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Shiplake WI

Shiplake Womens Institute has around 60 members. We meet at 2.30 pm on the third Wednesday of every month (except August) usually at the Memorial Hall in Memorial Avenue.  The afternoon's programme includes a talk by an invited speaker and a splendid tea prepared by members.  Interesting trips and visits are also arranged throughout the year.

Contact: Audrey Simpson 01491 410256

Shiplake WI September Meeting


President, Joan Jolley, welcomed members back after the summer break, and we were pleasantly surprised with a glass of champagne.  Our illustrious Outings Secretary, Sue Lines, was celebrating her Ruby Wedding Anniversary and together with her husband Michael, very thoughtfully included us in their celebrations.

We also raised our glasses to Barbara Ingleby-Williams, who will be a magnificent ninety soon.

Joan went through the business, which after two months was quite a lot.  She was pleased to say that we now had a very good selection of items going into OFWI’s Centenary Art & Craft Exhibition on the 21st.  Items, on show for us, included paintings, pottery, embroidery, quilting, crocheting and knitting.

There were lots of new events planned in  News & Views.  I thought the Chairman’s letter was of particular interest.  Jane outlined how OFWI are beginning to plan how to go forward into the future of electronic communications available via our computers and smart phones, whilst also keeping the more traditional methods for us technophobes!

Our speaker this month was Marcelle Siddall.  Marcelle, a South African lady, runs the small, UK-based charity Action for Ingwavuma, which

 “supports the rural community Ingwavuma, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa.  The people of

   Ingwavuma live extremely hard lives, struggling against the impact of HIV-AIDS,

   desperate poverty and severe water crisis.”

Marcelle was accompanied by her charity colleagues Carol and Rosie, all very dedicated, driven women, trying to alleviate some of the hardships borne by the women of the region.

The charity has worked in the community for fifteen years and funds their projects with a self-help women’s group called Fancy Stitch, an income generating initiative. Beginning with just 27 members it is now over 400 strong, and the women make and sell beautifully beaded and embroidered articles for sale here.  All money raised goes directly to the people of Ingwavuma, and together with support from large organisations, e.g. Comic Relief, Thames Water and Diageo, it funds many water projects, food supplements, schools and community gardens.

Members were very impressed with the work of the charity, and if you want to learn more about Action for Ingwavuma, visit their website.

A lovely tea was hosted by Jackie Bryant and Judy Rolstone.

The competition “Something from Africa” was very well subscribed to, obviously lots of our members have connections to the continent.  It was won by Mavis Crouch with an exquisitely carved wooden boat.

The ACWW Flower of the Month was won by Pauline Watkins with a wonderfully large begonia.

Article created / last edited: 24 September 2019

WI Summer Party


The ladies were welcomed to the July Summer Party meeting with a glass of Elderflower fizz. Two members had been to the HOT WI Centenary tea party, where they had heard an excellent talk about tea. As it was our summer party, Joan Jolley kept the business to a minimum – she encouraged members to apply for bursaries at Denman and told the meeting about the Didcot Arts and Crafts exhibition and the Beechwood Group meeting in October.

Interesting articles in News & Views were pointed out, especially the talk by Stella Rimington and the message from our County Chairman. The mention of Walking Netball raised some interest as there is a new Walking Netball Group started in Shiplake.

Sue Lines confirmed details about the visits to Sonning Mill Theatre and Sandhurst and further information was given about the trips to Aston Pottery and Blakes Lock. There was a discussion about the date for a visit to Winchester Christmas Market, which was going to clash with a County event.

At the front of the hall were tables laid out with many baskets full of flowers and lengths of raffia. After some simple explanations all the ladies then helped to make dozens of small posies and buttonholes. These were to be taken to Shiplake Corner Shop the following morning to be given away to shoppers, dog-walkers, commuters and workers – in fact anyone who passed! The committee came up with this wonderful idea to help celebrate the Centenary of the WI, to spread some smiles around the local community and to promote the friendship within the WI.

After the posy making, a lovely party tea was enjoyed by members and guests

The next meeting will be in September and will be a talk by Marcelle Siddall about Ingwavuma – a women’s self-help group in south Africa. More details about Shiplake WI are on the Shiplake Village website and visitors are always welcome.

The posies were handed out by the corner shop the day after the party.

Article created / last edited: 24 July 2019

National Federation of Women's Institutes

Shiplake Women's Institute is part of the National Federation of Women's Institutes which is the largest voluntary organisation for women in the UK. The National federation has approximately 230,000 members in around 7,000 WIs throughout the British Isles with broad aims to educate women and to enable them to provide an effective role in the community, to expand their horizons and to develop and pass on important skills. 

Article created / last edited: 4 January 2014