandy's excellent and entertaining talk, accompanied by one of the medics who had been the dietician, there were many questions from the floor, all of us very impressed and stimulated by the adventure.

May 15th   Lucy Hingley Memorial Lecture
Worcestershire Royal Hospital

A group from Abberley WI attended the annual lecture which this year was given by Mr Stephen Lake, a consultant general surgeon from Worcestershire Royal Hospital. The subject of his talk was The Prevention and Early Detection of Colorectal Cancer. Despite the seriousness of the subject Mr Lake brought some humour into his talk, speaking in layman's terms which were easy for all to understand. 
He spoke briefly of the effect of lifestyle on the increasing incidence of colorectal cancers. The age for screening is to be reduced from 60 years to 55 years and in the future will involve more colposcopies. This will enable the detection and removal of pre-cancerous polyps and early cancers, therefore reducing the need for major surgery and also reducing mortality rates.
Screening is now available for young people who have a close family history of colorectal cancer and information about this is available from the Hereford and Worcester Bowel Cancer Screening Centre.

August 25th - Sounds Amazing- Avoncroft Museum

To celebrate the Centenary of WFWI the Performing Arts committee organised a fantastic musical night out at Avoncroft Museum.  All the different historical buildings became music venues for the evening, with a wide variety of performers to entertain everyone. A group from Abberley met up to share a table and lots of lovely food before walking around to take in all the different performances on offer. There was Rock Choir, a string quartet, folk groups, aging rockers, Kidderminster Valentines choir, a ukelele band, African drumming and among all the other treats one of our Abberley members performed in an ensemble to present ethereal Medieval songs.


September15th   Forest Group - WFWI Centenary
Rock Village Hall

A large contingent from Abberley attended this event and joined members from the other WIs in Forest Group to fill Rock Village Hall. Every WI had been asked to prepare a short entertainment based on the theme 'Water'.  We enjoyed an imaginatively rewritten version of "What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor" and a whimsical enactment of The Owl and The Pussycat. We were also entertained by some watery poems and readings. Our contribution from Abberley was a synchronised swimming display (on dry land!). The team involved had great fun preparing it and it seemed to go down very well with the audience too! After all the excitement we had a delicious tea, lovely savouries and sweets all contributed by attendees.