The NFWI will host its Annual Meeting at the Echo Arena in Liverpool on Wednesday 7 June 2017. Observer tickets will be available for sale to members from November 2016. Tickets are £20 each and should be purchased from local federation offices.




The Artrix, Bromsgrove




The Three Counties Showground, Malvern




We are part of Forest Group and will be meeting with other WI’s in the group on at least two occasions. Dates to be confirmed when arranged. The WI’s in the group are Abberley, Abberley Clockwatchers, Areley Kings, Astley, Bewdley, Callow Hill, Far Forest, Mitton and Rock.



One of our own members gave us a fascinating talk about the history and development of the Cashmere shawl. The story included the source of the original fibres coming from mountain goats and the unfortunate fate of some of the goats being shipped to England, so that their wool could be used here. We then heard about the story of the Paisley Pattern with its long history and its use continuing today. There were lots of examples to see and members were used as models to display the shawls as they would have been worn.

We had a very interesting talk from Pete and Julie telling us an illustrated story of their journey from their former life in Swindon, with an average sized garden to 2 acres of rural self sufficiency in Hillhampton. Tackling clearing the ground only to find more than forty large pieces of concrete that needed to be moved and doing far too much rotovating resulting in a nasty repetitive strain injury. We heard about the ups and downs of the introduction of animals including pigs, goats, hens and turkeys, and the development of their raised beds for vegetables. They shared their successes and their failures too and what they have learned along the way. An article from Swindon web tells their story

 Libby shared some clear ideas as to how we can improve the treatment of people living with dementia, through simple actions like showing patience and offering practical help. She movingly explained how personal experience drove her to become involved by giving talks and raising money for The Alzheimer's Society by selling toiletries. Using simple analogies she gave us an insight into what can happen when short term memory is lost, even though emotional memory remains unchanged. Dementia takes many forms and has varying degrees of severity, it does not mean that life can no longer be fulfilling. 'Dementia Friends' is an initiative by the Alzheimer's Society aiming to create  communities where people with dementia feel understood and supported and able to live well.  With our new awareness we hopefully all left the meeting with a raised awareness and ideas on how to champion a more dementia friendly world.



  Roger described his life as Sylvester the Jester from Leicester - from the early days busking around Europe with his guitar, life in a caravan in the West Country and the opportunities he has found since going into a jester's costume, parties, street entertainment and medieval banquets. We learnt about the role of a jester in court life long ago and the significance of the various parts of the costume, eg the pointed hat representing ass's ears. Roger also performed some songs, accompanying himself on the guitar and mandola and encouraged us all to join in the choruses.


Venue – Abberley Village Hall.  Hosted by Little Witley

WI Resolutions

A hall packed with members from Little Witley and Abberley WIs listened to explanations of the two resolutions to be debated at the National Annual Council Meeting - 'Alleviating Loneliness' and 'Plastic Soup'. Each member then voted for the resolution that they would like to see debated with a view to future campaigning.

Following that, Di Cope from Little Witley talked about her art studies and painting career, then gave a lighthearted demonstration of doodling in which we were all encouraged to participate.

There was a charming display of green hearts made by Abberley members to back the WI campaign to raise awareness of climate change. Go to www.thewi.org.uk/campaigns for more details and see our 'Activities and Outings' page for pictures of our contributions.

A busy evening was then rounded off with a most fantastic supper - masses of delicious sweet and savoury treats - Thankyou Little Witley!


Dr Trueman is a human rights practitioner and member of The Malvern Hills Group of Amnesty International. This group aims to raise local awareness about human rights.

Caroline Corsie, Worcestershire Wildlife Trust's Grasslands and Agriculture Officer, gave us a fascinating talk, full of facts and quite a lot of science. Her role is to manage the Trust's arable sites and to advise farmers on environmentally sensitive farming. This can mean providing nectar cafes for wild pollinators by planting species that will provide pollen and nectar all year round, leaving short cut grass to enable solitary bees to nest underground, spacing feeding stations to create corridors where pollinators can travel between sites. There are also ways to avoid run-off of fertilisers entering water courses in order to protect the environment. Many of the strategies can be adopted on a much smaller scale to improve our own gardens, creating habitats and planting appropriate species of native or cultivated plants to provide something in flower every month of the year.

We had a wonderful evening at Vivien's house, after a lot of rain before the day we were blessed with a dry evening and even caught a glimpse of the sun. Vivien's garden looked beautiful, not a weed in sight, a lawn worthy of Centre Court and many unusual plants. There was a fabulous array of food, savoury and sweet, very good company and the chatter did not stop all evening as everyone mingled, catching up with old friends and making new ones.


A talk about the Land Girls of World War Two by Robin Hill of the Worcestershire Museum service. This was a most informative talk about the lives of the girls who signed up to work on the land. Their story was cleverly told through the voices of three Land Girls played by three of our members who answered the questions that Robin asked them about their working conditions, their uniforms and relationships with the farming community. There were lots of interesting and surprising facts to come out of the talk and we all went away having learned a lot in an interesting way.


An insight into the life and work of Barbara Cartland and her family link with Tewkesbury and other areas in Worcestershire. Several members had been on a guided walk in Pershore the day before this meeting and were surprised to hear of Barbara Cartland having lived there too. For most of us all we knew of her life was that she always wore pink, wrote romantic fiction and was related to Diana. By the time John finished telling her story we all went away knowing a lot more about her life; the tragedies, marriages, fame and fortunes made and lost. A colourful character in many ways.

As Kate was unable to be with us, her colleague from The Earth Heritage Trust, Ella Young kindly stepped in to deliver a fascinating talk about tracking the sources of stone used to build many significant county buildings.  The beautiful hills and valleys of our county have a unique and complex history, evolving from disruption over many geological periods and this has led to a great variety of rocks which yield outstanding fossils and minerals and hence building stone. The Herefordshire and Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust is currently running 'A Thousand Years of Building With Stone' an important project looking at the use of natural stone. They are cataloguing quarries and buildings and among other information to be recorded are assessing the distances that stone has been transported.  A newly created database of more than 3000 buildings and quarries is now accessible at www.buildingstones.org.uk. The Trust is also promoting healthy living through some interesting walks around local towns highlighting the historic stone buildings. Ella brought a selection of leaflets and guidebooks for members to take home.


13th DECEMBER 2017

 Christmas Social Dinner

The Elms Hotel

There will be other events such as trips or activities added to the programme throughout the year. Please check our Abberley WI website for up to date information and any additions.  http://wi.abberley.co.uk