Dear Pat and Sandon WI friends,


Thank you all for your congratulations on our 85th, also for the package of really lovely gifts which arrived on the 1st, all warmly received by our members.  The new Essex badge was pinned on the banner, together with the first one and the WI Centenary medallion, your gift to us quite a number of years ago, between the two. The commemorative tea towel copied from the Centenary tapestry raised much interest, also the Centenary Celebration magazine, we really are spoilt with these significant gifts.  


The beautiful 85th birthday card is a treasure, your greetings are much appreciated by all our members. I’ll be displaying these gifts for some time so that no-one misses out on seeing all the detail.


Unfortunately on Wednesday the temperature was frigid so warm clothing was the only option, but the Hall was cosy for the many guests who arrived.   


Our Federation President, Helen Dunlop, was welcomed, also late member Betty Goston’s three daughters came especially to present her Good Service and Gold Honours badges to Milson.  These will also be placed on the banner.


We are sharing sad times with Sandon at present, in the passing of members Frances Elliott, Joan Southey and our president Bev Williams.    Bev’s two daughters were in different countries overseas, when she died suddenly,  so her service was delayed until their return.    The extent of her busy life was partially revealed by the great number of people who attended, also by the many WI members who came.  We send our sympathy in your loss of Frances and Joan, as we receive yours.


Sylvia Claridge our treasurer, who was also V.president, made a seamless transition, with short notice;  I’m sure Bev would have been very pleased with the 85th, and how everything went very well just as she had planned. There was a little confusion earlier on as Bev had been responsible for the cake, and it’s decorating, and its whereabouts at the time were unknown.  But there it was on the day, all was well.  Our most elderly member present, young-at-heart 94 year old Vera Lee, cut the cake for us, complete with a few happy, optimistic words.


Before she stepped down as Federation President, Bev and her committee made a big decision, to discontinue Institute involvement with the annual A&P Show due to our ageing membership, and fewer women able to manage the rather heavy work required, four days with long hours.   Several years ago the Show was moved to Feilding which added to the pressure with the additional mileage involved.   Instead, we’ll have competitions on a reduced scale at our half-yearly meeting, for the same trophies.  In the light of what has happened since the issue was resolved, it really is a great relief to all.


We send our good wishes for your meeting this week,  a little different from other years.


Thank you again for your kind thoughts, and gifts,  on behalf of all your Milson WI friends,