We had a  very informative talk from Corinne Brazier on the First Women in the Police Force in 1917. They were first employed as lock up matrons, who looked after female prisoners. It wasn’t until later that they actually became police officers. 

A very interesting talk by Nick Wilkes, The Malvern Bard, about Life in the Theatre. He had certainly come a long way from a young farming lad to know to write and produce his own plays, but as he pointed out "it was very hard"

As an actor he has worked extensively in the theatre over the past two decades, both in the UK and overseas, working in classical and contemporary drama, musical, pantomime and weekly rep alongside names as diverse as Charlton Heston and Simon Callow through to Keith Harris and Orville the Duck. 

Our Annual Christmas Diner at The Limes on the 14th December, which was well attended.

As always, many thanks to Anne for organising it all.

Our Christmas celebrations with poems, mulled wine, sparkling soft drinks, cakes,  coffee/tea and a little chocolate goodie bag made by June Sherbon

Carols were sung and most of the committee took part in a Cinderella sketch with some hilarious results.

Christmas tree decorated (by Chris Cross) at the Wythall village Hall by Wythall WI

Anne giving out tickets for the raffle

Members and visitors enjoying coffee and cake

Hazel watching over the craft table.  Cards made by Josie, jewellery by Josie's daughter

Our speaker for November 2nd was Robert Booth on The Sweet Life in Bourneville - the Cadbury and Bournville story from 1878. 

Robert came at very short notice.  Members really enjoyed his talk and for some the talk went down memory lane.

At our last Craft & Natter meeting on the 19th October Carol Ravenscroft made this lovely door hanging.  

Yesterday 05/10/2023 we had our birthday lunch, which started with a fizzy alcoholic or non alcoholic toast..  As always, plenty of food, prepared by all members. and laid out with help from a lot of volunteers.  We also had a Bingo session with prices for 1 line and a full house.

SEPTEMBER MEETING: Josie introduced Chris Stroud, who gave a very interesting talk on “The art of the Beekeeper”. He brought a glass observation box containing bees and the queen. We were able to see them working. He also brought a selection of greenery that bees love. He went through the life cycle, which again was very interesting but quite lengthy. Photos were passed around. Hides not only produce honey but also wax and propolis. An invasive vicious Asian Hornet may become an enemy to our bees.

Our 6th July 2023 meeting:

Nick Martin, who lives locally in Knowle, was introduced and

gave a talk about his top choice of wildlife. 

His favourites are too many to mention here, over 30 in all and covered birds, water fowl, animals, plants, flowers, sea birds, etc. 

Members were very attentive and enjoyed his talk very much. We could have listened to him for hours and his slides were excellent

On 11th May we had our AM meeting with a Coronation theme.  As always, the food was plentiful. Two members stood down from the committee and two new members were voted in.

Dawn Fox of the Solihull Sole Sanctuary gave a very interesting talk and demonstration on Reflexology, Reiki and other treatments, using members as “Guinea pigs”. She informed us how it can help with stress, migraines, aches and pains and stimulates the circulation, etc.

Members were very interested and asked lots of questions.

Lesley & Alison took Marga & Jane on a tour of Norwich and the Norfolk Broads.  We had coffee in Norwich cathedral and later enjoyed a fresh crab sandwich in one of the lovely villages close to where they live.

Alison  & Lesley in front of their beautiful, spacious bungalows.

Lynne Fear with her dog called Murphy who is 7 months old and now in training was introduced to members. John Fairley who is a “Sighted Guide”, came as her supporter. Murphy was born in a helper’s home and remains there with their mother for 6 weeks. They are then checked by a vet, have injections, etc. before going to their trainer and at 13 months old they go to “big school” for final training as a guide dog. She takes Murphy with her everywhere. Murphy is her second puppy and her first puppy was named Mojo. All dogs have a yearly health check and work mainly for 3 hours per day. There are 4,600 guide dogs in the Country and become companions as well as being a “set of eyes”. When they retire they are rehomed and are never put to sleep. John Fairley gave a short talk on being a fund raiser as well as being a sighted guide. At the present time he helps a person to attend a gym and train on the apparatus

The committee organised a Devon & Cornwall cream tea with scones, cream & jam.  Audrey put together a quiz about Devon & Cornwall.

Bill Bannister gave a very informative talk on “The rise and fall of the Severn Valley Railway”.  The talk began with the year 1846 and covered the intervening years until it was formally up and running on the 23rd May 1970, when the first public passenger train ran on a very short route. The history covered during this period was very detailed and too long to be written here. After raising money to buy the remaining tracks, on the 30th July 1984 the first public train went from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth. A new bridge had to be built over the track. The infrastructure now has a Loco Works for repairs and rebuilding engines, a Museum and a Traction Motor depot. During the 1990’s SVR grew at a steady rate with several money raising events, share issue and funding still required. The SVR is still recovering from the Covid lockdown. 

On December 8th we had our annual Christmas Lunch at The Limes, organised as usually by Anne.

The meal was well attended again and the food was excellent.The food was excellent 

Our Christams meeting was well attended by 40 members and 2 visitors.

Rosemary read a poem by Betty Davis entitled Christmas Presents (or the moment of truth). We then had a sing-along of Christmas themed songs accompanied again by Alan. 

Anne Laugharne then read a poem followed by a short quiz. The answers had to be shouted out and the first person to give the correct answer received a chocolate.

Members then went to the other meeting room to collect a festive cake/mince pie and tea or coffee. During this time Alan played background Christmassy music.

There were 14 raffle prizes, all Christmas themed.

All members then sang carols, accompanied again by Alan. This was a lovely end to our Christmas meeting.

We had our Christmas Fayre on the 24th November.  The Fayre was well attended.  Ticket price included a coffee and a mince pie.

There was a large amount of books, lots of jigsaws and puzzles, hats & scarves, pottery, a tombola, 2 craft tables, jewellery table,  cake table and a magnificent hamper by Jane.

The Hall was decorated with bunting and our Christmas tree with home made decorations.

Meeting 3rd November

Photos by Sue Russell

Notes by Rosemary

John Ullah then gave us a very interesting and amusing talk on “Laurel and Hardy and their Birmingham Connections”. Stan Laurel was born in Birmingham and appears on the 1891 Census.  He also included other producers, actors, etc. naming Charlie Chaplin who born in Black Patch Park, Smethwick. Other notable names were Dennis King and Charlie Hall. Laurel and Hardy had a first tour of Great Britain in 1947 followed by tours in 1952, 1953 and 1954. Their last performance was at the Aston Hippodrome as Oliver became ill.

On the 9th June we held our Queen's Jubilee afternoon tea.  The committee prepared all the food.  Cream for the enormous scones was put in little pots, jam was purchased in little pots.  We sang the National Anthem and toasted the Queen with Prosecco (and soft drinks), accompanied by Alan Smith on the piano.  Alan had song sheets prepared and we all sung along to songs from the 50's era.

More items for Silent Auction

Josie modelling a shawl to be auctioned

Pat modelling a dressing gown to be auctioned

A Silent Auction was held on the 12th May.  The auction was well attended and £104 was raised.

Rosemary celebrated her 80th birthday and was presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers at the Committee meeting.

We had a very enjoyable Scottish afternoon with Scottish cakes and a lot of dancing.  Jane & Josie made the sashes for the committee, whilst quite a few members wore headgear and tartan.  Audrey lead a quiz about all things Scottish with quite a few difficult questions.

Betty spoke at our meeting on the 6th January 2022 about her time at Bletchley Park and later at the Pentagon.

Charlotte Elizabeth Webb worked as a code breaker at Bletchley Park during World War II at the age of 18. Starting in 1941 she joined the British Auxiliary Territorial Service. She said, of joining the top-secret mission at Bletchley, "I wanted to do something more for the war effort than bake sausage rolls."  

Jane, our Outings & Craft member made 360 Face Masks for our WI.  The proceeds of the Face Masks covered the costs for the coach trip to Salwarpe, including a gratuity to the driver and also the gratuity for our Christmas Meal at The Limes.

On the 20th December we had our Christmas Meal at The Limes.  The food was great and the atmosphere fantastic.

A Door Hanging and Table Decoration Workshop was held on the 9th December, organised by Jane and Rosemary.  20 members attended.

Our Birthday Night was well attended with food provided by members.  As always there was plenty!  The evening started with a glass of wine served by the committee, who later also served the coffee and tea as a treat.  Don't get used to it!

Photos by Jennifer, Josie's daughter

We had our 1st face to face meeting on the 5th August.  It was lovely to see each other again.  The committee served tea/coffee and cake and a great time was had by all