Has your WI done something unusual, original or newsworthy recently? Please email us a short write up, and up to 5 digital photographs to admin@essexwi.org.uk . We’ll endeavour to post as many as possible on here and/or our Facebook page.

Hertfordshire Federation Centenary

The HFWI Autumn Council Meeting took place this Saturday at Oaklands College, and was attended by FEWI Chair, Jan Curtis and Essex WI Adviser, Shirley Perkins…


First Prize Outfit

Former Essex Federation Chairman, June Ward, donned her suffragette costume to join with others at the Sidmouth carnival. They won 1st prize for their outfits – well done June!


New Members Event

Rayleigh Mount WI hosted a new members afternoon. They invited members from the other Swayne group WIs, their Adviser, Jan Curtis, gave a brief history of the WI and information on Denman collage, followed by Q&A with tea and cake.


Gestingthorpe Walk

Our last walk of the year was held in the picturesque village of Gestingthorpe – full details will be in an upcoming issue of Essex WI News but here’s some pictures as a taster:


Monday 16th September saw the Womens Institute celebrate it’s 104th birthday and this year NFWI asked us to take selfies holding a sign explaining what the WI is to us, and then to post these pictures online. We’re still collating those from around Essex but here’s your Board of Trustees also getting in on the fun!

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An Innovative Group Meeting

Rayleigh Mill were the conveners of this very successful alternative group meeting. Members from the group’s WIs toured historic buildings in the area, the Dutch Cottage, Rayleigh Mill and Rayleigh museum as well as enjoying refreshments, raffle and sales table in the WI hall. Look out for the full details in an upcoming Essex WI News – as usual, click on the pics twice to make them bigger…

Exciting New Federation Holiday

FEWI are delighted to announce details of their 2020 Federation holiday at Potters Resort in Norfolk from 1st – 4th September 2020.

Non-refundable deposits of £100 are required by Friday 29th November 2019.

To book either call 01245 382233 or email tickets@essexwi.org.uk

To see the full itineraray click on a picture, and then click on it a second time,

Hatfield Heath Lunch

We’ve held another of our successful summer lunches around the county this month. This time it was at The Hunters Meet in Hatfield Heath, and our guest speaker was local artist, Karen J Adams. As usual, full details will be in an upcoming issue of Essex WI News but have a little taster of this fantastic event with these great photos from Moyra – click on the pics to see them full sized:

The FEWI Bee Project

Our Public Affairs team are busy planning a project in support of this ongoing national campaign. And they need your help – take a look at their page here: Public Affairs to find out all the details of how you can help.


Royal Corinthian Yacht Club Lunch

Last week was another of our fabulous lunches, which again was very well attended. Full story in an upcoming issue of Essex WI News but take a look at the lovely pictures we have received:

County Lunch With The RNLI

Monday 5th August saw the first of this summer’s county lunches with the RNLI as the speakers. Here’s a selection of pictures from the event – the full write up will be in an imminent issue of Essex WI News so be sure to keep an eye out…

10,000 Trees Planted To Combat Climate Change

Tree Planting: Autumn ’19 – Spring ’20 – all WIs are invited to get involved and plant trees

10,000 trees is just over one tree per member!!

Why your action is needed

As trees grow, they help stop climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air, storing carbon in the trees and soil, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. Trees also provide cooling shade, block cold winter winds, attract birds and wildlife, purify our air, prevent soil erosion, clean our water, and add grace and beauty to our homes and communities.

But despite these immense benefits to society our trees are under threat

Trees in Essex are removed because they are dangerous or dying or because they make pavements unnavigable through slippery leaves or heave. Sometimes they are cut down because they block the light, restrict access, cause subsidence, block the drains or are simply in the way of new building development and infrastructure.

In addition, The Woodland Trust has warned that poor planting rates, woodland losses and weak protection of ancient woods means that we are highly likely to be in a state of net deforestation if we don’t take action now.

Get Involved!

The best time to plant a tree is between November and March. Whether as an individual member or as a WI everyone can get involved. You could: –

  • Sign up to an organised tree planting event – SEE BELOW FOR DETAILS OF OUR ONE(S)
  • Request a copy of the 10,000 Trees Ideas and Advice guide
  • Plant a Tree in the garden
  • Donate a Tree in your local park
  • Plant Trees in your Community
  • Invite your MP to Plant a Tree

Email Essextreesproject@gmail.com  for more information about the tree planting events and to get your copy of the guide.

You are invited!

Come along and plant some trees at a volunteer event run by Chelmsford City District Council especially for Essex WIs.

  • The invitation is open to every WI member in Essex – friends and family are welcome too.
  • Everything is provided and there is no cost to take part. Just wear appropriate clothing and footwear.

There are four sessions. Each runs from 10.30 am – 1.30pm (venues tbc but likely to include Hylands, Admirals Park and South Woodham Ferrers ):

treeFri 15th Nov ’19

Fri 6th Dec ’19

Fri 17th Jan ’20

Fri 28th Feb ’20

You can come to just one or all but places are limited to around 40 people at each session so you need to sign up at Essextreesproject@gmail.com. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Our Lovely Walk At The Naze

This was kindly organised by Frinton WI and included some very interesting facts from our guide, Gerard – find out more in an upcoming copy of Essex WI News. Enjoy the photos in the meantime, and click don’t forget to click on pictures to see them in more detail:


Don’t Miss Out This Weekend!

We’re taking part in this fabulous event in Cressing – take a look at the diary page, or at the event on our FB page, for full details.



Essex Barge Afternoon Tea

Yesterday, in glorious sunshine was our fantastic Essex Barge experience, led by Sue MacEwen. A full write up will appear imminently in Essex WI News but for now, here are some fabulous pictures of the afternoon. Click on the pics to see them in a better size…


#TheTimeIsNow Mass Lobby

It was brilliant to see many Essex members joining in with the mass lobby of Parliament as part of our End Plastic Soup campaign, and our Drastic on Plastic and Climate Change initiatives with The Climate Coalition. Take a look at the pictures here – the full details of who did what and where will be in Essex WI News towards the end of the summer – click on the photos to see them in a bigger size.


FEWI’s Climate Ambassadors’ Presentation

This week saw FEWI Chair, Jan Curtis, present two of our Climate Ambassadors with their certificates of participation for the Communicating Impacts Workshop they recently attended. The ambassadors receiving the certificates were Jill Bruce and Jayne Meleschko.
We are lucky in Essex Federation to already have several very active Climate Ambassadors, with more signing up, they and some willing helpers, have successfully held events and workshops such as the recent  ‘Show the Love’ event. The Climate Ambassadors liase with the Public Affairs committee to work on issues that span across both remits. If you are interested in becoming a Climate Ambassador, or joining the Public Affairs committee, please contact WI Centre on 01245 382233 for more information.

Visit To Suffolk Show


Yesterday, Essex Fed Chair, Jan Curtis, visited Suffolk East Federation at their stand at the Suffolk Show. Jan had a great time with their representatives and said, “They made me very welcome and we chatted about the events they are holding to celebrate their 100th year – it was lovely to catch up with another Federation.” 

Beautiful Blooms

Over the recent Bank Holiday weekend, we asked our members to send us some photos of beautiful blooms in their gardens, and they certainly rose to the challenge! Take a look here at their wonderful contributions:


Essex Food & Drink Festival 2019

We are delighted to announce that one again we shall we hosting a stall at this fabulous event on the 13th adn 14th July at Cressing Temple Barns. Do pop along and see us there! Lots of other fabulous displays and stalls too and FREE demonstrations including from Rosemary Shrager and Candice Brown!

Visit www.essexfoodfestival.co.uk to buy your advanced tickets and to find out everything going on.


New Chairman Announced For FEWI

Following the County Annual Meeting last week, there was the expected renewal of the Board members. This included the vote for the Chairman and Treasurer for 2019-2020. FEWI are pleased to announce that your County Chairman for the next year is Jan Curtis, and the County Treasurer will remain as Sheila Gunson. Congratulations to both ladies!

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We’d also like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to Kay Lodge, our outgoing County Chairman, who has worked tirelessly alongside Sheila to help move the county forward and develop it’s offering to try to meet the changing needs of our members – no mean feat in the largest Federation in the country! We wish Kay all the best and look forward to still receiving the benefit of her participation in many areas at county level.

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 All The News From CAM 2019

Friday 22nd March was our successful County Annual Meeting for 2019 which was attended by hundreds of WI members from around Essex. We heard from the highly entertaining and interesting Reverend Richard Coles, who talked eloquently about his route to ordination, County Chairman, Kay Lodge, County Treasurer, Sheila Gunson and our Federation Secretary Sarah Lawton. We also heard from our two very informative and moving Mental Health Matters speakers, Jane Miles (President of The Brentwood Belles WI) and Vicky Pratley (daughter of former County Chairman, Pat Pratley). In the afternoon we danced along like true dancing queens to ABBA Rivals, who got the room on their feet with their brilliant songs. Enjoy the photos of the event – coming shortly


Succesful #ShowTheLove 2019 Event at FEWI

There was a motivated atmosphere at FEWI on Friday 1st March as many members came together to hear from a variety of speakers about climate change, in support of the Climate Coalition’s #ShowTheLove campaign. We heard from Sir Bernard Jenkins MP, Vicky Ford MP, John Whittingdale MP, Antonia Jennings from the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, Charly Cox, a climate change coach, Clara Goldsmith from the Climate Coalition and Oliver Hayes from Friends of the Earth. The day was chaired by Ann Jones, Vice Chair and Chair of the Public Affairs Committee. It was amazing to have such a wealth of knowledge alll in one place and was a very thought provoking day.

A full write up will be coming soon in Essex WI News but here are the photographs from the event.


Two Candidates for National Board

This year we are delighted to announce that two of our very own trustees have put their hats in the ring for the election to the National Board of Trustees. They are Sheila Gunson and Andrea Neale. Full voting details will be sent to each WI and details of all candidates can also be found in the current edition of WI Life. Good luck to Sheila and Andrea – we wish them all the best!

FEWI Annual Christmas Carols & Readings

Tuesday 4th December saw the return of our two annual services of carols and readings, ‘A Celebration of Christmas’, held at Chelmsford Cathedral; one in the afternoon and one in the evening. As usual, they were both well attended and we had some excellent contributions from Baynard’s School Children’s Choir, Roger and Ruth Montgomery, our very own Sue MacEwen and Dorothy Gray, and the Essex Police Choir. A fabulous afternoon and evening to celebrate Christmas.

And for those who enjoyed the readings, you can download your own copy by clicking here:



Knitted Christmas Decorations From Dolphin WI

Dolphin WI’s Creative Knitting group have wowed us again with these fabulous Christmas decorations. Come along to the Braintree Community Centre to see them in more detail!


FEWI Members Volunteer at G4 Christmas Concert

On Friday 23rd November, 4 members from various Essex WI’s volunteered their services on behalf of the charity, Missing People, at the G4 Christmas Concert at Chelmsford Cathedral. G4 are a 4 piece male operatic pop group who came second on the first ever series of X-Factor in 2004. The members were also lucky enough to hear the end of the Cathedral Evensong Service at which the ladies reported that the Cathedral Choir sounded absolutely amazing.

Click on the photos to forward the slideshow.

The ladies were tasked with checking tickets at the door, programme selling and collecting donations at the end.  Our main challenge was putting our sashes on the correct way up, then keeping them in position, who’d of thought it could be such a mission !!! They were also lucky enough to be able to watch the concert.  Also joining G4 for some of the set were members of the Chelmsford and Brentwood Pauline Quirke Academy choir. During the first half G4 performed a rousing rendition of Jerusalem. Mid way through the second half one of the members explained to the audience that during their Cathedral Christmas Concerts they like to support the Missing People, Home for Christmas Campaign and that there would be some ‘lovely ladies in sashes’ with collecting buckets at the exits. The ladies said that it was a lovely way to spend the evening, start to feel Christmassy and meet members from other groups.

The members attending were, L-R in photo – Liz from Barnston WI, Nicky from Maldon Wycke, Clare from Marconi Belles and Valerie from Earls Colne.


#ThankYou100 – Your Poppy Tributes

Yesterday, on Sunday 11th November, the National Chair and other Trustees laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in Whitehall to mark the Armistice centenary. Lynne Stubbings, NFWI Chair, also attended the National Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey, on Sunday evening. The WI has supported the Royal British Legion in its #ThankYou100 campaign to honour the 1.2 million British and Commonwealth Armed Forces who lost their lives, as well as those who played their part on the home front, and those who returned to build a better life for the benefit of generations to come.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to all the WIs across Essex who have crafted some truly amazing poppy displays in honour of the anniversary of 100 years since the end of WWI. Please enjoy seeing the following slideshow of some of the work from Essex WIs – if you would like your WI to also be included, please email jane@djmiles.com

Thanks to Roydon Village, Elsenham, Briscoe Pitsea, The Brentwood Belles, May Flowers, Canvey, Writtle, Earls Colne and Doddinghurst for their pictures.

RNLI Visit & Speaker Recommendation

On a sunny Wednesday in August, Chingford WI visited RNLI at the end of Southend Pier.

They were welcomed by Chairman Jim Mackie who gave them an excellent tour of the rescue boats, clothing worn by Rescuers together with stories of rescues carried out at Southend. This year, RNLI is Chingford WI’s charity. A Representative of Southend RNLI, Linda Cook, is available to visit W.I.s to give an insight into how they carry out various rescues.

Could You Be A WI Adviser?

 WI Advisor 

WI Advisers are voluntary WI members who have undergone training provided by the NFWI, which enables them to help and support members in every aspect of their WI life. The WI Advisers provide the vital link between WIs, Federation and National. Through the Members Advisory Committee (MAC), WI Advisers seek opportunities to obtain new members for existing WIs and open new WIs. MAC is a fully inclusive committee offering flexible working for any member to train as a WI Adviser regardless of her work, family or care commitments. If you are interested in this voluntary role of WI Adviser you can find out more by contacting the WI Centre – fedsec@essexwi.org.uk 01245 382233           for and behalf of the Membership Advisory Committee

Happy Birthday Great Wakering WI!

Members from Great Wakering along with those from other nearby WIs, Federation Chairman Kay Lodge, WI Advisors Shirley Perkins and Jan Curtis were treated to Pimms, sandwiches and birthday cake while being entertained by talented singer Hollie Blue. Everyone enjoyed a lovely afternoon. See Essex WI News for full article of the event. Click on the thumbnail to see the full size picture.


Flying High – photos of a fantastic day!

Intrepid members of Baddow Bees, Mayflowers and Bulphan WIs took to the skies in September at Wormingford World Two American Airfield – full details of the event can be found in the November edition of Essex WI News… Click on the thumbnail to see the full size picture.


World Mental Health Day

The date of Bulphan WIs October meeting fell on World Mental Health day and as this years National WI resolution is Mental Health Matters it was decided that these should be combined with a harvest supper of homemade soups for our ‘Food for Thought’ themed evening.

Members and visitors moved around the hall taking part in 5 different activities to promote wellbeing, discussion and conversation. There was table filled with items such as a button box, flat iron, old tins, a bean slicer and other things that brought back memories of peoples lives, colouring books and pencils were on another giving members time to sit quietly and concentrate. A positive sayings project was being started on one table and members were playing a version of ‘Who am I’ on the next, finally a lovely lady had come along to give aromatherapy hand massages. After our minds had been fed it was the turn of our tummies with a choice of six delicious soups with bread followed as always by tea and cakes.

Deeds Not Words

What a splendid meeting we had on Friday 6th October in Grays. We were joined not only by the amazing Armed Forces Diversity Empowerment Team, and talented singer Emily Yarrow, but by the well known and inspirational women’s rights expert, Helen Pankhurst, descendant on not one but two famous suffragettes. There was an almost celebratory atmosphere in the hall as the theme was 100 years of some women getting the vote. The excitement about hearing Helen speak was palpable and she didn’t disappoint and also included much audience participation as she helped us to review where we are in terms of women’s equality now and what we can do in the next 10 years in the lead up to 100 years of full voting rights equality.  

The Armed Forces Diversity Team were fantastic and informed of us the wide number and varied careers available and how they are open to all. Plus the delightful Emily Yarrow entertained us exceedingly well in the afternoon with a selection of songs specially selected to go with the theme of women’s empowerment.

It was an inspirational afternoon and one that anyone who attended will remember for a long time to come.

Let’s Get Digital

Friday last week saw us running our very first Let’s Get Digital, Tech Help Desk event. 

Helping out the members were Jan Curtis, Editor of Essex WI News, and Admin on our Facebook Page, and Jane Miles, who is our webmaster and also an Admin on our Facebook Page. We also had the very kind Sue MacEwen on hand to help out with keeping everyone topped up with teas and coffees. Over the course of the day, Jan and Jane helped out many ladies with various issues ranging from setting up a brand new tablet, to learning how to do an online supermarket shop, to advertising a business on Facebook and Twitter. It was a thoroughly enjoyable and light hearted day, and the members all left having been helped with their enquiries. If you would like to come along to another, similar event, then please email admin@essexwi.org.uk to put in a request, as we hope to run a similar event in the near future.

New ‘MHM: Where To Find Help’ Guide Launched

Our team at Essex WI are delighted to launch a new guide designed to provide a comprhensive list of contacts whether you are someone in need of support, know someone who needs support, are a carer, or a WI member who wishes to campaign with us on this issue. Mental Health Matters Where To Get Help We hope you find this a helpful resource. If you feel we have missed out any useful contacts, then please do email us on: admin@essexwi.org.uk to let us know.

Sports Week Update…

Don’t forget to send your pictures and a brief summary into us at essexnews@essexwi.org.uk We’ve heard from Bulphan and Orchard Springs WIs with their Walking Netball groups, and Wickham St Pauls WI’s Sports Day which included croquet and horseshoe pitching amongst other fun activities. Here’s a taster of their sessions – full details will be in the November issue of Essex news so don’t forget to get yourself a copy to find out more…

Sports Week This Week!

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Saturday 15 September to Saturday 22 September

Following the success of the previous Sports Weeks, it is hoped that countrywide WIs will provide one or more activities in which members may participate. Contact a local tourist office and see if there are any town trails that you can follow. We are blessed in Essex with multiple beautiful country parks, and Essex Wildlife Trust properties so organise an impromptu walk around one. Challenge another WI to boules at a local pub, organise a swim at a local pool, take a hike or hire a bike! Don’t forget ice skating in Chelmsford and dry slope skiing in Brentwood! Google local archery clubs – they are often happy to arrange a taster event. Don’t do the mundane – be adventurous! Try local Scout Centres such as Roxwell or Thriftwood, as they offer multiple taster type sessions at reasonable prices of activities such as abseiling, kayaking, rifle shooting and many more! The Brentwood Belles are pictured above having a go at abseiling at Thriftwood Scout Camp in Brentwood. Who knows – there might be an activity that ends up being a weekly group!

Please share your activities and stories with us by emailing details to essexnews@essexwi.org.uk

What’s On This Autumn?

There’s a brilliant variety of things available for you from your Federation this Autumn! Here’s a taster of September and October but for full details take a look at our Diary page at this link: Events Diary dates

FEWI Ladies Go To Cardiff!

This week has been the NFWI AGM in Cardiff. Members from around Essex have attended and had a great time by all accounts! Here’s a taster of their time in Cardiff from these photos courtesy of Sue and Kate:

More updates in the July Essex WI News!  

Ladies Who Lunch

From the feedback (and the photos below!) an excellent time was had by all at the Ladies Who Lunch, at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham on Crouch, today.

The surroundings and view were superb, with the sun brightly shining on the glistening water and the boats bobbing up and down. 120 ladies sat down for a delicious lunch served by the smartly dressed waitresses, followed by tea and coffee. Afterwards, popular speaker Guy Smith, Deputy President of the National Farmers Union, gave us an informative and interesting talk on his life in farming at St. Osyth. He followed this with a question time and many ladies were eager to hear his theories on weed killers, bees, suicide rates in farmers and many other concerns. He gave very lengthy replies to all and received a loud applause at the finish. An excellent speaker for the modern farming industry.

Congratulations To Our New Board For 2018-2019

A big congratulations to all the ladies below and we look forward to seeing what you get up to! KAY LODGE Federation Chairman, Sandon and Marconi Belles WIs SHEILA GUNSON Federation Treasurer, Tiptree Priory Heath WI JANE BIRD Federation Vice Chairman, Chadwell St Mary WI JAN CURTIS Federation Vice Chairman, Bulphan WI STEPHANIE SMITH Federation Vice Chairman, St Osyth WI FIONA CATTERMOLE, Hatfield Broad Oak WI LESLEY EVANS, Dolphin WI MOYRA JACKSON, Elsenham WI SUE MACEWEN, Purleigh WI ANDREA NEALE, Baddow Bees & Marconi Belles WIs LINDSEY PETERS, Elsenham WI HAZEL RIDGWELL, Purleigh WI GEORGIA WILKINSON, Furtherwick WI  

Essex About To Gain Two New Advisors

We spotted two familiar faces on the NFWI Facebook page recently. They have just completed the last part of their formal training at Denman. They have some assignments to complete and then they will become a fully-fledged WI Advisors! Can you spot them? New Advisors                

An Inspirational and Fun Day

Friday 16th March saw FEWI host their 101st County Annual Meeting. Over 1,000 ladies came together, not only to confirm and vote on county business and accounts, but also to hear from former RAF fighter pilot and motivational speaker, Mandy Hickson, and to sing and dance along to the West End Rat Pack. The feedback for Mandy has blown everyone away – she was a witty, interesting and inspirational speaker whose experiences gave us a real flavour of what ambition, determination and team work can do. Many ladies have since commented on how much they will take away from her talk. The West End Rat Pack ran through many classics from Frank, Sammy and Dean and got the ladies up on their feet and dancing to several songs. There was a real party atmosphere in the theatre and a couple of lucky ladies got to dance with them on the stage as well. What with the wide selection of stalls, raffles and information stands too, it was a full day for everyone. A big thank you to all the ladies who helped organise and ensure the smooth running of the event. For more photos, please visit: WI Gallery


Resolutions Workshop – few places remaining

Pros & Cons Workshop at the FEWI Centre

Come and meet others in Essex who are interested in Resolutions and Community issues.

Come and join us on Tuesday 27th March 10am – 1pm to discuss the chosen resolution, how we can work with it locally if it is adopted, and also how to engage in the selection process for future resolutions

To book a space at this event, you can do one of the following:

  1. Email tickets@essexwi.org.uk
  2. Call 01245 382 233

London WIs On The March

This weekend, FEWI’s First Ladies WI Barking and Dagenham joined with other London based WIs to march and parade their banners, that we featured below previously, as part of the #100banner project. This is where members from 26 WIs took part in Digital Drama’s ‘Deeds not Words’ project to commemorate 100 years since some women in the UK got the right to vote. ‘Deeds not Words’ was inspired by the suffrage banner collection held in the archives of the Women’s Library at the London School of Economics. Community groups from across London created 100 banners depicting the lives and campaigns of local suffragettes. In the words of the First Ladies themselves, “Oh – Didn’t we have a lovely time the day we went to Trafalgar!! So uplifting to be sharing this momentous day with so many like minded people. Thank you all.” Lots more details to be found on their Facebook page: First Ladies WI Finished banners were paraded at yesterday at the #March4Women, and will also be at the Royal Albert Hall on International Women’s Day (8th March), and displayed at the Women of the World (WOW) Festival at London’s Southbank Centre on 10th and 11th March. They will then go on further display at various venues around London during 2018.

Your Snow Pictures

We asked, and boy did you respond! Thank you to everyone who contributed their wintery photographs. Here’s a small selection of what can be found on the post on Facebook – do take a wander over there to see the full selection.


2018 Resolution Confirmed

RESOLUTION NEWS FROM NFWI! “Over 100,000 members have taken part in the 2018 selection process, the highest turnout ever. Thank you to all members who have taken part. One resolution has now been selected to go forward to the final vote at the Annual Meeting in Cardiff on 6th June.

The resolution is: Mental health matters

Mental health matters as much as physical health. The NFWI urges all WI members to recognise the importance of parity between mental health and physical health, and take action to make it as acceptable to talk about mental health issues as much as physical health issues, and to lobby government for better support for mental illness.” For more details, resources and support, please visit our  Resolutions page, and check the Public Affairs News page for the latest updates.


Do You Need Advice? Check Out Our New Page

Check out our new Running Your WI page here, where you can find links to lots of useful NFWI information. Don’t forget that your WI Advisors have a wealth of in depth knowledge of the workings of the WI as well, so they would be a great point of contact. Finally, you can also email admin@essexwi.org.uk to ask one of the team at FEWI for their advice too.

First Ladies ‘Deeds Not Words’ Banner

Members from 26 WIs are taking part in Digital Drama’s ‘Deeds not Words’ project to commemorate 100 years since some women in the UK got the right to vote. ‘Deeds not Words’ is an exciting project inspired by the suffrage banner collection held in the archives of the Women’s Library at the London School of Economics. With the help of a project community artist, community groups from across London have been creating 100 banners depicting the lives and campaigns of local suffragettes. Finished banners will be paraded at the #March4Women on 4th March, at the Royal Albert Hall on International Women’s Day (8th March), and displayed at the Women of the World (WOW) Festival at London’s Southbank Centre on 10th and 11th March. They will then go on further display at various venues around London during 2018. Find out more about Deeds for Words, The First Ladies Barking and Dagenham WI from Essex Federation took part and their craft group decided to focus on five elements when making their banner, each one providing a window into the past. These were:

  • The Ford sewing machinists’ strike of 1968 – a landmark labour-relations dispute in the UK and a trigger for passing the Equal Pay Act 1970.
  • A lamppost that suffragettes used to gather around before heading to central London. For a modern twist, they also featured an image of a suffragette and their WI President standing next to the lamppost.
  • A tribute to Annie Huggett – an active figure in the suffragette movement who regularly organised meetings in Barking. Today a women’s centre has been named after her.
  • A call out for women in the borough to use their right to vote.
  • Recognition of the Gender Equality Charter adopted by Barking and Dagenham Council in March 2016 – the first council in the country to adopt such a charter.

We’re sure you’ll agree that they have done us all proud and produced a truly marvellous banner! A huge well done to all the members involved.

New Speakers Day, February 2018

It was time for New Speakers Day again and we had a packed house of ladies from a wide variety of WIs. A big thank you to everyone who came. More photos and a full write up in the March edition of Essex News.

January 2018 Quiz

The January 2018 Quiz entitled “Vicars and Tarts (and Pies)” is being sent out in the post today (or if mailing was your option, this isn’t being sent out until 14th of Feb). If you have not ordered yours yet, please do so via email admin@essexwi.org.uk or call on 01245 382233 to order! Happy quizzing!! Admin 😊

Ordering tickets via email!

If you would like to order your tickets via email please use the email address tickets@essexwi.org.uk Please also let us know if you will be sending a cheque or if would like to be invoiced or if you would like to pay over the phone. If this is your preferred option, please leave your number and Tony will call you once the tickets have been issued.  Also, (the last one I promise) if there is a different email address that you would like the tickets sent to, please let me know what that email address is. Many thanks Admin x

Boogie Time in Brentwood

The Brentwood Belles WI celebrated Christmas in style on the 20th December with singer and judge of the EsseX Factor singing competition, Joe Fryd, who did a marvellous job of getting everyone into the Christmas spirit. The party was also helped along with a dance floor, roving selfie camera and free flowing prosecco cocktail bar, run by their President, Jane. The favourite tipple of the evening was apparently a new Belles cocktail involving gin, elderflower and prosecco! What did you WI get up to? Don’t forget to email in your photographs so we can include them in a round of your festivities!

Conga In Cranham

Upminster and Cranham WI last week held their Christmas party where they twisted, conga’d and generally danced the afternoon away. They even rounded things off with a rousing leg kicking along to New York, New York!

Orsett Christmas Fayre

Bulphan WI had a stall at the Orsett Christmas Fayre on Saturday 9th December. The Mayor of Thurrock and former Sky weather man, Francis Wilson, stopped by to say hello.

Pros and Cons Workshops 2018

Following on from 2 very successful Resolution Workshops in November, based around the short list of 5 proposed resolutions, we will be holding Pros and Cons workshops for the final proposed resolution(s) in March and April 2018, at the WI Centre, a North Essex venue and a South Essex venue. Dates and details will be confirmed as soon as possible. Please ring the office to reserve your place.

2017 Christmas Carol Service

A Celebration of Christmas was held at Chelmsford Cathedral, and WI members from all over the county attended to celebrate this festive event. The afternoon performance saw the Cathedral filled to capacity, and harpist Lyn Creasey entertained us with her beautiful music. Also, in the afternoon, Bobs Barbershop Choir provided a variety of lively songs. Lyn Creasey played again in the evening and the Essex Police Choir sang a marvellous choral selection to suit all tastes. In between the carols, several entertaining readings were heard. Everyone left the Cathedral in a true festive spirit.

Christmas Tree Winner Announced

The winning WI of the FEWI competition to decorate a Christmas tree with homemade compostable decorations has been decided. The decision was kindly made by Robert Brett, Curator of RHS Gardens Hyde Hall, who looked at which WIs had met the brief of a fully compostable (rather than recyclable) tree including the decorations, and also his own personal preference. And we are delighted to announce the winners are… Doddinghurst WI! Christmas Tree Winner So a huge well done and congratulations from us all to the ladies. And we would also like to pass on a thank you from the Board to all WIs who took part and made such an effort. The wide variety of ideas was impressive and no two trees were the same. They really showed off the breadth of ingenuity and creativity amongst the members of FEWI. Thank you for your support of this competition.

FEWI Centenary Ball

We will shortly have a small selection of the official photographs of some of our very glamorous members, to show you. In the meantime, you can see the whole collection by following the link below. Click on the link, then click on the WI Essex Centenary Ball album, and then enter your name and email address to view. Enjoy! Lightning Event Photos Sales Gallery

A Bursary Winners Delight!

  Christmas Tree Winner We have received this lovely report from Jane Sealy all about her Denman bursary win and what she chose to do… “ . . . you have won the Llewellyn-Marriage £350 bursary towards a course at Denman.” I looked at the letter from FEWI and slowly re-read the words. I have always wanted to go to Denman, now was my chance! Denman – formerly known as Denman College – is the jewel in the Women’s Institute crown. A gracious Manor House established to provide courses in Cookery, Lifestyle and Craft to any WI member and nowadays open to all – including men – with a discount for members. Thumbing through the Catalogue I eventually selected “silver jewellery making”. I fancied trying my hand at working with metal, using a fret saw and fusing with a blowtorch. This course cost £485 so I made up the difference – and I paid out £85 in materials. But I had such fun! The course tutor, Pauline, was very patient and allowed us to work at our own pace after she had demonstrated the required techniques. I was delighted with my first piece – a ring. What completely took my breath away was my twisted silver bangle. The dull circle of twisted wire on which I had been working was transformed into a gleaming bracelet after a session in the ‘tumbler’. I made that?! By the end of the course I had a collection of bangles, a ring, a pair of cuff-links and a pendant. I have already booked myself on the course next year. Where else will you get three nights/ four days FULL board, en suite AND tuition in a state-of-the art workshop for approximately £500? Not forgetting the free taxi ride from Oxford Rail Station at 3:45pm on arrival day and 1:30pm on departure day.

There’s more of Jane’s pictures to be found at: Denman Activity Holiday


Centenary Tree Decorating Competition

The 24th November saw the day that many of our WIs converged on RHS Garden Hyde Hall to decorate their centenary Christmas trees. The brief was that anything on the tree was compostable, which led to many interesting decoration choices! We saw everything from hydrangeas to popcorn, from carrots to goose eggs and personalised wooden baubles. The sheer amount of time and effort that members had clearly put into these trees and decorations was phenomenal and we look forward very much to announcing the winner on Monday 27th November. So watch this space! To see all the photographs from the day, follow this link: Centenary Trees


Woodlands Group Afternoon Tea!

Woodland Group with Martin Harrison Members from Woodland Group of WI’s gathered together for an afternoon of homemade cakes, tea/coffee together with an alphabet of songs from Martyn Harrison. The produce, plant and raffle stalls did a roaring trade and members went home having enjoyed a lovely afternoon.

Hornchurch Harmonies Turn 5!

Hornchurch Harmonies Turn 5! It has been a busy year for Hornchurch Harmonies WI as they celebrate their 5th birthday. Members have attended the Essex Centenary meeting and the WI Fair. They also entered the Diverse Essex show (their first time of entering a WI show) and they received three gold stars, which was not bad for their first attempt! Members have also enjoyed trips to Romford Dogs, the theatre, a meal out plus a picnic and fun and games in the park. They’ve tried Burlesque, been interviewed by the local paper, held a plant stall at the Ingrebourne Group meeting, held a quiz to get them thinking on resolutions, made green hearts whilst discussing climate change and had various speakers and welcomed many visitors. They have also taken their craft skills to the local women’s refuge to teach them how to knit, crotchet etc. Their 5th Birthday celebrations in October included spooky Halloween treats made by members, making flowers using wire and nail varnish and of course tea and cake. Has your WI celebrated a birthday recently? Have you got a good digital photograph of the event? Why not email us the details?