The March and April meetings have been very eventful at Ashton WI. The speaker in March was Rosemary Prosser a very well known speaker at WI meetings who stepped in at very short notice after a speaker cancellation. Her talk this time was “Hot Wheels, Cold Meals” and related to her very active life as a farmers wife, whilst living in Cornwall and referred to her ten years in the police force - hot wheels, and her poor farmer husband’s - cold meals! Whilst helping her husband in dairy farming she took on a long association with Studley College as a trustee. This offers study bursaries for young people in farming and meant lots of travel to supervise students. Rather than relax in retirement Rosemary has worked as a tour guide at the Cheltenham Racecourse since 2003. Her many stories and anecdotes were of farming, police tales and people tales all delivered with great humour.

She concluded her talk on a more serious note as she is very concerned about the spread of Lyme`s Disease, especially in rural areas, and wants to spread the word about it. Sadly, her son and daughter have both been affected. Small ticks, which can live on deer, in grass etc., leave a tiny circular bite on human skin. The poison can enter the nervous system with debilitating results She urged us all to be vigilant when out in the countryside as the effects can be long-lasting and medical attention is needed.

Ashton hosted the Evesham Vale Quiz this year, having won the trophy last time. Six teams enjoyed a challenging evening with a mixture of easy and difficult questions set by quizmaster Judith Hunter. The winners were Pebworth who have won several times before – however winning by just half a point more than Hampton, so well done both teams.

Again at the April meeting, a sudden change of programme had to be arranged, but thankfully the “Mums Aloud” choir from local villages from around Bredon Hill came to the rescue and entertained us gustily.

The group give their time voluntarily, and have achieved a very high standard, thanks mainly to their teacher and accompanist Jenny Newbury.

They raise thousands of pounds for local causes and the highlight of the year is the annual Christmas concert held at Elmley Castle church. At present, they are raising money for the St. Richards bereavement charity.

Popular trips have been arranged for the future including a visit to a Waitrose Cookery demonstration later in the month and a possible visit to Bath by train. Our craft ladies are meeting to discuss the competitions forthcoming at the Council Meeting in October entitled “Glamour and Glitz”.

Monthly walks have been hampered by rain and mud, but the group have enjoyed an April walk beginning at Westmancote, circulating round to Kemerton and eventually warming up with a lunch at The Crown at Kemerton.

The May meeting was our Annual General Meeting. Karen Warboys, a new Advisor from WFWI, helped us through the process.

Our Committee remains the same except for two members, Ruth Clarkson and Maggie Watts who are standing down for different reasons. They are though, remaining as willing helpers - Maggie with raffle and craft sessions and Ruth with her catering skills.

Marjy Facer is remaining as our long standing, skilful and hardworking President, Christine Powell as efficient Treasurer and Judith Hunter as competent Secretary. Where would we be without them!

The new programme from June is looking very exciting thanks to Jane Wilson who has put together some interesting topics, and the rest us will continue to make Ashton W.I. an enjoyable, supportive and friendly group. We are always looking for new members of any age to keep us alive and active!

Continuing on an active note, we were then encouraged to “ get up and go” on an exercise routine organised by member Marion Nelson, who is also a member of the Women’s League of Health and Beauty. Those who were able, stood to perform various simple exercises to keep us active, and those sitting were also able to take part. Finishing the routine in a circle with the Hokie Pokie – hilarious!

Members were encouraged to make cakes and sign up for helping with teas at Ashton’s next important event “Open Gardens”, which takes place on the weekend of 9th and 10th June.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, 5th June when Amaliza Jones will be showing us her hand made bags from the Philippines.

Visitors always most welcome to our meeting,

Secretary: Judith Hunter 01386 882087.

Jen Creese (Publicity).