Ashley Welland Valley W.I.                                                       

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Hello and welcome to Ashley Welland Valley W.I. We meet on the first Wednesday in the month between February-December in the Ashley Village Hall at 7.30 pm.



Click here for a link to the fascinating and varied 2017 programme of talks and events. Click here for a link to the new 2018 Programme.


Visitors are welcome at our speaker events £4.00


President - Jacqueline Buckby   

Contact -   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The WI is affiliated to the Northamptonshire Federation of Women’s Institutes:
Tel. 01604 646055 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Visit the UK Women's Institute website at:


We were originally founded in 1926 and were called Ashley with Weston-by-Welland WI. The group closed in 1939 shortly after the outbreak of WW2. It re-formed in 1950 but again closed for a couple of years in the 1960's. Because of the 11 year break, our start date is now counted as from 1950.

In 2013 we changed our name to Ashley Welland Valley WI. so better describing the make-up of our group. We usually hold our monthly meetings in Ashley Village Hall but have members from many of the surrounding villages such as Cottingham, Middleton, Weston-by-Welland, East Carlton and Wilbarston.



News and Pictures from recent meetings, events and outings


Guided Walk In Uppingham


Jill Collinge


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 We have thoroughly enjoyed walking with Jill through Oakham and Stamford, so when we presented our group with the idea of a guided walk though Uppingham we ended up with almost 30 on the list.

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Once again, a place that we thought we knew so well, proved to have more alleyways and secrets than we knew about.

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The group was told about the early origins of Uppingham and of how it fought off village rivals such as Lyddington to become the second town of Rutland.


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We didn't leave anyone in the old workhouse but instead decided to walk on to our pre-arranged lunch in The Falcon Hotel.

There we really did feel underdressed in the beautiful panelled room overlooking the Market Square.

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Here we had the problem of the prawn - but

after much debate and soul searching, our intrepid walk organiser sorted that problem out.

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Yet again, a great way to spend a morning, walking though a beautiful town with a knowledgeable guide and lunch afterwards with friends.

Once again, thank you Jill.



October AGM

We had elections at our AGM. Congratulations to 
Jacqueline Buckby

our new President.

Thank you to her and the members who are serving on our new committee.

Our new and exciting programme for 2018 was shown to members. We shall upload it before Christmas for everyone else to take a look and see what they are missing!!


One of the Resolutions passed this year was to try and help Alleviate Loneliness in our Communities.

We have teamed up with Voluntary Action South Leicestershire who have identified a fairly large number of people who have no or very limited contact with others.

After our AGM and over the coming weeks, members will be creating Christmas Cards. The cards will have a generic seasonal greeting inside them and VASL will then receive them from us and put names and addresses on the cards.

As VASL said, to receive even one card at Christmas would be lovely for many people - to receive a handmade card would be even better.

Most of us enjoy family and friends at Christmas, we hope that our creative efforts will bring a small amount of comfort to those more isolated within our community.




County Lecture

Good Fat, Bad Fat

 A number of our members attended the lecture at the Sir John Lowther Centre in Glendon. Judging by their enthusiasm, it proved to be an excellent meeting. Thank you to county for finding such an interesting speaker.


Blood Bikes  

 We welcomed Paul Stothard and his Blood Bike, "Margaret," to our September meeting. Paul's Blood Bike is named after the founder of the Emergency Volunteer Service, Margaret Ryerson.


SERV or Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers are a volunteer rapid response medical transport service. They deliver blood, platelets, plasma, samples, vaccines, pharmaceuticals, x-rays, scans, donor breast milk and any other urgently needed medical items, out of hours and free of charge to the NHS.


SERV saves our NHS thousands of pounds each year allowing hospitals to use their funds where they are most needed. Volunteer bikers take the place of taxi's or courier services, which the hospitals would otherwise have to pay for.


Paul gave us a talk that fascinated and educated even those of our members who had worked in the NHS. The behind the scenes details of how items are transported really showed how this vital service is no bikers free for all organisation. Some members help by being the co-ordinators of the transportation, others only ride bikes and a strict code of bike riding is enforced and conduct is monitored.


How can you help? Donations to fund the work of the volunteers is always welcome but others give their time, either to ride the bikes or to help behind the scenes with co-ordinating the volunteers. Others rattle the tins on fundraising days.


 A really great evening and a big thank you to Paul for coming along with Margaret.



Garden Meeting 

It was hit and miss with the weather, but we managed to get about 40 minutes to enjoy Andrea and Peter's beautiful garden.

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Some watched while others got on with the serious business of croquet! 


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One of these ladies has been seen before wielding a mallet, although in a previous picture she was aiming for a members head!


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We were finally chased indoors by the weather where we got down to some serious business.

Members had been asked to bring along their autobiographies - short points of interest, things we were proud of achieving, ashamed that we had done etc.

The autobiographies were totally anonymous and proved to be amazing. We had to guess who matched the scripts and what fun that proved to be!!

We have a member with a belly piercing - we just wanted to see that!

Someone who professed to be totally boring had worked on the County Nuclear Protection Plan, while another had organised a late night streak on the streets of Twickenham after an international rugby match.

Of course, owning up was the real eye opener. 

A great event and we now want to read the autobiographies again.

We followed this up by enjoying the plates of food that everyone had contributed to.


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A big thank you to members who shared their life stories and gave us an evening to remember.

A great big thank you

to Andrea and Peter who willingly allowed us to use their home for the evening.


Cake Decorating

Katie Paige 


Katie moved her career from a chef in busy kitchens to a cake decorator.

Clients now include large companies who ask her to create cakes as advertising eating material!

However, we only wanted to, "have a go."

We all managed to create beautiful roses which we then put on the tops of our own iced cup cake. Wonderful - we all acheived


We then ended the evening with an official blowing out of the candles ceremony for someone in our group who always manages to keep the committee in order.




Happy 21st Wendy! 

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The Old Rectory Gardens, Sudborough

 We visited on a lovely sunny day, but the beautiful 3 acre gardens have much to offer at all times of the year. 


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With a lily pond, a circular rose garden, woodland area, deep herbacious borders and a potager designed by Rosemary Verey, the garden has featured in many national publications.

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We had a guide for our walk through the garden and our many and varied questions were answered with expertise.


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We sat down to teas in the garden afterwards, although we think the heat had managed to get to one of our members.


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However, a cup of tea and delicious cake brought her back to her senses - we still have a full complement of members!

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May Walk

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Last year we had an interesting evening with Phil from Eyebrook Wild Bird Feeds. He had talked about the various environmental initiatives that the family had instituted on his farm.


We decided to organise a visit this year and walk with Phil over the farm.


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Phil talked about how the land use had changed in his lifetime and showed us tracks and markings made by animals and birds - we would not have noticed many of these.


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The views of the Welland Valley from the farmland were breathtaking.

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Many thanks to our Walks Organiser and to Phil Johnson for sharing his knowledge and farm with us. 




 Tales of a Wartime Housewife


We are constantly being reminded of the importance of re-use of resources, saving on energy and food etc.

This was the mantra that was of vital importance during the last war and Biff gave us a lively session when we revisited those times.




Biff brought along a great many artifacts for us to handle.






It was amazing how many we remembered seeing in our family homes.




An excellent evening - a reminder of how things never really change.



Medbourne cum Holt

Centenary Party 


The WI nearest to us is Medbourne cum Holt and we were delighted to have received invites to their 100th birthday party.


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We joined representatives from neighbouring WI's and Leicester County and were treated to a re-enactment of the beginnings of Medbourne WI.

An exhibition of early artifacts made us raise our eyebrows. We hadn't known that originally women had to be proposed and seconded to join a WI.

Holt laterjoined with Medbourne and their contribution to the evening was in the form of songs from one of the singers from the Holt Opera performing for us. Glorious!


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It is always good to meet and have social time with other WI ladies and the night provided plenty of opportunity for that. We were treated to a delicious cheese and wine buffet and that made our social time all the more convivial.


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Many thanks to Medbourne cum Holt for inviting us to their celebrations.

Best Wishes to you for the next 100 years.


Annual Litter Pick


Thank you to those of you who turned up to the Annual Litter pick.

The day before the clean up, something had deposited a very large amount of paper on the Ashley/Medbourne/Weston junction. With grabbers in hand that area along with the rest of the village  was cleared. Almost 20 people were involved on the day and we had a well earned rest, cuppa and cake afterwards in the village hall.


Thank You

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Spring Walk in Oakham

We joined Jill Collinge, a Blue Badge Guide, for a walk round Oakham on a sunny but cold March morning.

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Despite frequently walking and shopping in Oakham, the addition of a knowledgeable guide opens your eyes to the history and architecture of a place. A few saucy stories always lightens the mood and Jill had plenty to pepper her talk with, its amazing what you find out!

Last year we had joined Jill for a walk in Stamford and because she is so friendly and interesting we immediately booked her for this outing. We are already lining up a third walk with her later in the year. 

At the end of the walk we enjoyed a delicious prebooked lunch in The Whipper Inn on the market square.

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Oakham 3

Some of us even managed to do a little shopping!

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History of Wool and Spinning


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From the Iron Age onwards we had a trip through the history of wool and spinning. We learned about how the words of the wool industry have made it into our everyday language - we found out why we are are both spinsters and wives and why men are "naggers". Wonderful!

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Trish brought many examples of wool types for us to examine although not many of us fancied having anything made from camel.


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We learned about the different types of sheep and many of us found out that we were washing our woollies all wrong.

It was when we discussed the many items that have been made from wool that we had our real surprise. We were all rather taken aback when Trish revealed an amazing item that was made from wool in the middle ages. Who would have thought!! Delicacy forbids the item being mentioned here but we rolled with laughter when we found out.

We ended with a hands on session. Having a go is always welcome.

Thank you Trish for a great evening.

WS 8 2017


Flamenco in Ashley!

 We started our monthly meetings this year with an evening of Flamenco! Swirly skirts to the fore, stamping and clicking - what better way to get through a dull February evening.

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"Bend your knee with attitude!" was one instruction. How to do that - well we all found out and now have knees that bend with attitude. Not certain where we can use our knees with credentials such as that, but I think a few of us will tell our surgeons when the replacements come along.

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By the time we finished, we had all worked our way through a passable Flamenco dance. It was great fun.

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We ended the evening with a glass of Flamenco flavoured Ribena and some Tapas. Ole


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January Social

The George in Ashley

 We don't have a meeting in January but like to get together for a social. The George is open again in Ashley and it was really good to be able to get together there for our January Fun evening. 

We started with a competition game. Despite some people believing that we were cheapskates, we had on offer a fabulous, all inclusive trip to Hawaii for the winner of our game.


 Wendy had organised a drawing game. We think she organised something that would make 2017 start with a bang - 30 women with plates on their heads was quite a sight!




Despite excellent instructions from Wendy, some members ended up with drawings such as this!

The winners of the All Inclusive Trip to Hawaii with over 40 points, came forward to be presented with their prize.


Unfortunately, just at that moment, we received a call from President Elect Trump.

Our prize winners had Mexican ancestry and were not therefore allowed into Hawaii.

What a shame!

However, we gave them lovely flowers for their hair as tokens of what might have been.

Never let it be said that Ashley Welland Valley WI don't try and give wonderful prizes to their members!


We followed this with a quiz and only one table managed to get the answers to the alcoholic questions right. They were presented with lips to be used for the rest of the evening.



The new landlords of The George, Chris and Carole, then served us with bowls of chips and sandwiches galore.

A great way to start the year.

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Christmas Dinner


The Neville Arms, Medbourne

 Once again we enjoyed a delicious meal at The Neville Arms in Medbourne. 

With so many new members this year we decided to move people round the room after each course - the resulting confusion only added to the fun.

This is the only time of the year where we have a competition and this year our aim was to produce a badge, label, ornament with our names on it. We thought this would help with introductions. The winner of our competition was Julia, seen here suitably labelled up!


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A second prize was awarded to Wendy, seen here

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Our thanks to the wonderful staff and great chef at The Neville Arms.

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 Earlier in the year Ashley Welland Valley WI won the Memorial Bursary at the County AGM. The Bursary is for a member to attend a course of their choosing with a value up to £300.

All members names were placed in a hat and the person who won the award was Pauline.

Pauline was so delighted that she promptly did what can only be described as a wardance - heaven only knows what course she will pick!

Pauline attended the Christmas Dinner in typical style.

Angel wings


We are supposed to believe that she is an angel!

Congratulations to Pauline and we look forward to her presentation at our AGM after she has attended her course.



Lakelands Hospice

At this time of year our members bake cakes for the patients and families who use Lakelands Hospice in Corby.

The cakes are a direct gift from us to them.

A thank you to all those members who baked, as this year 17 cakes were delivered to Lakelands.



Everest - Beyond the Limit


We were very fortunate to have

Ian Rogers

as our speaker for the Open Evening on 2nd November.The large audience in Ashley Village Hall listened spellbound as he related the gripping tale of his attempt to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

With the help of some glorious photographs, Ian described the lengthy and challenging process of climbing the highest mountain in the world. He explained that the three rules of climbing mountains such as Everest were

that the mountains always looked closer than they were,

the ascent looked shorter


the climb looked easier.

The climax was his description of his decision to abandon his attempt on the summit, less than an hour's climbing from the top. Separated from his companions and with his eyesight failing, he made the courageous decision to return to the base camp.

He quoted the mantra of one of his heroes, " to reach the summit is optional, return is mandatory."

After showing photographs of some of the injuries experienced by his companions, we were heartily relieved to learn that his eyesight had returned and that he had suffered no other ill-effects.

It was clearly a life-changing experience and we all felt privileged to hear about it.



Walk in Stamford with a

Blue Badge Guide


Well over 20 of us enjoyed a fascinating walk through the streets and back alleys of Stamford with Jill Collinge. We parked up and were given a brief introduction to Stamford, before setting off to hear about the tales and history of this gorgeous georgian town.






The walk lasted an hour and a half and most of us then left Stamford and returned to Uppingham for a delicious lunch in the Orchard Cafe.






 Jill is a terrific guide and we hope to do another walk with her in 2017. Lunch to follow of course!



County ACM

Spinney Hill Theatre

A small group of us attended the County ACM. It was good to hear that the county is in good shape and lovely to meet up with friends from other WI's.

The guest speaker on the evening was Julie Summers. Julie wrote the book, "Jambusters," which was made into the highly successful TV programme,

"Home Fires."



Willow Weaving Day


Rutland Willows

 Earlier in the year we had received a visit from Martin and John from Rutland Willows. They managed to enthuse us so much that some of us immediately booked a day course with them, others joined together and had a day course in the village hall in Ashley.


We turned up with our packed lunches and secateurs and Martin turned up with everything else.


Then we started by learning different weaves.


The willow was amazingly strong and yet pliable. 


Martin was on hand to give expert tuition right through the day.

After working on our weaves, we then produced some fish.



After lunch we then started on our pheasants using the various weaves that we had been taught in the morning.




The pheasants were worked on a metal frame.


Martin gave us very clear instructions and after much pushing, wiggling and weaving the pheasants began to take shape.




 What a great day!

We all worked hard and were fairly tired by the end of the day. We tried something new and were rewarded with items to take home for our gardens.

Many thanks to Martin of Rutland Willows.

His patience was unlimited - although we all thought that he probably went home to a large beer!!




Breakaways Evening of

Fun and Games


We were delighted to be asked to join the ladies of the Breakaways for an evening of fun, quizzes and games in East Carlton. Other local women from various other WI's were there and over 30 of us had a most enjoyable evening.



We started with a "Find your Partner" session before groups sat down for the first event of the evening - the challenge was to construct the tallest edifice using spaghetti and small marshmallows.

Things were made easier by the fact that the spaghetti was uncooked!




This group were the eventual winners, but the group below were very unhappy that their magnificent three storey construction had collapsed just as the tape measure was approaching their table!




Marvellous structures were made.




The group below were disqualified! To make things easier they had popped the marshmallows into their mouths to make them - MORE STICKY!!!!!

What an excuse.


 After the construction challenge, table quizzes were distributed while a round robin game of knock out skittles was played.


With our brain cells set to maximum, we had to have a rest and a delicious supper of quiches and salads was served.



 Lots of fun was had and more importantly the group raised £140. This will be added to the total pot raised through the year by Breakaways for their chosen charity, Riding for the Disabled.



Coffee, Walk and Lunch

Organised by Glooston WI

 A big thank you to Glooston WI from our members and husbands who thoroughly enjoyed themselves with other WI members and their families.

Great weather, lovely coffee, delightful walk and delicious lunch!

Great Idea.



Recycle for a Healthy Heart


Gillian Gladman

 Gillian Gladman entertained and educated us when she gave her talk at our September meeting. Firstly, she listed the symptoms that women can experience that could signal a heart attack and emphasised the importance of a healthy diet.


She then went on to describe "behind the scenes," in the British Heart Foundation charity shops and how unwanted items are recycled by numerous volunteers.


Gillian then told some amusing anecdotes about items donated to the shops with some unusual discoveries such as multiple selections of spectacles and false teeth which are left in pockets.


More exciting finds have included some extremely valuable jewellery and large quantities of bank notes sewn in clothing.


That seemingly boring charity shop where we all deposit our unwanted bits and bobs came alive and I don't think any of us will see charity shops in quite the same light again.





Queen's 90th Birthday


 In June, the WI organised an artwork session at the party held in Westhorpe for the Queen's 90th birthday.

People were given squares of paper and were asked to draw, write, colour and/or decorate the squares with images from the Queen's life. The images could be specifically related to the Queen or images of events that had happened over the 90 years.

The artwork was arranged on a board and framed and has been handed to the party organisers.

Here is the framed artwork.


Queens Art Work B


Thank you to everyone who took part on the day.

We now have a momento created by the village.




An Evening of Archery


Welland Valley Archers


Try something new and sporty said County.

We had already booked our evening of archery with Welland Valley Archers so felt pleased that for once we were ahead of the game.

None of us had tried archery before so the club were faced with 16 novices - and they had us all achieving by the end of the night.

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We gathered in the clubhouse where we were treated to refreshments and a talk by David and Rebecca about safety and the basic principles of standing, aiming and shooting.


We nodded our understanding in unison. You could almost hear, "got that," going through our collective brains.

They didn't tell us that arrows have minds of their own!


Some safety equipment, namely arm protectors were handed out and here are a few of our members demonstrating that they could at least handle their arm protectors.

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With visions of joining Robin Hood, our band of merry women started!

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 We were allocated one coach to two members and the tuition was excellent. It was also made extremely fun.

First to hit the yellow was Anne - shown below on the left of the picture. On the right is Sarah who won the overall competition. We don't think she hit anything outside of a red!! With them is their coach for the night, Rebecca, who represented GB in Junior Archery.

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 Others in the group were just delighted to hit anything!


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As our tutor David said, "You don't want to wear the yellow out!"

That was good enough for us.

We returned to the clubhouse for more refreshments and we were shown some of the various bows that the club has in it's collection.


A medal should have gone to David who, in trying circumstances, was unfailingly cheerful. 


What a terrific evening! 

Our grateful thanks to the Welland Valley Archers who provided us with a wonderful  evening. We tried something different, thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and had marvellous fun with the members of the club.


Apart from Sarah and Anne who have been signed to Robin Hood's band, the rest of us will probably settle to be Maid Marions.


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Summer Social


Usually we have decamped to someone's house and garden for our August meeting, taking with us plates of either sweet or savoury. Our numbers have grown and this has presented  somewhat of a problem - we are asking the same people all the time to accommodate us. So this year, in order to give some of our members a rest, we decided to do something different.


Our Summer Social was held at the newly refurbished Cricket Club in East Carlton. During the winter months the club was extended, altered and refurbished by willing helpers. The result is wonderful. Everyone commented on the overhaul and it provided us with a delightful venue for our evening.


We had a number of guests on the night, women who had met us at our Cottingham Shop Promotion week. The evening provided them and us, a chance to get to know each other and more importantly have some fun.


We started with a Pimms and a get to know you session and then held our meeting. This was followed by a gardening quiz, which even non gardeners had a chance to complete. We then sat down to wine and our buffet brought by one and all.


On display on the night was the original 1930's booklet used to promote the houses in the park, to prospective residents from as far afield as Birmingham and Scotland. We also voted for the caption competition which was held in Cottingham Shop and saw the now framed collage created by the residents of Ashley at the Queen's 90th Birthday Party.




Overall, a busy and fun night. We met new people, found new members and enjoyed oursleves enormously.


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July Meeting

SOS for Honeybees

with our very own

Ashley Bees!!


 A past campaign by the WI aimed to raise awareness of the plight of our honeybees. Honeybees are essential to life. They are responsible for 80% of pollination in the UK and are essential to biodiversity. Without honeybees our landscape will change forever.


However, the honeybees are facing tough times. Last winter the British Beekeepers Association provided some welcome news, the winter loss survey reported only a 14.5% loss of UK colonies, a significant reduction in overall loss than had been reported in previous years, but still at twice the level required for the honeybees to sustain their population.


With this as a background, we were delighted to hear that a member of our WI and her husband had invested in a hive. More than that, they had attended training courses and through various means have increased their number of hives.

We just had to visit the Ashley Bees!


We were rewarded with a lovely evening that enabled us to sit outside and take in the information in delightful surroundings. Chris and Lisa explained how they had decided to add honeybees to their garden, how they had attended courses and what they had learnt.


Lisa showed us the various items of equipment and put on her, "spacesuit," essential as we are all aware. Adding a touch of couture to the ensemble, Lisa then explained that she found a pair of Marigolds the best hand gear to enable her to easily grip and use the various pieces of equipment.


The bee keeping experience had not been without its lighter moments and indeed, Lisa and Chris had already been called on to help when a neighbour reported a swarm in their garden.



We all received handouts full of pictures and facts about the bees and then we moved through the garden to where many photographs had been placed giving us even more information.


And then we saw the hives.

Where they are situated is every bit as important as how the colony is handled.


For Lisa and Chris, Bee Keeping is fast becoming a very interesting and absorbing hobby and it is something that enables them to do their bit to help the honeybees.

They are also hoping that this year will give them a bumper crop of their very own honey.

The evening was a real treat for us all and we are very grateful to Lisa and Chris for putting so much into the evening. We all learned a lot.


The evening was rounded off with a glass of a little something and a taste of one of these.




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Cottingham Shop

WI Promotion Week

From Monday 4th July through to Friday 9th July, we are showcasing our WI in the Community Shop in Cottingham.



We have many members from Cottingham and Middleton and the shop have kindly offered us the opportunity to display some of our pictures, hand out our programmes and chat to people who visit the shop and tea room.




If you are passing then please drop in for a look. We are trying to have a presence there at some point during each day. We are also running a caption competition there - have a try out!


Jacqueline and Wendy were there on Monday morning starting the week off - it was amazing how many people we talked to!!

Or perhaps you aren't amazed - those of you who know us!! 


Thank you to Cottingham Shop

for allowing us to make use of their space.


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Garden Visit

South Kilworth - Oak Tree House

 We were met at Oak Tree House by the owner Mrs Pam Shave, who while we were at the front of the house, gave us a brief introduction to the gardens. Her introduction was somewhat understated as we soon found out.

We followed a path to the back garden and were assailed by beautiful sights and gorgeous smells coming from the garden.


The garden holds something of interest for everyone with borders and beds full of a huge variety of plants.






The paths and walkways enable climbers to be planted in profusion.





Even the vegetable and soft fruit areas were beautifully laid out. Courgettes were planted in tall pots and with their flowers just opening looked more like lovely flower arrangements. 








The gravelled areas were ideal for well arranged hostas.




Just one of the beautiful flowers.

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We were treated to gorgeous cakes with our tea and coffees which allowed us time to take in the two ponds and the overall planting scheme of the garden.



Some of our very happy garden visitors.


 The garden is open under the National Garden Scheme on Saturday and Sunday September 10th & 11th. It goes without saying, this garden is well worth a visit.

Thank you to Pam Shave for sharing Oak Tree House gardens and for making us so welcome.




 Information as Promised


You have probably heard by now that ITV has decided not to commission a third series of Home Fires. Unfortunately they are collateral damage of a political not commercial decision. There is a new drama commissioner starting in September and she wants a clean slate.


A petition has been launched in an endeavour to get the series continued. If you wish to make comments or add your name to the petition then please follow the link here.

recruiter=5098496&utm source=share petition&utn medium=twitter&utm campaign=share twitter responsive

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Stamford - Jewel in the Crown

 Jill Collinge brought many slides of Stamford to our meeting and took us through the development of the town from its earliest beginnings to where it is today. Quite apart from knowing her subject really well, Jill easily managed to bring history to life with her back stories to many of the buildings and events.




Favourite places came to life and I don't think any of us will visit Stamford again, without looking up at the facades and roof lines of the buildings.



This was an Open Evening

and we were delighted to be joined on the night

by many members from surrounding WI's and neighbours from the

villages. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evening and a big

Thank You

to Jill for a great night.


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Evening Walk

and Pub Meal

 We enjoyed a mid week evening walk starting at the Eyebrook Reservoir. We met at the Fishing Lodge at the south end of the water and went inside to view the display of articles and memorabilia connected to the use of the reservoir in WW2. Lancasters used the Eyebrook in May 1943 as a practice site for the Dambusters raids - the reservoir stood in for the Mohne Reservoir.


Once we had gathered the group did an out and back walk, crossing the dam itself before walking alongside the water. 


The day had been wet and fairly miserable, but we managed to find a dryish break in the weather and the walk blew away the cobwebs.


Afterwards all 16 of us retired to The Fox in Wilbarston for what proved to be a noisy meal.



Thanks to Wendy for her organising.


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County Organised Trip

to the

Houses of Parliament

Two of our members and one husband had a great day out on a county organised trip to the Houses of Parliament. They were given orders to take pictures for us to see, but were limited in the areas in which pictures could be taken.


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Here they are waiting to enter the Jewel Tower. 

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They were taken on a tour of the marvellous building. 

They found Westminster Hall to be particularly impressive. The space has been used for the lying in state of our monarchs and it has also seen the trials of Guy Fawkes and Thomas Moore. Despite having been bombed, flooded and caught fire, it has survived as the largest undivided mediaeval space in existence. It was this sense of history that so impressed our girls.


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Unfortunately, seeing the House of Commons with the dispatch box, mace and speaker's chair might have given them some ideas on how better to run our monthly meetings!!



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Thank you to county for organising a fantastic day out.

Ashley Welland Valley WI has been represented at the 

Houses of Parliament.


* * * * * * * * * * * * *


"The Making of Miranda"



"An evening to remember," is how one of our members talked about our night with Miranda Ponsonby.  "Amazing," was another description. It is a long time since a speaker so profoundly  affected us with their life story, but then perhaps we were told of three lives in one life.


Rhodri was raised as a man and after a 30 year marriage broke down, he decided to make a life changing decision to become the woman he always thought he was supposed to be. The gentleman became a gentlewoman - Miranda.


What a life story Miranda had to tell!!  We were either in fits of laughter or feeling tears start to well up as Miranda took us along her life path. Today, transgender issues are regularly highlighted in our press and there is a degree of support and understanding. However, Miranda made her life changing decisions in a very different time and place. 


A big thank you to Miranda, for helping us to better understand the issues that face transgender people.




* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *




 Clean for the Queen


After the great turn out this weekend, I hope the Queen does come and have a look at Ashley. If she comes, she will be impressed.


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 Just a few of the people who turned out for the Clean for the Queen session last Saturday.

You might have seen a few of them lurking about the village.

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They didn't confine themselves to the pretty bits of the village. People were to be found in hedges, in ditches and anywhere where there was a bit of rubbish. Nothing was safe.


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But it was all worthwhile. Just look at the bags that were filled on Saturday alone.

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Now, if we see anyone dropping litter, perhaps our best defence would to be to send this fierce lady after the miscreants!

She means business.

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The best sight of all was the smaller children who came along and helped on the day. 

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Well Done!!!

After a good clean up through the village, people met up again in the Village Hall for some refreshments.

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A special THANK YOU to these two little girls, for braving the cold and helping out our community.

Yes, Ashley Welland Valley WI recruits them early!

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It is worth registering some information about the smaller items of rubbish that perhaps we don't really think cause many problems


How long does rubbish take to biodegrade?


  • Paper bag up to one month
  • Orange peel up to two years
  • Banana skin up to two years
  • Plastic bag up to 10–20 years
  • Cigarette butts up to 12 years
  • Plastic bottle up to 450 years
  • Glass bottles and chewing gum are not biodegradable

Thank You

to everyone for all your efforts in maintaining our beautiful village.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



Michael Peachey

Life as an Artist

Michael credits his personal influences in his paintings to Turner and Dali. Certainly many of his stories were surreal - modern life with a twist!! During the evening Michael invited some of our members to have a go on a painting that he worked on during the evening. One of our number, forever now to be known as Sarah Da Vinci, can be seen working on the canvas. 

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Here Michael is showing us the preparatory outline for a bathroom ceiling that he painted. It contained cherubs performing many varied bathroom activities!

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Michael has many commissions for portraits and animals and he brought along with him paintings of Shirley Bassey, Sid James, Duchess of Cambridge and Tom Jones. 

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At the end of the evening Michael, with a few deft marks made sense of a painting which he called, "Ashley Harbour." 

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 No 1


 We had a go, but there wasn't a member present who wouldn't have given something to have been able to produce paintings as good as Michael's. A fun evening, thank you Michael.


Rutland Willows -Living with Willow


We started our year with a great evening. John and Martin came along from Rutland Willows and introduced us to the wonderful world of willow.


John explained where willow grows - everywhere - how big it grows - from a couple of inches to you name it high - and the various types of willow and colours.

We watched both John and Martin create dragonflies and fish and then Martin carried on with work on a fox.




John explained that willow was amazingly strong and one of our members then had a tug of war with John over a thin weedy bit of willow. "I'm stronger than I look she said!!" However, the willow was stronger.


 Much of the willow they use comes from the Sandringham estate and John regaled us with many funny stories of his years working with willow.

Their enthusiasm was such, that many of us are thinking of trying out a course with John and Martin - not only to learn how to create beautiful structures in willow, but to have a good laugh while we learn.

Thank you for a terrific evening.




January Walk 

 Our walk organisers managed to find a lovely bright January day for us to exercise.  Parking in Maidwell the walkers enjoyed a walk in the lovely countryside which blew away the cobwebs. Afterwards they retired to The Stags Head in Maidwell for a lunch.



Lovely day with friends.



2015 Christmas Dinner

Our Christmas Dinner was again held in the Nevill Arms in Medbourne. The food was delicious and we thank the staff for making our evening so enjoyable.


Christmas is the only time of the year when we have a competition. This year our competition was to create a paper hat using magazines and newspapers. Initially they were to be made without glue, staples or cellotape - but pressure was applied and a slight cave in happened to allow glue to play it's part. We have to wear our hats to the event - come what may. What a feast for the eyes!


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WM 1



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We even had an Archbishop - or that is what things looked like to us.


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One amongst us had a hat that was worthy of wearing to Ascot.

Congratulations to Brenda for looking gorgeous!!



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Quiz Night

 Twelve of us took up the invitation to visit Desborough WI who were holding a Quiz night with a fish and chip supper.

We did quite well, although groaned at the questions we knew but couldn't remember the answers to!

Thank you to Desborough WI

A lovely evening and great company. 


October Walk

 The planned walk to Fermyn Woods was cancelled as the ground was very wet underfoot and also at the last minute the venue for the lunch had to be changed.

Our walk organiser Wendy H deserved a medal for the re-arranging that went on.

Eventually the walkers enjoyed a lunch at the Snooty Fox in Lowick before setting off through the village and parklands to Drayton House.


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A big thank you for a lovely event.



Lakelands Hospice

Each year we show our support for Lakelands Hospice in Corby, by baking cakes for use by the patients and their families. The hospice relies on volunteers and community support to survive and provides a caring and peaceful surrounding for its users.

This year our members baked a total of 18 cakes for the centre.

Thank you one and all.



Other Activities

We arrange our monthly meetings and link with other WI's for socials and meetings. We also take advantage of courses run at Denman College and by Northamptonshire Federation.

Recently the opportunity offered by County to have a go at


was taken up by Ros.



Ros fishing

Ros is the nearest to the camera and we are certain that just out of shot, on the end of her line, is the biggest trout ever caught at Pitsford Reservoir!!






Solar System and the New Horizons Mission

with Dr. Ann Bonell


We learnt a lot with Dr Ann Bonell from the Leicester Astronomical Society. With slides galore, Dr Bonell made everything so fascinating that one or two of us might even be getting up at 2am one morning to see an eclipse!!

Dr Ann

Dr Bonell's explanations were easy to follow and her, "Toilet Paper Solar System," had to be seen to be believed.  Many of us went home with a handout of this and we now know that Earth is 9.3 sheets of toilet paper away from the sun while Pluto is a whopping 366.4 sheets of toilet paper away.  And - in case you were wondering, Earth is 2.6 sheets of toilet paper away from Venus! A brilliant way of explaining large and complicated sizes and distances.


A really great night and a big thank you to a terrific speaker.


 New Posy Bowl


This year is not only the centenary of the WI, we at Ashley Welland Valley WI are also celebrating our 60th Birthday.

At every meeting our posy bowl sits on the table holding an arrangement that one of our members will have created. Despite protestations that no-one is good at arranging flowers, we have never had an awful arrangment!


However, our posy bowl did look awful and indeed recently fell apart. So we have bought a new bowl which will do credit to the wonderful arrangements.

Below is a picture of our new bowl, unveiled at our September meeting.


The inscription printed on the curve of the bowl reads




Posy Bowl 1


Our arrangments will now be even more beautiful!

* * * * *


Hallaton Garden Party


Three of our members joined with Hallaton WI to celebrate the centenary of the WI at their Garden Party.


Hallaton Gdn Party

Posh hats were the order of the day and our ladies looked gorgeous.

Thank you to Hallaton for the invite and for a lovely afternoon tea party.



August Garden Meeting

Celebrating the Centenary of the WI


Our 65th Birthday


We arrived in good time armed with plates of savoury or sweet.

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Everyone congregated with a glass of wine and we enjoyed some time in the beautiful garden.


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The weather stayed fine for us to enjoy time outside working on a quiz about the first 100 years of the WI. The quiz was hung on a very handy hedge and got us all thinking.


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We had just long enough outside before the spots of rain came down and we then moved inside for a quick meeting.


Two of our members, Sarah and Jacqueline, had each made a

WI Centenary Celebration Cake.

Judging by the fumes, they had been liberal with the alcohol! The longest and shortest serving WI members who were in attendance on the night cut the cakes.


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Rita Berry on the left and Judith Farr on the right, cut the cakes while Wendy Martin, the current President, oversaw the difficult procedure.

We don't know why the Queen had a problem cutting her cake at the Royal Albert Hall, our girls didn't!!

We then toasted the WI with a bubbly drink and sat down to the buffet supper we had all contributed to.


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No party is complete without a little bag to go home with.

Every member received a goody bag containing a square of the delicious Celebration Cake.


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We feel we have celebrated in style and our grateful thanks go to Ros and Mike for allowing us to use their home for our Celebration Party.



Garden Outing to

Orchard House - Husbands Bosworth




The rain was hammering down when we arrived at Orchard House. The owners David and Ros Dunmore, generously allowed us to shelter indoors for 10 minutes until the rain stopped and then we started to explore this small but beautiful cottage style garden.


A large walnut tree provides plenty of shade for one area, while a pond with an alpine border dominates another.

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The summer house provided a focal point for another area which some of our members didn't want to leave!


David gave lots of information and then we were served delicious cakes and tea by Ros.


We all agreed that the garden was interesting, well planted and quite a delight on the eye. Our thanks go to David and Ros for allowing us to visit their garden and for being so generous with their time and efforts.



Well worth a visit!


"Spires & Squires"

with Derek Blunt

On the hottest night of the year we gathered in the village hall - with lots of cool squash -  for a slide show of churches and buildings in Northamptonshire. Derek entertained us with little snippets of information regarding the slides and we learnt quite a lot!!


Through the slide show we tried our hands at a quiz.  The winner was Wendy Harkin who answered every question correctly and won a packet of biscuits for her efforts. Well done Wendy!


Derek has published a very interesting book to accompany his research into the towns and villages of the county and some of the proceeds from the book are donated to the Air Ambulance.













Over 70 women from Northamptonshire and Leicestershire WI's

watched a screening of the 2015 Centenary Annual Meeting from the comfort of the Harborough Theatre.











The Royal Albert Hall was filled to capacity. HM The Queen, President of Sandringham WI, HRH The Princess Royal a NFWI Associate and HRH The Countess of Wessex, member of Bagshot WI presented prizes for national competitions and The Queen delivered a speech congratulating the WI on it's 100th anniversary.





We were ushered through the Harborough Theatre by well organised Ashley members!





 AGM 7

 The main speakers were Lucy Worsley, historian and TV presenter, Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, wheelchair racer, parliamentarian and TV presenter and Helena Morrissey, CEO of Newton investment Management.


Ann Thorington of Welford WI was our proxy delegate at the Meeting and we are grateful to her for the wonderful resume of the day which is printed below.


 Report of 2015 Annual General Meeting of the National Federation of WI'S

Unusually for a WI AGM, the meeting did not open with Jerusalem, instead we went straight into the basic business - approving the tellers and the standing orders; hearing the financial statement - currently very healthy and, perhaps surprisingly, the membership fee is, proportional average income, at a similar rate now to what it was 100 years ago - approx 0.02.
Once the royal party was on the platform, the national anthem was sung and then came a rousing, resounding rendition of Jerusalem.
The Queen was the first to speak and her theme, as was that of all the speakers, was the impact and influence the WI has exerted over the past 100 years. She said, and I quote, "Over the past 100 years, the W.1. has continued to grow and evolve with its members to stay relevant and forward-thinking. In 2015 it continues to demonstrate that it can make a real difference to the lives of women of all ages and cultural backgrounds, in a spirit of friendship, cooperation and support."
Janice Langley continued the theme in recognising the courage and resolve of those who nursed the WI through its formative years. She emphasised that we should go forward with confidence but warned against complacency.
Lucy Worsley then took up the same ideas. Her take was on the significant impact the WI had had on the social history of the 20th century. Much of what she had to say can be seen (and should be) in a BBC2 programme called "Cake bakers and trouble makers". It is to be broadcast later this month.
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson used the WI ethos "You can be all you want to be" as the mantra that had enabled her to achieve every remarkable thing that she has done and still does with her work in the House of Lords.
Helena Morrissey was another speaker who has awe inspiring achievements - nine children, CEO of a big City investment firm and a founder of the 30 Club - a Club that has as its aim the intent of getting more women in the top echelons of business in particular and in power in general. She too used "you can be all you want to be" as a theme.
It was Helena Morrissey who emphasised the need to have a defined target and means of achieving that target - and, fundamentally it was for that reason that the resolution - both in the original form and in its amended form - failed. The majority of the delegates - and it was significantly more than the required 2/3rds majority - felt that whilst laudable in intent the resolution as worded was not one for which action could be defined and acted upon. By passing the motion to move on to other business, we, the membership, have the chance to formulate a resolution on health and social care that we can all work towards.
In Her Majesty,in Janice Langley and with the talented, amusing and entertaining speakers, we were all treated to an excellent display of "Inspiring Women."


The delay in London over the Resolution caused problems in the Royal Albert Hall and many problems for us in the Harborough Theatre. Restaurants and cafe's had been booked for lunches! 

However, we had a great Tea Lady - thank you Pam for all the washing up!!


and a very big thank you to

Peter and Ralph

of Octagon Films

who organised the viewing for us.



Ralph sat through the day and didn't read his book at all!



WI Centenary

Buckingham Palace Garden Party

 Ros Gallant donned her hat and was our representative at the 2015 Centenary Garden Party held in the grounds of

Buckingham Palace.




Photography is not permitted within the grounds of Buckingham Palace but we needed a picture!!




Northamptonshire Federation had provided buses for the members attending from the county and they parked up on the Mall for the women to make their way into the grounds.

Some 8,000 guests from round the country were present on the day and in attendance were the Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Alexandria, The Duchess of Gloucester and the Countess of Wessex.


A memorable day!



 Lace Making in the East Midlands

with Barbara Potter



Lace making was a thriving industry in the East Midlands, an industry that has now become a craft because of the high labour cost that is involved in making hand made lace.

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Barbara was excellent, taking us through the rise and fall of the industry, showing us examples of different lace and then allowing us to have a go at making lace on her pillow.     

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"Raising Agents"

Mikron Theatre Company

The WI has sponsored a play that is being performed by the Mikron Theatre Company, a travelling company who use their canal boat to tour the country. "Raising Agents," tells the story of the WI and interweaves it with a current ficticious WI, Bunnington WI.


Market Harborough WI had booked the Mikron Company to perform at the Congregational Hall in Market Harborough and many local WI members took advantage of the opportunity to have a night of wonderful entertainment.



Many thanks to Market Harborough WI for the fabulous cakes and for  booking the Mikron Theatre.


 Leicester Walk

Last year Caroline Roberts, a Blue Badge Guide based in Leicester, gave us an interesting talk on Richard III, myths, history, the finding of the body etc. We were determined to book one of her walks this year and were pleased that the weather stayed fine for a really great walk and lunch.




We met Caroline and she guided us through the streets pointing out various notable buildings etc and then entered into the Cathedral to see the tomb of Richard III.


Caroline is an excellent guide and we had a thoroughly interesting morning with her.


By the time we had returned to our start point our tummies were rumbling and we departed for the Wistow Garden Centre where we had booked a buffet lunch at the

Wistow Cafe Bistro.



The buffet was delicious - plenty of very tasty food!



After our discussion about the Resolution for this year we welcomed Andrea Greenaway from the Leicester Craft Centre to our meeting. Andrea helped us to make paper flowers, a bit of welcome relief from the heavy resolution this year.


Paper flower 2015

Our efforts and Andreas' patience paid off. Here is the flower that

Sally made.



County Quiz - Wicksteed Park

 We had two teams entered into the County Quiz. One team was relying on their avid TV box watching of Eggheads over the previous month, the other team made certain that they were stacked up with nibbles.


3 Table 2


 We tried our best but decided that the best part of the night was our intelligent reasoning -

eg What is a ruffe?

It just had to be the edge of the pastry on a pie.  

No - was a fish!!  

We think our answer was better.


Quiz 1


We had a good night - but think that we need to study more and bring even more nibbles next time.






Samba/Reggae Percussion Night


Echo Fox Events


On Wednesday 1st April, Ashley women were creeping through the village with their suitable costumes and head gear for a night on the town. You might have thought there was some kind of April Fool going on - but no - it was only the women hurrying to get into the fabulous Samba/Reggae band.


Women came along looking gorgeous.


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others just came along!


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The two Wendy's tried very hard to conduct a meeting, but it was made difficult by looking at all the fruit and veg sitting on top of people's heads!

They forgot how silly they looked!!


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 None of us knew exactly what we were letting ourselves in for - but we were going to have a good time come what may.


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Ed started us off with some exercises and his energy began to show!


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The key to everything was the easy way in which Ed had organised each section. We all knew what we had to do and we gave it our all.

Next came the instruments - the bit we had all been waiting for.


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Much to our amazement we started making great sounds - and we were co-ordinated.


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And then we started ululating.

In other words we started making a noise alongside our instruments.


Our grand finale took our breath away and Ed and his energy just kept on going.


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The kitchen was expertly run by ladies who had been sniffing the fumes from the punch bowl.

Many thanks to them for coping with the many ladies who needed their glasses of Sangria

more than ever before.


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A big thank you to Ed for giving us one of the highlight evenings at Ashley Welland Valley WI and another big thank you to the ladies who put us into the swing of things by dressing up so spectacularly.




 And Finally


Congratulations to Wendy Harkin for winning the best dressed award on the night


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If you weren't there - you missed a great night.




Ashley Litter Pick

 Unfortunately the litter pick was again needed. 




A big


to the 14 people who turned up to help.






Afterwards it was tea, coffee, biscuits and Welsh Cakes!


T  Cake




 Heather Jacks

2014 Winner

The Great British Sewing Bee


 What a super evening we had with Heather! The behind the scenes view of the programme was fascinating and the funny stories that Heather recounted added to the wonderful evening that we all had. On the programme we didn't see the other 40 TV people in the room or the cameras that were focussed on each competitor as they sewed. We didn't hear the non-stop questioning of the competitors - putting extra stress on them as they tried to complete their tasks. The inside story was fascinating and gave us an even better understanding of how hard the whole experience had been.

Heather brought along all of the garments that she had created on the programme and recounted the angst and the drama to us all.

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H final


Since her win, Heather has focussed on trying to impart the basics of sewing to children with the charity GoSew. Sewing enabled Heather to earn money when she was young and today that skill is being taught to many youngsters in the hope that it will give them another useful skill for them to use in later life.


A wonderful evening!




to Great & Little Oakley 

On March 3rd we were delighted to join with other local WI's to help Gt & Little Oakley celebrate their 90th birthday.








Guests of East Carlton Breakaways


East Carlton Breakaways are a group of ladies who each year raise money for a nominated charity. In 2015, their charity is Corby Lakelands.


We were delighted to be asked to join them and some members from Pipewell & Rushton and Desborough WI's for an evening of fun and games at the cricket club in East Carlton.


The evening started with us opening boxes of lego and being given the instruction that we were to try and build the tallest self supporting structure. We soon could be heard muttering words such as, "we need more reinforcing on this corner," and "the stability is crucial."



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There were some spectacular structures!


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The winners however, produced something that was a good 6" taller than anything else that had been built.



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We then embarked on a game of knock-out skittles.  Many of us hadn't played this local game before but it proved to be great fun.


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Exhausted with our activities, we then had a light supper provided by the Breakaways group - and delicious it was too!



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We finished off with a few quizzes before a raffle.


The total raised on the night was £174 which will be added to through the year with other events that the Breakaways will hold.

Altogether a most enjoyable evening.


Breakaways Jan 2015 119




Christmas Dinner 2014


 Next year we will celebrate the centenary of the founding of the


We decided to kick off the celebrations early with our Christmas Competition - design a 1915 style hat and wear it to the dinner.


So there we were, walking through the bar of the Neville Arms much as our forbears would have done - heads held high and not looking at anyone!


The judges awarded two prizes

Sally McKeown for the most stylish hat


Wendy Harkin for having the nerve to wear animals, birds, holly, ivy and an amaryllis on her head.

Don't they look good!!


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Wendy        2014-12-03 23.32.28



Our thanks go to the staff of the Neville Arms, we had a delicious meal and lots of fun.


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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 


Wendy's Quiz

Congratulations to Rita Berry for having the most correct answers.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *






Our hard work paid off - we came

2nd in the County Challenge Competition.

We were given the exact dimensions of a pennant that had to be made and we stuck to our brief with tenacity.







Every member of our WI contributed and we are delighted with our 2nd place.


The bunting will be on display at the WI Christmas Coffee Morning at WI House in Northampton on Friday12th December, 10 - 12 noon.

After that we will bring it home!


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *





Chris Kinsey


 We always enjoy a painting session with Chris. This time we used watercolours to paint lovely pictures of sunflowers.



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Art 2014 004



Chris always tells us that we will turn out lovely pictures, but for those of us who do not paint, this always seems a tall order. However, her guidance, our perseverance and Roger's teas and coffees ensure that yes, we do always turn out things we can be proud of.


 Art 2014 005



 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



Wednesday, 5th November started a week of WW1 commemorative events in Ashley. On the 5th, villagers, visitors and members alike listened to Ros Gallant give a talk entitled,

Researching the Stories

of the Ashley men

Who Went To War

Three WI members, Ros Gallant, Margaret Richold and Rita Berry had spent the best part of two years tracking, researching and locating files, information and people. Their journey was a terrific story in its own right, highlighting the highs and lows of their work.


The weekend then saw a marvellous exhibition, again in the

Village Hall,


Lest we forget:

Stories of the Ashley Men who Went to War

Some 30 descendants of these brave men had been located and came to the village from as far away as Kent to see a most moving, interesting and professional display. Artifacts from WW1 were alongside the stories of the men who had died and the men who had survived. The depth of the research was astounding and the people who visited the display were moved by the stories that had emerged from the research.


The relatives of the men stayed for the Sunday service of Remembrance and then were given a meal in the Village Hall. 


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WW1 Exhibition 002


 WW1 Exhibition 001


The ladies of the WI did their small part too - the teas and coffees were all served up with delicious home made cakes.

A big thank you to all who helped over the weekend.




NFWI Federation Centenary Link Baton


In 2015 we will be celebrating the centenary of the founding of the WI in Britain with the first ever branch being formed in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch - a place name that not many Ashley residents thought would ever appear on this website!




The Centenary Baton is being passed from Federation to Federation ending up at the Centenary AGM on 4th June 2015 at the Royal Albert Hall.


On 7th October in Ashley Village Hall, the baton was passed by Shirely Corke, the Northamptonshire Federation Chairman, to Janet Kirk, Chairman of the Leicestershire Federation.

WI Baton Passing 016 


This is an historic moment in WI history and we at Ashley Welland Valley WI are very proud to say that the Centenary Baton spent an afternoon in our Village Hall.


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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Visit to Geddington and Newton WI

 A number of our members were delighted to attend a meeting of Geddington and Newton WI.

Their speaker on the evening was Ben Frazer of Great British Bake Off fame. Ben talked about Adult Cupcakes - Mojito cupcakes, Pina Colada cupcakes etc. The samples were delicious!!

Cupcakes 2014 002


Garden Meeting 2014

At our August meeting we enjoyed a Murder/Mystery entitled,

"Death of a President"

 With suspects taking illicit trips to have cosmetic treatments in Jersey, despairing women seeking solace in excessive gin drinking, new fangled ear trumpets being sold illegally and much disquiet in the ranks, it was a tough job to find the killer. Who would have thought that our little WI could harbour such wicked women!!




The President was bumped off by eating poisoned WI jam - what else - and half of the women in our WI were on the possible list of suspects!. We did find the killer - although she still hasn't said sorry!!



The evening was rounded off with delicious nibbles that everyone had brought along to share.

We were all most grateful to Claire for allowing us to use her house and garden for the evening.


Hallaton WI Visit

 We were delighted to travel a few miles across the valley to visit our friends in Hallaton WI. Their speaker for the night brought along a European Eagle Owl and a Peregrine Falcon. 

Sally with owl

One of our number managed to tick something off from her bucket list and made a lifelong friend of the owl. We think that she was smitten by him just because of his name - Elvis!!

Grateful thanks to Hallaton WI for all their hospitality.


* * * * * * * * * * * * *


Village Seat


There it was, quite happy in the middle of the village, used by many but never thought about much. Then one day, along came a group of women determined to pay it some attention. A ground sheet was placed under it and then the women started attacking from all sides.

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And what a good job they have done!

Many thanks to the ladies of the WI who took time out on a Saturday morning to spruce up the seat opposite the village hall. It now is ready and prepared for another year.


2013 seat painting 1



Heather Wilson - September Meeting

An Artist's Journey Through the Work of Parian Porcelain and Acrylic Painting

Heather was most amusing, telling stories of how her love of painting and working with Parian ware has enriched her life. Heather brought along some of her paintings and porcelain for us to see, before creating a small parian flower.


2013 Oarian2013 Parian


* * * * * * * *

 Desborough Group Quiz

Friday 4th October.


A group of us thoroughly enjoyed a Group Quiz and Fish and Chip Supper in Desborough. We came fourth overall although there wasn't that big a gap between five of the teams. We bought raffle tickets, won a couple of prizes and had a great laugh. A good night out all round!



Desb Quiz 2013


October Walk

The weather stayed good for our walk in October. The group did a brisk walk round Ridlington and then retired for lunch at Medbourne. A good day for all.


Walk 2013 A     Walk 2013 B


Oct walk 2013


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November 6th

Fiona Cairns


We never thought we would see a poster like this advertising any of our meetings!




We are a small rural WI and rely on visitors to help boost our funds. These funds then enable us to obtain good speakers and demonstrators etc and so the cycle continues. 


The uptake from neighbouring WI's and local villagers alike far exceeded our expectations and on the night Fiona was greeted by the Village Hall full of people.



Fiona talked about her early years in design and her movement to working in the kitchens at Hambleton Hall. She talked about the early years of the business and the development right through to taking THAT phone call. We enjoyed the slides that so wonderfully illustrated the journey that Fiona had been on and we enjoyed even more the cakes that she had brought with her to serve to our visitors.


Fiona also very generously brought along one of her beautiful Christmas Cakes for us to add to our raffle. As you can imagine, it was a great attraction! The cake was won by a visitor from Gretton WI.



After the main meeting was over, Fiona then signed copies of her books which she had brought along to the meeting.


We were most grateful to Fiona for entertaining so many of us at our last meeting with a speaker for 2013. What a wonderful evening we all had.




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County Lunch 

Barnwell Village Hall


We were very fortunate to obtain 5 tickets for the County Lunch, this year held at Barnwell Village Hall. The guest speaker was Rev. Richard Coles, current vicar of St. Mary the Virgin, Finedon but previously of the Communards Pop Group.


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Richard entertained us royally with many anecdotes about his rich and varied life, before we all sat down to a delicious meal provided by the County Catering Committee.


We all bought raffle tickets and the first ticket out of the hat was one bought by Larraine


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 One in our group had declared that she never won anything, before promptly winning a prize herself.

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She then went  on to win the table flowers!

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Sally declared that she had only started winning since joining the W.I.

She should have joined years ago!!!!


We had a great day - good company, well fed and watered and an excellent speaker.


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Richard III - tales from 1485; the car park and all that!

Caroline Roberts


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If we didn't know much about Richard III before the meeting we certainly did by the end! Caroline Roberts is a Blue Badge Guide based in Leicester and wonderfully entertained us with stories about the finding of the body of Richard III in a car park in Leicester. Thrown in for good measure was information about the legal set up of the dig, detail about the battle of Bosworth, ancient murders, sites of burial, historical background and a little bit of folklore. We had a wonderful evening and it left many of us wanting to go on one of the walks that Caroline organises in Leicester. A real treat!


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An Evening With

Michael Portillo




We certainly didn't want to pass up an opportunity to have an evening with Michael Portillo! Fourteen of us had tickets to hear him speak at the Spinney Theatre in Northampton. His talk ranged over his early life and his Spanish background, his life in politics which he thought had been stressful and his afterlife on the radio and as a presenter of, amongst other things, Great British Railway Journeys.

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Some famous faces in the audience!


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Lakelands Hospice -Corby

 Thank you to everyone

who baked a cake for Lakelands Hospice. Lakelands exists entirely through the efforts of fundraisers.

Ashley Welland Valley WI members bake cakes which are used only for the day patients and their relatives who use the centre. The cakes are a direct gift from us to them.




June will be a busy month for members of Ashley Welland Valley WI. We have started with a walk that took in parts of Oundle and the country park there. Because the Saturday morning was very wet, the organisers decided to walk in the afternoon but to have lunch as planned at Stoke Doyle. Our meals were excellent and everyone was well fed before starting out.




The walk round the countryside park in Oundle provided members with great sights and sounds. One member remarked on hearing a cuckoo for the first time in a couple of years. There were also plenty of swans, cygnets, herons and butterflies. The most interesting thing for some members was the enormous frog.


What you cannot see - is the number that gave it a kiss!!

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Garden Outing

Coton Manor

We had lovely weather for our trip to Coton Manor. The gardens, as usual, did not disappoint.


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 The wildlife also wanted to put on a display.

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And of course, no trip is fully completed unless a cup of tea and piece of cake are on the menu. 

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WI House



One warm Tuesday morning found a few of us packing the county Northamptonshire News at WI House. It was a busy morning as there were far more inserts than usual. However, we have done our bit and were rewarded with a lovely cup of tea!

Here we are, slogging away.


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Trip to the North Cotswolds


We had planned a one night stay in the North Cotswolds area visiting Snowshill Manor, Mill Dene Gardens and Hidcote Manor. The group set off on a Wednesday morning in various cars and met up for a light lunch in the Snowshill Arms. After refreshments to keep us going we then entered Snowshill Manor, surely one of the most bizarre and interesting places many of us have ever visited. The Manor was owned by Charles Wade who filled it with beautiful things - craft, hand-made objects some of which are shown here below.

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Snowshill Manor is so full of amazing objects that it would take days of wandering round to attempt to take in everything in the building. We tried our best though!




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A good meal in the evening refreshed us, although we talked for so long the staff had to move us into the lounge area of the hotel


In the morning we set off to visit a small two and a half acre garden called Mill Dene. It was here that we all decided to assemble for next year's garden meeting! A treasure of a garden, a delight in every way.

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In the afternoon we visited Hidcote, an arts and crafts garden which is wonderful to behold. A very different garden to Mill Dene, but a garden that offers beautiful planting, vistas, architectural features and more besides.

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 Our trip was tiring, but made wonderful by the weather, the visits and most of all by the company.


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Douglas Maddy

We thought that we would try something different and so booked Douglas Maddy to teach us how our perceptions play a part in him being able to work magic. He started with an illusion in which we all thought that his head had doubled in size!! With that under his belt he had us hooked.


Audience participation saw one of our group work hard at helping out with a trick with a toilet roll. The audience were front row as Doug totally confused our willing member while we collapsed with laughter. 




We all had a fun wonderful evening - an evening with a difference!


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The Taming of the Shrew


Once again we managed to have lovely weather for our trip to Tolethorpe which meant that we could all picnic in the grounds before the show. 



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This year we again had great seats and saw a wonderful production of The Taming of the Shrew.

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Posh Frocks and Hats Coffee Morning


A few of us visited Pipewell and Rushton WI and enjoyed a lovely morning at their Posh Frocks and Hats Coffee Morning. One amongst us was posher than most, decked out most charmingly in pink.

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It was good to meet up and have time with members from other WI's. Again, the weather made the morning delightful.

Local Pictures

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