More photos may be found by clicking on the date of the meeting.
WI member Clare Wong spoke to us about her job as a community nurse, looking after children with tracheostomies and on ventilators. Clare described the different positions she has held which led her to this current role, and about the issues that the children and their families face. It was a fascinating to learn about the different types of equipment each child requires and we could only begin to imagine how hard it must be for the parents.
We were entertained once again by Adam Scott-Goulding from London Walks, who took us on a virtual tour of Rock & Roll London. Fascinating stories, great photos and some live music thrown in - something for everyone!
10th March 2021 - Citizen's Advice Surrey Heath
Camberley WI welcomed Kate Sawdy, the CEO of Citizen’s Advice in Surrey Heath to our March meeting. Kate gave us a fascinating insight into the work of this amazing charity, staffed mainly by volunteers who provide advice on housing, benefits, debts, employment and much more. She talked about the history of the national Citizen’s Advice service, which was formed just after the outbreak of World War 2, and initially provided help with rationing, conscription and contacting relatives overseas.
We learned how the 40 volunteer advisers who run the office in Camberley are trained in a wide range of different subjects, have access to a large database of information, and have to keep up to date with changes in legislation. The events of the last year have inevitably meant an increase in questions about debt, employment rights and furlough and advice is currently given by telephone or email, but they hope to resume their walk-in sessions soon.
Kate gave examples of real problems faced by today’s clients, and talked about how rewarding it was to help people - overall her talk was both moving and inspirational.
14th April 2021 - Neal's Yard Organic Remedies
We had a lovely “hands-on” Zoom session in April, when local consultant Tanya from Neal’s Yard Organic Remedies took us step by step through the process of making our hands feel beautiful! After a rather gross look at the dead skin on the back of our hands (yuk!), we applied a simple scrub made from oil and sugar, making sure to reach all the areas between the fingers. We then popped them in a plastic bag under a warm towel for a few minutes to let the mixture soak in. Once clean, we applied a wonder product made from the seeds of wild rose-hips on our cuticles - this was quite waxy in appearance, smelled completely different from how I'd imagined and only a tiny amount was needed to nourish the nails. The next product we'd been given in our sample packs was Frankincense hand serum - this was very lightweight and rubbed in easily, although the smell wasn't to everyone's taste. Frankincense is obviously like marmite (!) but we learned that it is obtained by tapping the bark of certain trees, letting the sap which appears dry on the tree, and then harvesting it as crystals. Finally we gently rubbed in the wonderfully scented Bee Lovely hand cream, which gave off aromas of honey & orange. What a fantastic treat! Tanya was an excellent presenter, and said that the same routine could be applied to our feet, so we'll be ready for wearing sandals when the warmer weather comes!
12th May 2021 - Emma Kennedy
Camberley WI were left in stitches at our May Zoom meeting, when local celebrity Emma Kennedy described bizarre incidents from her life – we learned how a snog at a village disco had led to bad A level results, and what not to do if a skunk is eating your hair!! She described different decision points which had shaped her career, and how an inspirational English teacher had given her the motivation to never give up. Emma explained that after failing to get the necessary grades to go to Oxford Uni, and then spending a few months doing menial jobs, her former teacher had mentored and inspired her to try again, which ultimately led to a career as a lawyer. However, although successful, she wasn't happy, so gave it all up to become a writer, much to her Mother's horror. Many years of hard work and setbacks followed but she is now well known in celebrity circles, having authored several novels, written for and appeared in TV comedy series, and regularly appearing on TV panel shows - she won Celebrity Masterchef & Celebrity Mastermind, and has recently appeared on Pointless and Only Connect. Emma kept us entertained with amusing anecdotes, underlined with the more serious message of learning from life's failures.
9th June 2021 - Blood Runners
Katie from SERV South and London described the work of this amazing charity who transport blood and other medical products around the South East. The dedicated volunteers work through the night to ensure that hospitals never run short of supplies, many of them using their own motorbikes and cars.
Some of the team have regular deliveries to keep the Air Ambulance stocked, or transferring blood products to Kent & Sussex from the central blood bank in Tooting.
One biker won admiration from the family of a premature baby whose parents weren't allowed to be with her as they were isolating due to Covid. Ray picked up frozen breastmilk from the Mum and delivered it every few days to the Special Care Baby Unit.
14th July 2021 - Look Fabulous Forever!
We were treated to an amazing demonstration on how to apply make-up by Tricia Cusden and Sally Deung from Look Fabulous Forever. Tricia first explained how she had started the company at the age of 65, when she felt in need of a change in direction. She had always enjoyed make-up but was struggling to find suitable products for the mature skin, so decided to start her own business. She worked with a UK developer to create high quality products, began by selling through make-up parties, then quickly grew the business through online sales and careful marketing – her highlight was having her products included in the goody bag at the Oscars, so she found herself on the red carpet in Hollywood with her two daughters who are also involved in the business.
Sally then showed us, step by step, how to apply make-up suitable for the summer, with tips on adapting it for different skin tones and for day or evening. Although Sally’s thorough demonstration took just under an hour, she said that in practise, she can apply her full make-up in around 15 minutes, and the products last all day.
8th September 2021 - Frimley Health's Epic Journey
Lucy Barette, the daughter of one of our committee members, explained all about the programme she is leading to improve the digital infrastructure at Frimley Health, and in particular the new electronic patient record system.
Lucy talked about the 280 separate applications currently in use, and how moving to the new system, called Epic, would benefit both clinical staff and patients, allowing greater sharing of information and ease of access to our hospital records. She reassured us on the lengths the team have gone to to ensure the security of our data, and urged us to embrace the new system when it goes live next March.
We had lots of fun at our meeting this week painting drippy mugs under the expert guidance of WI member Louise Hodges and her team from Mrs Potts Place. Louise showed us how to mix the paint with just the right amount of water so the drips flowed down the side, then came to a graceful stop. We learned to let one colour dry before applying the next, and had fun dripping both inside and outside the mugs, creating interesting abstract designs. Some of the more artistic ladies dripped from the bottom towards the top, then added flower heads, and a few brave souls wrote their names using fine writing paint.
We’re really looking forward to seeing them once they have been fired, at our November meeting.
It was lovely to be back together for the fun of our Bring & Buy sale which followed on from the business of our Annual Meeting, and a presentation by the CEO of the local women's refuge - Your Sanctuary. Our ladies are adept at spotting a bargain, and early Christmas presents were purchased!
14th December 2021 - Xmas Quiz
We should have been enjoying a social evening with refreshments and mince pies, but instead the committee decided to play safe and switch to Zoom for our last meeting of 2021. We scratched our heads over some of the questions in the annual Xmas quiz - the ladies who had teamed up in small groups had a definite advantage over those who bravely took part by themselves!
We enjoyed a highly entertaining talk from sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley with a talk entitled "Everything you wanted to know about sleep, but were too sleepy to ask". Neil has spent most of his working life “watching people sleep” and gave us a light hearted explanation of how to get a good night’s sleep. The biggest myth he busted was that we all needed 8 hours sleep. It seems that sleep time is individual to all of us and we need to work out for ourselves how much is enough. We also learned that good sleep is important for good health because our immune system is boosted during sleep, while poor sleep is linked to obesity and feeling grumpy! If our sleep partner is preventing us from getting good sleep with all that snoring, we should put ourselves in a different bedroom!
We were treated to a fun filled evening when around 70 members turned out to play with fabrics under the guidance of Karen from local company Sunflower Stitches. Using a pre-prepared kit of fabrics we busied ourselves creating a picture which could then be framed inside a greeting card. As with every new technique it required concentration but that didn’t stop plenty of chat, an encouraging sign that things are slowly starting to get back to normal.
9th March 2022 - History of the Basingstoke Canal
We had a very enjoyable and interesting presentation from Roger Cansdale of the Basingstoke Canal Society at our March meeting. Roger spoke about the characters who built and ran the canal in the early days, most of whom seemed to have been swindlers who subsequently went bankrupt! He showed us photos of the awful state it had fallen into, with trees growing out of the lock walls, broken banks and no water, until a dedicated group of volunteers lovingly spent many years restoring it to the amazing place we have today. We will certainly look on it with renewed respect the next time we walk, cycle or jog along the towpath, and will be forever grateful that they made this possible.
What a good idea to incorporate a plant sale into our monthly meeting talk by member Lesley Urquhart on the topic of “Being the Custodian of our Garden Space”! Lesley’s enthusiasm for encouraging us to view everything we think of as pests with different eyes - insects, animals, and weeds - was matched by the enthusiasm for our ‘plant swap’ table afterwards. We made £66 from the sale of plants donated by members which will go to Phyllis Tuckwell hospice. We hope they can use it towards the development of their own garden.
Wow! What a great evening! Michael J Fitch certainly entertained us with some amazing magic and illusions, and even close up you were left wondering how he managed each trick! Pine Ridge came up trumps with a delightful set of nibbles to complement the welcome glass of fizz, and the cake, made and decorated by new member Stacy McEvoy, was a triumph! Can you spot all the symbols relating to our activities – book club, gardening group, tea & cake, walking groups, ….?
A big THANK YOU to founding President Liz Hughes for starting us on this incredible journey 10 years ago, and thank you for cutting the cake for us!.