Shorwell Women’s Institute

2020, if nothing else, has taught us to expect the unexpected, make the most of what we can do and realise that there is no point trying to forward plan too far.
October 2020 saw Shorwell WI reach it’s 72nd birthday. Our original plans included a meal out, a monthly meeting where we would sing Jerusalem and enjoy a piece of birthday cake and glass of fizz and hear a real speaker. Not to be thwarted we managed a Covid secure meeting using Zoom; we heard from Peta Allingham, a very enthusiastic mainland speaker, who regaled us with her ‘Travels in a Quirky Car’ a Citroen 2CV. Our talented member Hilary played Jerusalem and Happy Birthday on her flugel and all our members had a small (pre-wrapped) cake delivered later in the month.
Those of you following the WI may know that our next meeting Monday 9th November 7.30pm would have been our annual meeting. With the agreement of all the IOW WIs, our Federation has delayed the annual meeting by 6 months, and it will now be held during quarter 2 of 2021. Thanks go to the members of Shorwell WI’s existing committee who have very kindly agreed to extend their tenure.
Our November meeting will now be a join in craft session. With the aid of a rostrum camera within the Zoom session, members will be able to follow the folding instructions to make Christmas ornaments and a card by folding paper (origami). Prior to the session members taking part will have a pack delivered containing all the necessary materials.
We are a very friendly group and visitors are most welcome, there is no charge for your first three visits. If you would like more information about joining our Zoom meetings or learning more about our WI please feel free to call Debbie on 741384.

Our Year to Date

Can you believe that as you read this we are already looking towards the middle of the year? At the point of writing we have just had our March meeting in Shorwell and were thrilled to have Sarah Evans as our speaker. Sarah grew up in Brighstone. She now lives on the mainland, but during a family visit was able to come and give us a fabulous insight into her and her family’s experience of living on the Falkland Isles for a year. We were pleased to welcome a number of guests to our meeting, some from other local WI’s and some who had come along just to hear Sarah’s story. Sarah bases her stories around a very large picture of a Gentoo Penguin which she has created in mixed media.

In February we were humbled to hear from two speakers. Lauren Fry, from Young Carers gave an update on how our 2019 fundraising money had been spent and Kathryn Grimes provided an insight into our 2020 chosen charity The Wight Brainy Bunch.  Sadly both charities exist due to a local IOW need. It was great to hear about the work they do and how successful both charities have been and continue to be.

Also in February we held our annual fundraising event, this year instead of Soup we opted to provide a Ploughman’s and Pudding lunch, mainly to ease the strain in the hall kitchen. Despite the awful weather conditions, 42 visitors turned up and were very complimentary about our choice of Ploughman’s; many said how generous we had been providing the lunch for £6. Once again, a big Thank You must go out to all our members, visiting WI members and visitors who supported us. The £100 raffle takings will be donated to The Wight Brainy Bunch.

As with all WI’s the January meeting is always a busy one; annual subs to collect, events to organise and post festivity news to catch up on, and of course the usual WI business to be dealt with. We decided that an informal game of skittles would help the evening flow. We hired the skittle alley from Shorwell Sports & Social Club and commandeered the help of a local to keep us in line and a great evening of fun was had by all. Our star of the night, who hardly missed a skittle, was Pat Ridett.

It’s fair to say we are not as busy as some WI’s in between our monthly meetings, but we do thoroughly enjoy our evenings together and are looking forward to the next three months of an Easter themed meeting, a ‘street party style’ celebration of VE Day and a visit from a Horologist. We also shouldn’t forget that we’ll be making the items for sale and running the Produce & Preserves stall at the Shorwell Midsummer Fair.

April Meeting

At our March meeting Sarah Evans gave us a great insight into her and her family’s experience of living on the Falkland Isles for a year. We were thrilled to welcome a number of guests to our meeting, some from other local WI’s and some who had come along just to hear Sarah’s story. 

Our April meeting, due to take place the second Monday of the month, falls on Easter Monday; we have therefore brought it forward to Monday 6th April and, due to hall availability, it will be an afternoon meeting starting at 2pm. We will be enjoying the delights of Easter with Chocolate, Simnel Cake and Hot Cross Buns, plus decorating and parading Easter Bonnets. The usual bloom of the month and raffle will also take place.

Outside of the monthly meeting our members have started to make jams and chutneys for the Midsummer Fair and continue to meet for the fortnightly ‘Not Just Knitting’ group. A few members are meeting regularly to attend the theatre and other trips to the IOW Archives and Foodbank are being planned.

We are a very friendly group and Visitors are most welcome, there is no charge for your first three visits. If you would like more information about our programme please feel free to call Debbie on 741384.

Shorwell WI meets in the Parish Hall, Russell Road, Shorwell PO30 3JT.

Monthly Report ~ January 2020

22 members, including new members Sarah and Lesley, plus guest Val, were welcomed to the first meeting of 2020. Antonia celebrates her birthday this month.
Final arrangements were made for the New Year lunch at the Fighting Cocks, Arreton, on Thursday. Menu choices were taken, to avoid long delays on the day.
Helpers will be needed for our Ploughman’s and Pud event on February 18th, both to make puddings and to help in the hall. This is usually a very popular event and a good supply of puddings will be needed. Items for the ploughman’s lunch will be catered for by the organising committee.
Subscriptions are due this month, and members were also reminded that next month voting slips for the 2020 Resolution selection will need to be returned. Antonia gave details of the next visit to the Apollo Theatre in February. Debbie then read a very amusing poem on the aftermath of Christmas.
The hall Skittles Alley had already been set up, and after the business meeting, everyone enjoyed a fun tournament, presided over by Keith Cram. The winning team was Team 1: Janet, Lesley S, Sue, Pat, Isabel and Gill. The individual prize went to Pat, and the prize for the lowest score went to Dilys. The scrapbooks were also out on show, and the Best Bloom was judged to be Isabel’s white hellebore.

70th Birthday Party

On 22 October 45 members and guests, including the current President and 9 Past Presidents joined together to celebrate 70 years of Shorwell WI. The party was held in Shorwell Parish Hall where we have met for all of the 70 years. We enjoyed lots of lovely food and drink kindly served by Brighstone WI and we were entertained by the Brass Monkeys; some of us even danced the evening to a close. As with most events, the party was a success down to so many people contributing and many hands making light work. Thanks to all involved whether it was collecting the glasses, making the bunting, creating the lovely food or looking after our guests, to name but a few activities; it all goes to show what a great spirit of friendship Shorwell WI has.


Our celebration cake was cut by our longest serving member Pat Ridett, who joined Shorwell WI in 1967 and our most recent member Di Royall, who joined this year.

Mid-summer Fair

What a brilliant event we took part in on 23rd June; the annual Shorwell Midsummer Fair. As usual Shorwell WI provided the goods and ran the Produce & Preserves stall and we excelled ourselves.

189 pots of Jams, Jellies, Marmalades, Chutnies, Gherkins and Pickled Eggs. Fresh garden produce of Rhubarb and Gooseberries and homemade sweets of Coconut Ice, many flavours of Fudge and Coffee Creams.

Despite the very hot weather people turned out in droves and were very generous in buying. Fortunately we had lots of members volunteering to work on the stall so everyone got a chance to enjoy the Fair too. We are delighted to say we beat our last year’s takings and were able to hand over a goodly sum to the Midsummer Fair Committee. All profits from the Midsummer Fair go to local organisations.

A big THANK YOU to everyone involved, whether you provided the ingredients or end product, volunteered in any way or were one of our many buyers. It all goes to show what a big part of our local community Shorwell WI is.

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June Meeting

Shorwell WI meets monthly on the second Monday at 7.30pm in the Parish Hall, Russell Road, Shorwell.

In June we meet on Monday 11th. Our speaker is Bob Longton, “Island Roads Were Different”. As a relative newcomer to the Island (4 ½ years), I think the roads are still different so I’m looking forward to hearing more. The competition in June is for members to submit a ‘Picture of Vintage Transport’ and we have our usual Bloom of the Month Competition and raffle.

We’ve been busily preparing our wares for the Produce and Preserves stall at the Midsummer Fair. We know how well you have supported our stall in the past as we rarely take anything home, which is fantastic for the Midsummer Fair coffers.

We’re also busy planning our annual outing, which this year will be to Farringford House, followed by a cream tea at the Pearl Centre. Later in August we have our members and guests Garden Party held in at the home of one of our members.

Does any of this peak your interest? Don’t forget we’re always happy to tell you more about our WI so don’t be shy if you’ve something to ask and as always, you are very welcome to come and visit us and see what we do. There’s no charge for your first 3 visits.

If you would like more information please feel free to call Debbie on 741384.

May Meeting

Shorwell WI meets monthly on the second Monday at 7.30pm in the Parish Hall, Russell Road, Shorwell.

Hospitalisation, unfortunately, meant a last minute and unexpected change of speaker in April. This did however mean that we were able to welcome Ruth Waller who spoke to us about the history of Yarmouth Pier and the project to restore it, with her talk entitiled ‘A Pier’s Tale’.

Despite the appalling weather many of us were delighted to take part in the Sheep of Shorwell, which saw hundreds of sheep in all shapes and sizes around the village; look out for their return next Easter.

May is our ‘resolutions meeting’ when we will be voting on whether to support the National Federation in the proposal to lobby government for better support for mental illness. Did you know that the WI has been instrumental in campaigning? One of the most well known campaigns, ‘Keep Britain Tidy’, came from a WI resolution in 1954.

In May we meet on Monday 14th at 7.30pm, our speaker is Suzanne Whitewood MBE. Suzanne’s talk “Fishfags to Coffee” includes tasters! As usual we will have our Bloom of the Month Competition and raffle.

You are very welcome to come and visit us and see what we do. There’s no charge for your first 3 visits, after that we’d be delighted for you to join us as a member, the cost is £30.75 (May or June) or £20.50 (July-Sept).

If you would like more information about what we do please feel free to call Debbie on 741384.

Sheep of Shorwell

Over Easter 356 sheep invaded Shorwell, around the village and in the church. Their presence raised £667 for the church toilet/kitchen fund!

Shorwell WI Wallhanging

In 2016 our WI was visited by Mark Earp, who explained the idea of a wall hanging to commemorate 100 years of the end of the Great War 1918 – 2018. A piece of sack material, the same as the sandbags used at the time, was provided; the brief was to represent our village using any media. After much research and head-scratching we decided to use our wall hanging to reflect those lost in the war who went from Shorwell village, together with the postcards that the men would have been sending home.

The Parish Hall was built as a memorial to those lost. It therefore features as the centrepiece surrounded by the names of the men. The postcards are our take on the type of correspondence that would have been received at the time.

We believe it will be hung, along with 99 other wallhangings, in Carisbrooke Castle Museum.

We hope you enjoy it and feel it reflects our village appropriately.