There were cries of “Where are the scissors?”; “Who has the ruler?”;  “I can’t get the covering off this double-sided tape”; Can I change my paper?” at the November meeting.  Margaret Davison had just shown us all how to make a small square box and a pyramid shaped box and how to decorate them.  She demonstrated it all with such expertise that it looked easy—how wrong were we?  During the next hour there was a lot of huffing and puffing, looking at the neighbour to see how they had done it and asking Margaret for help.  We then had to leave them and Margaret judged our efforts.  She said we had all done really well but the top three were:- 1st Sylvia Linnett, 2nd Rosemary Patterson and 3rd Audrey Thurgood.  Barbara Cock gave a well-deserved appreciation for the patience of Margaret to get us all through this.
This had followed the business section of the meeting where the minutes of the previous meeting were read and agreed and the Northumberland News was gone through.  The President asked for a volunteer, or two, to run the raffle next month.  We were notified that Federation were thinking of starting up the Coquet Vale Group again.  Group meetings used to be held once year at a different WI where as many representatives as possible would attend. It was an opportunity to meet others from different Institutes and have some sort of entertainment put on.  There would be a small committee required with one long term treasurer. Several members wanted more information before they made a decision as we have had quite a few members since the last Group meeting and the President said she would find out more.
The next meeting on 13 December will be ‘In House’ and we have to bring our own cutlery and crockery.  The committee would make the supper and everyone was asked to put in £2 per head to cover costs.  The committee would also entertain us but if anyone else wanted to join in they were more than welcome to do so.

Barbara King

11 OCTOBER 2011

Alison Strong was the Women’s Institute Adviser for the 89th Annual Meeting held on 11th October.
We were all brought to the attention of the Northumberland News in which it was with great sadness that the death of Heather Abrahams was announced. Heather was a past Chairman and Treasurer of the Federation and also a current WI Advisor. She will be greatly missed. Also mentioned in the Northumberland News was the increase in subscriptions to £31.50.
The usual preliminaries were gone through i.e. Record of last AM and any matters arising, which there were none. There was little correspondence. Olive Foster gave us all a copy of the annual accounts and there was a unanimous vote to keep the current auditors. The current Chair gave her report and adoption of the Annual Report which was given by the secretary. A vote of thanks was given to the current committee for all their hard work throughout the year.
Alison spoke to us all about how she went along to WI meetings with her Mother and now her daughter goes with her. She also reminded us of the many opportunities open to members of any Women’s Institute and to take advantage of them. A vote of thanks was given by Barbara Cock.
Apart from one very long standing committee member the same committee members were voted on and a ballot taken for President for which Barbara Cock was appointed, yet again!!
The annual competition results were announced and the overall winner was Moira Peden followed by Linda Aston and then Wilma Nicoll.
After a pooled supper the raffle was drawn and the competition winners for a paperweight, judged by Alison, were announced. First was Janet Bell with a beautiful ornate paperweight followed by Jean Shaw’s doggie paperweight and finally June Barras.
Meetings are held every second Tuesday of the month at 7.15pm in Acklington Village Hall. All visitors will be very welcome.
The next meeting will be 8th November when we will be given a demonstration of how to make Christmas boxes and Margaret Davison, the demonstrator, will judge the best attempt at making a Christmas box on the night.

Barbara King


President, Barbara Cock, began the September meeting of Acklington WI by welcoming members and six guests.  Apologies were received from June Barras, Olive Foster and Moira Peden.

After reading the minutes of the last meeting and a thorough perusal of the Northumberland News, Barbara introduced Susa Gill who had come to talk and demonstrate to us the art of spinning.

Susan gave us a very interesting insight into the principals of spinning, describing and demonstrating the many types of implements used prior to the introduction of the Spinning Wheel.

Susan uses a large variety of wools, including Shetland; North Ronaldsway; Cheviot and Merino.  Susan prepares the wool and dyes it herself.  She had lots of beautiful skeins of wool in very vibrant colours and different plys.

Most of the group tried to spin the wool after watching Susan’s demonstration.  This ‘hands on’ session was great fun and Margaret Hammond tried out the Spinning Wheel.

After this very enjoyable time we all ate a lovely pooled supper and Susan judged the competition for an item knitted from 100 grms of wool.  The winners were: - 1st June Pirie, 2nd Margaret Howie and 3rd Margaret Hammond.

The Annual Meeting will be held in Acklington Village Hall on Tuesday 11th October at 7.15pm.


Flora Steele.

9 AUGUST 2011

President, Barbara Cock, welcomed members, 1 visitor (Lucy Wilkinson) and our speaker for the evening (Mrs Sarah Annett) to the August meeting. The Northumberland News was read and items of interest for the coming months ahead were noted.
Barbara brought to our attention the Acklington WI entry for Warkworth Show which, this year, is an arrangement in a tea cup. There was a lot of interest in exhibiting in this class and Margaret Hammond offered to take entries to the show provided she had them the evening before. Out of many entries Wilma Nicoll came first on the day with Flora Steele runner up.
Barbara then introduced Mrs Sarah Annett from the Country Barn Farm Shop & Coffee Shop at Widdrington and she gave us a very interesting insight into the ups and downs of running a small business.
Although there has been a farm on the site for over 500 years, and still held by the same family owners, diversification did not occur until after the devastating outbreak of Foot & Mouth in 2001. It was decided to open a butchers shop and, after renovating one of their disused farm buildings, the Country Barn Shop was born. It sold beef and lamb reared on the farm and other items such as pork, poultry etc. bought in locally from chosen producers. Butter, cheese, eggs, bread, ice cream, vegetables are all sourced locally and the shop carries an infinite range of items necessary to the regular shopper as well as holiday makers.
The Coffee Shop and Gift Shop followed after the development of another farm building. All the food is prepared on the premises by trained staff and the Gift Shop has a wonderful selection of merchandise. All in all a very vibrant business employing 32 local people.
We all enjoyed listening to Sarah and Moira Peden gave the vote of thanks.
Sarah had brought along a scrumptious Victoria Sponge, which formed part of the raffle. The lucky recipient was Isabella Telford.
The winners of the competition for a kitchen utensil beginning with the letter B were – 1st Margaret Hammond; 2nd Linda Aston and 3rd Moira Peden.
The evening concluded with a lovely supper.
The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 3rd September. The speaker – Susan Gill; Topic – Spinning/Knitting. The meeting commences at 7.15pm and a friendly welcome awaits.

Flora Steele

14 JULY 2011

Our President, Barbara Cock, welcomed members and six visitors to the July meeting of Acklington Women’s Institute. Apologies were received from members unable to attend.
A very short business meeting was held. June Pirie, the Secretary, reported various items of correspondence received from National and informed us that we had received an invitation from Warkworth to attend their October meeting.
Our speaker for the evening was Mr Trevor Waddleton of Rothbury who gave a very interesting, informative and humorous account of how people ‘will’ their property – his talk was entitled “Bizarre Bequests” and the title fitted the description of the bequests he referred to very well. Barbara Cock thanked Mr Waddleton.
All members then enjoyed a lovely pooled supper during which the raffle was drawn and the competition winners announced.
The theme of the competition was – Something Bequeathed. The winners were: - 1st Barbara Cock, 2nd Flora Steele and 3rd Linda Aston
Our next meeting will be held on Tuesday 9th August when Sarah, from the Farm Shop at Widdrington, is coming to talk to us
We offer a warm welcome to anyone wishing to come along for the evening.

Flora Steele

JUNE 2011

Spurrelli's Ice Cream Parlour.  President did want a report.

10 MAY 2011

Members were welcomed to the May meeting and various apologies received. It was reported that a profit of £61 had been made at the ACT Table Top Sale in Acklington Village Hall but as we still have items left it was decided to do a Car Boot in Amble on 16th July.
Members were reminded of the Cake Break at the home of Margaret Hammond in aid of Multiple Sclerosis on 23rd May.
Good luck to our team in the Reading Aloud competition.
Margaret Hammond then took us through the resolutions for the AGM
1.Proposed Mega Farms
Following much lively discussion we urge HM Government not to grant planning permission for such projects
2. Closure of Local Libraries
Again, after much discussion we urge HM Government to maintain support for local libraries.
Members enjoyed a pooled supper and raffle with plenty of time to chat with each other. The competition for a topical limerick was won by Moira Peden.
Next month will be a demonstration by Anne Burke from Amble Flower Centre who will judge our efforts.

Barbara Cock

12 APRIL 2011

All were welcomed and many apologies received, mainly due to illness. The Northumberland News was gone through. Two resolutions have been proposed – Creation of Mega Farms and Closure of Local Libraries. Various guided tours were mentioned along with the County Lunch on 8th July and submissions for the annual Darts & Dominoes events this Autumn/Winter. Acklington was praised for gaining top place in the recent heats of the Reading Aloud competition with June Barras, Barbara King and Wilma Nicoll gaining 91½ points and will now go onto the final on 19th May at Stannington. It was decided to hold a Cake Break to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis on 23rd May from 3pm – 5pm at the house of Margaret Hammond. Barbara Cock added that a table has been booked for the WI at the ACT Table Top Sale on 30th April and could members bring along anything they think could sell.
Peter Shee (Chairman) and Chris Foreman (Trustee and MacMillan Nurse Co-ordinator) of Hospice Care Northumberland were then introduced as our speakers for the evening. They started off with the History with Hospice created in medieval times meaning ‘Old Ward’, mainly where travellers rested. The 1st was in Dublin then St. Joseph in London which were modernised In the 60’s by Cicely Saunders who, in 1995, opened four new Hospices; Widdrington, Berwick and 2 in Alnwick and also a “Hospice At Home” in Berwick. They are not just for cancer patients but for any person with a life-limiting illness.
120 volunteers and 8 hospice at home teams save the Charity a great deal of valuable money and can treat patients with all sorts of treatments including – Self-Referral Day Care; Lymphoedema Support, Therapeutic Clinics and Bereavement Support. Hospice At Home have ⅓ of patients aged 40-64, ⅔ Cancer, 50% End of Life and 50% Ongoing Support. They said that people should be able to die where they want and is the aim of the NHS and Government to achieve this. £300.000.00 needs to be raised from Local Communities to achieve this and lots of sponsored events, plus grants and donations including Gift Aid at 25p in every £1 goes towards achieving this. It costs £1,250.00 per working day to provide care & support for over 250 patients. Moira Peden gave the appreciation having more in common with the speakers than they realised as she was an Almoner during her working life looking after very ill/terminally ill people in hospitals.
There was no competition this month but members were asked to sponsor a Duck at the newly opened Mindrum Garden. This was followed by a lovely supper and the raffle.
Next month will be discussion on the two resolutions along with a quiz and games with the competition being for a ‘Topical Limerick’. As usual our meetings are held every 2nd Tuesday in Acklington Village Hall and start at 7.15pm. We would welcome any visitors / potential members to join us on Tuesday 10th May.

Barbara King

MARCH 2011

Members of Acklington Women’s Institute held their 89th Birthday Party at The Railway Inn, in Acklington, on Tuesday 8th March.
After a very enjoyable meal, birthday gifts were exchanged  and two members—Barbara King and Wilma Nicoll gave poetry readings.
The Secretary, June Pirie, distributed the Northumberland News.
Barbara Cock, President, drew our attention to next month’s meeting when the speaker will be Katie Drummond, the subject, Hospice Care.  Anyone who would like to come along to this meeting, which will be held in Acklington Village Hall, on Tuesday 12th April at 7.15pm, will be made very welcome

Flora Steele

On Tuesday 8th February members of Acklington WI were welcomed to the monthly meeting by the President, Barbara Cock.  Apologies were received from 3 members, and we had the pleasure of greeting one new member, Shirley Rowntree and one visitor Tina Young from Barking Mad.
June Pirie, the secretary, read the record of the previous meeting and general business was discussed.  It was decided that this year’s entry to Warkworth Show would be a tea cup of flowers.  The 89th Birthday Party will be held at the Railway Inn, Acklington on Tuesday March 8th and the menu was circulated.
Our speaker this month was John Hodge who gave us a very interesting talk on dog handling.  He has worked for 12 years in the capacity of dog handling mostly in the pursuit of drugs.  He told us how massive and extensive the operation is in the field and explained, in great detail, how the dogs are trained.  He then went on to give a demonstration with two of the dogs he had brought along with him.  It was a very interesting and enlightening talk which everyone enjoyed and Olive Foster gave the vote of thanks.
The competition this month was a photograph of a dog and the winners were: - 1st Margaret Hammond: 2nd Kath Gregor; 3rd Linda Aston.
Afterwards we all had time to exchange news with friends as we enjoyed a lovely pooled supper.

Flora Steele


On Tuesday January 11th Barbara Cock welcomed members to the first meeting of 2011. Apologies were received from members unable to attend. Items from the Northumberland News were discussed. One team will be entered for the Reading Aloud competition and two teams for the Carpet Bowls.
Our Guest speaker was Pat Bagshaw – Subject: History of the Teddy Bear. Pat brought with her a huge basket of Teddy Bears of all shapes and sizes and gave us a very interesting talk backed up with lots of pictorial information that she had collected over many years. It was a lovely topic to begin the New Year and we all enjoyed Pat’s talk, her love teddy bears and her enthusiasm was very compelling and made us all bring to memory the happy times we had had with our own child hood bears.
Wilma Nicoll proposed the vote of thanks.
Members enjoyed a lovely supper and Pat judged the competition for a teddy bear. 1st Rosemary Patterson: 2nd Wilma Nicoll; 3rd Flora Steele.
Our next meeting will be held in the Village Hall on 8th February. The subject will be ‘Dog Handling’ with John Hodge as speaker. If you would like to come along and listen to John’s presentation, the meeting begins at 7.15pm.

Flora Steele