Smisby Village

WI Annual Reports

Smisby WI 2017/2018 Annual report

Sheila and Peter Heap, welcomed members of  Smisby WI once again for the AGM and resolutions meeting, at the end and beginning of another very full year.

The resolution on food waste and micro beads polluting the waterways and oceans, were discussed and voted on, so that Jean could take our decision to the AGM. Jean had volunteered to be the delegate to represent Smisby and two other institutes at the Liverpool Echo Arena for the 102nd NFWI Annual Meeting

Last year we paid a visit to Beaumanor Hall in Leicestershire which was a WW 2 listening post for Bletchley Park, so for our 2017 outing we decided to pay Bletchley a visit. So, on a wet July Morning 42 members and husbands set off down the M l for a guided tour of this historic place.  The guides were very knowledgeable, we had an excellent in-site into the people who worked and helped to shorten the war by several months. As always generous donation from the Parochial Charity helped towards the cost of the day. 

The evening walk in August was a guided walk at Repton. Members were given a brief talk on the Cross in the centre of the island and then into St Wynstan’s Church for a visit to the crypt, finishing in the school Cloisters then back to the Repton tea rooms for supper.

Two days later it was our third Murder Mystery Evening, the theme this time was two murders in a vine yard, called “Sour Grapes”. Seven members from the Ashbian Musical Society agreed to act out the murder, they proved to be very good and played all their various parts with great gusto and said they really enjoyed the evening and would certainly come back and perform again for us. Pete was delighted with their performance as was everyone else. He said they didn’t keep to his script but enhanced it which made it all the more enjoyable.

2018, sees the 100 years of Derbyshire WI and many events and challenges have been planned by the trustees. All W I’s were invited to design and make a brick that would depict our W I or village to put in a collage, this is then displayed at various shows. Pat volunteered to design the brick with Angela making it on one of her embroidery machines, a lovely picture of the old church, that was made with a modern piece of machinery.

The Trustees Centenary Challenge to benefit the community was a challenge we decided to enter. The idea was to initially to provide an interpretation board on the history of Smisby outside the village hall, but as we are in a conservation area we decided it would be better to attach it to the existing notice board.  Pat asked if a board could also be made for St James Church as both notice boards needed repairing. We needed to do some fund raising. A very successful ‘Bacon Buttie’ morning was held, along with lunches for the Striders, after a walk to Blackfordby also Bluebell Walk both lead by Marie. Another ‘Quiz Night’ was organised by Lynne and Peter Benoist and this was well supported.

We successfully applied for a grant towards the project and received £750 from East Midlands Airport Community Support Fund. We now have enough money for the project to go ahead and the unveiling planned for late May.

Smisby WI were very fortunate in hosting a “Opportunities for All” morning and having Lynne Stubbings the current chair of the NFWI to give a talk about the future of the WI with a question and answers session to finish the talk. Thirty-Five members including members from other Institutes and the Chair of Derbyshire Federation enjoyed the talk given by Lynne. We have had a write up in the December edition of the Derbyshire Life, and had several photographs in the Link Magazine and we must not forget Laura Stock who was featured in the WI Life magazine about the Alpaca farm she runs with Chris her partner.

An evening at the Chatsworth Farm Shop with the Harpur Crewe Group gave us an insight into the challenging work that goes into making the business such a success, and the group meetings put on by other institutes, Melbourne with a speaker from Great Ormond Street, and Nancy with a cookery demonstration.

Rebecca and Sonia who organise the programme for the year have done a wonderful job with a varied selection of speakers, not an easy job especially when for assorted reasons speakers are unable to attend.

We always try to offer a varied programme of visits to theatre’s etc. and this year has seen us go to a Ladies day at Uttoxeter race course, Repton 400 Theatre to see My Fair Lady performed by the Ashbian Musical Society. A visit to Springs Health Spa, and a Paramedic from the East Midlands Ambulance Service came along to demonstrate CPR and how to use the Defibrillator.  We had a collection for the Derbyshire Search and Rescue (who was one of our speakers), the Air Ambulance, and members gave generously to the Elms Foundation a refuge for women suffering domestic violence.

We have a very proactive craft committee who have put on a wonderful assortment of crafts for members to participate in, with several of our members taking the classes which have been enjoyed by up to twenty members per session.

The Smisby Striders are still enjoying walks in and around our local areas, and it is so nice to see new member coming forward to lead walks and organise lunch at a local pub. We celebrated Jean Statt’s 90th Birthday on the 10th of May with lunch in the village hall after the monthly walk. Jean has taken photographs of all our outings and celebrations over the past thirty-two years and built up an extensive number of photo albums, so it was only fitting that we should celebrate her birthday with a beautiful cake made by Sheila Heap depicting a camera and a calendar. Several of Jean’s photographs of the local area were often feature in the Derbyshire WI calendar.

We have been very successful over the past twelve months with the various activities that have been arranged and as we look forward to another year, lets make Smisby WI the best it can be at inspiring our members to innovative ideas and challenges.

Our membership has grown steadily over the last few years to sixty-four with an average monthly attendance of Thirty-five. 

The committee wish to thank members for supporting all the various activities throughout the past year and we look forward to another year of continuing success.




WI National AGM Cardiff 6 June 2018

Report by Delegate Wendy Plant (President Burton Belles)

Thousands of ladies attended the AGM at Cardiff’s Motorpoint arena on Wednesday 6th June.

Chair’s address

After singing the rousing Jerusalem Lynn Stubbings (NFWI chair) addressed the audience. She highlighted the fact that it is 100 years since women were given the right to vote and in tribute to the suffrage movement flowers on the stage and in their corsages were purple, green and white. She was happy to report that last year 86 new WIs were formed and over 30,000 new members joined. Lynne highlighted the importance of WI campaigns, in the 100 years of campaigning many important issues have been tackled and our resolutions often contribute to policy formation and raise public awareness. MPs and Governments listen to the WI, this was echoed by guest speaker Huw Edwards from the BBC.

Hon. Treasurer’s statement

A summary of the annual review was given. The report can be found on the WI website and Federation offices .Gift aid- they are working on procedures to make claiming easier at all levels, including a new declaration form .In a recent survey 88% of members thought that the subscription fee represented good value for money. 92% of NFWI subscriptions went back into training and member activities. She thanked members for supporting the Saving Denman appeal and encouraged members to  participate in the range of courses and activities on offer to further secure its future.


We listened to the proposals for the resolution of raising mental health awareness from membersand the expert speaker Andrew Molidinksky, a consultant psychiatrist. We were told that the World  Health Organisation predicts that in 10 years mental health illness will be the most burdensome illness in the World. The aims of the resolution are to raise awareness locally and nationally and to reduce stigma associated with mental health illness. We were told that 25% of illnesses in the UK relate to mental health but funding is currently 6% of budgets, some patients had to wait up to 4 years to receive care. Several members took the opportunity to share personal, and sometimes distressing stories.

There was no speaker against the resolution, apparently the board had tried very hard to find one but failed. One of the board put several points to consider to the audience.  The speaker gave examples of programmes already underway in schools and hospitals and highlighted the fact that this subject is already on the agenda for policymakers. There was also a concern that some WIs would not know how to deal with the subject correctly and would need training. Votes were taken by delegates. The result was a 98% majority in favour of the resolution (103-5495 votes)

Guest Speakers

We were treated to a talk from Dame Stella Rimington, the real life M from the Bond films! She described her life and career and how she got to become the first female Director General for the MI5. She talked about how techniques have changed since she started work in the MI5 and how the role of women in the service has changed (for the better!)

The second speaker was Huw Edwards, journalist and newsreader for the BBC.  Huw talked about the importance of the WI campaigns. He particularly supported the resolution for mental health awareness. He shared with us how he believes physical and mental health are linked, having lost 3 stone in weight in the last year, and feeling much better mentally  because of it. He described how news broadcasting has changed over recent years and voiced his concerns with our ‘addiction to social media’

Other business

GDPR- look out in June’s mailing for an update

Closing date to submit resolution proposals for 2019 is 14th September.

Walking netball- we listened to England netball who described the success of the initiative and encouraged members to sign up or find out more information.

Website- have a look at the My WI website for tips and ideas of running a WI, videos and instruction for craft and cookery and much more.

NFWI recognise that they need to bring the WI up to date, with lots of members who work.

Update on previous resolutions – Government funding was given for research following our plastic soup campaign (even before David Attenborough featured it on Blue Planet!) There have been lots of events following the alleviating loneliness campaign, including the forthcoming ‘Big Lunch’ and ‘Great Together’

An interesting day, to hear how we have made such a difference over the last 100 years was inspiring. We are a powerful, well respected collective and should be proud to be members.


Smisby WI Annual Report 2015/16

 It seems such a long time ago since we were celebrating our 80th Birthday, on the 24th of January, at the Mill Wheel Restaurant Hartshorne with guests Chrissie Booth, County Chair, Christine Gardner archivist for the county plus Presidents from Ticknall, Melbourne, Staunton Harold, and Woodville and of course the members of Smisby WI. After a superb meal Jane Robinson author of “A Force to be Reckoned with” gave us a potted history of the WI from when it first started why and by whom, and then it’s first meeting in Anglesey, Jane was a very enjoyable and knowledgeable speaker which helped to make the day so very special. Of course we could not let this day end without a memento of the occasion everyone was given a coaster with the WI logo on it, also a book detailing the history of Smisby village, world events and how Smisby WI was first formed 80 years ago to the present day. Marie with the help of Barbara, Jean, and Sue did a wonderful job of collating and putting together this book full of local history, and pictures, a wonderful reminder of the day. Thanks must also go to the Sheila who made the beautiful Celebration Birthday Cake. At a suggestion from Dorothy we also have a superb plaque put up outside the   hall advertising Smisby WI.

Now to events we have had over the past eighteen months, as you are aware we have changed our AGM to coincide with the Resolutions meeting so it does mean that I have rather a lot of reminiscing.

To help celebrate 100 years of the formation of the WI organisation, two of our members Adrienne and Jean attend the Centenary Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in June, they had a wonderful time even though it was very windy on the day but the lovely sandwiches and cakes plus seeing the royal party made it a very special day for them both.

Barbara, Gill and Suzanne went to the AGM held at the Royal Albert Hall, it was such a memorable occasion, the Queen, Princess Royal, and the Countess of Wessex joined the NFWI committee on stage to open proceeding. After a short speech given by Her Majesty and receiving the Centenary Baton, she left the stage to cut a cake especially made for the occasion.

It was our turn to host the Harpur Crewe church service in 2014, a great night of carols readings and poems ware enjoyed by 63 people from other institutes with the evening finishing with mince pies and Pat’s now famous mulled wine.

Two Christmas lunches; 2014 at the Tap House; and with Sybil organizing lunch at Willesley golf course in 2015. Both were very well supported and enjoyable.

We have attended three group meeting, Gareth King talking about a Victorian

Gentleman’s wardrobe, Black Pig Morris Dancers, and a talk given by the RNLI

Members have participated in Archery at Derby University, sailing on Carsington Reservoir, and visited to Crown Derby.

An away day to Denman College in Oxfordshire, and a fantastic visit to Hampton Court. We Celebrated the 100th anniversary of the NFWI at Ticknall with the Harpur Crewe Group on the 16th of September. A coffee morning at Pat’s and tours of Smisby Church combined with a cheese and wine supper. Bacon Butties at the village hall combined with a tour of the church for visiting WI’s to help raise money for the church roof fund. A Murder Mystery evening with Inspector Ivor Notion, and a cookery and flower demonstration at Ashbourne.

Several of you have learnt how to play canasta, and we also paid a visit to the golf range at Coalville.

This is all in conjunction with our monthly meeting which have provided us with a wide range of excellent speakers Tai Chi, Behind the scenes at Birmingham Airport, a Forensic Scientist, and Farm House Cookery, to name but a few.

We have also had superb attendances at the monthly craft mornings, we have been to a Patchwork exhibition, and to a button making factory combined with a visit to the jewellery quarter in Birmingham. We have learnt many new crafts which have been either taught by visiting tutors or our own very talented members. We have given a £100 Bursary this year and the lucky winner was Marie, we look forward to her teaching us the new craft that she has learnt.

The monthly walking group is also very well supported, with walks in

Bradgate Park, Sutton Park, and Foremark as well as many other lovely walks

lead by very willing volunteers.

The membership is now 54 which includes 9 dual members and 5 new members who have joined over the past 18 months, and our average monthly attendance is 34.

Finally, it is only with the help and support of the Committee and you the members that Smisby WI is going from strength to strength and hopefully many of you have made new friends along the way.

This coming year will bring us new challenges to make Smisby WI the best it can be at inspiring you our members.