East Sussex Federation

Waldron WI

Where we meet

Lucas Hall, Waldron, TN21 0RB

When to come along

2nd Wednesday of every month at 2.30pm

What we do

President – Janice Bell, Vice President – Ginny Day
Secretary – Moira James, Treasurer – Margaret Hughes
Minutes Secretary – Veronica Greenslade

We also enjoy the following activities with the groups meeting each month:
Book, Walking, Lunch, Garden, Film & Theatre, Craft and Writing Groups.

New members and visitors are always welcome.

Waldron WI Belly Dancing Event

Waldron WI has introduced several taster activities this year. The first being the art of belly dancing as instructed by Ann Law.
An adventurous collection of bellies turned up for the session and were taught a variety of moves including how to to shimmy like an Egyptian.

A huge mixture of wobbling and laughter was the resulting performance


A very interesting and informative talk was given to the Waldron WI by a fellow WI member, Lee Ede.
This is a subject that we should all be aware of so that we can all take a stand against scams, how to spot a scam, a victim of a scam and where and how to report. I would highly recommend this talk to all WIs.

Competition time at Waldron WI

Waldron WI have a competition each meeting based around the speaker’s talk. This month we were visited by the Sussex Air Ambulance and the competition was flight. The imaginative flight of the hummingbird was produced by a new member Kim. Obviously she was brought up watching Blue Peter programmes.


Sussex Air Ambulance

Our March meeting speaker was John, a volunteer from Sussex Air Ambulance. A knowledgeable speaker who was obviously dedicated to the role.
We learnt about what was in the ambulance as well as some of the procedures that were undertaken.
John finished the talk with a short video of how the Air Ambulance came to assist Jim and the effect it had on Jim’s family.
Like Jim and many others we can only be very grateful that the Sussex Air Ambulance exists.

Bertie Pearce – Charles Dickens

The delightful and entertaining Bertie Pearce returned to Waldron WI, this time to give a talk on Dickens – The Man and his Life Through his Characters.
Bertie took us on an amusing journey through Dickens’ life. It was interesting to see how Dickens’ early life experiences and people he met were often used as characters in his books, which in turn publicised the injustices in society and led to social reform. Bertie kept the talk light and fun with amusing vocal characterisations and quotes from a myriad of Dickens novels

Cryptic Crossword course at Denman College

Using the bursary that I won at the summer party, I enlisted on the residential 2 day cryptic crossword course for beginners.
I started the day armed with a pencil, no skills but plenty of enthusiasm. By the end of day one I had mastered hidden words, anagrams, charades and abbreviations to solve the crosswords. Well perhaps mastered was a little exaggeration.
I looked forward to day two as the agenda mentioned sandwiches. However, this was yet another clue structure and not quite as easy to digest.
Our tutor was helpful, clear and supportive. The others in the group were feisty and fun and just as poor at finding the answers as I was. Perfect.
I am now an avid cruciverbalist. Janice Bell

What Makes a Superstar – Simon Mott

An enchanting talk to start the year, giving us the 10 steps to make a superstar….

Mantonani and his orchestra

The story was of a young boy with a passion for music who became one of our biggest stars.
Annunzio Mantovani with his innovative music, captured the imagination of the world, and became the first artist to achieve sales of over 1 million stereophonic records.
Simon interspersed his talk with music of the great man and his orchestra and delightful footage of Mantovani both at work and play… a perfect way to spend an afternoon!
Permission to use the photo given by Mantovani’s grandson.

The December meeting was full of good cheer, Christmas music, mince pies and our little helpers looking very festive, wearing some rather fetching Christmas hats!

Soap Star!

Bob works his magic!

Bob Butts of the English Soap Company came to visit the ladies of the Waldron WI. A local man who sold an IT company and set up a soap company originally in his kitchen, that now sells globally! Bob gave us an informal chemistry lesson and produced products before our eyes, interspersing his technical chat with amusing tales from his appearance with Tony Robinson on the TV programme, The Worst Jobs In History! A most fragrant and enjoyable afternoon was had by all

A Summer Tea Party

What better way to celebrate summer than with a lovely afternoon tea? We met at The Middle House in Mayfield, a village not far from Waldron and enjoyed a fun afternoon chatting with friends whilst enjoying the delicious tea of sandwiches, cakes and scones with copious amounts of cream and jams. A raffle was held with exciting plants and a gift voucher for a meal for two kindly donated by our host venue. A fabulous afternoon was had by all!

Sussex Trugs

John making a Sussex Trug

Arriving at the Waldron Village Hall, John Carnell was busy setting up an exciting array of hand made wooden ‘props’, it was if we had just walked into a scene from a Thomas Hardy novel!

John started his talk with an introduction about the history of trugs and their durability. Originally they were used for stock feeding, but their move to the garden came with their appearance in the Great Exhibition of 1851. Queen Victoria became a big fan, and their popularity spread with the middle class burgeoning love of gardening. Later the ladies of the land army found them invaluable as they have to dual benefit of being both light and strong.

John went on to make a trug, splitting sweet chestnut branches and bending willow (a bi product from cricket bat making). It was delightful to see a craftsman deftly working at his bench (called a horse!) to make a perfect Sussex trug.

Resolution Lunch
Our resolution meeting was wonderful starting with a superb ploughman’s lunch with dessert.

This was followed by two superb speakers in Sarah and Toni who were concise and eloquent in their explanation of the topics. The members discussed the proposals with a high degree of concern and voted in favour of both the issues of ‘loneliness ‘and ‘plastic soup’ going forward.

After an exuberant AOB we settled down to tea and biscuits and voted to repeat this approach to the resolution vote next year.

A musical feast from bone to bagpipe

A wonderful afternoon was had by all when Michael and Dorothy Withers came to give a talk and demonstration of Medieval musical instruments to the Waldron WI.
Michael used slides and demonstrations to explain the transition from the first ‘musical instruments’ to those that we see today. We learnt that the first instruments were invented 40,000 years ago by blowing through a bone. Then, showing us a myriad of instruments, we saw how instruments eventually morphed in to those used in Mediaeval times.
The talk was further illustrated with Michael playing some of the Mediaeval instruments accompanied by the delightful singing from his wife Dorothy.

We Are Amused!
From the start of the talk, Bertie Pearce had our ladies enthralled as he whisked us on a journey through the pleasures and pastimes of the Victorian era…. Art, music, gardening, garden sports, and of course the advent of the railways and all they had to offer, deftly interspersing his talk with a myriad of magic tricks from the Victorian era, .. A truly entertaining afternoon.

A String Ensemble Ukulele Workshop with Ooksadaisy.

Ooksadaisy is a ukulele band that Melanie heard at the Heffle WI at Christmas. Enthused by their performance, Melanie organised for some of the group to teach nine members of Waldron WI and one from Heffle WI.
We were all complete novices but eager to learn. The group arrived with spare ukuleles for those of us without so that we all could strum at the same time.

Ooksadaisy sang and taught us 3 chords which can be used to play along to many songs. We did not need to read music as our fingers and the strings were numbered to form the chords. Although the technique looked simple we had to concentrate moving fingers to the right place and some of us discovered that we had large, clumsy digits. However, with practice by the end of the evening we were brilliant.

The tips of our fingers became sore but with regular practice the skin toughens up we were assured. The group were great saying that when they first started they were just like us and were very encouraging.

The evening was fun and challenging to the ‘little grey cells’. Ukulele is being used now in primary schools instead of the recorder. I will certainly continue and now have the fun bit of buying my own instrument – they come in many colours and are not expensive! I hope too that the others will continue and maybe you will have the great joy of hearing us play at Christmas.
We collected £80 pounds which Ooksadaisy will donate to Cancer Research UK.

Valentine’s Social

Smiles from the Winners!

An afternoon of fun and laughter is an excellent way to sum up our Valentine’s social. The event started at 2.30 on the dot, the members gathered around the Valentine themed tables and enjoyed a three-part Valentine Quiz, happily compered by our President, Janice! After much jollity, winning and losing teams alike were rewarded with padded, embroidered hearts.

Our members then enjoyed lots of chatting, tea and pretty Valentine themed cakes, very kindly made by Rose McIlvenny and Henny Carpenter.

Out on a Limb
The new Waldron WI year started with a very interesting talk entitled ‘Out on a Limb’ by a lady tree surgeon, Lesley Baker.

Lesley had a wealth of tales from the early days of her training, when, as a girl, she was quite a trailblazer ! She then regaled us with a myriad of tales, from having to call on the help of an elephant to move logs when working in a zoo, to wielding a two stone chain saw from the top of a rather large tree!

A great start to our new year!

Waldron WI Gardening Club 10th Anniversary

Gardening Club 10th Anniversary
Gardening Club 10th Anniversary

WI club members, along with their partners, enjoyed a drinks party to celebrate ten years of garden visits, speakers and advice on both flowers and vegetables. The weather was fine and the Pimms flowed. The perfect garden outing that we have come to expect from this group.
Something Fishy at Waldron WI

Members enjoying a fishy tale
Members enjoying a fishy tale

The WI recently enjoyed a visit from Veasey and Sons who are award winning fishermen and fishmongers based in Forest Row. We were given a talk on their family business and a demonstration of their cooking skills.
Waldron WI celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday in style

Forty-eight WI members enjoyed a splendid afternoon tea at The Priory Cross-in-Hand on July 13th in the Osmond room. The tea was excellent with a swathe of sandwiches, cakes, strawberries and cream.

Celebration Party
Celebration Party

Our tables were attractively dressed with delightful floral arrangements (provided by two members) in red,white and blue with matching napkins.Many members complemented the occasion with imaginative red,white and blue outfits.

The raffle prizes also reflected the Royal connection : A Red Rose plant, A Blue Hydrangea and a White Astilbe.
It was a very happy, noisy afternoon. The chilly weather did in no way dampen our spirits.

Waldron WI in the dock

Waldron WI in the Dock
Waldron WI in the Dock

Mike Bustard and Katharine Lee-Jones, both magistrates, constructed a mock trial for the Waldron WI at the April meeting. A magistrate court procedure was undertaken with ten WI volunteers taking the roles of those involved in the case. Fifty plus members were enthralled listening to a common assault dispute with scripted parts taken as magistrates, lawyers, witnesses, usher and of course the defendant. As the magistrates left to make a decision, the remaining WI members discussed the defendant’s fate and gave their verdict.

The mock trial was informative and entertaining. A rare combination!

The outcome…………………Well you should have been there.

On Wednesday 14th October, forty members of the Waldron WI were able to show their great dexterity in a very diverse Christmas Craft session. The instructors included Margaret Mawson who taught eight of us to make jewellery as gifts for Christmas (or for ourselves!) Acrylic painting was led by Richard Pert resulting in a plethora of winter scenes. Three further groups were involved in the making of felt reindeers, Christmas boxes and Christmas cards. It’s safe to say that even with all the laughter and sound of Christmas bells that filled the hall, novices and skilled artisans alike went home with a memento that will take pride of place this December.

Donner, Blitzen, Dasher… & Ginny Day
Donner, Blitzen, Dasher… & Ginny Day


Waldron WI celebrated the WI Centenary by having Afternoon Tea at the Buxted Park Hotel instead of their usual Garden Party.

Wi Celebration Tea
WI Celebration Tea at Buxted Park Hotel
Lesley Cooper
Lesley Cooper

Waldron WI were entertained, educated and fed by our speaker Lesley Cooper during her talk on “Food and Fame”. Initially Lesley explained her inspiration from her background and how poverty affects all aspects of life. Then Lesley went on to cook samples of her food which are part of her £1.00 a day regime. We then tasted breakfast pancakes, vegetable crumble, chicken pie, sandwiches and a dessert. No surprise then that her blog, ThriftyLesley.com, has created interest that has been recognised by the media, with Lesley appearing in several newspapers, on TV (including Russian TV!) and radio, hoping to spread the message that you can eat healthily and well on just £1 a day. Indeed, several recipes have been used for WI lunches, and if it’s good enough for the WI …..

Carmel Bodenham dressed for the Garden Party at Buckingham Palace
Carmel Bodenham ready for Buckingham Palace Garden Party

‘Royal garden party – I opened my curtains on the morning of the garden party, someone up there was having a joke, the wind was howling and the rain was beating down on the windows. But this was a chance in a life time, so I donned my outfit and set off to Victoria where I met Val, a lovely lady from Eastbourne WI. We walked together to the Palace, and once through security we wandered eagerly down the winding path that lead to the main lawn. The sun was now shining as we stood in awe with the huge expanse of lawn full of WI ladies brimming with excitement, all looking stunning, I didn’t see two dresses or hats the same! The tea was served with military precision each sandwich and cake was perfectly presented – top tip from the Palace ..cucumber and mint sandwiches. ..delish! After waiting for an hour in a very excited queue, our patience was rewarded with a quick chat to the Duchess of Cornwall, Sophie Wessex and a hand shake with Princess Alexandra …even a nice chat with a cheery Beefeater! Just before I left, we visited the rose garden and the beautiful summer houses that are tucked away in the oasis of beauty that is the Buckingham Palace garden!’