Harlow Women's Institute

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

Sunday 15 May 2016

The old order changeth ...................

The outgoing President, Diane Hatt, passes the badge of office to the newly elected President, Christine Dellow.

.............. apparently with no ill-effects -

We look forward to Christine's term of office as President and wish her all the best. 

Friday 13 May 2016


Last Wednesday's AGM was a very busy meeting.  Not only were we receiving the report and accounts for the preceding twelve months, electing a new President and committee, casting our votes on the two Resolutions to be debated at the NFWI Annual Meeting at Brighton in June, but we also had three speakers to listen to.  No wonder we got extra cake to go with the biscuits in the tea interval!

Our three speakers were talking on two separate topics but with an allied theme - keeping safe and being supported as age and deteriorating health make us more vulnerable.  The first speaker was Becky Court from Harlow Council talking about the Keep Safe Scheme; this is a simple idea of key fobs marked with the telephone number of the owner's next of kin or local contact.  This is coupled with a list of shops and businesses throughout the town which have agreed to offer help to any person in distress by telephoning the number on the key fob and obtaining assistance or reassurance for them.  Becky distributed some key fobs and left a supply of them for anyone requiring one.
The other speakers were Laura and Amanda who act as Community Agents on behalf of a diversity of organisations such as the Red Cross, Rural Community Council of Essex, Age Concern, etc.  They offer a no-cost service of support of varying sorts to individuals and their families or carers.  The service responds to contacts from GPs, social care, families and individuals. 

The President managed to fit in the usual business of the meeting - a warm welcome, the singing of Jerusalem (a capella), apologies for absence, minutes of last year's AGM, matters arising and her own - final - report.  She recalled all the events of the past twelve months and thanked those who had helped to make the year successful.  She explained that she had completed six years on the committee, the last three as President, and would be retiring gracefully after a very enjoyable time.  There were many highlights, such as the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, and successful events like the Centenary Lunch and the Charity Coffee Morning.  She wished the new President, when elected, every success. 

The annual report and accounts came next, with the Treasurer explaining that the year had finished with a good cash surplus.  The meeting unanimously approved the accounts and the President signed them. 

At this point, the entire committee resigned.  The chair was taken by Pat Pratley, the visiting WI Advisor who has recently finished her three year period as chair of the Essex Federation.  She spoke about Denman College and encouraged members to consider applying for a course.  She also announced that there would be an Essex weekend at Denman in 2017. 

There were only eleven nominations for the committee, so no election was necessary.  Of these eleven, Christine Dellow was elected as President.  She thanked members for their support and promised to do her best in the coming year. 

Tea was served - and the extra cake - then members voted on the two Resolutions for the Annual Meeting.  There were unanimous votes in favour of each Resolution - Avoid food waste, address food poverty and Appropriate care in hospitals for people with dementia.   These will be carried forward to Brighton in June.

After this we had Birthday flowers for four members, and flowers and thanks for the retiring members of the committee.  Pat Prattley was also presented with flowers and thanked for attending.  Tributes were paid to the retiring President and to Lilian Pedrick who has been a member for a great many years, over which time she has served in virtually every capacity from President to meet-and-greet door minder.

The raffle was drawn, the National Anthem sung, and the afternoon drew to a close.