East Sussex Federation

National Winner of Lady Denman Cup Competition 2014

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Congratulations go to Stephanie Gaunt from Hastings Ore WI, who as this year’s winner of the East Sussex stage of the Lady Denman Cup, has gone on to win the National Final and will be invited to receive the Lady Denman Cup at the 2015 NFWI Annual Meeting at the Albert Hall. How fantastic for Stephanie, her WI and for ESFWI. We hope you all read her lovely poem printed below which is also printed in the November East Sussex WI News.

WHAT MY WI MEANS TO ME – Stephanie Gaunt: Hastings Ore WI
I see the women walking on the beach,
Talk and laughter snatched by the breeze, dipped by the waves,
Feet scrunching on the shingle.
Young women, old women, all shapes and sizes.
I’m there too. I belong.

A clump of sea-kale catches our attention,
We sniff foam-white flowers above dark crinkled leaves.
‘Can you eat it?’ ‘Yes, indeed,
Pick when it’s young and tender, steam like spinach.’
I listen. It’s always good to learn.

Gathering shells and wave-smoothed twigs,
We share ideas. ‘Let’s make wreaths, or pretty hanging mobiles,
Sell them at the next bazaar.’
Thinking, I hold a piece of sea-glass to the sun.
I join in. Making things is fun.

Here, shifting pebbles bank up high, too steep.
Hands reach out to help each woman make the climb.
Scrambling, we arrive together,
Laughing, shaking stones from sandals, panting, holding sides.
I help. I am helped in turn.

Now, we wander inland along the rutted track.
The village is ahead, we can almost see the café sign.
‘I’d really love a cup of tea.’
‘A scone for me, and the fruit-cake’s really good, they say.’
I like cake. I’ll enjoy a piece today.