Harlow Women's Institute

Member of the Federation of Essex Women's Institutes
Charity Registration Number 228992

Tuesday, 16 May 2017


 After a hectic first half of the month, things have now calmed down a little, giving us time to draw breath. 

Harlow WI held its AGM on Wednesday 10th when elections for the committee were held and Resolutions voted on.  As no new nominations for the committee had been received, it was no surprise when the existing committee were re-elected.  Christine Dellow remains President.

The two Resolutions to be debated at the NFWI Annual Meeting in Liverpool next month (Alleviating Loneliness and Plastic Soup: keep microplastic fibres out of our oceans) were unanimously backed.


After the formal business was completed, we were treated to a talk by Mike Levett, Education & Volunteer Officer, Harlow Town Park.  The Heritage Lottery Fund and Harlow Council have funded a programme of restorations, improvements and additions which have ensured that Harlow Town Park now has 'Green Flag' status, and is attracting increased numbers of visitors.  Pets Corner has been revamped and boasts a classroom for visiting schoolchildren where educational talks and lectures take place.  Spurriers House Cafe is under new management and is open for business.  Park Runs, both adult and junior, take place weekly, there are regular walks, and groups of volunteers work weekly and monthly in the Park (particularly the Walled Garden) and at Pets Corner.

Mike has done sterling work recruiting many volunteers, leading and enthusing them to achieve great things in the Town Park. The volunteers come from a wide spectrum - some retired older people, Harlow College Supported Studies, Writtle College, scout groups and school groups.  Mike entertained us all with photographs and descriptions of work completed, including some 'before and after' shots showing restoration of particular aspects of the Park.  Events are planned to mark the 70th anniversary of Harlow New Town and the 60th anniversary of the Town Park. 

After a thoroughly entertaining talk, Mike was thanked by Jean Wright.

Charity Coffee Morning

On Saturday 13th May, we held our annual Coffee Morning which we dedicate to raising funds for a local charity.  It was a highly successful morning, netting over £500.  Grateful thanks go to all those who made and donated cakes and other goods, to those who manned the stalls and the kitchen, and - of course - to all those who came and bought so generously.

Unfortunately, we have no photographs from either of the above events - our regular photographer was unavailable and the rest of us were so busy that photographs were overlooked!

Forthcoming Events

Play-reading Group - Thursday 18 May   2-4 pm
Craft Group - Friday 26 May open from 11 am until 4 pm
Book Group - Thursday 1 June   2-3.30 pm
County Quiz, preliminary round - Thursday 1 June   7.30 for 8 pm start
(There are still four vacant places on the teams - why not come along?)

Saturday, 29 April 2017


In itself, April is a quiet month for the WI.  However, beneath the surface there is much preparation going on for the busy months of May, June and July.  The AGM takes place early in May when elections for President and committee are held, and members get a chance to look back at the year just passed.  Soon after that, on Saturday 13 May between 10 am and noon, we have the Charity Coffee Morning.  Tickets for this cost only £1 which includes tea or coffee and biscuits, and a chance to spend a little money on cakes and gifts, books, cards and bric-a-brac.  There's the usual raffle with attractive prizes, many of which have been donated by local shops and tradespeople.  This year's proceeds are going to cancer charities. 

Other forthcoming events include the Summer Lunch on Wednesday 21 June, and the Strawberry Tea on Wednesday 19 July. 

Meanwhile, earlier this month we had an excellent talk from Mark Lewis on the history of lighthouse-keeping.  Manned lighthouses are now a thing of the past in the UK but the dedicated souls who kept the lights bright through hundreds of years have left a legacy of service and stories.  Some of the stories are funny, some tragic but all are of interest.  Mark told a good tale and conjured up visions of shining scintillating glass and burnished brass, all in the cause of keeping shipping safe.

Mark judged the monthly competition which was for a 'nautical item'.  He chose a framed item containing a photograph of a serviceman from the first World War, the medal he was awarded for saving the life of a comrade swept overboard into the sea, the citation for the medal, and various newspaper reports of the event.  It was an unusual item and a worthy winner. 

Some of the competition entries

The winning entry

Mark Lewis with the winning item

Friday, 17 March 2017

Members Day

On the occasion of Members Day this year, the committee was treated to a day off whilst a volunteer team organised and ran the meeting.

The meeting was ably chaired by Lynne Hanrahan and followed the usual format with the routine business of minutes, notices and forthcoming events being dealt with first.  Then the speaker, Angela Keill, was introduced and gave a fascinating talk on life in the British Army during the 1970s.  As a young woman, Angela signed up for army life after trying a number of other occupations and finding that they didn't offer the challenges she was hoping for.  The initial basic training didn't prove too strenuous as she enjoyed marching, and the sporting opportunities which the army offered were eagerly accepted.  Travel was another bonus - she spent much time based in Germany with the chance to explore other parts of Western Europe.  On the downside, of course, was the obligation to accept orders without question; for a young person, the urge to ask "why?" is very strong.  However, she was able to adapt to the discipline and generally enjoyed Service life.  At the end of her talk, she was thanked by Jean Baker.

Then we had tea - and what a tea!  The selection of cakes was very impressive and they were all delicious - not a crumb left at the end.  The catering team had excelled themselves.

Then the raffle was drawn and Birthday flowers were presented to five members.  The competition, which was for a 'military item' was judged by Angela and the winning entry was comprised of a Field Postcard from France in 1944 and a set of 'dog tags' (see pictures below). 

The afternoon concluded with a reminder about the April meeting, and then the National Anthem was sung.

The entire afternoon was a great success and the hard work of the team of volunteers was much


Thursday, 9 February 2017


A packed meeting on Wednesday heard a very entertaining and funny talk from Graham Bendall entitled "The Gamekeeper's Year".  Although we only got a shortened version of the chronological events which go to fill the year, the talk was full of highly amusing anecdotes of the sharp and not-so-sharp shooters who make up the complement.  Along the way, we heard stories of Graham's three sons and his cricketing daughter. 

After the tea interval, Graham judged the competition which was for a nature photograph.  The winner was Jean Mallett with a picture of emerging bluebells.

Fifty-four members of Harlow WI have renewed their membership this year and two new members joined this month.  We also had six visitors on Wednesday whom we hope to see again.

In March it is Members Day when the committee sit back and let others plan and run the meeting.  All we can tell you is that the competition will be for a military item.  Come along and find out what it's all about.

Other events scheduled include the play-reading group on Thursday 16 February from 2 until 4 pm.  We're about to start the second act of Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward.  Then there is the Craft Group on Friday 24 February which is open from 11 am until 4 pm; darts and games are played every Monday from 1.30 until 3.30, and finally the Book Group is on Thursday 2 March from 2 until 4 pm.

Do join us for one or more of these events.