Northamptonshire WIs welcome new chairman as federations keep busy

Women's Institute members have been meeting on Zoom and outdoors

Northamptonshire Federation of WIs' members have welcomed their new chairman into the role as they have made the most of their meetings - despite Covid.

New county chairman Annie Rodwell, a member of Great Doddington Evening WI, took over from former incumbent, Anne Seckington last month.

Retired business owner Annie, 67, volunteered to lead the federation's nearly 3,400 county members who are located across the 113 WIs.

Married with three grown-up daughters, and five granddaughters - she also has three sisters - Annie very much values the time spent with her WI friends.

She said: "I joined the WI for fellowship and support. After a hard day just to turn up and sit with a group of women is just what I need. I get a lot of strength from being with a group of other women."

Many WI meetings have moved their activities online or switched to outdoor venues with many groups continuing to meet via Zoom.

Ashley Welland Valley WI held a 'carve and show' evening for Halloween with fruit, pumpkins and other vegetables carved and even knitted.

Anne Rodwell new County WI chairman with some of the craft activities made by members

Bozeat WI members were treated to a poppy wreath workshop using recycled plastic bottles to create a tribute for the village war memorial.

Other poppies were displayed on the WI flower planters in the village as a tribute to the men, women and animals who gave their lives.

Great Doddington Evening WI delivered goodie bags to their members which included hand-knitted Remembrance poppies for all members in return for a donation to the British Legion Poppy Appeal.

Also included in the bag was a hot chocolate drink sachet, marshmallows, biscuits, homemade tiffin and a word search puzzle.

Members of Irchester WI enjoying a socially distanced hot drink after their sponsored walk.

Five members of Irchester WI held a sponsored walk on World Women’s Day for Associated Countrywomen of the World, a sister organisation to the WI.

They collected £35 in donations and enjoyed a socially distanced coffee afterwards.

Annie will serve an initial two-year term and has set her sights on ensuring that WIs continue despite the pandemic.

The WI National Federation has deferred payment for membership from January to March to help with finances for local groups.

A goody bag distributed to all members by Great Doddington WI

She said: " I want to make sure that our members can still access our meetings. Many have gone online and during the winter months this might be the way we carry on in the future

"It might be the 'new normal'.

"I would like to thank Anne Seckington and Margaret Foster for all their hard work for the WI. They both have been inspirational."

To find out more, email WI House [email protected] or go click here for their website or to their Facebook page.