Ashton under Hill W.I. has carried on with a lively programme despite the cold, wind, snow and rail.

On February 1 we filled the parish mini-bus and paid a visit to Chipping Campden, had a tour of the shops and enjoyed a delicious high tea at a popular teashop.

Nine members and three husbands went to the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham to see the very amusing play “Quartet”, and our President Marjy and Secretary Judith braved the snow and cold for a “Winter Warmer” event organised by Worcestershire Federation. This was an environmental day held at the Bishops Wood Field Centre, Crossley Green, Nr. Stourport. The centre is used for forest school and educational purposes and is housed in a wonderfully modern eco building. They learnt about food miles, carbon footprint and climate change. The day was finished with a thought provoking talk by Julia Goodfellow-Smith on our “fragile earth”. The highlight of the day was spending a couple of hours in the open air foraging for wood and constructing a fire on which to cook their lunch! Finally, after brilliant sunshine, they were driven into the warm by a snowstorm, to eat their lunch.

Marjy and Jen attended a workshop at W.I House on “connecting for the future”, which has enthused them both with the idea of setting up a web-site and bringing Ashton up to date with modern communication.

At our meeting on February 6, we welcomed Dianne Bennett from “Caring Hands in the Vale”. The charity runs the local food bank from the Christian Centre in Evesham, and has been in existence for fifteen years. It is sad to think how necessary their work is in the community and has grown over time. It now has five banks, which are supporting various needs. They also run a ‘drop in’ meal centre twice a week. Dianne explained that as well as providing food, household good and clothes they have found that many people find it a place where they find friendly help and in certain cases, can be referred to doctors surgeries or social services. Our members kindly made up a large donation of goods, which were delivered the next day to the centre.

Christine Powell gave Dianne a warm vote of thanks and we were all impressed by all the dedication and work she gives together with all the volunteers.

As this was our 77th birthday, members enjoyed a glass of sherry and a slice of the delicious birthday cake, which had been made by member Ruth Clarkson.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, March 6 at 7.30pm. The speaker will be Paul McGuire and his experiences as a ‘warm up’ man for the BBC.

All very welcome.