Inspiring women to learn new skills in a fun environment

Inspiring women to learn new skills in a fun environment

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Camberley WI Meetings Archive - See Gallery for more photos.

2019 Camberley WI Meetings

10 July: Glass Fusion

Rachel from Mrs Potts Place once again entertained us with a fabulous evening of glass fusion.  We each made a hanging window charm and are looking forward to seeing the results once they have been fired.


12 June: Ascot Afternoon Tea

OK, so Ascot was still a week away, and our meeting was in the evening, but our members enjoyed dressing up in lovely outfits and hats, sitting with people they didn't normally sit with and then tucking into a delicious afternoon tea of sandwiches and homemade cakes.  Conversation flowed during the "getting to know you" quiz, where we found out about each other's first jobs and secret vices (red wine seemed to feature heavily here!), then we exercised our brain cells with questions on Ascot, the Royal Family and tea, before choosing the best hat in the room.



8 May: Woodturner & Resolutions

This month we were enthralled to watch local woodturner Arthur turn a piece of wood that had previously been part of a piece of furniture into a lovely mushroom ornament.  This was included in our raffle, so a lucky member won this.  Arthur explained the history and process of woodturning and brought along many beautiful items to sell.  We then voted on the NFWI Resolutions and recommended that both "Don't Fear the Smear" and "Against the Decline in Local Bus Services" be taken up as a national campaign.








10 April: Signing

What an inspirational lad!  Thank you to WI Committee member Louise for bringing along her son Zach and care worker Jo to explain all about British Sign Language.  They gave us a demonstration on the richness of the language, and explained how best to communicate with a deaf person.  We began to grasp the challenges that Zach has faced in his life, and then all had a go at signing some simple phrases and finger spelling our names, to much hilarity!



















13 March: Chelsea Pensioner

We all thoroughly enjoyed listening to Chelsea Pensioner Brian describing life at the Royal Hospital, and he was tickled pink with his Mini-Me - knitted and presented by President Liz Hughes!























13 February: Natural Cosmetics - Body Butter and Body Scrub

We mixed essential oils into a mixture of shea butter and cocoa butter to make a delicious moisturising cream, and then added demerara sugar to make an invigorating body scrub.  Many thanks to Caroline Atkins for bringing all the equipment and leading us in this fun activity.



9 January: Chair Exercises and Nutrionist

Nutrionist Diane debunked a few myths around food and Personal Trainer Heidi got us exercising with stretchy bands.















2018 Camberley WI Meetings

11 December: Xmas social

Liz, Louise & Marilyn adding to the Christmas entertainment....


14 November: AGM & Bring & Buy

We raised over £380 for charity as everyone grabbed a bargain.















10 October: Clarins

We had a large turnout to sample the Clarins products, demonstrated by a bevy of bubbly beauties!

















12 September: Glass Fusion

Mrs Potts gave us expert tuition to enable us to each make a flower coaster, and in return our President Liz Hughes made her a Mini Me!


11 July: Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue

Fascinating talk by Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue on the importance of making our gardens a good habitat for hedgehogs and other wildlife.












13 June: Waitrose

We enjoyed a very interesting presentation from Gary Collyer, General Manager of Waitrose in Bagshot, who talked about the history of John Lewis and what it was like to work for the firm.  He also brought along some very yummy cakes for the raffle!










9 May: Gardening Evening and Plant Sale

Inspired by a request from one of our members, we brought in seedlings to sell for our chosen charity and raised over £200.  We also watched a flower arranging demonstration and saw pictures made from succulents.










11 April: Mosaics

Denise from "Mosaic Happy" provided tiles, glue, boards and detailed instructions to enable 160 of us each create an individual mosaic for the garden.














15 March: 105 year old Alice Moller tells her story

We heard a fascinating talk by Alice who described her life in Nazi occupied Vienna, and her subsequent escape with her husband and young daughter to England.













14 February: Card Making

We celebrated Valentine's Day by welcoming new members and making cards.










10 January: Probation Officer

Jean Weatherly gave an interesting talk about her life as a Probation Officer, including some amusing tales.  She is obviously dedicated to her job and the talk inspired some fascinating questions.

2017 Camberley WI Meetings

12 December: Rock Choir

Many thanks to Danny and the Camberley Rock Choir for an entertaining evening.  We all enjoyed singing along to the Christmas Carols, and then tucked into the drinks and nibbles served by the committee.












8 November: AGM and Bring & Buy Sale

AGMs are just AGMs aren't they? A strange procedure that has to be seen to be followed.  We were sorry to lose the services of three committee members: Fiona (who will remain in a the WI as a tea/cake consultant) and Annie and Cara who have been on the committee since that first inaugural night in 2012 when we opened up a room to see who would turn up, having no idea that 170 people thought it might be a good idea!  They have been an immeasurable help on the committee and we will miss them enormously.  But fortunately they will remain members so we can still call on them in an emergency!

The Bring & Buy Stall went well and nearly £400 was raised for Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice and Besom.  Some Crafty members also had stalls of their wares to sell.

11 October: Health & Beauty Evening

A wide selection of therapists gave up their evening to give us taster sessions, and we were each able to sample two - choosing from Non-surgical facelift, Hi tech Super facial, Chair exercises, Sylist, Chiropractor, Hair stylist, Hand reflexology, Team from Clarins and Aromatherapy hand massage.

12 September: Women's Health with Rosie Fothergill

Rosie is a physio working with women's health, particularly the pelvic floor area.  She gave us all the information we needed (and maybe more!) about certain 'women's problems' that the majority of women have experienced (or will experience in the case of our younger members!)  We had to come up with an appropriate 'thank you' cake, and if you can't see what it says on the pants it says "cheeky no leaky"!!

12 July: Craft evening - Powertex brooches

Louise introduced us to a new craft - Powertex - which can be applied to fabric, wood, cardboard, etc and hardens it.  The finished articles can then be painted or varnished.  We all had a go at making brooches with interesting results.  Louise had also brought along some fabulous articles which she and her family had made - figurines, decorated boxes and wall art.  Oh, to have her talent..!

14 June: Introduction to Salsa and Disco Dancing

We thought it would be a good idea to get off our behinds and move a bit on a Wednesday evening.  So  Emily came along and showed us how to do a bit of Latin and some Disco.  With lots of arms waving (not always in the same direction) and rhythmic moves we 'mastered' that and moved on to Disco.  A whole routine to the song 'Car Wash'.  I'll never hear it in the same light again.  All great fun, even on a hot night in June!












10 May: Bronzefield Bees WI

Dee Flurry, who is a Prison Administrator in Category "A" prison Bronzefield, came to talk to us about her role as The President of the Bronzefield Bess WI, the first WI set up in a prison.  There are now six women prisons who now have a WI within their walls (out of the 12 women's prisons in the UK).  The subject matter was obviously of great interest to everyone and the questions could have got on all night.  Louise made one of her infamous cakes for Dee to take back and share with the members of the Bronzefield Bees WI.











19 April: Around the World: Japan

An evening on an Eastern theme - we tried sushi, made origami book marks, learned about holiday destinations, attempted to learn a few words of Japanese, and admired the many artefacts brought in for us: Bonsai trees, calligraphy & traditional paintings, and incredibly intricate embroidery.



8 March:  Pottery Painting

Mrs Potts' Place opened in Camberley a few months ago and has painting pottery classes and parties for all ages.  They are now branching out into glass fusing and silk painting.  We set them the challenge of having a party of 140 WI members all painting a heart shaped pot.  They rose to the challenge magnificently and a lot of preparation on their part meant we had a very successful evening.  Looking forward to seeing the finished projects once they have been fired!

8 February: Making a beaded bracelet

Elaine provided each with a pack of assorted beads, wire and clasps from which we had great fun making our own beaded bracelets.


11 January: A Day in the Life of A ...Headteacher

Catherine Bates, Headteacher at a Primary School in Ascot gave us a fascinating insight into her work and a typical day.  Louise presented her with another one of her stunning cakes.

We voted on this year's Resolutions, with the most popular one being "Alleviating Loneliness".

Then Liz presented a cheque for £4,000 to Kendra on behalf of KatCanDo charity which was made up of money we had raised through the jewellery sale, Josephine’s summer picnic, sale of MiniMe packs and theatre tickets, sponsored walk, the birthday diary lottery and the Bring & Buy Sale. This amount was doubled by our WI to bring it up to the total amount.

And because it was our 5th birthday we had a cake and balloon to celebrate.

2016 Camberley WI Meetings

13 December: Sugarcraft

It's nearly Christmas so everyone had a go at making a snowman/Father Christmas/Christmas tree out of fondant icing to take home and proudly place on top of their own homemade (or bought) Christmas Cake.  Huge thanks to Louise who spent hours preparing the packs for us.

9 November:  Bring and Buy Sale and the AGM

No photos for this one, but the Bring & Buy Sale was a great success £500 for our charity of the year KatCanDo.  The AGM went off as AGMs do, Liz remains the President, and the committee remains the same with the addition of Fiona Williams.

12 October: Art

art cake

Examine this cake carefully.  One of Louise's specials.  This was the cake she made to give to Carole Head, the Chairman of the FCSA (Frimley and Camberley Society of Arts) to thank her for coming to instruct us in the finer points of sketching a still life.  See that tiny easel?  See that tiny still life on that tiny easel?  That is what we attempted to draw.  I think Louise did it better than us in miniature!  But we all had a good time having a go, and some of the results were remarkably professional.

14 September 2016:


We thought we would start the autumn with a light-hearted quiz.  I think some people may have stayed away as they had an aversion to quizzes, but you know us, we like to do things a little differently, so this was an extremely light-hearted version, and no-one needed any intellectual capacity!Based on long gone TV quiz/game shows we had round as diverse as The Price Is Right, Name That Tune, Generation Game, Bullseye - yes, real darts! - and Countdown.  We even had a human conveyor belt as per the Generation Game. Only photos that can be seen are the 'Make a Balloon dog in 3 minutes' round!

10 September 2016:

In aid of KatCanDo, on the only rainy day for a month, a group of hardy walkers turned out and paid £5 to walk around Virginia Water for our Charity of the year KatCanDo.  Here they all are, and I'm glad to say there were lots more of them who paid £5 not to do the walk!


13 July 2016:

Summer Picnic

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.  But who knew the summer didn't really get under way until a couple of weeks later?  We 'rented' Brenda's lovely big garden for the evening, we begged and borrowed several gazebos, we planned some outdoor games, bought some alcohol, put out the bunting and let the people in.  For a start everyone bought such generous plates of food that we were overwhelmed with it all.  So much left at the end that we took it down to the night shelter who were very grateful! It was almost sunny to begin with and everyone was happy to sit around and chat, we had thought people would expect entertainment so had planned croquet, egg and spoon races etc but in the end they weren't necessary.  People just wanted to natter, which was fine.  Unlike the weather, which decided to rain about 9pm so everyone huddled under the gazebos to stay dry.  We did have time for the mini-me Identity Parade though, those who brought their Mini-Mes displayed them on a bench and everyone had to guess who their owners were!  The raffle was won by Liz Ryves (who I am happy to say had also bought her Mini-Me) so a good evening was had by all despite an English summer's evening! (Photos in the Gallery)

8 June 2016:

Rosemary the Knicker Lady

With some trepidation we paid out money for The Knicker Lady to come to see us.  Her reputation came before her and we had heard she was very funny.  I'm happy to say she didn't disappoint!  She told the story of knickers (and other clothes) through the ages and had an enormous collection of vintage examples to show us.  It has to be said she had us all laughing, and so many people remembered the atrocities once worn e.g. the liberty bodice, the knitted bathing suits etc......


11 May 2016:

Around The World: Spain

First of a new series! The chosen country being Spain, we obviously had to have Flamenco - and Spanish wine - and tapas.  We were also entertained by Spanish Rita who gave an illustrated talk on an area of Northern Spain, two travel agents pointed out the best places to visit, and we tried our hands at two Spanish crafts - tile painting and making fans.  Which country shall we 'do' next year?

13 April 2016: Health & Well Being

Back for another year this evening is always a big success.  This year we had representatives from the worlds of hair styling, hypnotherapy, acupuncture, anti-acing facials, hand made beauty products, Indian head massage, reflexology, massage, pilates and The Body Shop.  Something for everyone there, I think! All members chose two practitioners and spent 30 minutes with each.

9 March 2016: Longacres

Matt, John and Phil came along to tell us the history of Longacres. How it started in 1979 by Peter Long (now 86) with three polytunnels growing chrysanthemums and runner beans, expanding over the years. It now has a vast retail space, food , garden accessories, cut flowers etc.  Some of this following the trends for outdoor eating and garden living.  It has recently been voted the Garden Retail Outlet of the Year 2016, which is a huge achievement for what is still a family owned business.  John filled us in on the retail side of things and Phil talked about cut flowers and everything else! Louise presented them with one of her cakes, this time with cake soil and gardening gloves!

10 February 2016: A Day In The Life Of A ...Vet

Sarah Taylor is a vet at the Gordon House Vet Centre in Camberley. What a busy day she has!  She told us, with the help of photos, a little of what a vet's life is like. Five years training, and very competitive to get onto the course, learning not only the anatomy of animals, but also humans, the science involved, not just pets but all farm animals, abattoirs etc etc.  No wonder it takes five years to qualify.  Sarah also does a lot of charity work where people cannot afford the services of a professional vet, also spent some time in Nottingham where, apparently, there are a lot of homeless people with pets that need attention.  She spoke vividly about all aspects of a vet's life, which, in her case, seemed to involve bringing home several animals to keep as her own pets!  We presented her with one of Louise's cakes, a cat, which had been finished off by Louise's Dad as Louise couldn't get home in time to finish it herself!!

13 January 2016: Street Angels

A New Year and a New Venue!  Everybody trooped to Pine Ridge Golf Club in the wilds of the pine trees of Bisley Road. So many, in fact, that we had our largest turn out ever! A few teething problems that we hope to iron out in time, but they did all they could to sort us out. We were entertained by Karen Kendall from Street Angels. They venture out in pairs onto the High Street in Camberley on a Friday and Saturday night to aid, assist and talk to young people who have largely had too much to drink. They wear distinctive waterproof jackets with the Street Angels logo on the back, carrying a back pack contains flip flops, lollipops, dustpan and brush, water, wet wipes etc. The lollipops because it is difficult to be aggressive whilst sucking a lollipop, flip flops for girls who can no longer cope with their high heels, dustpan and brush to sweep up broken glass and save those feet again.  They have been going 6 years and, related or not, there has been a 40% reduction in crime. The police have a zero tolerance on anti-social behaviour, and provide the training for the Street Angels.  Young people have a better relationship with the Street Angels than the police, and the older the volunteer, the better.  People have more respect for a Granny-aged helper than someone of their own age. The Angels are non-judgemental and Christians, funded by the police and local churches. They work on a 5 week shift, so only commitment once every 5 weeks, but what a commitment!  Karen told us plenty of tales of what goes on a Saturday night!  Take a look at them at work

We also presented cheques to representatives of our two charities for 2015, Step by Step and yourSanctuary.  They were very grateful for the gift of £2000 each.

The cake!!



2015 Camberley WI Meetings

9th December: Colour Me Beautiful

To end the year we invited Charlotte from Colour Me Beautiful to make sure we were all wearing colours that suit us.  The shades of the seasons now seem to have been taken over by light and dark, and soft etc. Various members were used as models to demonstrate which colours suited which type.  Then we all had a go at various ways of tying a scarf.  Did you know what a difference it makes if you use the right colour lipstick?  And small people should not wear large jewellery - who knew?  Alcohol and nibbles were served and we finished off with a couple of carols from Simply Singing.



11th November: AGM and cream tea!

How to liven up an AGM - provide a cream tea and dress up through the ages!  We had great fun with our costumes, ranging from 3 suffragettes, to a land army girl, to a tea lady to...well, all sorts from 1920s to current day. Liz was voted in as President again, the committee remained the same and we all set to and ate home made scones, clotted cream and jam.  The newly formed Simply Singing even sang Jerusalem, that was a first!

14th October - Crafts Workshop

This is always popular.  Everyone seems to enjoy a hands-on experience!  This time we had the choice of making lavender parasols, learning to knit, learning to crochet, how to make those fiddly Dorset buttons, appliqué , quilling gift tags (did you know what quilling was?), beading, gift boxes from everyday card, and rag wreaths which went down very well.  We will probably make a Craft Workshop a feature every year and change the crafts around accordingly.  Claire continued making the WI Mosaic and everyone took a turn in adding a piece.  It is quite special.

9th September - Inside Broadmoor - Jill Ashley

This month one of our very own members, Jill Ashley, was invited to speak to us as we had heard from others what a good speaker she was on her chosen subject - Broadmoor.  We needed her to speak to us!  Jill is retired now but for 16 years she was a nurse at Broadmoor, the high security psychiatric hospital, whose alarm we all hear every Monday morning at 10am. She told us a little of the history and that since 2007 it is men only, and most patients have severe mental illness and/or personality disorders. Most have also been convicted of serious crimes.  Security is, understandably, paramount. For example, no-one leaves the dining room until every knife and fork has been counted back in. Notorious criminals include the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe (no longer his name), and Ronnie Kray.  Jill was very entertaining about the antics of some of the patients, unrepeatable here!  It must take a certain type of person to cope with this sort of thing day in, day out.

11th July: Amanda Parker - World Champion Trampolinist

Amanda Parker looks about 17 but is 29 and an England, European and World Champion in trampolining. She works alone and with a partner for synchronised trampolining. Her partner in this lives in Durham and they don't practise together!  They time their moves, somersaults, twists, etc then start jumping until they are in synch and then just do all the moves perfectly in time!  This made them world champions.  After a year off with injury Amanda has returned to win the World Championship that is a qualifier for the Olympics.  The top 8 in the UK are guaranteed a place in Team GB for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.  Fingers crossed! She showed us her gold medals and we gave her a cake!  Amanda performed for us on the trampoline in our meeting room, but if you want to see more of her in action she will be appearing with the Springfree trampoline at Longacres on Saturday July 18.

10th June: Fish

You will never have met anyone more passionate about fish than Sue Lucas.  Her fish shop on Frimley Road has now been open for six months and doing a roaring trade.  She has been "in fish" all her life, first in her Dad's shop 'Fish & Game' and then working for Sainsburys, Waitrose and Youngs.  But it was always her ambition to open her own shop. With the help of daughter Jasmine and husband Duncan (a Guinness Book of Records champion for doing something fast and fishy) she sells fish you have never heard of, but is delicious.  She knows where the fish was swimming yesterday!












13th May:  Isabella Karat

Isabella asked to come and talk to us as a result of our raising £4000 for the FPH Breast Care Unit.  And aren't we glad she did?  An eminent Breast Cancer specialist she not only performs breast reconstruction, she also lectures on it at the Royal College of Surgeons.  She told us the most amazing number of facts concerning breast cancer.  Some horrifying like 1 in 3 people will get it in their lifetime and the worst place in the UK for it is just along the road in Rushmoor!  No-one knows why.  So down to earth, not a bit as you would imagine an eminent surgeon, she brought along a real man in order to demonstrate how to check your breasts!  We are hoping to get her to send all these facts to us as it was impossible to take every one of them in on the night. One of the most interesting guests we have ever had.


15th April: Flower Arranging

The title 'Flower Arranging' doesn't do this evening justice.  And nor could you really call Rebecca Ellis from Lily's Flowers a mere florist.  She started life doing film sets, then wanted to run her own business knowing flowers were what she passionately wanted to do.  Beginning with a stall outside Sunningdale station she moved on to her own premises in Lightwater. From here she has contracts to do the foyer displays in Great Fosters Hotel, Stoke Park Hotel and Wentworth Golf Club. Rebecca and assistant Victoria created, before our very eyes, a magnificent display destined for Great Fosters.

We were then provided with buckets of flowers to create our own mini display in a more modest jam jar!  Rebecca runs courses at Lily's Flower School ( and very generously donated a course to the lucky winner of our raffle.

Yve made a wonderful cupcake/flower cake for Rebecca and Victoria









11th March - Adele Parks

This month we had our very own giant book group.  Writer Adele Parks came to talk to us.  First she told us her story, her background in the NE of England, her successful job in advertising and then her first book shortly after the Bridget Jones phenomena. She is highly organised and driven, having written 14 books in 14 years, all of which have made the Top 10.  She explained the research she had to do for Spare Brides, her first historical book, even going to the V&A to look at, and feel, the fashions of the era.  She was very entertaining and happily signed books for members.  She was thrilled by the cake that Yve presented to her!

11th February - Dogs!

This month our guests were dogs!  In particular, we had Booker, a golden retriever who was a Guide Dog for the blind. His owner Mary came with him, and also Diana who was a representative of the Guide Dogs association. This charity has been running since 1931 and there are now 4,800 guide dog owners in the UK.  It costs £5 a day to support each dog.  Mary and Diana told us how Booker knows where Sainsburys is and also Poundland!  They are campaigning for buses to announce the stops on a bus route to make life easier for the blind.

Next up was a very bouncy black cocker spaniel called Cora.  She and Irene represented Hearing Dogs for the Deaf. Although not a Hearing Dog herself, Cora is creating them by producing several litters of suitable puppies!  The charity was founded by Bruce Fogle (father of Ben) and the dogs are trained to alert their owner to household sounds and danger signals in the home, outside and the workplace.

Finally we had Gus, a black labrador owned by Stephanie who represented Pets as Therapy.  Gus is a normal household pet trained by Stephanie to go into residential homes and schools to provide petting and companionship.  They go into a local primary school twice a month and the children who are having reading problems read their book to the dog. It improves their reading dramatically!

All the dogs were very well behaved and we enjoyed meeting them all and hearing their tails (sorry!)

14th January - Health & Beauty

This was a popular evening when we tried it in our first year.  Even more popular this year, our Third Birthday!, as we had one of our largest crowds yet. A bit of a logistics headache, but I think it all turned out well in the end.  We had a hairdresser, nails, massage, women's health, eyebrow threading, reflexology and the ladies from the Clarins department in the House of Fraser.  Everyone got to choose two sessions and really seemed to enjoy the evening.  Perhaps we should make it an annual event?

We were also delighted to present a cheque for £4000 to Donna Egbeare, a breast cancer surgeon from Frimley Park Hospital, as a result of our fundraising in 2014.  (See News & Events)

2014 Camberley WI Meetings

10th December - Military Wives Choir

At our January Birthday party when we were entertained with tales from GBBO by quarter finalist Beca she mentioned she was a member of the Aldershot Military Wives Choir.  We invited them to attend our Christmas meeting.  Unfortunately due to other commitments and who knows what else, only four members of the choir were able to attend.  However, their founder Samantha was able to tell us how she founded the group, how some of their members were selected by Gareth Malone to appear in the Remembrance Day concert at the Royal Albert Hall, and what a support the choir was to Army wives, especially when their husbands were away in Afghanistan.  They ended by introducing their musical director and conducting our WI members in a festive medley of Christmas songs and carols. We all sounded rather good!   Yve Wood came up with a wonderful cake for the choir to take back and enjoy with their fellow members.


12th November - AGM and Family History

Thora Ray gave us a very interesting talk on how to trace your family tree.  Starting from the absolute basics of getting a notebook to write everything down in, and talking to relatives and friends, and making notes of who said what, she went on to talk about the Family Tree websites and tricks of the trade.  We could have listened to her for longer, and those of you who may belong to the U3A can sign up for one of her courses there.  Louise presented her with a Family Tree of cupcakes (see below).

Then we were on to the business of the AGM.  Two committee members, Karen and Jackie, were standing down and remarkably we had just two volunteers so the process was easy.  We welcomed Julia Payne and Elaine Wood on to the committee, and Elaine will become the Treasurer.  Liz gave a short illustrated talk on the recent trip to the Emma Bridgewater factory in Stoke on Trent, and then was voted to stay on as President for a further year. Thanks went to Christine and Debbie from Camberley Diamonds who oversaw the voting, and lovely bouquets of flowers were presented to Karen and Jackie for all their hard work over the last (nearly) three years.

8th October - Detective Chief Superintendent Helen Collins

DCI Collins turns out to be a Very Important Policewoman.  She is totally in charge of all police in West Surrey.  She told us her tale of how she got started from first wanting to be a dentist (!) to how she never stayed in the same position in the police for more than three years, and so worked her way up the ladder.  She was an inspirational speaker.  Her favourite work related things appeared to be Post Mortems and Firearms!  She has dealt with murders and one siege and considers Scott and Bailey the most authentic of all the TV police dramas, in fact at one point she said she was that Inspector played by Amelia Bullmore!  Definitely one of the best speakers we have ever had.  She was thrilled with her Police Hat cake made by Louise which was a very accurate replica of the one she brought with her!













10th September - Linda Barker Inspired Craft Evening

After the August break we were back with a purpose! Following a Denman day with Interior Designer/TV personality Linda Barker we thought it might be fun to recreate something she demonstrated but this time with all our members.  This involved a lorry load of picture frames from Ikea, several rolls of butterfly wallpaper, a few metres of fabric and plenty of glue.  Everyone got stuck in (literally) and barely waiting for instructions they were away.  What a lot of individuality can come out of so few components!  Everyone seemed delighted that they were able to create their own butterfly picture, whether they considered themselves artistic or not. More evenings like this seems to be the general consensus at the end!


9th July - Wine and Tea Tasting

This turned into quite a social night, people had the chance to sit and chat to each other, many with a generous glass of wine.  Perhaps we should do 'social' more often.  Mark from Twinings worked very hard (ably assisted by Jackie) explaining the difference between the teas and how to make it to gain the best flavour. Meanwhile Chris from Majestic had laid out enough tasting glasses for an army, and regrettably we weren't able to finish them all! (Perhaps wary of having to remember one's car registration on exiting the car park and it's new parking system?) Inevitably the wine drinkers were considerably louder than the tea drinkers, but we hope both groups enjoyed the surprisingly gentle evening in comparison with some of the more frenetic ones we have!

11th June - Upcycling

Pam Gruhn from Vintiquities may not have spoken to a crowd as big as ours before but she proved to be very good at it!  She brought along several large items of furniture that she had put her shabby-chic touch to, and showed us how to do it.  With help from her assistant, Clare, who demonstrated how simple it was to add a stencil to a finished item of furniture, Pam picked a few willing volunteers from the audience who came on stage and followed instructions on painting and waxing a bedside 3-drawer cabinet.  With chalk paint (paint for girls!) there is no rubbing down and preparing, you just slap it on! You can then very lightly sand in places and give it another coat (not necessarily the same colour), a quick rub down with wax and that's it - you're done!  There were plenty of us in the room who were off to buy the paint and give it a go straight away!














14th May - Marks and Spencer

We waited with bated breath to see who would turn up, if anyone, after the social media induced response to our request to the Manager!  Alan Taylor stepped up to the plate bearing his TV screen, which unfortunately had the wrong connection so only the front row got to see the pictures on his laptop! However he told us how he started in M&S, not expecting it to be his career, and is now in charge of the produce in the Food Department, specifically the new Deli.  His inspiration is Borough Market and the way the produce is displayed there, and anyone not having been to M&S in the last few months will notice a big change in the product and the way it is now displayed.  There was a lively Question and Answer session which he bravely coped with and our only disappointment was the lack of free samples!










9th April - St John Ambulance

St John Ambulance member, Mark, bravely approached a sea of women and explained how to deal with a suspected heart attack: talk to them, sit them down, give them an aspirin, call the ambulance. His trusty assistant, half a body, lay very still while he demonstrated CPR (chest compression with hands).  Apparently this is very hard work but even if you break the patient's ribs it is better than doing nothing at all!  He showed us the contents of the Defiibrillator, including a razor to shave any hairy chests, and how to attach the pads.  Jill Ashley volunteered to pretend to be choking while Mark showed us what to do.  The first thing is is to say "Are you choking?"  because if they say "Yes", they aren't!  Who knew that the term Heimlich manoeuvre is now trademarked and cannot be used without permission? (The world's gone mad).  One of the most important things that Mark told us was that dialling 999 from a landlineis still the correct thing to do but calling 112 from a mobile phone is the quickest way of getting help as all mobile providers recognise it immediately.  We were all a lot more informed than we had been at the beginning of the evening.

12th March - Recycling

This was the night that we learnt exactly what we could recycle and what we couldn't.  If plastic springs back when you squash it, it goes in the black bin.  Oyster shells (well, this is Camberley after all) go in the food bin.  We forgot to ask what about the dead mouse the cat brings in?  My guess is black bin. We were entertained by Councillor Vivienne Chapman who has helped to create such a great Recycle Policy in Surrey Heath that awards have been won.  Verity Parker from the council was hugely knowledgeable about everything and very entertaining.  She and her Dad made the most enormous Rosei, an elephant made of small electrical appliances. How it got into our hall (or home again) we didn't ask!  There were free gifts in the shape of pink wheelie bins, just 5" high, for keeping your batteries in before recycling - by putting in a small plastic bag next to the bin.  Do not put the small pink bin outside by the bin, you will never see it again.   Also making a surprise appearance was ROARY, the Recycle Mascot (who had a strangely familiar air).

12th February - Birdboxes with B&Q

We were slightly nervous as this night drew closer as we had invited 50 (yes, 50!) new members.  Going on the principle that not everyone turns up to every meeting we thought, and hoped, not everyone would turn up!  (There can't be many WIs that hope their members don't show up.)  Normally it wouldn't matter, but we had to tell B&Q how many bird boxes to cut out ready for assembling, and we had to have room for everyone to sit down at a table.  Fortunately the weather was bad, a lot of people were sick, (such good news) and we got away with just over 120 members present.  Room for everyone!  A B&Q team valiantly turned up with all the bits of wood, and most importantly with a set of electric screwdrivers to help us out as we struggled with our manual ones.  A lot of people found they had made a box with built in air conditioning - gaps around the edge - but birds are hardy, aren't they?  It certainly wasn't a doddle, and I think everyone was very proud of their efforts.  We wait to see what they look like when decorated.  B&Q seemed genuinely touched by the lovely dovecote cake that Yve made and presented to them as a thank you present.


8th January - 2nd Birthday

This was a really great night.  To celebrate the occasion we invited three special guests.  Three very different inspiring women - Sarah Brocklebank, the Chief Executive of the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice, Beverley Harding, the current Mayor of Surrey Heath, and Beca Lyne-Pirkis the semi-finalist of the last Great British Bake Off. They joined in the quiz we had created with Rounds entitled 'Charities', 'Mayors', 'Cakes' and 'WIs'!  We also unveiled our large collection of bone china teacups and saucers, and coffee mugs.  The tea and coffee tasted so much better! (But maybe this had something to do with the wine we had quaffed while doing the quiz!)  The Mayor spoke first and told us about her year as Mayor so far. Speeches, openings, business breakfasts, foreign ambassador for the borough, a great diversification of events that take up her entire week, as well as attending and chairing certain council meetings.  Beverley also told us about the Town Plan for the future with a vast amount of money due to be spent to raise Camberley's profile up to that of a major town.

Sarah explained about the dedication of the Hospice staff and how they all looked forward to every day.  The NHS provides a small percentage of the £15,000 a day it takes to keep the Hospice open, the rest is entirely made up of donations. The staff are obviously hugely dedicated and we were told of a man who got married at the Hospice with all the staff making the arrangements possible and attending the wedding. Sarah was genuinely surprised and delighted to be presented with a cheque for £4000 which represented our fund-raising events during 2013.

Beca finished off the evening (which greatly overrun!) with an illustrated talk of her time on the Bake Off.  She was rightly proud of the fact that out of 14,000 applicants she came fourth.  She explained what that application process was like and how she coped with all the weekends in 'that tent'.  We could really have listened to her for much longer, it was fascinating.  Beverley and Beca were given thank you presents of a knitted mini-me each which they seemed delighted with!

Louise created the most fantastic cake which depicted every one of our meetings since we started, with a sugar paste President on the top!



2012 Meetings


2013 Camberley WI Meetings

11th December - Swish Party

People came, people bought clothes that they didn't want to wear anymore.  People looked at other people's clothes. Swish was announced, slight jostling of elbows but we are very polite in Camberley, people took clothes off to the loo for a try on, people decided yes or no, people took clothes home.  They swished!

19th November - Annual Meeting

It was what is says on the tin. Something all WIs have to go through each November.  Hilary resigned from the committee leaving a replacement to find. There were three candidates, everyone voted and Helen Embley was voted on.  Liz was voted on for a further year as President.  Jackie presented the Finances (healthy!) and Brenda gave a report on the year.  The Barn Dance raised a mighty £2,300 to swell the pot we will be presenting to the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice in January.  A questionnaire was filled in by those present to give an idea as to what members want and whether we are delivering!

After the meeting was concluded a book sale took place (also in aid of PTH).  We were overwhelmed with books but made just over £90 and the remainder were taken down to the PT Charity shop so they could raise a bit more money on them.

16th October 2013 - RMA Sandhurst

John Fairley, an ex Sandhurst man, told us a little of what Sandhurst was like in his day.  Army numbers were very much higher than they are now, and intakes were younger and didn't need a degree.  Major Claire Pitts has been in the army for 13 years. She did her training at the RMA and has spent 12 years going round the world with the army and has seen active service all over the world including Afghanistan.  She is now back at Sandhurst in charge of logistics.  She has 120 soldiers under her command.  She explained that the entry age for the RMA has varied over the years from 21, to 23, to 29, but is now being lowered from that age as apparently a 29 year old does not have the stamina of a 21 year old!  She talked about the women soldiers and how they are trying to give them the same training and active service rights as the men.  With a selection of photographs she gave a good account of what life is like for the young soldiers, including being sent to find their way around the Black Mountains with a compass, covering 70 miles in 48 hours, after just six weeks of training!








11th September 2013 - Bollywood

Tonight we had the facilities of the main auditorium of Camberley Theatre due to improvements being made to the IGC.  Luckily it was the ideal situation for our Bollywood night.  The wooden floor was great for the Bollywood dancing.  Two large groups of members took it in turns to learn the basics of the dancing, which was surprisingly easy to get at least looking authentic.  It was all in the hand movements!  After that Heidi and Rebecca (from Beatuivision, who organised the dancing and the stalls) gave us a demonstration of how it should really be done! We were treated to stalls showing us how to tie a sari, short term Indian tattoos and the ancient art form of Rangoli.  To make the evening go even better Khari Restaurant from the Atrium came in at short notice to give us a great taste of Indian street food.  One member was the lucky recipient of our raffle prize, a meal for two at Manzel's Restaurant.


10th July 2013 - Antiques Roadshow

We were lucky enough to gain the services of three TV antique dealers , Karen Dalmeny, Tim Hogarth and Simon Schneider who are regulars on Dickinson's Real Deals and Secret Dealers.  They were very accommodating and spent over an hour valuing the vast amount of strangely shaped objects that everyone bought in for an opinion.  They were particularly taken with Linda Casey's snuff box shaped liked small shoes, Janet Brown's Japanese ivory carving and Sarah Girt's French diamond pendant.  They also valued some odd bits of gold and silver that members were keen to sell and those people went home very happy with the cash that was exchanged for their broken bling! David Hughes was also available to value old records and a Good, Better, Best set of Beatles' records was displayed in true Antiques Roadshow tradition.  Louise came up trumps with the cake yet again by creating a Clarice Cliff iced teapot.


12th June 2013 - Ascot Race Nice/Fancy Hat Competition

We thought we should tie in a WI night with the local connection of Ascot Week ( a week out but you can't have everything!).  Lots of people entered into the spirit of wearing their Ascot hat, some were bought, some were hastily made and some members had gone to a great deal of trouble creating their masterpiece. We had asked a local milliner, Kate Holmes, to do the judging and she chose as the winner Heather Walsh who had made a wonderful hat complete with home made sandwiches and cakes! Everyone joined a team named after a famous racecourse and were given lists of runners and riders and possible odds to give them an idea of who to choose as a winner for each of the four races.  Virtual bets were made and the races were shown on the screen, with Cara doing the commentary! These are real races with the horses given 'amusing' names and the races chosen for their unpredictable outcome.  It turned out thatthe smallest (in strength not height!) team were the winners and received some appropriately horsey bath foam as their reward!


8th May 2013 - B & Q

B & QView photos

Our eagerly awaited DIY night.  Girls were doing it for themselves.  Bryan and his team from B&Q came armed with piles of orange aprons for us all to wear, he had chosen staff who had no knowledge of their chosen subject for the evening (but they must have had some training!) so we didn't feel we were being dealt with by experts.  They were amusing and entertaining while they demonstrated drilling, unblocking the sink, wallpapering, paint effects and tiling. Gales of laughter came from the kitchen sink at one point, the demonstrator had been unable to get her metal spirally rod thing down the kitchen waste pipe, Karen had a go and did it for them! She was given the metal spirally thing as a memento of the evening!  With the added bonus of the best raffle prize yet, a B&Q gas barbecue, it was a great evening.  Oh and we dealt with the Resolutions as well, and promised to use our High Street more often.



Trevor and John10th April 2013 - Hattos, Master Butcher

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What an interesting and informative evening! John Hatto of Hattos butchers on the Frimley Road came along and gave us a talk about the history of the business and brought along lamb and pork which he jointed whilst describing what each of the cuts were.

He explained how he started at the young age of 8 making mince, sausage meat and dripping, moving on to serving customers at just 12 years old. By 16 he knew he wanted to join the family firm and went off to Smithfield College for training. Despite the competition from supermarkets, Hattos has survived and is busier than ever.

John looked at what factors influence our decisions when buying meat such as British origin and knowing where the meat comes from, price, quality, free range and breed and was happy to answer all our questions. He came along with Trevor who he described as “the best retail butcher he’s ever worked with”. John and Trevor got to work jointing lamb and pork and John’s wife turned up with delicious tasters for us to try. The room was certainly buzzing as joints were then sold as well as a selection of other meats John / Trevor had brought along and there were leaflets and recipes available to takeaway.  John and Trevor were presented with a “butchers” cake as a thank you which was seen on display the following day in the shop!



13th March 2013 - Legal Quiz and Hotel ChocolatThe winning team - Choc Chip Cookie

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It did seem a strange combination - a visit from a team of Charles Russell Solicitors and Hotel Chocolat! However it turned out to be a fun, informative evening with the added bonus of "chocolate" tasting.

The team from Charles Russell came along with enough solicitors so that one could join each table. There were quiz rounds on such topics as inheritance and employment law, which although might sound like rather dry subjects, the questions led to much discussion on each table. Each quiz team / table was named after a chocolate range from Hotel Chocolat and later, we all had tasters during the final round which was all about my favourite subject - chocolate!

The winning team "Choc Chip Cookie" beat second place "Dizzy Praline" by only 1 point and went home with a chocolate prize.

The Charles Russell team were friendly, approachable and made the evening such a success. Thank you to WI member Marilyn Johnson for suggesting them. Well done to Louise Hodges for the amazing cake that was presented to the solicitors. Thanks also to Hotel Chocolat for the delicious samples and for the volunteers who manned the kitchen.

For further details contact Charles Russell 01483 252525


13Sugarcraftth February 2013 - Sugarcraft

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This was a feat of planning and organisation! We wanted to make sure everyone could have a hands-on go at sugarcraft.

The idea was to make a rose and a caterpillar and everyone was to have a cake to put them on. Each table had to share cutters and ladies had to bring along rolling pins and mats but once everyone got underway, the results were stunning in such a short space of time. I had never attempted sugarcraft and managed to produce a rose, even though this was in between giving instructions over the microphone and taking photographs. It did inspire me to have a go sometime at home and I hope others went away with the same feeling.

Well done to all the hard work put into this one evening. I know how much went on behind the scenes and how much it took over the lives of those on the Committee!

And of course, thanks to everyone who took part and gave it a go! Great fun.


9th January 2013 - Crocus
Crocus talk
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The first meeting of 2013 got off to a floral start with a talk from Mark Fane of Crocus, Windlesham.

Mark brought along a slideshow of photos which as he explained covered not only their participation in the Chelsea Flower Show and the Diamond Jubilee Pageant, but all the preparation that went into each event.

Their record at the Chelsea Flower show is impressive – 20 Gold Medals, 8 of which were also Best in Show!  This reflects the time and effort put in by the team and all the hurdles that they need to overcome to achieve this success. Mark explained in detail the work put in to last year’s garden – a French, Romantic, fragrant, elegant theme. This included transporting a 6 ton pear tree, building an extensive wall, overcoming wet, muddy conditions with lack of proper drainage, ensuring everything is in bloom or “in leaf” at just the right time, and creating a Turkish path with every single pebble added by hand! How amazing to see ideas, that start off as a vision, come to such fruition.

Crocus were also approached to provide the floral decoration for the Spirit of Chartwell boat, the Royal barge for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant and, as initial photos showed, this would involve a lot of work to transform it into something special and regal. They had six months to plan this and were provided with a warehouse in Docklands as their base. As much as possible needed to be sourced from the UK, although it was a lovely touch that some of the roses came from the village in Kenya where the Queen had been when she ascended to the throne. Again, so much thought and preparation went into this, from ensuring the weight on the boat was well balanced, conditioning the roses to come out just at the right time and using a glue gun to ensured nothing was going to fly around on the day when the barge was to be moving along the Thames in predicted bad weather! The use of 3000 violas which were set out around the letter E, and the 90 garlands numbered and positioned so that they were exactly the right size for the side of the boat they were going on, emphasised the sheer scale of the work undertaken and the responsibility on their shoulders to get it right!

Thank you so much to Mark for this amazing glimpse behind-the-scenes and to all involved with setting up and refreshments on the night. And of course, thanks to Yve for the wonderful cake for Mark.



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