The WI logo has changed many times since its formation.  If you would like to know more about the history of the logos and badges then click on the current WI logo above.
The W.I. meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 7.15-10 p.m. in Acklington Village Hall.

We have a healthy membership including members from Amble, Warkworth and the surrounding area.

We have speakers, discussions, demonstrations, activities, days away, nights out, competitions, etc
.... but above all, we have lots of fun!

If you wish to know more, or would like to become a member, please contact
Delsya Turpin on 01670 760799

An New Member form can be downloaded by clicking on this link


          Sylvia Allan

     V. Presidents
          Sue Francis

          Delsya Turpin

     Barbara Cock


     Denise Davidson



     Press Secretary and Facebook

     Rosie Bush


     MCS & Website
     Barbara King



The annual subscription for 2019 is £42.  This includes copies of the WI magazine. 

The  Northumbrian Newsletter is available through the treasurer or via hyperlink


The Women’s Institute was formed in 1915 with two clear aims: to revitalise rural communities and to encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War. Since then our aims have broadened and we are now the largest women’s organisation in the UK. We celebrated our 90th anniversary in 2005 and currently have 205,000 members in 6,800 WIs.

We play a unique role in providing women with educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills, to take part in a wide variety of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities.

The national headquarters of the WI, the National Federation of Women's Institutes, is in London. We also have an office in Cardiff, NFWI-Wales, and a residential college in Oxfordshire, Denman College. We produce a membership magazine WI Life. WI Enterprises is the trading arm of the organisation and exists to raise funds and provide benefits for members. Companies wishing to explore sponsorship should visit the commercial opportunities section.

Our 6,800 WIs are grouped together to form 70 county and island federations, each with a regional office. Together the WIs and federations make up the National Federation. Each level of the organisation is run by a committee of elected members. The NFWI Board of Trustees is democratically elected every two years by the members.


"All kinds of opportunities for all kinds of women"

The WI is as relevant today as it was when it was launched in 1915. And it's just as radical. The WI is here to enable women like you to 'make a difference' - to the life you lead, to the community you're a part of and to the world you live in.

We can help you to expand your horizons and make new friends, take up new interests, learn new crafts and develop new skills. We offer all kinds of opportunities to all kinds of women.

The WI is a diverse and multifaceted organisation. Its concerns range from climate change to cooking, from crafts to community projects, from healthy eating to fairtrade fortnights, from traditional values to new friendships.

"We can help you to expand your horizons - to learn, develop and pass on new skills.



Click on the year you
wish to view below.

2008 and 2009







24TH MAY 2014

Many of the Institute members put their baking heads on and created some wonderful savoury dishes for the local Table Top Sale in Acklington Village Hall.  the dishes included - a selection of flans and quiches (all different); sausage rolls; ham-filled rolls; pies; shepherd's Pies; Homity Pies; various unusual flavours of scones as well as home-made chutneys.  the majority of goodies were sold and the Institute were delighted to make £104 to go towards the Institute funds.
Sylvia Linnett (shown in the photograph) thanked everyone for their time and effort.

16th MAY 2013


We were delighted to come second in both the Spoken Word (out of 7 teams) and in the Choral (out of 4 teams) in the Finals of the Northumberland Federation Reading Aloud Competition which was held at Stannington Village Hall.
The team consisted of (left to right) June Barras, Sylvia Linnett, Wilma Nicoll, Doreen Colbourne, Moira Peden and Barbara King.  The Choral Team gave a very humorous reading of THE THREE LITTLE PIGS by Roald Dahl and the Spoken Word Team were: Wilma Nicoll reading the Federation Set Poem of PERSONAL HELICON by Seamus Heaney; Barbara King reading her own choice poem of THE SUBALTERN'S LOVE SONG by John Betjeman and June Barras reading a previously unseen extract from JEEVES & WOOSTER.

19th MAY 2011


Out of 16 Institutes who entered the Reading Aloud Team Competition, Acklington were extremely pleased to gain second place in the final at Stannington.
They were from left to right:

June Barras (with the most difficult part) reading an unseen extract from CASE STUDIES by Kate Atkinson.
Barbara King recited her own choice poem by an unknown author titled THE COLOUR OF YOUR LIFE.
Wilma Nicoll read out the very challenging Federation set poem entitled REFLECTIONS by Louis McNeice.




On Wednesday 22nd March 2017 at Powburn, Acklington WI Ladies became Supreme Champions of the WI Northumberland Federation's Annual Bowls Competition after winning round after round of all the other Institutes in Northumberland.

Below is the photo of the team and from left to right they are:

Anne Grace; Wilma Nicoll; Barbara Cock and Margaret Hammond.






LATEST MEETINGS - Reports and Minutes

13tH NOVEMBER 2018

The President welcomed ten visitors from a number of local WIs to this month’s meeting.

Guest speaker Neal Skelton spoke of ‘A History of the Police Helicopter in Northumbria’, known more favourably as ‘The Eye in the Sky’ by the public, or ‘The Pig in the Sky’ by criminals at the time. Today we have a national police aviation service, thanks to the work of officers like Neal which began 30 years ago. At the time, the North East was the car crime capital of the UK, and the introduction of an Air Support Unit in 1986 saw this drop dramatically. Neal described how some members of the public saw the investment as frivolous and anti-social, being disturbed by the noise of the helicopter while it was in pursuit of stolen vehicles or criminals on the run. However, with the help of a Tyne Tees documentary which looked to evaluate the impact of the unit, public support grew and grew.

Neal talked about the types of crime that were prevalent across Tyne & Wear and Northumberland at the time, and how the helicopter assisted in the reduction of crime levels. Judging the ‘value for money’ of the craft and team is difficult, as is always the case in crime prevention, but there has been an 80% fall in car crime since 1993 in our region, and what were once two-hour car chases now only last for a few minutes.

The documentary featured the state-of-the-art equipment that the unit were given to support their work in the 80s – a fax machine, a ‘mobile’ telephone, NATO pullovers and many, many A-Z street atlases which were frequently sucked out of the helicopter when windows or doors were opened to obtain better camera footage mid-flight. The unit was so cutting edge that they received Italian visitors researching security just prior to the Italia 1990 World Cup.

It is important to note that, whilst the job was immense fun for Neal and his colleagues, the safety of the aircraft, team and general public was always put ahead of the chase. It is also worth noting that, despite the 30 year gap, Neal hasn’t changed a bit to how fresh-faced he appears in the documentary.

After members had warmly thanks Neal and enjoyed an excellent pooled supper, the raffle was drawn. The competition, to bring an item representing Northumberland, was won by Susan Wilton for her teddy bear dressed in traditional Northumbrian tweed.

Member Gail Stokeld proposed an idea to support local people over the coming weeks by offering lifts, companionship or help with internet shopping. It was suggested that WI members who frequently travel by car could offer to take others on trips to the supermarket, garden centres for coffee or even Fenwick window to admire the festivities in town. Further details will be advertised via a poster on each village noticeboard.

In other news, Acklington WI is set to host the 2019 Bowls Competition at the village hall in April, more details to follow.

Don’t forget to visit the Bailiffgate Museum exhibition, ‘Proud to be 100’, which celebrates a centenary of WIs until Sunday 9th December.

Rosie Bush




Acklington W.I. met on the 9th October 2018 in the Village Hall for their Annual Meeting. A review of the past year’s events gave members the opportunity to reflect on what had been an interesting and varied programme with something to suit all tastes.

 Activities had ranged from a Food Knowledge Competition, a Floral Workshop, Treasure Hunt and Garden Party to a Local Famous Faces Quiz. We also had a very enjoyable outing to Wynyard Rose Garden.  Guest speakers had ranged from Dr. Ray Lowry, a script writer for comedians such as the Two Ronnies and Dave Allan, to a representative of The Stephen Carey Fund who gave a very clear and informative talk on how to use a defibrillator. In addition to all of this we were well entertained at one of our meetings with a selection of local music by Wendy Fergie and Susan Clarke on the Northumberland Pipes and Fiddle.

The Christmas Party was held in the Village Hall and after a reading from one of our members Christmas Carols were sung and a very tasty supper was served.  Then in March we ventured further afield for our  96th Birthday Celebrations travelling to Swarland for Afternoon Tea at Nelson’s at The Park.

 After reflecting on the past year the election of the President was next on the Agenda and Sylvia Allan was elected for another year.

 With the business side of the meeting over a light supper was served and the October Competition winners were announced.  Members then had a great time competing in teams to guess the names of local towns and villages from a list of cryptic clues and anagrams. The Annual Competition winners were announced 1st was Linda Aston, 2nd Mary Guy and 3rd Delsya Turpin with each receiving a 2019 Calendar.

 Another year over and the W.I. had gone from strength to strength with a number of new members joining us. So if you are interested please come along for a taster evening to see if you would like to become a member of our small but happy band.

 On a personal level where I once thought that I had to aspire to be some kind of Supercook to join the W.I. I have learned over the years that ‘Life is too short to Stuff a Mushroom’ and that it is perfectly alright to buy Sausage Rolls from a well- known food store. I think that I will still keep the Royal Doulton Tea Cups handy though –just in case.

 Janet Leonard



Members of Acklington WI have been busy this summer with numerous events, trips and meetings to reflect upon.

On Friday 20th July a modest group attended a trip to Wynyard Hall Rose Gardens. Visitors reported having had a splendid day in gorgeous surroundings, and the trip may be repeated next year so more members can experience the sights and smells of the roses.

Shortly after, on Wednesday 25th July, three members were invited to Amble WI’s afternoon tea, celebrating 100 years since it was founded. Not only was the food delicious and beautifully presented, but the warm welcome and inspirational speeches made by Amble ladies left everybody feeling rather jolly – or perhaps it was the prosecco.

For our August meeting, member Gail hosted an indoor picnic at her home in Acklington. The ladies in attendance each brought a contribution, varying from home-made sausage rolls to a fantastic gooseberry cheesecake (which deserves a special mention, Barbara King). Gail, who designs art and craft activity boxes for children, provided all the materials needed for members to indulge in a bit of practical art therapy. We enjoyed painting designs in fabric paint on tote bags, leaving us all with a useful item at the end of the day. In fact, the experience was so enjoyable that we forgot to take any photographs and so may be forced to return to Gail’s to reconstruct the event once more.

The planned speaker for September’s meeting was unable to attend, so member Rosie Bush stepped in at short notice to deliver a talk on teaching English Literature in the modern secondary school system. After the business matters were dealt with, the ladies were sat in small groups and given copies of a poem studied by children at GCSE level. Rosie talked about the poem ‘Walking Away’ by Cecil Day Lewis, and asked the groups to unpick the narrative and look out for poetic devices. Some very perceptive comments were made and the text was interrogated in the manner expected of students aged 14-15. Rosie talked through the way students are required to write in order to achieve a good ‘pass’, before asking members to select one image from the poem to either draw or sculpt in tinfoil – an activity used in school to bring imagery to life.

This month’s competition, to bring in a poem, was won by Barbara Cock with the much-loved ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ a firm favourite of all members. No one received any demerits but many figurative gold stars were awarded for the willingness of members to go ‘back to school’.

Next month’s meeting is the AM… And if that isn’t enough temptation, there will be cake!

Rosie Bush


10 JULY 2018

On the second Tuesday in July, members of Acklington W.I met in anticipation of an evening of ‘Outdoor Plant Identification’ by Angus McTavish from Kirkharle Courtyard, the birthplace of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.

However, Angus was forced to rethink the talk at the last minute as the plant samples he had planned to use had all either died or unrecognisably shrivelled (which would have defeated the point of the identification talk) in the preceding spell of hot, dry weather that we had experienced.

Thankfully, Angus was an extremely adaptable and multi-talented guest and didn’t allow the loss of flora to dampen the evening. Instead he ran a well-rehearsed quiz about famous Northumbrians, with WI members in small teams, competitiveness on hand even at short notice.

The quiz centred on a picture round with 20 famous Northerners, many of whom were very local with a few Geordies thrown in to broaden horizons a little. For bonus points, members were asked to give the date of birth (to the nearest decade) and birthplace of each, which sounds much easier than it was.

The faces featured on the quiz ranged from King Oswald, born in 604, to Anthony McPartlin, born two months later than his co-presenter in 1975. Local heroines Grace Darling (1815), Josephine Butler (1828) and Emily Davidson (1872) were also featured, as was James Michael Bradford – more commonly known as Jimmy Nail.

Angus McTavish has a passion for Capability Brown, and so he was also featured in the quiz. Brown’s love of the Northumbrian countryside and landscapes has certainly inspired Angus who now devotes his time to the area, historical skills and practices of Kirkharle.

The quiz and accompanying talk was finished on a personal note, Angus reminding us of the “cultural warmth” that is unique to Northumberland, adding “This wonderful county… we sometimes take it for granted.”

The monthly competition, to bring a home-grown floral posy, drew a record number of entries with a deserving winner in Mary Guy.

Next month’s meeting will be a summer garden party held at member Gail Stokeld’s home in the village, with a pooled picnic lunch and still-to-be-announced craft activity.

Rosie Bush



12 JUNE 2018

An early 6pm start saw committee members deliver a very efficient business meeting in the car park at Acklington Village Hall. Speed was of the essence as Graham Cock, long-time friend of the WI, issued members with his annual local treasure hunt. The ladies split off into three teams of four before racing, with grace and dignity, to their vehicles of choice. Two navigators sat in the front of each car with a pair of code-breakers working in the back seats to decipher the locally-themed cryptic clues.

The fourteen instructions dictated the route from the Village Hall to the station, towards Felton, across to Chevington, through Ugham and past Widdrington. Members hurriedly noted down telephone numbers, distances, house names, church service times and more, with many of us learning things we had never known about places just minutes from our homes.

The clear skies and beautiful sunshine caused only mild inconvenience to those driving, facing into the sun and having to avoid the many cyclists who seemed to be deliberately positioned to add jeopardy to the hunt.

Despite advice from an inside source that “each clue should be read in turn”, Graham’s crafty final clues took teams frustratingly close to their start point and to Acklington Mart, before racing – whilst adhering to the speed limits of course – across to Amble where the hunt was concluded.

One brave pedestrian (hired by a rival team?) almost made the ultimate sacrifice by throwing himself in front of one car, having hidden behind a stopped bus. The driver expertly dodged this inconvenient hazard and made it to the finish line, at Amble’s Sea & Soil, first.

After all three teams reached the venue and made it back from the bar, Graham set to calculating the results. The atmosphere was jovial, despite the underlying competitive tension between teams, and the two-course set dinner was delicious, with many members splashing out on a third course.

After dessert the results were announced. Other diners must have been able to sense the anticipation as many listened in, unless they were simply puzzled as to how one man had the captive attention of twelve women. All teams had successfully completed the treasure hunt in full, and so a three-way tie was declared. A tie-breaker question decided worthy winners (pictured) who were rewarded with bars nougat as the real prize had been lost in the post.


Everyone parted in good spirits and so next month’s meeting will go ahead on 10th July at the usual time of 7.15 in Acklington Village Hall. Visitors are welcome to join us for a lesson in ‘outdoor plant identification’, a topic which will no doubt allow for a little competitive learning.

Rosie Bush


8 MAY 2018

The day had been glorious with hours of unbroken sunshine and the evening did not disappoint when Acklington W.I. met on Tuesday 8th May at the Village Hall. The event was a Musically Illustrated Talk by local musicians Wendy Fergie and Susan Clarke who played the Northumberland Pipes and Fiddle.

The first tune played was Chevy Chase written to depict the ‘Battle of Otterbourne’ which took place in the Cheviot Hills at Otterburn in August 1388.  It was a bloody hand to hand battle fought between the Scottish troops of James, Earl of Douglas and Lord Harry ‘Hotspur’ Percy’s English fighters. This spine chilling piece set the scene for a series of both soulful laments and foot tapping jigs.  From ancient to modern there was something for everyone to enjoy Including ‘Farewell to the Dene’ and the ‘Rothbury Hills’

The music was followed by the business meeting during which  a vote was taken by the members on the proposed National W.I. Resolution ‘Mental Health Matters’  Plans for a trip to Hauxley Nature Reserve  and a Treasure Hunt in June were discussed.

A pooled supper followed the business meeting and this was consumed while everyone talked about how much they had enjoyed the music.

The raffle was drawn and the winner of the competition was chosen. In keeping with the local theme the competition was for ‘Three Singin’ Hinnies’. For the uninitiated a Singin’ Hinney is a girdle or griddle cake which got the name from the way the mixture ‘sang’ as it cooked on the hot griddle. Along with Leek Pudding and Blackberry Pudding, Singin’ Hinnies are associated with the poverty cuisine of the coal mining communities of Northumberland. These were simple, filling dishes requiring only one pan which could be cooked over an open coal fire. 

The meeting was closed and a combination of great entertainment, a pooled supper and lots of friends and visitors had come together to make this an evening to remember.

So whether you are interested in craft or cookery, local history, supporting your community, having input to campaigning for change or simply want an evening out please come and join us. We normally meet on the second Tuesday of the month at the Village Hall at 7.15pm. Visitors are always welcome. As our next meeting is a Treasure Hunt we are starting at 6pm at the Village hall and ending with Supper in Amble.

Janet Leonard


10 APRIL 2018

The venue for the April meeting reverted back to Acklington Village Hall for ‘An Evening of Comedy’ with Dr. Ray Lowry. We were delighted to welcome Dr. Lowry who is an after dinner speaker. In a very amusing way he told us about his many and varied career paths which included working as a dental and medical health specialist. He also worked as a script writer for, amongst many others, the Two Ronnies, Dave Allan, John Cleese and Tommy Cooper.

 In light hearted mood after our evening of laughter it was down to the business side of the meeting.

The forth coming  Annual  Meeting  at Cardiff was discussed and feedback was given on the Council Meeting and one of the Centennial Celebrations at Ulgham.

The Raffle was drawn and the winner of the competition for the funniest card or post card was won by Denise Davidson.

The next meeting is on the 8th May 2018 at 7.15pm at the Village Hall in Acklington.  Come along and join us for a ‘Musically Illustrated Talk on Local Music’. Visitors are welcome. 

Janet Leonard


11 MARCH 2018

The 96th Birthday of Acklington W.I. in March was celebrated in style with Afternoon Tea at ‘Nelsons at the Park’ in Swarland.  Nelson’s was set up in 2015 and has an excellent reputation for food and service and we were not disappointed. The tables had been decorated for this special occasion by the committee and this included floral arrangements in jam jars in the W.I. colours of purple, green and white.

The Business Meeting was conducted, tea was served, birthday gifts were exchanged by participating members and doggie bags were supplied to take away the generous portions of left over cake.  Everyone went on their way having had a jolly good time.

Janet Leonard


13 FEBRUARY 2018

On one of the coldest and frostiest nights of the year only the brave and the foolhardy faced the elements to attend the monthly meeting of Acklington W.I. at the Village Hall on the 13th February.


The evening began with the business part of the meeting and, after a ballot, a new President (Sylvia Allan) was elected.


2018 is the Centenary of Northumberland Federation of W.I’s and members were told of the exciting Programme of Events which are planned to celebrate this milestone. This year also sees the 96th Birthday of Acklington W.I. and members decided that an afternoon tea would be an ideal way to celebrate.  It was decided to venture out of the village for the celebrations and ‘Nelson’s Café’ in Swarland was chosen as a venue.


After the business meeting members joined in a floral art session. This was a continuation of the theme ‘Fun with Foliage’ which was started last summer.

Members made a ‘living vase’ and turned a simple block of floral foam, a bunch of grasses and a few roses into beautiful flower arrangements. This Contemporary approach to floristry is a real challenge to the traditionalists amongst us and not everyone’s cup of tea but nothing ventured nothing gained.


Numbers at the meeting were significantly reduced due to illness amongst members and the inclement weather conditions but we went ahead with the Raffle and the prize was a lovely ‘Bird Feeder’


The monthly competition was for ‘A Corsage for a Winter Wedding’ and this was won by Mary Guy who produced a lovely arrangement with flowers and foliage from her garden.


Everyone enjoyed a cup of tea before setting off for home and as we ‘skated away’ to our various destinations we were thinking ‘roll on Springtime’.


Janet Leonard



The severe icy conditions in Acklington and Warkworth left a number of our members unable to leave their homes safely so a decision was made to defer the meeting of Acklington W.I. which normally takes place on the second Tuesday of the month by one week. This turned out to be a good decision as the better weather brought a near full attendance of members for the Christmas Party.

Supper had been prepared by the Committee Members and after the Business Meeting the Committee served Soup, Savoury Nibbles and a selection of Desserts.  Carols and Popular Christmas Songs were sung and this was followed with a Reading by one of our members. The party ended with a game of ‘Pass the Parcel’ and everyone said how much they had enjoyed the evening.

 Although it was another cold evening the January meeting went ahead as planned.  The business meeting was conducted in the warmth and cosiness of the Guyzance Room. Members were reminded that 2018 was the Centenary Year of the Northumberland W.I. Federation and were told of the first events to celebrate this milestone. This included a Centennial Celebrations Competition Day in June and a Birthday Party in Ulgham in March.

 The Business Meeting was followed by a Food Quiz which proved both educational and amusing as one of the rounds of questions was about guessing the English translation of a number of American Foods. From the answers it was hard to believe that both countries ‘speak the same language’

 The quiz was followed by a Pooled Supper and a variety of homemade dishes were enjoyed by everyone. The competition was for the best decorated biscuit or cookie and the winning entry was a beautiful floral decorated biscuit.

 The February meeting is a Floral Art Workshop where members will have ‘More Fun with Foliage’ 

Janet Leonard


14 NOVEMBER 2017

Dougie McEwan of ‘The Stephen Carey Fund’ was the guest speaker when Acklington W.I. met on the 14th November in Acklington Village Hall.

 The fund was set up in February 2013 by friends and family in memory of Stephen who died aged 21 while playing football for his local team Alnmouth. He died from an undiagnosed heart condition which was likely to have been triggered during the physical exertion of the game.

 Initially the monies raised by the fund were used to provide emergency first aid training to representatives of local football teams and then the group were introduced to the concept of defibrillators by the North East Air Ambulance Service and other organisations.

 The fund then went on to locate defibrillators in various locations throughout Northumberland. They were housed  in  secure cabinets and volunteer ‘Community Guardians’ living near to the locations visit each cabinet every two weeks to ensure both the cabinet and defibrillators appear to be in good working order.

 At the meeting Dougie gave a very clear and informative presentation and demonstration on the use of defibrillators. This left many of the members who had previously had concerns about using the equipment with a new found confidence. We were advised where the defibrillators are situated, how to use them and how to go about increasing the number of locations of the defibrillators. 

  On a lighter note Dougie then agreed to judge the members Craft Competition which was for a home crafted heart shaped article. The business meeting was carried out and then it was time for members to socialise over tea and biscuits before the raffle was drawn and the meeting formally closed. 

 The next meeting is on 12th December in the Village Hall at 7.15pm

 Janet Leonard



10 OCTOBER 2017

Acklington W.I. met in the Guyzance Room of the Village Hall on Tuesday 10th October for the Annual General Meeting [AGM].


The Secretary presented the Committee’s Annual Report and reflected on what had been a very full and varied programme. The highlight of the year was an evening to celebrate Acklington W.I’s 95th Birthday. Other activities ranged from a Cookery Demonstration, a Treasure Hunt around the beautiful Northumbrian Countryside, a Craft Session and a Floral Art Workshop. In addition there were talks by local volunteers from a number of charitable organisations such as Canine Partners and Neal Skelton entertained everyone with his recollection of his time at Everest Base Camp.


The Joint President asked members to adopt the Committee’s Annual Report and thanked the committee for their hard work during the year.


The W.I. Adviser gave a very interesting and informative update on activities at  Area level and was pleased to announce the opening of a new W.I. in  Gosforth. She went on to say that two other W.I’s in that area were operating at full capacity reflecting a trend of increased W.I. membership in Urban Areas.


The Advisor then held a ballot to elect a President (Sheenagh Deakin) before judging the craft competition which was for the best ‘Kitchen Utensil beginning with the letter J’


The three highest scoring Annual Competition winners were presented with their prizes and before closing the meeting the Joint President gave everyone details about the next meeting on 14th November which is to be a demonstration on the use of Defibrillators.

Janet Leonard



An exciting and incredible journey by our speaker Neal Skelton.  Starting from Alnmouth Railway Station to Everest Base Camp showing slides of his journey on the way through very lucrative cities to shanty towns.  Along the way all the local people they met were very friendly and helpful.  He decided to take this extraordinary journey because one his daughters didn't think he could do it.  Undoubtedly, he did.


8 AUGUST 2017

A warm welcome was extended to the fifteen members and one visitor present at our August meeting.  Then the business agenda was presented, including early information about the next National Annual Meeting due to take place in Cardiff on June 6th 2018.  Members reported back on their recent very enjoyable visit to Sandra’s Cottage Flowers, which had included a garden walk and an opportunity to make an arrangement using easily obtainable flowers and foliage from one’s garden, all topped off with a delicious afternoon tea.  Interest was shown in a similar event with a Christmas theme, to take place in December.   An invitation has also been received from Warkworth WI for four members to attend a Comic Evening in October.


We then moved to the theme of the evening, “Fun with Foliage”, in which our joint President, Janet, led us through the process of making a floral arrangement encircled in a cage of foliage.  This method, new to everyone, proved challenging at first, but was well worth the effort, as each of us had a stunning arrangement to take home.  These were taken as the competition entries for the evening, with

Sylvia Allan,                        Mary Guy                         and       Barbara King as winners.


Our next meeting takes place on Tuesday 12th September at 7.15 pm in the Village Hall, when the topic will be “Everest Base Camp”, presented by Neal Skelton. Visitors are always very welcome to join us then.

June Barras



11 JULY2017
Following our June meeting' Treasure Hunt’ outing we were back in the Village Hall for the July meeting of Acklington W.I. The meeting was well attended with both members and visitors who welcomed  Susan Fulton and Esther from Canine Partners. Susan gave an interesting and informative talk and slide show about the work of the charity which specialises in matching trained assistance dogs with people with varying degrees of physical disability. It was founded in 1990 and currently places 78 dogs a year .Training takes around 20 to 24 months and the cost from puppy selection to retirement is £20,000. As well as working with civilians the charity works in partnership with Help for Heroes, The Royal British Legion and other service organisations in providing canine partners to injured servicemen and women.

Susan went on to explain the range of tasks that Esther was capable of helping her carry out. This included dressing and undressing, answering the phone and raising the alarm in an emergency by operating a panic button and for those with more severe disabilities canine partners can be trained to assist with help in getting in and out of bed. Esther also helps with unloading the washing machine and Susan made us all laugh when she told us that Esther, who is given a treat on completion of a task, had worked out that if she emptied the washing machine then put an item back in she could get a second treat.

Needless to say that although she is a working dog and should be treated as such it was Esther who stole the show especially when she was allowed to circulate and meet everyone at the end of Susan’s presentation.

For the business part of our meeting Susan judged our competition which appropriately was for the ‘best photograph of a dog’.  A raffle was held, forthcoming events and  meetings were discussed and after refreshments the meeting was closed. Next meeting 8th August in the Village hall.

Janet Leonard

20 JUNE 2017
The route for the Car Treasure Hunt had been devised by Graham Cock, husband of our Treasurer Barbara who had no idea of the route he had planned.  After sorting out who was driving and which member would travel in what car they all set off on time.  Only one car managed to take a wrong turning but soon recovered and they all arrived at the planned destination of the Sea and Salt cafe in Amble at around the same time.  It was decided that there was no overall winner.  The meal was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone who was able to attend.

13 JUNE 2017
As our summer event - a Car Treasure Hunt - takes place later in the month, this freed us up to accept an invitation from Lesbury WI to join them on their regular meeting night.  Several of our members enjoyed a warm welcome, a tasty supper and an interesting illustrated presentation from Patricia Forster of the Cottage Garden Society on the subject of "Lady Gardeners".  Our regular programme resumes next month on 11th July when the topic will be "The Canine Alliance".
June Barras


2 MAY 2017

A cookery demonstration is always popular and this month's topic was no exception as we welcomed Marjorie Goodchild who prepared five recipes which could be part of a buffet, an accompaniment to a main meal or as an alternative to a regular salad.  These included such innovative dishes as Pork Balls stuffed with Cheese; Courgettes with Prawn in a Tarragon Sauce; Marbled Eggs with Dill and Ginger Mayonnaise; Pear with Blue Cheese and Chicory in Orange Sauce.  These prepared dishes were then donated by Marjorie as prizes for evening's raffle.  The competition also had a cookery theme : Three Homemade Biscuits, the winners being 1st Barbara Cock, 2nd Mary Guy and 3rd Moira Peden.

Then on to the business of the evening, the main item being the Resolutions to be taken to the NFWI Annual Meeting, namely on 'Alleviating Loneliness', and 'Plastic Soup: Keep microplastic fibres out of our oceans'.  After some discussion, it was agreed that the first be left to the discretion of the delegate and the second was carried by a majority in favour of supporting the resolution.

Arrangements were made for the forthcoming May table top sale and for the Car Treasure Hunt to take place on 20th June.  This means that there will be no meeting on our regular 'second Tuesday' this June.

Thanks were extended to Barbara King for her work to keep computer details up to date.  The meeting ended with the usual social time.
June Barras

11 APRIL 2017

We’re all familiar with the Fair Trade movement which works to ensure that across the world, growers and manufacturers of the commodities we all use receive a fair return for their work, but the topic this month – Shared Interest, Investing in a Fairer World – proved to be less well known.  Diana Whalley, an Ambassador for this ethical investment organisation, gave an enlightening overview of how it all works.  The Newcastle based cooperative manages investments of between £100 and £100.000, from UK investors who want to be part of a fairer world, by enabling Shared Interest to offer loans and credit facilities to producers who otherwise may otherwise struggle to find fair financial support to develop their business.  Interest is paid in each investment which can be withdrawn at any time.  The scheme plays a crucial part in the Fair Trade movement in parts of the developing world.  It certainly provided us with food for thought.

Moving on to the business for the evening, congratulations were extended to our Carpet Bowls team, who brought home the cup as winners of the Northumberland Federation Competition.  Matters arising from our recent 95th celebrations included appreciation of gifts of wine from Broomhill WI and chocolates from the Federation Chairman Hilary Robson, and thanks to Margaret Hammond for floral decorations.

Sylvia Linett’s report from the Council Meeting, at which our WI was awarded our birthday certificate, included information on a dementia friendly cinema and preparations for the WI Centenary in the coming year.

It was agreed to take a table at the ACT May Day Sale in the Village Hall on May 29th and details were circulated of a trip to visit Sandra’s Cottage Flowers and gardens later in the year.

Our next meeting on May 9th at 7.15pm, includes a cookery demonstration by Marjorie Goodchild and visitors are always welcome to come along.

June Barras – Secretary.


14 MARCH 2017

Members were in for a surprise when they entered the Village Hall for the Institute's 95th Birthday.  With many thanks to non-members Acklington residents Alison Sharpe and Violet Currie had decorated the hall beautifully with plenty of bunting.  The WI committee had set up the tables and decorated them with 95th birthday memorabilia.  Amble; Broomhill; Felton; Shilbottle and Widdrington with Stobswood had been invited along with Federation Chairman Hilary Robson.

The committee had made or brought the buffet (including the cake) between them making for an excellent spread.  The cake looked wonderful after Margaret Hammond had put her decorative touches to it.  Hilary Robson and the oldest member present, Jean McDougall, cut the cake between them.

Everyone present agreed it had been a lovely way to celebrate the Institute's 95th Birthday.

Pictured is the Cake; the cake being cut by Hilary Robson and Jean McDougall and members and guests.


June Barras


14 FEBRUARY 2017

The February meeting of the Acklington Branch of the W.I.was a lively event with everyone participating in a Qi  Gong Session led by local instructor Anne Raine.

Qi Gong is a form of  Energy Exercise which has been practised for centuries by millions of Chinese people and which is now gaining popularity in the western world. Unlike Tai Chi which is a steady flow of movement,  Qi Gong is based on repetitions of precise sets of movements the aim of which is to promote the movement of energy [QI] in the body. It is claimed that even a few minutes of practice can have an invigorating effect and regular practice can bring about a deep strengthening effect for the whole body. The option of being able to sit or stand while participating meant that everyone was able to join in and feel the benefits.


The evening was rounded off with tea and biscuits and because it was Valentine’s Day a heart shaped chocolate each. Well, we had expended sufficient energy in our Qi Gong session to indulge without feeling too guilty.

Janet Leonard


10 JANUARY 2017

The Acklington Branch of the Women’s Institute met on the 10th January in the village hall for the first meeting of 2017. The title of the presentation was ‘Refugees Sorting Fact from Fiction’. This was delivered in an interesting and thought provoking way by guest speaker Tessa Sayers, a resident of the local community. Tessa began by telling us about the various roles that she had held during her time as a volunteer for the Newcastle based West End Refugee Service including being a past member of the Board of Trustees and her role as a Befriender.


She explained the differences between Refugees and Asylum Seekers and how under International Law everyone has the right to apply for asylum in another country and remain there until the authorities have assessed their claim. If their claim is successful they become Refugees and have the same rights and responsibilities as a British citizen and can work and must pay taxes like everyone else.


The West End Refugee Service is a Registered Charity which has operated since 1998. It provides practical support including home visits, advocacy advice, employment advice and a clothing store as well as emotional support through the Befriending Scheme. It operates mainly with unpaid volunteers and is currently supporting around 800 Asylum seekers in the North East.

Janet Leonard


13 DECEMBER 2016

What else in December but our Christmas Party!  After a tasty buffet supper, with traditional drinks, some members entertained us all with a range of seasonal readings, followed by the singing of Christmas songs and carols – all in all a very pleasant evening of festive fun and camaraderie.    We meet again on January 10th when the speaker’s topic will be “Refugees”.   Visitors are always welcome to come along at 7.15pm in the Village Hall.

June Barras



We began this month with a demonstration by our speaker, Margaret Davidson, who began by showing how to turn an old paperback and an unwanted CD into a “hedgehog”, useful to keep by the phone as a saver of those little notes on which we scribble messages- and so often lose!   Then to the main theme, a handmade Christmas card.  After demonstrating paper folding techniques we were let loose to produce a card of our own.   This was then the subject of the monthly competition, the results being 1st Sheenagh Deekin, 2nd Margaret Hammond and 3rd Sue Straughan.   Sylvia then gave the vote of thanks for such an enjoyably productive activity.

Moving on to the business of the evening, the usual agenda items were taken.  Several members requested to receive a postal copy of Northumberland News at an annual cost of £2.86.  Interest was shown in the Carol Service at Hexham Abbey, whilst details of the forthcoming Reading Aloud competition are awaited with anticipation. A subcommittee was formed to research on the Resolutions for 2017.

Plans for the Christmas Party were made – with catering provided by the Committee and homemade entertainment of Carols and Christmas readings from members.  Looking ahead to our 95th anniversary in March, some thought was given to how it could be celebrated.

The evening ended with a pleasant social time for a cuppa and a chat.

June Barras


11 OCTOBER 2016
This month we met for the Annual Meeting and welcomed Jo Dickson who visited as our WI Adviser.   We began with the usual items on the regular agenda and minutes of the previous meeting, which had taken the form of homemade entertainment by means of a beetle drive, kindly arranged by Margaret, followed by  a good chat over a pooled supper.  Whilst our dominoes team had spent a delightful afternoon at Craster, the games had ended in a dead heat, resolved by Craster just pipping us in the decider.  After such fun and camaraderie we were then treated to an afternoon tea par excellence.  Three members were invited to Broomhill’s 95th birthday celebrations for an enjoyable evening of singing and supper.

Moving to the agenda of the Annual Meeting, the Treasurer, Secretary and President each gave their reports, outlining another varied and successful year of events and activities, with finances in good state.  Thanks were expressed to the committee and members for their contributions throughout the year.

The WIA then took over for the appointment of officers for the forthcoming year.  Our current President, Sylvia Linnett had stated that she would be standing down.  After a vote was taken and discussion ensued, two members, Janet Leonard and Sue Francis agreed to share the role as joint Presidents, whilst Treasurer Barbara Cock and Secretary June Barras agreed to remain in post.  Other members of the Committee, Mary Guy, Moira Peden and Sylvia Linnett continue in post, whilst a new committee member, Sheenagh Deakin, was welcomed on board.

The business part of the evening completed, Jo Dickson ended with an entertaining account of her experiences attending the centenary celebrations in London the previous year.   The results of the annual competition were announced as follows: 1st Mary Guy; 2nd Sylvia Linnett; 3rd Moira Peden.  Then floral tokens were presented to Jo Dickson as thanks for attending as WIA, and to our outgoing President, Sylvia, in appreciation of all she has done, after which the evening ended with the usual social time and refreshments.

We next meet on Tuesday November 8th at 7.15pm with a demonstration of Christmas card making, followed by an opportunity to try our hand.  So if you’re feeling crafty why not come along, as visitors are always welcome.
June Barras

It was decided to have a Social Evening this month.  Ken Speckle Chocolatier with Dawn Watts will give a demonstration at a further date.

 20169 AUGUST 2016
Silk Scarf Painting demonstrated by Tracey Jones

12 JULY 2016
The People's Kitchen with Mary Kelly



For this month's group meeting we enjoyed a garden party at the home of our President, Sylvia Linnett.
The weather was kind enough to allow us to spend a very pleasant afternoon relaxing and conversing in the garden over Pimms and an elegant party spread.

Thanks to all who provided the food and to Sylvia and Don for making their home and garden available.
June Barras


3RD JUNE 2016

I had the privilege to attend our Annual General Meeting in Brighton as delegate representing Broomhill, Shilbottle, Warkworth and Acklington W.I.s.  Beginning with that iconic moment as NFWI Chair Janice Langley opened proceedings by inviting almost 5000 in the vast auditorium of the Brighton Centre to join in singing 'Jerusalem', the programme continued with the Chair's Address in which she looked back at the centenary events of the past year which had been a 'year to remember'.  The roots of W.I. lay in the promotion of education to feed the nation and not to let food go to waste and this is reflected in our aims today.  She highlighted the importance of Denman College in this, with several new projects soon to be accessible through the media, such as The Food Club and textile and crafts to download.  Rising costs necessitated the current fund raising campaign for Denman, however the organisation overall continues to grow with a membership of 222,402 to date.

The two Resolutions took up the main part of the meeting, firstly 'Appropriate care in hospitals for people with dementia' followed by 'Avoid food waste, address food poverty'.  Speakers expressed views in favour and against each one before votes were taken, resulting in each resolution being carried by a large majority.

There were two Guest Speakers: Rona Fairhead, BBC Trust Chairman, who saw much in common between the two organisations in wanting to make a difference and campaigning to do so.  The second Guest Speaker, Lord Speaker Baroness D'Souza gave an illuminating insight into the work of the House of Lords.

After an entertaining though controversial rendition of singing and flag waving in the style of 'Last Night of the Proms', followed by the anthems, we dispersed with what seemed in general a feeling of encouragement, together with the benefit of meeting up with members from other Institutes and sharing our ideas and experiences.

June Barras


10TH MAY 2016

The decades were peeled back as our speakers for the evening, Jane Mann and Hilary Waugh from Bailiffgate Museum took us on a nostalgic journey to the ‘50s and ‘60s with a variety of clothing and everyday objects to stir memories of younger days.   Liberty bodices, suspenders and stockings, corsets, capacious Aertex knickers, Marcel hair wavers to curl and singe your hair, and knitted bathing costumes which tended to stretch when wet – if any of these strike a chord with you then you’re giving your age away.  Indeed, Hilary herself proved to be an exhibit in her full skirted coat from 1951 and very glamorous dress made for a 21st birthday in the late 50’s.  Their entertaining anecdotes were reminders of how social acceptability has changed over the years, such as the fetching scarlet underwear from the ‘50’s which had caused the owner’s mother to declare that “under no circumstances would be hung out on my washing line”   Changes in rites of passage too were noted by the engine turned hair brush and mirror dressing table set and the charm bracelet, popular birthday gifts to mark a girl’s transition to grown-up status on reaching 21.

We were invited to have a good rummage and choose something of personal significance to share with the group.  One member was soon wearing a hat and gloves similar to those she had worn to go on honeymoon, whilst others recalled what they did on Coronation Day, 1953.

All the exhibits have been donated by the public and the museum itself is run almost entirely by volunteers.  There is a “Friends of the Museum” scheme which offers excellent value at £15 a year for unlimited visits.    Sheenagh then voiced our appreciation of Jane and Hilary’s entertaining and evocative presentation.

Then followed the usual business matters.  After some discussion, the group arrived at the mandate for the delegate to vote on the Resolutions to be tabled at the forthcoming Annual Meeting in Brighton.  Entries for the Ringtons Tea Competition were finalised and arrangements made for the Garden Party in June.

The winners of the competition – for ‘Any Old Thing’ – were 1st, Margaret Hammond with her book dating from 1746; 2nd  Sheenagh Deakin with an antique watering can and 3rd June Barras with a Lepidodendron fossil  from the coal measures of some 300 to 250 million years ago.

The evening ended with a pleasantly informal time for tea and talk.

The next meeting will be our Garden Party on Saturday 18th June.


June Barras


12TH APRIL 2016

Acklington WI enjoyed a visit from Lorna Wilkinson of The Rainbow Pottery at their April meeting.  After a short demonstration of painting techniques, there was the opportunity for everyone to decorate a piece of pottery.  We were delighted to welcome no fewer than seven visitors, who, together with our members then unleashed their artistic talents to produce an impressive range of painted tiles, plates and bowls which Lorna will return after they are fired.

Time was then taken to address the usual W.I. business, beginning with a heartfelt expression of sadness at the death of Julia Davidson, a very popular and supportive WIA.   The President welcomed Ann Dixon who was attending as an observer as part of her training to become a WI Advisor. She went on to congratulate the Carpet Bowling Team on their steady performance in drawing both matches in the recent annual competition.   Two members have been successful in the ballot for the trip to Barnsdale Gardens and Burghley House in July.  The date of the proposed Garden Party has been moved to Saturday June 18th to accommodate other village events.  The secretary has agreed to attend as delegate at the NFWI Annual Meeting in Brighton in June.  Interest was shown in the WI Bulb Scheme and the Ringtons Tea Challenge.

The items painted earlier were then judged as the competition for the evening, the results being 1st, Julie, one of our visitors; 2nd, Mary Guy and 3rd, Sue Straughan.   Then followed a pleasantly informal sociable time to chat over tea and biscuits.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday 10th May at 7.15pm in the Village Hall , with a visit from Bailiffgate Museum, the competition being  - what else but – “Any Old Thing”.  Visitors will be very welcome to come along.

      FIRST                                                                      SECOND                             THIRD


June Barras


8TH MARCH 2016

For our March meeting, Acklington W.I. celebrated their birthday with a visit to their local restaurant, The Railway Inn.  After an enjoyable meal, the customary gifts were exchanged and the evening continued with the usual camaraderie.

  The next meeting takes place in the Village Hall on Tuesday April 12th at 7.15pm with a visit from Rainbow Pottery, with the opportunity for everyone to have a go at painting a piece of pottery for themselves.  Visitors are very welcome at this event.


June Barras



A warm welcome was extended to our speaker, David Carr, whose talk on “A Day in the Life of a Grocer” gave an entertaining insight into his life over the past four decades since first opening his grocery shop in Longframlington in1978.

 He regaled us with some amusing anecdotes and a variety of ups and downs  - how six weeks of snow greatly benefited trade, whereas the refitting of fixtures to create a self-service facility caused unforeseen problems.

With his day starting at 3am, making some sixty rolls daily and serving the needs of the village by opening every day of the week, it was surprising to hear how David manages to find time for other interests such as his involvement in the Restorative Justice Programme at HMP Northumberland and his voluntary gardening at St. Oswald’s Hospice.

In the long standing, but sadly now fading tradition of the village shop, David’s store fulfils the wider role of serving the needs of the community as a source of advice and help where needed, whilst also playing a part in local activities.  It was not surprising to hear that he has won two national awards to mark his success.

The President then opened the business of the evening, following the usual items on the agenda, in addition to forthcoming events, namely the Ringtons Tea Competition, the Annual Carpet Bowls competition and Warkworth Show  entry .   The delegate to attend the Annual Conference in Brighton needs to be identified at the next meeting.

Menus were circulated for the Birthday Celebration meal in March and the results of the competition for three scones were announced as 1st Moira Peden, 2nd Mary Guy and 3rd June Barras.

The evening ended with a pleasant social interlude over a cup of tea.

Next month we meet on March 8th at The Railway Inn, Acklington, for our Birthday Meal.


June Barras 




The President extended New Year greetings to everyone and welcomed the Speaker, Tessa Sayers, who gave a very informative presentation on the work of the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and her role as a general advisor in that organisation.

Tessa outlined the process of becoming a voluntary advisor, which takes 6 to 12 months of training and self-study, working at one’s own pace.

From its inception in 1939, when it opened with 200 Bureaux, the C.A.B. now operates in three thousand locations, funded by 300 different charities, with some twenty thousand volunteers.  They provide both face-to-face and telephone advice to two million people, referring to subject specialists when appropriate.  There is also a website to maximise accessibility.  Working on four basic principles – that advice is free, confidential, impartial and independent – the C.A.B. offers advice on a range of family issues and social and legal rights.

The National Organisation provides training for advisors, and monitors and manages the database by keeping up to date with ever changing regulations.  It uses that database to identify areas of need and takes a proactive role in lobbying for improvements.  The C.A.B. works in partnership with other providers such as debt advisors and Macmillan Care.

There are local Bureaux in Morpeth, Alnwick, Berwick, Hexham, Blyth and Ashington; our nearest drop-in facility is in Druridge Bay Community Centre in Hadston Shopping Centre on the first Wednesday of each month, 10:30 – 12:30.

The evening continued with the business agenda.  In addition to the usual items, the President announced some changes to the Committee.  She reported on three successful events: a Christmas Wreath making workshop, the Christmas Hamper Raffle and the Table Top Sale, all of which had provided a welcome boost to funds.  Forthcoming events were discussed, namely the annual Carpet Bowls Competition in March, Ringtons Craft Competition in May and the Acklington W.I. entry for Warkworth Show in August.  Acklington once again has the opportunity to send a delegate to the AGM in Brighton next June; members were asked to consider whether they wished to be considered for this.  Voting papers were collected for the Resolution to be taken to the Annual conference at Brighton in June.

After the raffle and competition results, the meeting ended with informal time for tea and talk.

The next meeting is on Tuesday 9th February at 7:15pm when David Carr will be speaking on “A Day in the Life of a Grocer”.  Visitors and new members are always welcome at every meeting.


June Barras



Barbara Cock and her husband Graham had arrived very early to put on the heating so the room would be warmed up in time for members arriving. 

 The committee had set out all tables and chairs and decorated the tables with cloths, napkins, crackers and decorations.  The two varieties of soup were bubbling away and the cold buffet, all supplied by the committee, was very enticingly laid out.

 All members were met in the Guyzance Room with a glass of wine/soft drink.

 Raffle tickets were sold for both the large hamper and the Institute raffle.

 Sylvia gave a hearty welcome, despite her very hoarse voice.  Sylvia and Barbara Cock then refilled everyone’s glasses.

 The soup and bread rolls were served by Sylvia and Barbara C as it was felt to be easier.  Members helped themselves to the very substantial buffet followed by a choice of cold sweets.

 After everyone had had their fill Sue Straughan got up and got everyone singing from the prepared Christmas song sheets.

 Doreen Colbourne gave an impromptu appreciation to the committee for all their hard work thereby ensuring that members didn’t have to worry about anything and just enjoy themselves.

 The Institute raffle was drawn and the competition for a tree decoration, which had been displayed very decoratively on a twiggy tree branch, supplied by Barbara Cock, was judged by Sheena Deakin and gave first to Sylvia Linnett; 2nd Janet Bell and 3rd Wilma Nicoll.

 All too soon it was time to depart after everyone had definitely had a good evening.

 The next meeting will be on 12th January 2016 when Tessa Sayers will talk to us about the work of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and the competition will be for a favourite Christmas Card.


Barbara King



10th NOVEMBER 2015

Sylvia welcomed all those present.  Apologies were received from 3 members.

The minutes of the Annual Meeting were read and the following matters were raised:-

The Our/Old Time Music hall at Felton had been cancelled and refunds would be issued by Cresswell House.

One member was unable to go to the ‘Music is Food for Feet’ at Widdrington and offered her ticket to any member.  There were no takers so, as tickets were in short supply, would be offered back to Widdrington.

The Resolution we had proposed was not selected this time but would be proposed again next year.

The produce for the Christmas Hamper could be left in the large bag at the back of the hall.  Tickets will be £1 each and can be sold to anyone.  The draw will take place at the Christmas Fayre in the Village Hall on 20th December.

Werca’s Folk had to withdraw from singing at our Christmas party due to being double-booked.  Arrangements were being made to see if the daughter of one of our members would be willing to play and sing for us.

The secretary went through the few events notified and the treasurer gave her report.

Numbers were taken for copies of the Northumberland News for 2016 which was down on the usual number as many members would be using the new hyperlink. The Christmas Party would be £5 per head with the buffet being provided by the committee.  Members were reminded to bring their own plate, small bowl, cup and cutlery.

The competition for the next meeting would be a Christmas Tree Decoration of any medium bought, made or handed down.

Sylvia then handed over to two of our own members, Janet Leonard and Sue Straughan, to talk about and demonstrate the art of Festive Flowers.

They had already set up the table which was beautifully covered with a wonderful Christmas table cloth.  Sue Straughan started by giving us a short talk on health and safety and then showed us how to make a wreath for practically no cost by gathering greenery, moss, cones, etc. from around wooded areas.  It looked so quick and easy the way she did it and they looked wonderful.  Janet said she was willing to hold Christmas Workshops if enough people were interested to show us many different techniques on how to enhance flower arrangements.  She then showed us some arrangements she had made beforehand and containers we could use including a Rose Wreath around a lantern; Cinnamon Wreath & Candle; bark surrounded by dried limes; Christmas Cake and a sparkly Rose Tower before making up several arrangements with greenery collected from round and about and bought flowers along with dried out slices of fruit, which she told us how to make.  They all looked really professional.  Then she went through the basics of making our own flower arrangements leaving us to help ourselves to the mountain of greenery, cones, wires, dried fruits, decorations she then let us loose on making our own with the flowers we had brought with us.

After lots of discussion on what to use we all eagerly set to work creating our own creations.  When we had done the best we could all arrangements were laid out on one table and Janet and Sue did the judging giving first to Margaret Hammond, second to Sheenagh Deakin and third to Wilma Nicoll. 


Barbara Cock gave a very well deserved appreciation for all the hard work that Janet and Sue had put into their presentation.

      After refreshments we all left remarking on what a wonderful and inspiring meeting we had had.

Barbara King      



There was almost a full attendance at this year’s meeting.  The current President, Sylvia Linnett, welcomed everyone and introduced Mrs Julia Davidson the Women’s Institute Adviser (WIA).

The minutes of the last meeting in August were read and matters arising were discussed.  These were: - non-viability of a vandal-proof bench due to cost but will be put on hold; Darts lost 3 -1 to Whitfield. Mentioned to WIA how disappointing that in the early stages of the tournament teams were drawn so far away from each other.  WIA said she would mention this at the next governors meeting; 6 members won the Village Hall Quiz and a Resolution entitled “The NFWI calls on this Government for an enriched culture medium test for Group B Streptococcus to be available from the NHS for every pregnant woman in the UK” had been submitted. 

The business part of the meeting followed.  It was felt that a superior Christmas hamper be made up and then raffled.  A list of items had been made and each member chose what they would contribute.  A personal invitation had been received from Widdrington Stn with Stobswood to their evening on 14 Nov.

The Northumberland News was gone through and the hyperlink for PC users taking them to an up to date edition of the Northumberland News was highlighted.  There was no correspondence.  Names and money were taken for several of the events in November.

The deputy treasurer gave out a copy of the pre-prepared financial statement and gave a brief explanation. It was proposed that G S Nicholls once again be our auditors.  The winners of the annual competitions were 1st Moira Peden and joint 2nd were Barbara Cock and Linda Aston.  The current secretary read the annual report.  This was followed by the President’s address.

The winners of the meetings competition of a kitchen utensil beginning with H were 1st Barbara King, 2nd Moira Peden and 3rd Mary Guy.

The next meeting will be on 10 Nov when members Janet Leonard and Sue Straughan will be talking to us about Festive Flowers where there will be a demonstration and a practical (which will be the competition).  Members need only bring about 3 flowers and a candle if they wished.

The WIA spoke briefly and remarked on what a lovely atmosphere there was amongst the members and how our Institute not only invited other Institutes to our meetings but how well we supported other invitations and events.  She also spoke about various other ways for fund-raising.

The new committee was proposed and accepted.  Sylvia Linnett remains as President, Barbara Cock will continue as treasurer and June Barras will take over again as secretary.

There was a lot of chatting during tea and biscuits before the meeting concluded.


Barbara King



11 AUG 2015

Sylvia welcomed all those present including 2 ladies from Warkworth WI.

Then she introduced Valerie Everett who gave a very interesting talk about Joyce Grenfell.  Not many people knew that Joyce was actually born into Aristocracy.  She married at 19.  Her career began by accident as a child but it wasn’t until 1939 that she actually began to make it her career.  Joyce joined ENSA and entertained the troops both at home and abroad.  Sadly, she would have become a Dame herself but died just a few months before it could be awarded.  Valerie went onto recite three of Joyce’s well-known pieces – Three Brothers; Free Activity and The Widow.  This was an extremely interesting and informative talk enjoyed by everyone.  Margaret Hammond gave the appreciation.

Sylvia went onto to conduct the business part of the meeting before tea & biscuits.

Apologies were received from – June Barras; Janet Leonard; Delsya Turpin & Jean McDougall.

Minutes of last meeting were read.  Sylvia asked members that if they knew they were going to be away for any of the meetings could they please let the secretary know beforehand.  This prompted the question of how many would be away for the September meeting.  Half the members present would be away so it was decided to cancel that meeting.  Sylvia also asked if members would like a holiday month each year as a lot of other Institutes do.  Those present were rather undecided so it was decided to review this again next year.  A tin would be going round at the end of the meeting for those who would like to contribute to the GNAA in memory of Margaret Howie.  The Northumberland News subscription will shortly be due and will be £2.86 per annum.  The Northumberland News was gone through with events highlighted plus invites from Alnmouth and Felton & Thirston.  The annual darts rounds had been received and our first game will be at Whitfield in Hexhamshire.  Janet Bell; Barbara Cock; Barbara King and Margaret Hammond volunteered to have a go.  Correspondence had been received regarding the WI calendar for 2017 and members were invited to submit prints / transparencies with the subject being “Down by the River”.  Sylvia asked if any members would like to submit a resolution for consideration.  Two subjects were suggested - Public Transport in Rural Areas and Death of Babies at Birth by Strep B. 

Sylvia indicated her intention that she would like to step down as President at the Annual Meeting and asked if anyone else would consider taking over.  However, she also said that she wouldn’t like to see the Institute fold if no-one else was willing to take over.

Valerie judged the competition for a limerick starting with ‘Stately as a Galleon ……’ awarding 1st to Moira Peden; 2nd Mary Guy and 3rd Sylvia Linnett.

Our next meeting will now be the Annual Meeting on 13th October.


Barbara King



14 JULY 2015

Barbara Cock stood in for the President, Sylvia Linnett.  She welcomed those present and asked for a minutes silence in memory of a very valued and supportive member, Margaret Howie, who had very recently passed away.  Barbara also read out a copy of the letter that Sylvia Linnett had sent to Margaret’s husband David expressing our sympathy for the great loss of Margaret to Acklington WI.


Apologies were received from – Sylvia Linnet; June Barras; Janet Bell; Doreen Colbourne and Margaret Hammond.


Barbara held a very short business meeting by quickly going through the Northumberland News and list of events enclosed.   Reminders for diaries/calendars; Harrogate trip in September; Alnmouth Centenary event 13th September and asked if anyone was interested in the President, Secretary and/or Treasurer Workshops.  No further names were forthcoming.   A letter from Julia Woolley, Warden WI, about her trip to Buckingham Palace was read through along with an e-mail from Celia Bouch saying how delighted she was to be chosen for the Century Anniversary WI Bursary.


Kath & Harry Gilbert were welcomed back this time with a slide show of ‘Postcards from Brazil’.  As usual their presentation was second to none with excellent voiceovers and Latin/American music.  A slide show that encapsulated their trip and the members.  Barbara Cock gave the appreciation.


Tea and biscuits followed with Kath & Harry judging the competition for a postcard with the results being 1st Barbara Cock; 2nd Moira Peden and 3rd Mary Guy.


The next meeting will be ‘Joyce Grenfell’ by Valerie Everett with the competition being a limerick starting “Stately as a Galleon”.


Barbara King



13 JUNE 2015

Saturday 13th June 3pm and the green, white and purple balloons were attached to the fence at ‘Oaklands’, the home of Margaret Hammond, and the directional signs were in place for Acklington WI members arriving to celebrate 100 years of the Women’s Institute.  Inside, the Pimms was made into large jugs, the kettles were on and the petite sandwiches; sausage rolls;  fresh cream scones; cream & strawberry meringues; strawberry meringue nests; lemon drizzle buns; strawberry bakewell squares and chocolate chip squares were arranged on cake stands and decorative bone china plates.  The raspberry sponge cake iced with the WI Centenary logo was in pride of place at the front.  Outside, Margaret had covered the patio tables with white tablecloths and her fine bone china cups, saucers and plates set around.  All set to celebrate the National WI Centenary.  We could have been in the garden at ‘The Ritz’ it all looked so grand.

On arrival, members were given a glass of Pimms or tea/coffee.  Sylvia read out a lovely card from Barbara Cock, who couldn’t attend, wishing us a wonderful time and sorry to miss it all.  The weather held out beautifully so members were able to sit outside and enjoy Margaret’s wonderful garden.  Needless to say, there was a lot of nattering, as ladies do.  Unfortunately, for various reasons, several members were unable to make it. 

A group photo was taken under one of the arches and then, as the longest serving member of our Institute, Wilma Nicoll was invited to cut the cake.

At that point the drizzle of rain started and we all congregated in Margaret’s lounge

This was the ideal time to have a very short business meeting where names were taken for the Federation Quiz Night; Darts Tournament along with orders for diaries and calendars.  Sylvia regaled us with her experience at the Buckingham Palace Garden Party and the AGM in the Royal Albert Hall.

All too soon it was time to depart but not without clearing up Margaret’s kitchen, dining room and patio.

The next meeting is on our normal 2nd Tuesday of the month 13th July at 7.15pm in the Village Hall with postcards from Brazil with Kath & Harry Gilbert.  All visitors and potential new members are welcome.


Barbara King


12 MAY 2015

President, Sylvia Linnett, opened the meeting and welcomed everyone particularly our visitors from Warkworth, Broomhill, Felton and Widdrington & Stobswood Institutes.

Previous minutes were read followed by a discussion on the resolution (Failing to Care – Assessment of Need in Long-term Care).  Sylvia had attended the briefing at Cresswell House and this topic had many aspects to it.  The members decided that Sylvia should vote at the AGM at her discretion on our behalf.  Sylvia asked members to decide if they would like a holiday month each year; if they had any ideas for future speakers and the Reading Aloud final is on 19th May.  Warkworth had extended an invite to take up seats on a bus to the Scottish Borders on 7th July for £6 each. Reminded members that the next meeting would be our Centenary event on Saturday 13th June at ‘Oakland’s’, directions given.

The secretary advised members she had left a list of future events in their copy of the Northumberland News and in addition Widdrington Station WI has invited 4 of us to their meeting  with Perform  performing ‘Live Act’ on 27th July and Shilbottle WI to their meeting on 16th July for a talk ‘The Red Kites Return’.  Also included is an up to date list of current members.

Sylvia introduced Marjorie Goodchild who made 5 delicious quick and easy meals for one starting with the biscuit base and blackcurrant topping for a cheesecake.  She then went onto cook Salmon & Prosciutto, Mushroom Pasta, Mangetout & Sweetcorn and Tomato & Black Plum Salad followed by the cheesecake mixture to assemble and finish the blackcurrant cheesecakes.  All during the cooking Marjorie entertained us, as usual, with her wit and stories.  All the dishes were donated to the raffle.  Wilma gave the appreciation.

Marjorie judged the competition for 3 small savouries by tasting one of each one and gave 1st to Moira Peden; 2nd Mary Guy and 3rd Linda Aston.

A wonderful, tempting buffet was then opened with guests first followed by members with the usual copious amounts of tea/coffee.  Needless to say this all went down very well among all the chattering and catching up.  There was a large quality raffle with many members taking something home with them.

All in all, a very enjoyable meeting.


Barbara King


14 APRIL 2015

We were welcomed to some wonderful scents on entering the hall for the April meeting.  Alexandra Burn, who was giving us a talk on Human & Canine Aromatherapy, had already laid out tester strips of the many oils she had brought with her.  Alexandra went from working in the corporate sector to pursue aromatherapy which was being used as long as 6000 to 9000 years ago.  Essential oils are the pure essence of the plant with some taking an enormous weight to make just a few mls.  Pure oils, which must always be in a dark glass bottle, are extremely powerful and are normally mixed with a carrier oil or cream as the pure oil can burn.  Alexandra normally works in London but now and again visits the North East.  She blends her oils at a client consultation ensuring the smell is acceptable.  The tester strips were sent around with various reactions of likes and dislikes.  Alexandra explained what treatment  each one was normally used for.  Some members took advantage of the oil scented hand cream which went down well.  After several Q’s & A’s Sylvia Linnett gave the appreciation.

Alexandra judged the competition for a pet portrait before she left with 1st Mary Guy; 2nd Sylvia Linnett; 3rd Barbara Cock.

The President, Sylvia Linnett, opened the business part of the meeting asking if everyone had enjoyed the Birthday Dinner – they all had.  Sylvia Linnett will be attending the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on 2nd June.  Norham WI were holding a WI Centenary event on 1st August; 4 people interested in the Croquet organised by Bamburgh WI on 17th June;  Edinburgh trip with Widdrington & Stobswood on 7th June to be paid by 18th May  and 4 for the Car Treasure Hunt at Longhoughton on 15th June.  Sylvia congratulated the Reading Aloud team for reaching the finals which will be held on 19th May at Stannington Village Hall with supporters more than welcome.   The WI Centenary AGM at the Royal Albert Hall on 4th June can now be seen by anyone having access to broadband.  The Acklington WI entry for the Rose Bowl competition at the Warkworth Show will be a maximum 20 line poem/limerick of The Magna Carta.  The Pimms event at Margaret Hammonds home will now be a Pimms & Cream Teas afternoon on Saturday 13th June and will also be our WI Centenary event.  Centenary raffle tickets are available from Mary Guy.

Tea & biscuits followed with the result of the raffle.

The next meeting will be a short resolution discussion followed by a Cookery Demonstration with Marjorie Goodchild making a 5-course meal on 12th May at 7.15pm with pooled supper and special raffle.  Members were invited to bring a friend/guest.  The competition will be for 3 small savouries.


Barbara King


10th MARCH 2015


March is [was] our Institute’s birthday month and as usual we celebrated with a Birthday Dinner.  The venue for the second time year running was The Old Storehouse in Amble, where fifteen of us gathered for the event.

Sylvia Linnett, President, kept business to a minimum but pointed out to members that there is to be a Royal Garden Party for WI members on 2 June 2015 at Buckingham Palace.  One member from each Institute can go to the event (at their own expense!).  Sylvia asked everyone to consider whether they would like to go.  As usual, if there is more than one volunteer, a name would be drawn by ballot.

The dinner was a great opportunity for us to sit down and catch up together over a delicious meal.  There were plenty of reminiscences and laughter as a glass or two of wine was taken.

We drank a toast to wish the Institute a Happy 93rd Birthday, then the birthday gifts that each member had brought were distributed in a ‘bran tub’ style.  There were many ‘ooh and aahs’ as we opened our presents.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 14th April in Acklington Village Hall, as usual.  The speaker and demonstrator will be Alexandra Burn, an aromatherapist who works with people and dogs too!

All are welcome and there is a small guest fee of £3 – you don’t have to be a member to come along to listen and have a cuppa!


Sylvia Linnett


10th FEBRUARY 2015


Moira Peden (Vice President) opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and introduced Tessa Sayers who spoke to us about Children’s Homes in India.

There are two homes that Tessa and husband Chris are interested in and they are part of the Faith, Welfare, Trust (FWT).  They are Christian homes for 5 to 18 yr olds mainly within the Chennai area.  There is a set class system in India that would be very difficult to change so those born into poverty would probably remain in poverty.  Apparently, it is a Hindu belief in Karma and social states.  Women and children would always be at the bottom of the pecking order no matter which class they belonged to.  Tessa showed us many slides of children in the orphanages where they certainly looked happy and well cared for.

There is scope for children going onto further education at college/university but unless they can get funding they would have to be supported by their own families after the age of 18.  This would mainly be boys who would go into construction or engineering but some girls have gone on to become nurses and teachers but most girls would become wives.  We also saw slides of endearing street scenes full of rubbish!  There were also many tented villages on the beaches.

Fund-raising was set up in 1986 to start the orphanages off and now need around £38,000.00 per year to ensure that everything needed is catered for.  Most of the money comes from donations from Britain and Canada.  The appreciation was given by Barbara Cock.

Tessa judged the competition for an elephant of any medium which was won by Sue Straughan with Linda Aston second and June Barras third.

Moira then opened the business part of the meeting whilst tea and biscuits were given.  Correspondence was dealt with.  Menus were given out and members asked to make their selection for our Birthday meal at The Old Storehouse in Amble on 10th March.  The raffle was then drawn before everyone went home.


Barbara King


13 JANUARY 2015

Tamsin Greig gave a very lively and entertaining talk in January about her grit and determination to become a Kayak World Champion meeting and making many good friends from parts of the world she had never dreamed of going to and wouldn’t have done except for her passion for kayaking.  She told us that it was by chance she became World Champion in 2008 after she entered the British Championships a couple of years earlier, not expecting to get very far, and ended up coming 2nd which automatically gave her admission to the World Championships.  If you ever saw one or two blue or pink figures out in boats around Druridge Bay at any time of the year, including the harsh cold winter months, it would have been Tamsin and her husband practising.  She said that after that kayaking on sun-drenched beaches was a doddle.  Tamsin answered the question about how to surf and how to judge the waves and she gave a very illustrated show of pictures on her laptop showing how to ride the waves.  She also went on to say she had ridden waves as high as 20ft.  Pink is the most visible colour out at sea and she always wore that colour in the event of any difficulty. Tamsin showed us one of her old carbon fibre kayaks and explained the various parts and what they were for along with the oars with the special surfing wax for grip.  Barbara King gave Tamsin a well-deserved appreciation on behalf of all the members.

Sylvia then opened the business part of the meeting welcoming 1 new member and a visitor, who subsequently joined as a member.  Sylvia explained that due to personal circumstances June would be unable to continue as secretary for several months and thanked Barbara King for stepping and temporarily taking over.  Sylvia said that Janet Leonard had agreed to be co-opted onto the committee and asked if anyone else was also willing to join the committee and a new member, Sue Francis, said she would.  Northumberland News was quickly gone through and correspondence revealed one item that was carried over to the next meeting.  The treasurer gave her report.  Everyone agreed that they had enjoyed the Christmas meal and it was suggested this could be repeated sometime in the year, possibly May.  It was agreed that The Old Storehouse in Amble be booked again for our Birthday meal in March.  Competition winners for a sea scene of any medium was won by Mary Guy with Barbara Cock second and Sylvia Linnet third.  Tea, biscuits and chat followed.

Our next meeting is on Feb 10th with a talk being given by Tessa Sayers on Children’s Homes in India.

Barbara King




The Guyzance room made for a very cosy environment for our annual Christmas party.  The tables were set out in a ‘U’ shape and very Christmassy decorated.  The buffet and drinks, supplied by the committee, were ready for the first members to arrive.  There was no need for any activities as the room was alive with chatter.

Everyone was asked to bring their own place mat and Mary found it extremely difficult to judge the best three from the hand-made to the bought ones.  In the end she awarded 1st to Margaret Hammond; 2nd Jean McDougall and 3rd Barbara King.  Sue Straughan asked for a member to pick out a raffle ticket for the wonderful poppy cushion that our late member, Isabella (Izzy) Telford had made.  The winner was someone that Sue knew.  Sue announced that a total of £112 had been made and, in accordance with the wishes of Izzy, the proceeds will be given to The Royal British Legion.

Margaret Howie then read out a well-known Christmas poem ‘A Visit from St. Nicholas’ which was enjoyed by all.

Barbara King



11 NOVEMBER 2014

There were 12 members and one visitor present at the Acklington WI November meeting which began with the topic for the month, “Introduction to Patchwork”, presented by Margaret Hammond and Flora Steele.  This proved to be both informative and entertaining, as Margaret described how she first took up patchwork quilting, encouraged by a tutor at Denman College.  She went on to tell us of her visit to an Amish community in Pennsylvania, their lifestyle and particularly their tradition of quilt-making.  Everyone admired the impressive examples of quilts which she had made, but also some smaller items: a patchwork teddy bear, some handbags and Christmas decorations.  Flora took up the theme by describing how her dream of patchwork quilting had only been realised when she came to live in Acklington.  She also brought some beautiful examples of her work, although most of what she made had been given away.  Mary spoke for us all as she thanked them both for a very enjoyable presentation.

The evening continued with the usual business agenda.  Sylvia thanked everyone involved in the staging of our Scarecrow “Lady  Rees-Ayekeld  Duchess of Downturn”  at Heighley Gate.  The darts team had taken on Shilbottle in the first round of the annual competition.  Though losing the match, we felt we played remarkably well, considering that we practise so regularly – once a year!   Amidst cries of “Where’s the 6?” we enjoyed some good fun and camaraderie, topped with a nice afternoon tea.

A delegate to attend the AGM in June 2015 will need to be ascertained at the December meeting. The possibility of forming a group with some of our neighbouring Institutes has been mooted and this is to be further investigated.

A  ‘proggy poppy’ cushion made by our sadly missed member. Isabella Telford was the basis of the raffle, the proceeds of which is to go to the Royal British Legion, as Isabella had requested.

The competition for a piece of handiwork was won by Mary, with Moira second and Wilma third.

The next meeting will be our members’ Christmas celebration on Tuesday 9th December, with catering provided by the Committee at a cost of £5 per head.


June Barras


The Northumberland Federation of Women's Institutes held a scarecrow competition with all scarecrows being exhibited in Heighley Gate Garden Centre from 23rd October to 3rd November 2014.  Judging will be decided by ballot from the public and the winning entry announced soon after 3rd November.  LADY REES-AYEKELD, DUCHESS OF DOWNTURN is the entry for Acklington (with thanks to the art group for their help)


President Sylvia welcomed members and Jo Dickson, WIA, to our Annual Meeting

A minutes silence was held for Isabella Telford, a very pro-active raffles member and a great, fun-loving, helpful member of our institute who will be very sadly missed.

The minutes of the last annual and monthly meetings were read.  Arising from these was the cost of each Institute to the Centenary WI AGM on 4th June in London.  President, Sylvia Linnett, had written to NFWI outlining a fairer proportion for each Institute that would benefit the very small and very large Institutes.  She had received a reply to say this had been discussed by the Board of Governors and a decision reached that the current system will remain.  Fortunately, one of our members has very kindly donated the whole cost for our Institute.

Definite names were taken for the darts match against Shilbottle to be held in November.  Names were also taken for the Brazil International Day event.

The treasurer, Barbara Cock, gave a resume of the annual accounts, which were agreed, and proposed that we keep our current accountant which was also agreed.  The WIA congratulated us on our fund-raising over the past year.

The annual competition winners were announced with 1st Moira Peden; 2nd Linda Aston and 3rd Mary Guy.  Barbara Cock 1st and June Barras 2nd were congratulated for the Institute competition at the Warkworth Show for their Plum & Apple Jam along with individual winners from the Institute for various crafts.

A programme change for November will now be Margaret Hammond with An Introduction to Patchwork.  Human & Canine Therapy will now be in April.

Sylvia gave her President’s report congratulating all committee members for their hard work throughout the year.  She also said she had enjoyed her first year as President stating that if members wished her to continue she would gladly accept.

Sylvia then handed over to Jo Dickson who also gave her views on the cost to each Institute for the AGM.  She also showed us various WI items that were available for sale.  Jo gave a round-up of proposed events to be held at Cresswell House for the following year and then recited a humorous verse on food comparison of years gone by.

The new committee was elected and Sylvia accepted a second term as President after an overwhelming majority vote

The competition for a kitchen utensil beginning with G were 1st Linda Aston; 2nd Sylvia Linnett; 3rd Barbara King.

The meeting closed after tea/biscuits and chat.


Barbara King



Holiday month so no meeting.


12TH AUGUST 2014

Sylvia welcomed a small number of members, many being on holiday or were unwell.  She then introduced our speaker Martyn Tuckwell who spoke to us and gave a slide show about PLAN Supporting Girls Education.  Martyn was talking about 66 million girls in 3rd world countries who, because they are girls, were not being educated with 1 in 3 denied education due to poverty, being a carer and safety.  In Pakistan 67% of girls never go to school and were sent out to work earning just 10% of the average world wage.  Many are married at a very early age then contract HIV or die in pregnancy.  Shockingly some of these girls were just 5 years old.  Martyn’s talk and slide show was quite an eye opener to many of us who thought they knew what was going on but his statistics told us otherwise.  Sylvia Linnett gave the vote of appreciation.

The business part of the meeting was then started whilst having a cup of tea and biscuits.  Sylvia presided and Mary Guy took over as secretary.  Acklington are now part of a ‘Linked Group’ and a letter had gone round to all Institutes regarding the date, number of people who could attend and cost for the Centenary AGM to be held in the Royal Albert Hall, London.  It was unanimously agreed that we should enter the Federation Jolly Scarecrow competition.  4 members were interested in attending the ‘Murder Mystery Night’ at Stannington on 17th November.   Members were reminded to put their names on the list if they wished to purchase a 100 club ticket.

Martyn judged the competition for a school photo and the winning picture was of Barbara Cock, 2nd Moira Peden and 3rd Sylvia Linnett.  The raffle then took place.


At the Warkworth Show the Acklington Rose Bowl for Plum & Apple jam was won by Barbara Cock with June Barras 2nd.  The table was also decorated appropriately as a WWI theme by Sylvia Linnett. Other members who entered independently also did well with their entries including Isabella Telford and Sylvia Linnett.

The next meeting will be Introduction to Patchwork with Mary Guy (a change to the programme) on 9th September.


Barbara King


8TH JULY 2014

Sylvia welcomed 9 members and received 9 apologies.  She then introduced our speaker, Lynn Sellick, who set the mood for the evening with relaxing music.  Lynn is a well-trained Holistic Masseur and explained something about the various treatments, including Neuromuscular Deep Tissue Massage, Indian Head Massage and Reflexology.  While she was explaining these treatments Margaret Hammond was the lucky recipient of a back & shoulder massage.  Lynn found some knots of tension in Margaret’s back which she explained cause headaches.

Lynn is able to use her expertise in hospitals and centres to bring relief to both muscular and skeletal problems.

A vote of thanks was given by Barbara Cock and Lynn judged the competition for a hand mirror which was won by Moira Peden, 2nd Sylvia Linnett and 3rd Linda Aston.

A record of the June meeting was read by Barbara Cock who was acting secretary for the evening.  Barbara confirmed that a team had been entered for the Darts Competition.

The Newsletter was then scanned through and 4 members said they would like to accept the invitation to Warkworth WI meeting on 2nd Sep and 7 members and visitors would like to attend the History Walk and Tea in Warkworth on 5th August. 

Members were asked to bring their entries for the Warkworth Show to the August meeting.

The meeting closed with the raffle and tea & cake provided by Mary.

The next meeting on 12th August will be “PLAN Supporting Girls Education” by Martyn Tuckwell and the competition is for A School Photo.


Barbara Cock



9TH JUNE 2014

Sylvia welcomed 12 members and then introduced Carol Gorman from the Send a Cow charity.

Carol gave a very informative talk about the early days of the idea to send cows to Africa, which actually involved sending 15 pregnant cows by air!  This has developed into a tried and tested system of helping groups of men and women to form co-operatives, monitored over a period of 5 years to own cows, goats and chickens for the good of the whole group.  They are taught simple agricultural ideas using bags and very little soil to grow food to feed themselves and to sell any surplus.

A vote of thanks was given by Wilma Nicoll and Carol judged our competition for a milk jug which was won by Moira Peden; 2nd Isabella Telford and 3rd Mary Guy.  A record of the last meeting was read by stand-in Secretary, Barbara Cock.  Thanks were extended to all members who contributed to our Savoury Stall at the recent Table Top Sale when £106 was made for funds.

The correspondence was dealt with as listed by June Barras and the Northumberland News was scanned.

It was decided to enter a team in the forthcoming Darts Competition but not the dominoes.  Two members showed an interest in the Pop-Up Coffee shop in Glanton on 5th July.  Sylvia mentioned that invites had been sent to local WI’s for our ABC event on 27th September.  Copies of the recipe for our entry in Warkworth Show were distributed.

The treasurer reported that our financial standing is now on firm ground following various fund-raising activities.

The meeting closed with the raffle followed by a welcome cup of tea and biscuit.

Next meeting is on 8th July when the speaker will be Lynn Sellik talking on Holistic Beauty.  The competition is for a hand-mirror.


 Barbara Cock



13th MAY 2014


Doreen Wright gave us all an illuminating and humorous presentation on the making of hanging baskets.  There are a number of unusual baskets/containers that can hold a large variety of plants and Doreen brought several of them along to show us.  These included the usual round baskets but also flower pouches; boots; cans; drawers and trays.  She also displayed many types of liners that can retain water.  Several of us were not aware that sphagnum moss is actually a medicinal plant with penicillin properties.

Doreen showed us the easiest way to plant our hangars to ensure that they stayed firm in the holder/container and give a good display.  The use of variegated foliage amongst plants tended to give depth to a display.  It is amazing how many plants can actually fit in any container.  Of course, she said that although the majority of people used flowers they could also contain strawberries and trailing tomatoes along with herbs pointing out that some vegetables can also be planted up alongside flowers in ground containers. 

There followed a short questions and answer session before the appreciation was given by Barbara King.

The business part of the meeting followed with a welcome cup of tea and biscuits.  The Northumberland News was gone through listing the various activities that may be of interest to members.

The resolution of ‘Organ Donation’ was discussed and carried unanimously.

Sylvia Linnett, President, suggested an outing in July to Lilburn Towers and mentioned that the Warkworth Village Choir was putting on a concert on 2nd June in Warkworth Memorial Hall.

June Barras, Secretary, reminded members about the savoury food table we are doing at the coming ACT Table Top Sale on 24th June and passed a list round asking if they could indicate what they would be bringing and bring them along at 9.30am on the day.

Sylvia congratulated the quiz team in coming out 4th of 13 teams at the recent finals.  We were also told that a ballot had had to be held for the Car Treasure Hunt as it had been oversubscribed and unfortunately we were not successful.

Doreen judged the competition of a sprig of flowers and Wilma Nicoll came first followed by Isabella Telford and then Mary Guy.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday 10th June in the village hall at 7.15pm with a talk about the charity ‘Send a Cow’


Barbara King


8TH APRIL 2014


The speaker for the April meeting was Ailsa Standring talking all about nearly everyone’s favourite subject and at an appropriate time of year “Chocoholics”.  Ailsa had brought along an amazing array of white, milk & dark chocolates for children, ladies and gentlemen, all very appealing.  Ailsa has been a distributor for a family run business, ‘Chocolates for Chocoholics’, which is based in Reading for 2 years.  She visits many trade fairs including Europe.

To tease us all she sent round an assortment of chocolates; salted caramel, Mississippi Mud Pie, chocolate cupcakes and white chocolate covered strawberry whilst showing us youngsters chocolates shaped in rabbits, footballs and stars.  The adult’s chocolates were half chocolate shells containing various chocolates.  Ailsa also catered for other special occasions like Christmas, Mother’s and Father’s Days.  We were all then handed round a blank piece of paper and a pen and told to close our eyes and draw what she told us to.  The end results caused a lot of laughter at our mish-mash attempts.  Then we had a quiz followed by a ‘Snatch’ raffle of chocolate duckling, chocolate football star and a box of jellies.  The eventual winners were Jean McDougall, Doreen Colbourne and Kath Gregor.  Margaret Hammond gave the appreciation which was followed by Ailsa letting everyone have a good look at what she does and taking some orders.

The business part of the meeting followed tea and chocolate cake donated by Moira Peden.  There is a lot going on at Cresswell House which is mentioned in the Northumberland News and a printed out list.  Our own Institute discussed the entries for Warkworth Show (Plum & Apple Jam made to a given recipe), participation in Felton’s Car Treasure Hunt on 16th May, visit to Shilbottle WI for the subject of ‘Butchery’ and an invitation to local WI’s in September.  Congratulations were given to the quiz team (Barbara Cock, Wilma Nicoll, Moira Peden & Sylvia Linnett) who won the Federation Regional Quiz Heat and now go on to the Finals at Stannington on 1st May.  The Bowls Club (June Barras, Janet Bell, Barbara Cock & Margaret Hammond) were also congratulated on coming second to Stamfordham by a whisker in the Federation’s Bowls competition finals.

The winners of the ‘decorated egg’ competition, judged by Ailsa, were Isabella Telford, Mary Guy and Sylvia Linnett.

Our next meeting on 13th May will be a resolutions discussion followed by a demonstration of making Hanging Baskets.


Barbara King


11TH MARCH 2014


There was no business meeting this month as the Institute celebrated their 92nd Birthday with a meal out at The Old Storehouse at Amble.  The majority of members were able to attend and The Old Storehouse really excelled with their layout of the tables, hospitality and food.  As usual, there was a lot of chatting going on and the members certainly enjoyed themselves.

After everyone had finished their meals it was time for the distribution of mystery birthday presents each member had purchased and wrapped beautifully.  Considering the maximum anyone was advised to pay was £4 there were some really nice gifts.  The Secretary and President ensured that no-one received the gift they had brought with them.

It was a really happy Institute that left that evening, still chatting away.

The next meeting is on Tuesday 8th April at 7.15pm in Acklington Village Hall and the speaker will be Ailsa Standring talking about ‘Chocoholics’.  The competition is for a Decorated Egg.


Barbara King



Robert (Rob) Colgrave gave an extremely interesting talk and short slide shows about The Great North Air ambulance Service.  He explained that he was one of many people involved with fund-raising for this wonderful and indispensable charity.  In 2010 the GNAAS added 3 of their own new helicopters; they reach speeds of 200mph, to the fleet which is currently based at Durham Tees Valley Airport and Cumbria.  It takes approximately £1,000,000 each year to keep these helicopters equipped and in the air.  Rob showed several very short DVD’s with survivors stories; how fund-raising is run; previous backgrounds of all helicopter staff and what their particular role is.  Rob is certainly a good advocate for the GNAAS and several members expressed their interest in joining the GNAAS Lottery.  There followed a question & answer session and Rob was then warmly thanked by Sue Straughan.

Sylvia Linnett had previously opened the meeting by quickly going through the Newsletter.  Sylvia gave an overview of the menu for The Old Store House restaurant in Amble and asked if members were agreeable to her making a booking for next month for 7.30pm.  Everyone agreed.  June Barras then went through the correspondence and highlighted various events and invitations.

The competition for a First Aid Tip was judged by Rob with 1st Moira Peden; 2nd Barbara Cock and 3rd Barbara King.


Barbara King


14th JANUARY 2014


The meeting started off with a review of the Christmas Party by The President (Sylvia Linnett).  Everyone agreed that the buffet supplied by The Running Fox was lovely and substantial.  The Linden Singers were appreciated by all.  Sylvia said that the gift of a Bud Vase for June Pirie in recognition of her continuous 25 years as secretary had been given to a very surprised June.  The events list was gone through made easier with the printed list our secretary (June Barras) had given to all members.  A reminder was given that annual subs, including payment for the WI Northumberland Newsletter, were due this month and can be given to Barbara Cock.  The secretary had enquired with Creswell House about the Reading Aloud competition but no information was yet available.  A quarterly accounts statement was given by the treasurer.  Members were informed that the committee had suggested a Soup & Sarnie fund raising event, date and venue to be confirmed, and asked if everyone agreed, which they did.  Enquiries had been made about having our Birthday Dinner in March at The Northumberland Arms in Felton, no definite decision had yet been made but members were asked to consider this option.

The President introduced Valerie Tyler who told us all about Being a Councillor.  It was obvious that Valerie thoroughly enjoyed being a councillor and to that end put in very long days to achieve her aims for her constituency.  Being a busy lady, Valerie also said she looked after her 6 grandchildren and also ran a playgroup in Bedlington.  Valerie said she meets some amazing people (including Robson Greene and Colin Firth) during her days particularly as her main forte is families and children although she has a diverse range of other involvements within the community including prison and mobile libraries.  Sylvia gave the appreciation commenting she felt exhausted just listening to her hectic daily schedule.  Although Valerie had to be at a meeting for 0845 the next morning she made time to sit with us all for a cuppa & biscuit and chatted away quite happily with everyone. 

The competition for a Christmas card was won by Sylvia with Linda Aston 2nd and Moira Peden 3rd.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service will give us a talk at our next meeting at 7.15pm in Acklington Village Hall where visitors and potential new members will be made very welcome.


Barbara King




The welcoming drinks as members came in heralded the start of our Christmas Party Night being entertained by The Linden Singers.  For 5 singers and one organist they filled our large hall with repertoires from Musicals, Christmas Songs finishing with traditional Christmas Carols.  Members could be seen swaying to the well-known songs and some even quietly joining in.  Everybody was encouraged to sing along to the carols, which they did.  Sylvia Linnett (President) gave a very deserving appreciation for the wonderful night of music and song.

This was followed by a very substantial, varied and enjoyable buffet which had been provided by The Running Fox in Felton.  After everybody had had their fill there was plenty left for ‘doggy bags’.

Sue Straughan had made up a magnificent large hamper of a large variety of Christmas goodies which she raffled for WI funds raising a grand total of £145 which will certainly help to pay for some of our speakers.

The Linden Singers judged the competition for a Party Hat.  They were displayed on tables so the singers didn’t know who had made which hat.  The result was first Sylvia Linnett; 2nd Sue Straughan and 3rd Barbara Cock. 

The next meeting will be at 7.15pm in Acklington Village Hall on Tuesday 14th January 2014 when the talk will be by Valerie Tyler on ‘Being a Councillor’.  We welcome potential new members and guests.


Barbara King




President Sylvia Linnett welcomed everyone to the meeting, making special mention of new members Mary Guy, Sue Straughan, Janet Leonard and two guests.  It was held for the first time in the Guyzance Room, the new extension to the Village Hall.

The roles and responsibilities of the new committee were outlined to members and plans for future fundraisers were covered, these include a special raffle, a cheese and wine event in February, and a Soup & Sandwich Lunch later in 2014.

After the business meeting, Sylvia welcomed back Kathleen and Harry Gilbert, whose topic was entitled “Awesome in New Zealand”.  Their presentation certainly lived up to its title, as they proceeded to take us on a tour through this antipodean country by means of stunning photographs enhanced by a congenial musical accompaniment.  Kathleen provided the narration, giving a fascinating account of their travels there.  Their talk evoked memories for many members who had travelled to this beautiful and diverse country.  Sylvia gave the vote of thanks, expressing the appreciation of us all.

The competition for a “A Holiday Souvenir” was won by Mary Guy, 2nd Wilma Nicoll, and 3rd Moira Peden.

The next meeting is our Christmas Party on 10th December, with catering by The Running Fox and seasonal music from The Linden Singers.  The competition is for a Homemade Christmas Party Hat.

The evening ended with light refreshments. 


Sylvia Linnett and June Barras




Two new members joined the meeting, Mary Guy and Janet.   President, Flora Steele, opened the meeting by welcoming all members and Women’s Institute Advisor, Alison Strong.

The record of the last meeting was read and members perused the Northumberland News.  After a review of correspondence the Financial Report was agreed and an auditor appointed for 2014.

The Annual Report was read, followed by Flora’s President’s Address.  Flora thanked each committee member for their contribution over the previous year then stated her intention to stand down from the committee.   June Pirie expressed her intention to stand down as Secretary after 25 years of continuous service in this role.

Alison thanked Flora for her year as President and June Pirie for her remarkably long service as Secretary, and complimented Barbara Cock on the high standard of the Financial Report.  The low level of funds was of particular concern. However, Alison advised the Institute to make a concerted effort to raise funds in the coming year.  The recruitment of new members should be a priority.

June Barras, Barbara Cock, Barbara King (in absentia), Moira Peden and Sylvia Linnett had expressed willingness to serve on the committee and were appointed.  The ballot for a new President was conducted by Alison and Sylvia Linnett was elected.  June Barras was appointed Secretary and Barbara Cock agreed to continue as Treasurer.  New member Mary was co-opted into the committee.

Janet Bell awarded prizes for the most points over the last year from monthly competitions as follows: 1st Barbara Cock, 2nd Linda Aston and 3rd Moira Peden.

Alison Strong judged the October competition for an ‘Autumnal Photograph’ and awarded 1st Mary Guy, 2nd Janet Bell and 3rd Moira Peden.

Members were reminded that the speakers at our next meeting in Acklington Village Hall on 12th November at 7.15pm are Mr & Mrs Gilbert, presenting “Awesome in New Zealand”, at which guests are most welcome.  The competition is A Holiday Souvenir.

Following the business of the meeting, light refreshments were served.


Sylvia Linnett




Visit to Spurrelli's Ice Cream Parlour in Amble


13th AUGUST 2013


Flora Steele welcomed everyone and particularly two potential new members and one visitor.  There was a very short business meeting in August.  Items raised were fund raising and this had already started with a book stall and greetings cards/wrapping paper for sale.  Two other suggestions were made – give everyone an envelope and ask them to put as much as they could in (anonymously) and use speakers within the Institute to save on fees.  Where no fee is asked for by a speaker it was thought appropriate to give a small token gift.  A draw was made for the two lucky members to attend the Warkworth Open Evening on 1st October and they are Sylvia Linnett and Janet Bell.

June Pirie had thoughtfully made up a list of forthcoming events and everyone was given a copy. 

The imaginative and beautiful glass hangings that seven members had made on 1st August were on display for all to see.  From left to right they were made by – Sylvia Linnett; Margaret Hammond; Janet Bell; Isabella Telford; Barbara Cock; Flora Steele and Audrey Thurgood.

Margaret Davidson then started her demonstration on Papercraft.  She had done all the hard preparatory work for us in making and decorating small pizza type boxes and all we had to do was assemble them – easier said than done.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and the end results were amazing with every box completely different.  June Pirie gave the appreciation on behalf of all those present.  Margaret judged the winners as Sue Straughan; June Smailes and June Pirie.

Our next meeting will be on 10th September with a visit to Spurreli’s Ice Cream Parlour in Amble.


Barbara King


9TH JULY 2013

Isn’t amazing what you can do with so called ‘rubbish’ found on our beaches?  Diane Stewartson certainly had her entrepreneurial head on when she spotted some lovely pieces of smooth glass amongst the stones and sand on the North East beaches.  Collecting what she found she decided to make some unique jewellery, just to see what it looked like.  Her friends liked it that she made more and more and was soon selling to other people.  It took her 3 years but Diane is now fully self-employed with her own business called ‘Seaglass Jewellery’.

Each piece is unique as Diane makes everything by hand.  She will also make bespoke pieces i.e. tiaras and cufflinks, usually for weddings and birthdays.  She only selects smooth pieces of glass and had to work out how to keep the glass in the wire.  Spiralling was to be her answer and now each piece has a small spiral somewhere on her jewellery.  She then went on to teach herself how to drill holes through the fine pieces of glass and to make ridges around the edges, by holding it underwater, to wire glass firmly.  She then went on to using Sterling Silver holders, ear wires and catches using different gauges of silver.  There was a very good selection for us all to see and, if we wished, to purchase.

The glass comes from debris thrown into the sea and can take well over a hundred years for the glass to be worn so smoothly.  Diane went on to explain how each piece of coloured glass could be dated and from what it may originally have been used for from the closure of industries along the North East Coast, the public or thrown overboard.  Glass can come from perfume bottles, drinks bottle, medicines, toy marbles, cod marbles and Victorian rolling pins.

Moira Peden gave the appreciation for an extremely interesting talk and thanked Diane for bringing so many pieces along for us all to see.

Prior to Diane’s talk, there were no matters arising when Flora Steele asked if anybody had anything to raise as there was no newsletter this month.  June Pirie said the only piece of correspondence was an invite for 2 people to attend their meeting on 1st October.  The Acklington entry for the Warkworth Show would be the boxes made at the next meeting on 13th August.

The competition for A Seasonal Flower was won by Sylvia Linnett for her double pink rose; 2nd Flora Steele’s white delphinium and 3rd Barbara Cock for her very red rose.


Barbara King



11th JUNE 2013

 Flora Steele opened the meeting and went through the Newsletter.  Hilary Robson (Federation Chairman) threw out a request to all Institutes asking if they could suggest a challenge for her this year.  After several topics it was decided to challenge Hilary to learn to ‘Sign’, a suggestion made by Ingrid March.

Shilbottle have invited anyone who would like to attend their meeting on 18th July and Brizlee invited 4-5 to their meeting on 16th July.  Both have very interesting speakers.  A lengthy debate ensued on how we could raise money to boost our funds.  A lot of suggestions were made and these will be looked at in more detail at the next committee meeting.  The secretary will send round a list during supper for those who would like to take advantage of the many opportunities available.

Peter Weighell (Firefighter) had everyone roaring with laughter as he spoke to us about his life as a firefighter.  A far cry from the expected fire safety talk we expected, although that did come at the end.  His first question was “Why are fire engines red?”  He then related a string of anecdotes ranging from how many persons were on board ending up with Russians.  You will have to listen to his talk to hear the mind boggling saga.     He told us about the many jokes played on colleagues, mainly to the new ones, including himself and some of the tricky situations he had to deal with and humorous incidents attended to.  Peter certainly intended to give us the lighter side of the life of a fire fighter, which he did exceptionally well.  I don’t think many of us had laughed so much for a long time.  He is definitely worth inviting to give a talk to any meeting.  Barbara Cock gave a very well deserved appreciation.

The competition for a kitchen utensil beginning with ‘F’ was won by Moira Peden, followed by Wilma Nicoll and Margaret Hammond.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 9th July at 7.15pm when Diane Stewartson will tell us all bout Seaglass Jewellery.  The competition will be for ‘One Seasonal Fresh Flower’.  All visitors and potential new members are welcome to join us.


Barbara King


14 MAY 2013

There was no speaker at the May meeting as it was Resolutions Night.  There was a lot of discussion regarding the proposal of ‘The Decline of our High Streets’.  Living in a rural village we looked at and discussed the High Streets/Shopping facilities in Amble, Alnwick, Morpeth, Ashington and Newcastle.  The conclusion was that, the majority of members tended to visit Morpeth and Newcastle if they wanted to look at furniture, electrical and shoes/clothing along with these areas also being pedestrianised.  All other areas had a good variety of food shops but sometimes this was not enough.   It was also noted that there seemed to be a growing number of empty shops.   High rents along with responsibility by Councils, Landlords and the public could be a contributory factor.

A report on the Spring Council meeting at Alnwick Playhouse was given by Flora Steele (President) who said it was a very informative, enjoyable and humorous day and well attended by many Institutes.  2 Bursaries for £250 were on offer within the Northumberland Federation in remembrance of Heather Abrahams and Margaret Clemenson which could be used for Denman College or anywhere within the UK.

A Tyne River Cruise from the Quayside to the Countryside was the most popular choice and it was suggested that this could also be opened to Partners and other Institutes locally.

A few had put their names down for the Helen Grierson Working with Glass workshop and a date was to be decided for a Saturday between June and September.

Barbara Cock informed us about the recent Archives days she had been to at Woodhorn and Cresswell House and how all members could assist with providing material, particularly from many years ago, and, if possible, to include names of people on photographs.  Barbara was very keen that we should let her have any material we have.

The Reading Aloud Team gave a competition style performance of their readings for the forthcoming finals.  The finals were held at Stannington Village Hall on 16 May and both the Spoken Word Group and the Choral Team were placed second, which is an excellent result.  The team were June Barras, Sylvia Linnett, Doreen Colbourne, Wilma Nicoll, Moira Peden and Barbara King.

The competition for a poem about the Decline of High Streets was won by Linda Aston with Barbara Cock second and Moira Peden third.

The subject for next months meeting on Tuesday 11 June is ‘Amazing stories on the Fire Service’ presented by Peter Weighill.  The meeting starts at 7.15pm in the main hall and all visitors, potential members are very welcome to come along. 


Barbara King


9 APRIL 2013

Anya Simpson, accompanied by her Mother Tricia Sainsbury, put on a really colourful display of their wonderful and exciting items, including many types of bags, scarves, mirror compacts and more, made from various types of silks.

Anya explained that this was a local enterprise, growing family business going back generations and gave us a brief insight into the history of silk.  Surprisingly, there were many different types of silks not all made by the Mulberry Silk Worm.  Some are from insects i.e. spiders and some from natural protein.  It was first discovered in hair in around 1070BC in the hair of an Egyptian Mummy found in China and produced secretly.  Anya told us that silk was extremely warm and has insulating properties making it keep us cool in summer and warm in winter.  Silk is also exported via the Fairtrade network has a very strict route to go through. 

Satins and Silks has its own on-line shop and also provides various items to Doxford Hall, Linden Hall, Matfen Hall, Redworth Hall, The Sage and other strategic places open to the public.  Anya finished her talk with a short poem she had written herself.  Appreciation was given by Margaret Hammond.

Flora very warmly thanked all those who had organized the Birthday Meal at the Widdrington Arms in March.  The business meeting talked about various events planned and items from the Newsletter and the WI Life Magazine including the poetry competition.  The entry for the Warkworth Show on 17th August will be boxes made at the August meeting.

The competition for a pretty bag was won by Margaret Hammond, 2nd June Pirie and 3rd Moira Peden.

The next meeting will be the Resolutions on Tuesday 7th May at 7.15pm in Acklington Village Hall and the competition is a poem about the resolutions.  The Reading Aloud Team will give a full dress rehearsal of their entries for the finals to be held in Stannington Village on 9th May.  Some of the members said they would like to come along to support the team on 9th May at Stannington.

Barbara King



12 MARCH 2013

An exceptional meal was held at The Widdrington Arms on March 11th for the 91st Birthday anniversary of the Institute.  The majority of members were able to attend so there was lots of chatting and giggling coming from the dining room.  The evening concluded with exchange of gifts with some very imaginative and beautifully wrapped presents.  There was no business meeting this month.

The Institutes Reading Aloud groups came through the heats at Brunton Park and now go in to the finals to be held at Stannington on 16 May.  There was the three person team consisting of Wilma Nicoll reading the poem set by the Federation (Letter in November by Sylvia Plath); Barbara King reading her own choice poem (Always Have Your Head In The Clouds by Margaret A Mattinson) and June Barras reciting a previously unseen piece from ‘The Doll’s House’ by Katherine Mansfield  and the Choral Group of the above three plus Moira Peden; Sylvia Linnett and Doreen Colbourne performing ‘The Three Little Pigs’ by Roald Dahl.  It was a great and delightful surprise to hear that both groups had made it to the final.

Barbara King


12 FEBRUARY 2013

After welcoming us all, our President Flora Steele highlighted the most relevant points of our Northumberland News.

Forthcoming events in which members plan to participate are the heats for the Federation Quiz and the Reading Aloud events, the Spring Council Meeting, Carpet Bowls and, ‘Down Your Way – Flodden 500’ (guests welcome).

The 2013 WI Membership Booklets were distributed, including our membership cards and a host of money-saving vouchers.

Having conducted the business fairly briskly we were able to move on to our guest speaker for the evening.

In a relaxed, informal style, Helen Grierson told us that she had been a ‘straight As’ art student throughout school and university.  Helen taught at Primary level in London when she qualified, where she met her husband and started a family.  Throughout her teaching years she maintained her involvement in practical art through evening classes.  When she moved to the North-East as a supply teacher, Helen joined the Artists’ Network, which is part of The Art Tour.  After sharing studio space in Allendale and The Biscuit Factory, Helen began to receive commissions for her glass craft.

A1 Glass Studio Workshops at Eshott Heugh is where Helen is now based.  She explained the differences between working with cold glass (such as stained glass), warm glass (moulding and combining) and hot glass (blowing).  Helen works with the first two types and brought along some beautiful examples of both in various shapes and sizes.  Her presentation showed us numerous beautiful examples of commissions, many of which had a local theme or were specific requests.  Restoration work, bespoke door panels, coasters, garden screens, and even scenic windows to screen unsightly views were all included.  Several of our members were so inspired that they have expressed an interest in taking part in one of Helen’s workshops.

Moira Peden expressed our appreciation to Helen on behalf of the membership for a most enjoyable and informative talk.

The evening’s competition was for a ‘Decorative Piece of Glass’, which Helen was kind enough to judge.  1st prize went to Barbara Cock, 2nd was Doreen Colbourne, and 3rd Linda Aston, then Helen joined us as our guest for a most enjoyable pooled supper.

The March meeting is our 91st Birthday Celebration Dinner at The Widdrington Arms.  Members are to meet there at 6:30 for 7p.m.on Tuesday 12th March.   The April meeting will be back in Acklington Village Hall on 9th April, and all visitors are welcome.  The guest speaker is Trisha from ‘Satins and Silks’. 
Sylvia Linnett



Neville Tulip, local resident and speaker for the evening, is the baker and co-owner at The Running Fox (previously The Cheviot café) in Felton.  He started by giving us a brief history of his life.  From a very young age he watched and helped his mother who was a great pastry cook but never made bread.  It gave him the passion to cook and says, as far as he can remember, he always wanted to be baker.  After 5 years in college he mainly worked in the Cumbria region until he found a lucrative position at the Dorchester in London.  However, that didn’t last long as there was no scope for his passion of artisan breads but was a superb place to hone his bakery skills in other departments.   He found a position in Switzerland and went on to learn more about his speciality of sour dough (natural) breads.  These breads are good for people who have some intolerances i.e. gluten and the process can take anything from 12 to 48 hours. One day, out of the blue, he got a ‘phone call from Chris, a lady he knew but hadn’t spoken to in a very long time, asking if he was interested in opening a café with her.  They both took over what was then called the Cheviot Café in Felton and, after listening to the local population, returned it to The Running Fox.  After long hard hours they finally opened and The Running Fox is a very successful café today.  He spoke of plans to extend and improve the range for which planning application has already been made.  Ingrid March gave the appreciation and then several of us tried some of the breads he had brought, along with cheeses supplied by Sylvia Linnett, making the pooled supper redundant.
There was very little business to go through as no newsletter and Cresswell House closed for modernisation.  The secretary had drawn up a list of events and asked those interested to put their name down during the evening.
The competition for 3 savoury scones was judged by Neville and he placed Moira Peden first; Barbara King second; Barbara Cock third.
The next meeting is on Tuesday 12th February at 7.15pm when the speaker will be Helen Grierson talking about Glass Craft.
All visitors welcome. 
Barbara King

11th DECEMBER 2012

Tonight was Christmas Party Night.  The committee arrived early and set up the Village Hall ready for the other members who began to arrive and were immediately served with a pre-dinner aperitif.  The hall had previously been decorated by members of the community and gave a real Christmassy atmosphere.  Members placed their hand-made Christmas crackers around the tables which helped to dress the tables even further.
Pride of place was taken with the wonderful WI Christmas Tree which was decorated with hand-made items from several of the members and then Sylvia Linnet, assisted by Isabella Telford, had dressed the tree magnificently.  The WI tree had also gained first place in the recent Village's Christmas Tree Festival.  Flora gave thanks on behalf of the Institute for their imaginative work.
The spread, both savoury and sweet, was provided by the committee and what a sumptuous gastronomic delight it was.  Many of the dishes were home-made and looked, and even more, tasted delightful.  Most were groaning "I'll be glad when I've had enough!"
Wilma Nicoll stood up and thanked the committee for all their hard work and wonderful spread for the supper.
The judging for the best Christmas cracker was no easy feat as a lot of hard work and imagination had gone into them.  However, the winners were declared as June Pirie; Linda Aston and Flora Steele.

Barbara King

13th NOVEMBER 2012

Malcolm and Sue Craven (Northumberland Pipers) gave us a very interesting evening with the history of the Northumberland Pipes, including exhibits of various pipes from earlier days.  Their music varied from the 1300’s to the present day with both local and various variations from other localities outside Northumberland.  It was interesting to learn that the pipes only actually play with 8 notes.  A very worthy and heart-warming appreciation was given by Sylvia Linnett who herself is very musical belong to the Beaconsfield Choral Society in Blyth.

Flora Steele opened her very first meeting as President and briefly went through business matters including a Beetle Drive; Capet Bowls; Christmas Craft Fair at Heighley Gate on 7 & 8 Dec and the forthcoming Reading Aloud competition which we hope to enter a full team for.  Flora will be going to the Warkworth 90th Birthday Celebrations.  Replies had been received from both Sir Alan Beith and 2 from Morrison’s regarding the current debate on the price of milk.  Correspondence included a survey we had to complete regarding suggested requirements for Denman College and how money could be saved.  Members were informed of how the committees responsibilities are now allocated.

Lengthy discussions followed regarding the Institutes Christmas Party on 11 Dec and it was decided that the committee would do a soup and cold buffet/sweet and all agreed to contribute £5 each with any surplus going into WI Funds.  A selection of old time board games would be brought along by members reminiscent of our child hood days.  The competition will be a home-made Christmas cracker made by each member which would be used as table decorations.  Barbara Cock asked that our Institute took part in the forthcoming ACT Christmas Tree Festival to be held on 9 Dec.  This was greeted with enthusiasm and Sylvia Linnett volunteered to be the co-ordinator.

The winners of the competition for a kitchen item beginning with ‘E’ were Barbara King; Jean Shaw and Moira Peden.

Barbara King

9 OCTOBER 2012

Barbara Cock, President, welcomed members to the annual meeting of Acklington W.I.    

Apologies were received from those unable to attend, and June Pirie, Secretary gave a record of the previous meeting.

After the Newsletter had been read, and correspondence dealt with and the financial report given,   June Pirie gave the Annual Report – a good time to reflect on all we had done in the last twelve months, and how enjoyable it had all been, especially our 90th birthday celebrations, when past members joined us for a lovely evening of reminiscing, and with entertainment from Beaconsfield Operatic Society.

Barbara then introduced Brenda Houliston who is our W.I. Advisor.  Brenda gave a very informative talk, all of which was very interesting, and she congratulated us on our website, and Barbara King was thanked for her work in this regard.

A ballot of members was taken to appoint a new President, and Flora Steele was chosen.

The competition – a Jar of Chutney - was judged by Brenda Houliston, and the winners were: 1st - Barbara King; 2nd - Wilma Nicoll; 3rd - Ingrid March

Our next meeting will be held on 13th November in Acklington Village Hall with Susan Craven and the Northumberland Small Pipers providing the entertainment for the evening.  The meeting commences at 7.15pm and anyone wishing to come along will be made very welcome

Flora Steele

11th SEPTEMBER 2012

Barbara Cock, President Acklington WI, welcomed members and 1 visitor to the September meeting.

During the business meeting the Northumberland Newsletter was read, items of interest discussed, and general correspondence dealt with.

Barbara then introduced Laura Wilkinson of Rainbow Pottery Painting who had come along to ‘draw out’ our artistic talents.

Laura gave us a brief introduction to her art, she had brought along some items of pottery which she had painted.  They were absolutely stunning. Laura then went on to demonstrate how to prepare the item to be painted, select the appropriate type of brush, choose the colour and most importantly how to put the brush- loaded with paint- on to the item to be painted. Laura’s instructions were- with a splat, drag and flick- the results were amazing. We were all daunted by the idea of having a go but it was great fun, everyone really enjoyed the ‘hands on’ and some very stylish pieces were created with the help of Laura and her assistant who answered our many questions as we worked on our pots.

Laura kindly judged our work, and awarded-

1st- June Barras

2nd- June Pirie

3rd- Ingrid March

Laura gave a special mention to Christine Boulby who used ‘the wheel’ to create her design.

We all enjoyed a lovely supper, during which time an interesting discussion took place.
Next month is the Annual Meeting.

Flora Steele

18th AUGUST 2013

Many congratulations to Doreen McTeer for being awarded the top prize for a jar of home-made strawberry jam at the Warkworth Show.  The runner up was Isabella Telford.  There were quite a few entries so the judges must have had a very difficult, but enjoyable, task.

14 AUGUST 2012
Barbara Cock, President of Acklington W I welcomed members to the August meeting.

A very short business meeting was held – Warkworth W I have kindly invited us to their September meeting, and three of our members will attend.

Barbara then introduced Mrs Liz Finch who is a volunteer with the National Trust and is based at Seaton Delaval, a property which she obviously cares passionately about.  Her talk, assisted by slides was extremely interesting, giving very detailed information about its chequered history.

The property came into the custody of the National Trust in 2009, and was opened to the public in 2010.

There is an ongoing restoration programme in place, and it is a very popular visitor attraction in this area.

Wilma Nicoll thanked Liz for her very interesting presentation.

This was followed by a pooled supper which we all enjoyed.

Liz kindly judged the competition, which this month was for Your Oldest Item, and the winners were:-

1st Margaret Howie

2nd Margaret Hammond

3rd Linda Aston

The next meeting will be held in the village hall on September 11th, beginning at 7.15pm, when we will be doing Rainbow Pottery Painting with Laura Wilkinson.  If you would like to paint a pot, come along, buy a pot and paint it.

Flora Steele

10 JULY 2012

On 27 June 14 members visited Woodhorn Museum.  After a lovely lunch in the Woodhorn café we were taken ‘behind the scenes’ by Reg who gave us a very interesting insight into the archive system.  Although limited in space it is well used with the latest sliding rack and file system housing all sorts from magazines to banners and even carpets.  These have all been donated by various organisations, not necessarily to do with the mining community.  Everything is strictly controlled and all rooms are kept at various heating and humidity depending upon what they contain.  Everything is brought in by one door and is then sorted through by a nominated person.  Every so often the displays in the museum are changed.  If any organisation, having donated their archives, wishes to look at anything or add something to their collection it is easily arranged.  The tour lasted just over one hour and was extremely informative and interesting.

Barbara Cock, President of Acklington WI, welcomed members and visitors to the summer meeting.  During the business meeting a varied programme of interesting events was discussed.

Our speaker for the evening was Hazel Stephenson.  The subject -  ‘How I Wrote a Book’.  Hazel gave a very interesting and humorous account of how she got her book into print.  She gave a very descriptive account of how Land Girls (n which her book is based) were treated by their employers and the often primitive conditions in which they lived and worked.  She was very interesting and her talk was enjoyed by all.  Barbara Cock gave the vote of thanks.

During supper Barbara Cock commented on the visit to Woodhorn and added that she would see about having our own archives put into the care of Woodhorn Museum.  Barbara also added that  she was compiling a portfolio of our 90th Birthday and asked if anyone had any photos would they be willing to donate them to  be included in the portfolio.

The competition – an Olympic Limerick was won by 1st Barbara Cock; 2nd Wilma Nicoll and 3rd Moira Peden.  Everyone who had entered then shared their limericks with us.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 14th August.  The speaker will be Mrs Liz Finch from Seaton Delaval Hall.  If you would like to come along, the meeting begins at 7.15 pm.  All visitors are made very welcome.

Flora Steele


12 JUNE 2012

On Tuesday 12th June Acklington Women’s Institute celebrated their 90th Birthday.
It was a lovely evening, present members welcoming past members and guests from local Institutes with lots of memories being exchanged, all made for a very happy occasion.
Everyone enjoyed a lovely buffet supper (supplied by Pottergate pantry) followed by entertainment provided by Beaconsfield Operatic Society who sang songs from musicals, James Bond themes plus many more finishing with Jerusalem, Land of Hope & Glory, Rule Britannia and the National Anthem with everyone joining in. It was a fitting end to a momentous evening.
Moira Howie (past member) proposed a vote of thanks to Acklington WI and thanked us on behalf of past members and present guests. Barbara Cock thanked all who attended.
The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 10th July at 7.15pm. The subject ‘How I wrote a book’ presented by Hazel Stephenson. Please come along for an interesting evening, you will be made most welcome.


Flora Steele

  JUNE 2012


8 May 2012

President, Barbara Cock, welcomed members to the May meting.

Felton WI invited us to their June meeting and up to 6 members will attend.  The forthcoming visit to the Woodhorn Archives also proved very popular with many members wishing to go.

Next month will be our 90th Birthday Party with a buffet and entertainment.

The discussion of resolution—More Midwives—proved to be a very interesting item.  Two of our members, who have family working as midwives, read out statements from them highlighting the many facets and responsibilities they face—both statements were very thought provoking and a unanimous YES vote will be forwarded to Shilbottle WI, who will represent us at the Annual Conference.

Our speaker for the evening was Dawn who gave an extremely interesting talk about keeping bees.  How she started after visiting Warkworth Show among many others, and attending courses with the Alnwick Bee Keeping Society.  A very humorous account on buying equipment, which ranges from protective suits to hives and transport needed to take the hives to  suitable locations followed.  Dawn spoke about the many different characteristics of the bees, their behaviour and swarming patterns.  Their first season brought in a bumper crop of honey, which obviously gave great encouragement.

Throughout Dawn’s presentation it was obvious that she loves her bees and we all enjoyed her talk enormously.

The next meeting on June 12th will be our 90th Birthday Celebrations, 6.30 p.m. for 7.00 p.m.


Flora Steele


6 March & 10 April

March saw the majority of members enjoying a wonderful meal at Amble’s Harbour Inn Guest House to celebrate the Institute’s 90th Birthday. The meal was superb and the hospitality second to none. Gifts were exchanged among participating members with a few surprises at some of the imaginative and lovely gifts that were bought. The highlight, and great surprise, of the evening was the hotel staff parading in to the dining room with a beautifully decorated sponge cake complete with a flaming beacon in the centre all singing Happy Birthday to the members. A wonderful way to celebrate the Institute reaching the grand age of 90.

The April meeting of Acklington W I was held in the village hall. Apologises were received from Jean Shaw. There was a lengthy business meeting covering many items from the Newsletter and various correspondence received. President Barbara Cock reported back from the Annual Spring Conference meeting held at the Playhouse in Whitely Bay. During this meeting Acklington W I was presented with a framed certificate to acknowledge our 90th birthday. Margaret Hammond, Moira Peden and Wilma Nichol accompanied Barbara to the event.
The speaker for the evening was Sylvia Linnett, a member of our Institute, who gave an excellent presentation and very interesting talk about the charity ‘Sight Savers’ and the work that is being done in parts of Asia, Africa, India and Bangladesh to eradicate cataracts, river blindness and trachoma; all of which are easily treated at a very small cost. Sylvia used the aid of a DVD and power point presentation to demonstrate the amazing differences that could be made to children and families affected by these terrible diseases. Barbara King gave the vote of thanks.
The competition this month was for a spring flower posy. The winners were 1st- Flora Steele/ 2nd- Janet Bell/ 3rd- Linda Aston.
In May, we will have the Resolution meeting.

Flora Steele

14 FEBRUARY 2012

Our President, Barbara Cock, welcomed members to the February meeting of Acklington Women’s Institute.  Apologies were received from June Barras, Barbara King, Audrey Thurgood, Jean Shaw and Jean McDougal.
There was a short business meeting during which the Newsletter was read and various items discussed.  Barbara Cock will be delegate at the Annual Council meeting.
Our speakers for the evening were Mr & Mrs Gilbert who took us on a magical tour of the Tamil Nadu region of Southern India – an area of great contrasts – colourful, vibrant, noisy, tranquil and, in many places, very poor.  With the aid of a wonderful PowerPoint presentation, they took us on a trip through this lovely landscape – wonderful temples, many beautifully painted; the Oxen and Elephants transported us to a different world, but a very interesting one. 
At the end of the talk, Mrs Gilbert demonstrated the art of putting on a Sari with the aid of a beautiful one she had purchased. The result was very elegant.
After a short question and answer session, Moira Peden gave the vote of thanks and we then enjoyed a lovely supper.
The competition for a holiday souvenir was won by – 1st Barbara Cock; 2nd Ingrid March and 3rd Flora Steele.
Next month is our 90th Birthday Dinner where gifts will be exchanged.

Flora Steele


10 JANUARY 2012

Our first meeting of 2012 was opened by the President welcoming members and eight guests, including five gentlemen, who had joined us to hear a talk given by Dr. Paul Morrison RSPB warden for the Coquet Island. Paul started by giving some of the history of the island which is still owned by The Duke of Northumberland and leased to RSPB, with slides showing the remains of a Monastery and cottages once occupied by the families of the lighthouse keepers. This must have been a very hard life as there is no fresh water on the island and even today it has to be taken by boat from Amble. The lighthouse is now fully automated and the only residents are RSPB wardens, volunteers and thousands of birds during the nesting season. Slides showing the hard work needed to keep the island in good shape for the birds, many extremely rare, and of course the pictures of the birds themselves, gave some of us the inspiration to brave the boat trip from Amble to view the manmade terraces of puffin nest boxes for ourselves. A vote of thanks was given by Isabella Telford.
This had followed the business part of the meeting when names were taken for teams to the Indoor Bowls and The Federation Quiz both in March.
Following a delicious pooled supper Paul judged the competition for a bird photo awarding 1st to Wilma Nicoll 2nd Moira Peden and 3rd Linda Aston.
The February meeting will be ‘Beyond Belief’ with Mr & Mrs Gilbert. Visitors will be most welcome

Barbara Cock

18 MARCH 2011



Flora Steele






















                                          AUGUST 2009 - THE FINISHED 'IRIS-FOLDING' CARDS

                                                                1st            2nd           3rd
Flora Steele  won the Iris Folding Card competition (middle card on front row) at the Warkworth Show



                           Ingrid March                                                  Barbara Cock
               wearing the full inshore clothing             wearing the offshore life jacket

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------June 2009 - Visit to 'Kaleidoscope', Paint Your Own Pottery, Morpeth

                    Pottery before glazing                                  Pottery after glazing

Visit to Sanofi Aventis on 10 February 2009 - Members and Researchers in the Pharmacy