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The WI Derbyshire Diary

PUBLISHED: 01:16 20 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:24 20 February 2013

Derbyshire WI’s Federation Trustees with the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire at her home in Edensor

Derbyshire WI’s Federation Trustees with the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire at her home in Edensor

Christine Gardner reports on events around the county

Annual Spring Council Meeting
The Mayor of Chesterfield, Councillor Keith Morgan, gave a civic welcome to over 800 members of the Derbyshire Federation of WIs at the Winding Wheel in Chesterfield at their annual Council Meeting and made the comment that he had never seen the hall so full. Following a short period of business Chairman Nancy Hawksworth invited guest speaker Joy Hales of Derbyshire Life to talk to members about the history of the magazine and the celebration of its 80th anniversary this year. Simon Wright, representing the National Trust, also gave a very interesting talk and presentation on Kinder Scout in the High Peak. Kinder Scout is to benefit from a major 2.5 million restoration over the next five years, starting in the spring of 2011, and vast areas of the bare and degraded blanket peat landscape will be restored.


The Mayor and Mayoress opened the afternoons events by presenting awards to local members, after which the main guest speaker, Stephen D Smith The Rumpole of Rotherham entertained members with humorous stories about his work as a criminal lawyer.


The Federation had put on an amazing display in the upstairs Ballroom with sales tables, information stands and a cake competition that attracted 69 entries. Wendy Woolley Chairman of Home Economics announced the winner: Pat Holland of Tissington WI who was presented with the Dorothy Hartley Trophy. Bursaries to the value of 220 to Denman College (the WIs home of cookery, craft and lifestyle courses) were won at a 1-a-go Denman Dip by Mrs Pat Fowler of Castleton WI and Mrs Janet Malin of Hilton & Marston WI.


Trustee Maggie Bristow spoke to members about the Craft Clubs she is organising to pass on the skill of knitting. Volunteers are to visit primary schools and teach pupils.


Derbyshire Federation Coming Alive and Wired for Sound! The Federation has recently received an Awards for All grant of 9,950 from the Lottery and has been able to transform its Derbyshire headquarters on Sherwin Street in Derby, with excellent audio and visual facilities.


The Federation will be able to record demonstrations and show them live on a large electronic screen. Future speakers now need only bring a memory stick or CD to give a presentation and with an excellent sound and loop system no one will have a problem listening to what is being said.


The new facilities will make it possible to hold lots of new events at HQ particularly those involving music. The Hall is available to hire for any occasion from a WI group meeting to a fund-raising or special event, but it is also available for members of the community to use, and with its excellent kitchen facilities makes an ideal venue for a birthday party or celebration.


The WI is at the heart of every community and using this latest technology can now reach out and include all members in the county.


For further information about the WI and its headquarters please contact County Secretary Denise Green on 01332 342596.


Coffee and chat with the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire Her Grace the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire recently invited the Federation Trustees to visit her at home for coffee and a chat. Her Grace has been a member of the WI since she was 14 years of age and first joined Astall & Swinbrook WI while her mother was the Treasurer of the Oxfordshire Federation.


At the age of 90 the Dowager Duchess is still a WI member and still having fun. She considers herself very fortunate compared to some of her contemporaries and very lucky that she can still walk up the garden carrying buckets of feed for her chickens. Deborah Devonshire is certainly a very inspiring woman and an example to us all. Her Grace very kindly donated a signed copy of her latest book Wait for Me for the Derbyshire Room at Denman College.

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