The Brentwood Belles on TV

It was September 2023 when the Brentwood Belles were approached by the BBC and invited to take part in Stacey Solomon’s Christmas crafting show. Stacey, who lives in the area, was keen to make some gifts for those in need within the community and who better to call upon for help than her local WI, of course!  Well, we love a project and were more than happy to get involved but we had to keep all the activity under our hats as we were sworn to secrecy until the programme aired in December.

And so it was that a film crew attended one of our craft group sessions and filmed members busily printing the material for the lanterns that were being made. It was a fun evening fuelled by cake. Excitement mounted when, on another evening, Stacey herself joined members at The Chicken and Frog Bookshop in Brentwood where she was filmed chatting to them about the various Christmas crafts they were working on. It being October, displays in the shop were hastily transformed from Halloween to Christmas and members dressed appropriately in festive jumpers and headwear. Stacey was interested in the different crafts and enjoyed discussing all things WI. It wasn’t in the least bit staged as, despite being a television personality, Stacey was very down to earth and genuinely enjoyed meeting members.

For the next filming date, invites were issued to a party that Stacey was throwing for members of the community at her barn in Essex. Our ladies didn’t disappoint, dressed up accordingly and had a great time.

You an imagine the excitement amongst The Belles and their families and friends at 8pm on 14th December 2023 as Stacey’s Crafty Christmas went on air. We spotted familiar faces both in the bookshop and at the party. Sadly, as is the case with productions, much of the filming was condensed into a few minutes and not everyone was featured. However, Stacey did acknowledge all involved and kindly made sure everybody received a chocolate gift.

After the show aired, we received some lovely comments from WI groups around the country commenting on the positive image of The WI the Belles portrayed on national television. So to our Belles who did get a fleeting 30 seconds of fame, you did us proud and to everyone else involved a huge ‘Well Done’ for making it happen.

You can watch the show on iPlayer here until December 2024.  Look out for The Brentwood Belles at 30.26 minutes and again at 54.06 minutes.


The names of all those that got all 50 questions exactly correct with no spelling errors were put into a hat and the winners were drawn at random.  Congratulations to our winners and many thanks to all of you that took part.

Lynn Armstrong of Orchard Springs WI wins £50

Tracy Smith of Navestock WI wins £25

Patricia Dennison of Langley WI wins £25

You can find all the answers here A Year of Events Quiz August 2023.

WINGS – National Lottery Community Funding

We are very proud of WI Notley Green for applying for, and winning a grant from National Lottery Awards for All in 2022.  See the report below for all the information about how they have helped their local community with the funding.

wings craft article


The quiz seemed to be a challenging one and no one got all 50 correct.  Those who got 49 correct were put into a hat and the following were drawn at random.  Congratulations to them and many thanks to all of you who took part.

Sue Scott of Fingringhoe WI wins £50

Sue Crocombe of Epping WI wins £25

Betty Francis of Ugley WI wins £25

You can find all the answers here Coronation Quiz 2023 with answers.


On a sunny day in May, many trustees, members, locals, press and friends celebrated the unveiling of FEWI’s first sponsored blue plaque to late Ugley member Nancy Tennant.  A number of Nancy’s relatives were also there to enjoy the occasion and remember Nancy.  Federation Chair, Jan Curtis, pulled back the curtain to reveal the plaque on Ugley Village Hall.  Listen to BBC Essex’s interview with Jan at around 18 minutes here

The Federation would like to thank Dawn Terry of WINK Rayleigh WI for coordinating the whole blue plaque project and to Ugley WI for hosting and Elsenham WI for their assistance with the catering.




We are pleased to announce an exciting new photographic competition for 2022.  Inspired by our members’ talent and love of photography, we are inviting you to send in your photos taken in Essex showing well known and/or typical Essex features, activities, or events.

The winning photo will be used on the cover of the next edition of the Panel of Speakers book and runners up will feature on the front cover of Essex WI News.

Photos must be taken during 2022 in Essex.  Maximum of three entries per member.  Please send your photos to in jpeg format, in as high a resolution as possible.  Please include your name, WI, and contact details, along with where and when the photo was taken.

By entering the competition, you agree that your photograph(s) can be published in FEWIs publications, website, and social media pages.

The deadline for sending in entries is 5pm on 31st January 2023.


Shirley Perkins was presented with a thank you gift upon her retirement as a WI Adviser. We wish you all the best and the time you gave to Federation is much appreciated.

February 2022


Federation Chair, Jan Curtis, recently presented Sheila Gunson with a gift to celebrate her retirement from many years as Federation Trustee and WI Adviser.  We know that many of you have been supported by Sheila over the years and will miss her smiling guidance and mentoring spirit.  Everyone at Federation wishes Sheila a happy and long retirement and many more years of enjoying being a member of Tiptree Priory Heath WI.

January 2022

FEWI Fundraising

Click here for information on our fundraising initiatives.

Thank you for your support.

New Virtual WI in Essex

Congratulations to our first virtual WI The Virtual Vixens, formed on Thursday 1st April 2021 as per the NFWI constitution with fully paid-up members electing its Committee and President. WI Advisers Lindsey Peters, who has been the lead on this project since last October and Jan Curtis oversaw the formation and we’re sure you’ll join them in wishing their new President, Committee, and members every success. You can find out more about this new WI via their Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram or email

New Event Booking System

FEWI are delighted to confirm that they are using a new booking system to make booking a place at a FEWI event easier and more streamlined. We shall now be using ticketsource for all of our bookings. Here’s the details of how to book – there are two ways:

ONLINE (free of charge):

Go to, view the list of events, click on whichever is of interest and follow the instructions on the page.

BY PHONE (booking fee applies):

Call the dedicated booking line on 0333 666 3366, Monday-Friday between 9am and 4pm, and they will walk you through your booking.

We hope you find this system smooth and easy, if you do have any feedback, please email

FEWI on the Radio

Did you catch some of our trustees on the radio over Christmas? Grab a cuppa and catch up with them here:

Refuge Collection in Stifford

Members of North Stifford WI collected a car full of items for the local Women’s Refuge this week.  Amongst items collected were toys, toileries and Christmas gifts.

​Zooming Round The Country

Federation Chair Jan Curtis recently attended the Somerset Federation Annual Meeting from the comfort of her lounge. Virtual meeting have certainly allowed members to attend events that they previously wouldn’t have been able to.

FEWI on the BBC

Four of the Federation Trustees took part in BBC Essex radio show, here’s the link so you can hear them talk about the WI and what it means to them.

Resumption of WI meetings

(updated Sept 11 2020)

Earlier this week, the Government announced a ban on gatherings, indoors or outdoors, of more than six people in England. You must therefore not meet with people from other households socially in groups of more than six unless the activity falls within an exempted category. This rule, enforceable by law and referred to as ‘The Rule of Six’ will apply indoors and outdoors, including in private homes.

Gatherings of over six people in England will therefore be unlawful outside of the exempted activity categories, and the potential consequences are dispersal by police or COVID-secure marshals, fines, and possible arrests. This is will be effective from Monday 14 September.

The Government has made a limited number of exemptions:

  • where everyone lives together or is in the same support bubble, or to continue existing arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents
  • for work, and voluntary or charitable services
  • for education, training, registered childcare, or providers offering before or after-school clubs for children
  • fulfilling legal obligations such as attending court or jury service
  • providing emergency assistance, or providing support to a vulnerable person
  • for you or someone else to avoid illness, injury or harm
  • participate in children’s playgroups
  • wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions, or for other religious life-cycle ceremonies – where up to 30 people will be able to attend
  • funerals – where up to 30 people will be able to attend
  • organised indoor and outdoor sports, physical activity and exercise classes (see the list of recreational team sports, outdoor sport and exercise allowed under the gyms and leisure centre guidance)
  • youth groups or activities
  • elite sporting competition or training
  • protests and political activities organised in compliance with COVID-19 secure guidance and subject to strict risk assessments

As the guidance currently stands, WI meetings are not considered exempt from ‘The Rule of Six’. The second bullet point does state there is an exemption ‘for work, and voluntary or charitable services’, however this does not apply to WI meetings as we are not offering a charitable service.

The inclusion of education is aimed, predominately, at schools, colleges, children and young people’s groups and universities.

Sadly, this means that all WI and Federation meetings with more than six people in attendance must be cancelled with immediate effect. The WI resuming meetings guidance is therefore suspended until further notice. We will re-issue it very soon with the new rules taken into account and with ideas on ways some face-to-face activity might be considered within the new guidance, so please keep an eye on social media and My WI for any updates. Some WI activities in groups of more than six may still be able to take place if they fall into the ‘organised team sports’ category, but we are exploring this further and will include it in our updated guidance. We are also carefully considering if any other WI activities, such as campaign actions and active charity work organised by the WI, falls into the exemptions. A decision on this point will be updated at a later date.

This also applies to AGMs/Annual Meetings, which we know many WIs have been planning for the upcoming month, in order to adhere to constitutional requirements. The new emergency temporary legislation and guidance from the Charity Commission has made provision to the end of this month for virtual and hybrid AGMs, but we know many of you were hoping to use the previous guidance and 30 people limit to deliver face-to-face events. Any face-to-face events planned will sadly have to be postponed to ensure adherence to the new guidance. Like us, the Charity Commission must also now review its guidance based on the Government update this week and we will update you as soon as this revised guidance is published. This guidance will include information on whether the emergency legislation will be extended to December to provide an opportunity for charities to continue to deliver virtual or hybrid AGMs while face-to-face gatherings are still prohibited.

If you are planning to organise breakout group meetings or multiple events for groups of six or less, please apply the usual health and safety guidance. Always remember to wash your hands, cover your face, and keep socially distanced. Further guidance and safety measures will follow from NFWI, but please do consider the safety of members first and foremost if organising any WI meet-up. Whilst these meetings do not constitute full WI meetings and therefore a risk assessment is not mandatory, we would encourage you to undertake a risk assessment for any activity you are planning even with smaller numbers.

We acknowledge that the Rule of Six does give scope for multiple groups of six in COVID-secure venues such as pubs or cafes. However, the guidance also stipulates that people should avoid social interaction with anyone outside the group they are with, which means this is not an appropriate way for WIs to meet up in larger groups. The Government’s Rule of Six is attempting to reduce the numbers of people interacting as much as possible to avoid a future national lockdown, and the WI cannot undermine this.

Please check any information and details on as this will always be the most immediate source of any information. A link to the Government’s latest update which this guidance is based on is here. We appreciate that government advice is changing fast and this creates anxiety for you and your members. Please be assured that we will share information with you as soon as we receive it and do contact your federation or NFWI if you have any questions or concerns.

Click here for Membership Extension Update from NFWI: National News


Our Board of Trustees are delighted to announce that we have our very own YouTube channel that we are going to use for a variety of uses including various lockdown messages from the Board and to show various lockdown videos from different speakers. The Board felt it was important to have an online alternative to Facebook and have several videos already available for you on there. Check it out here:

Essex Members Keeping Busy During Lockdown

Member Steph Smith has been keeping a photographic record of her Lockdown walks in the Parish of St. Osyth. We thought you might like to see her pictures:

Member Jo Cobb, from Westcliffe WI has been keeping busy with jigsaw puzzles – here’s some of her completed ones. If you have any photos of ones you have completed, please email them to



Maldon Wycke WI member, Nicky Martin, carried out an Easter ‘lockdown’ project using Hama Beads. She found some in the garage that her now grown up daughters used to enjoy as children and put them to very good use from what we can see!



Federation Officers Elected for 2020-21:

On a positive note we are delighted to inform you of your recently elected Federation Officers Jan Curtis (Chair), Moyra Jackson (Treasurer), Sue MacEwen (Vice Chair) and Lindsey Peters (Vice Chair).

1. Has anybody travelled from or through China, Hong Kong, Macau, Iran, South Korea and Italy within the last 14 days.

2. Has anybody travelled to Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Italy (North of Pisa) within the last 14 days and developed symptoms of cough or fever or shortness of breath?

3. Has anybody had close contact with, or helped care for, anyone suspected or diagnosed as having COVID-19 Coronavirus, or who is currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to COVID-19 Coronavirus?

4. In the Past 14 days, have you or any person listed above had a fever 38°C or higher, felt feverish, Chills or had symptoms of a cough or difficulty breathing?

Essex Fed at the Million Women Rise March

Members from Essex WIs, including Federation Chair, Jan Curtis, met up with others from across the country to walk together at the Million Women Rise 2020 march #MWR2020 to call for an end to the epidemic of violence against women.

2020 Resolutions Announced

Between November and February, every WI member had the chance to have their say about the resolution they wished to go forward to the Annual Meeting in London on 4th June.

2020 resolutions Selections
1 A Call to increase potential stem cell donor registration 38,280
2 Female crash test dummies 9,124
3 End modern slavery 35,395
4 Time to talk about death and dying 9,820
5 Protect our precious helium 11,705
Total selections received 104,262

As “A call to increase potential stem cell donor registration” is ahead of “End Modern Slavery” by only around 3000 selections, the NFWI Board of Trustees has agreed that both resolutions will go forward to the Annual Meeting.
This year’s there were 104,262 selections cast.

The wordings of the resolutions are as follows:

A call to increase potential stem cell donor registration

There is an urgent need to increase the number of people registered on the aligned UK stem cell registry in order to provide potentially life-saving treatment to people of all ages with certain blood cancers. We call on all WI members to promote registration to the database to avoid people dying whilst waiting for a match.


End Modern Slavery

There are tens of thousands of victims of modern slavery hiding in plain sight in the UK. Modern slavery has severe consequences for the health and mental wellbeing of survivors. The NFWI calls on the Government to protect victims of modern slavery in the first instance and deliver longer term support to help them rebuild their lives. We call on our members to raise awareness of the prevalence of modern slavery throughout society and to campaign to defeat it.


What happens next?

Members now have the opportunity to learn more about the issues, and to discuss the resolution in their WIs before deciding how they wish their delegate to vote at the Annual Meeting.

To find out what resources are available and what the next steps are, please go to our Resolutions page for full details.

East Hanningfield WI on Holiday

East Hanningfield WI have been away on a holiday together and have been sending through updates to us

– enjoy reading about their exploits below…

We are off on another jolly holiday. This time it’s Warner’s, Cricket St Thomas with Lodge Coaches. Picked up at 08.45 from Great Baddow stopping off for coffee at Clackett Services, then on to Salisbury with a stop for lunch, shopping, look round the cathedral or whatever our choice. Are arriving at Warners 5.00 pm. Time to settle in and get changed for dinner. Photo of some of our party and an arch in Salisbury.

Having a day trip to Wells. Lovely City. Visited the Cathedral and had a walk round the shops. Now off to Clarke’s shopping centre just outside Wells. Will then be heading back to Cricket St Thomas for an drink, relaxation and then get ready for dinner, then more drinks and to the theatre for tonight’s entertainment.

This morning we went to Sidmouth, a lovely, quaint little town. Weather fantastic as you can see. A few of our ladies went surfing. 🤗

Left hotel and on our way home. We all had a lovely time and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

If your WI goes on a holiday or overnight trip together, why not take some photographs and send them and a few sentences about the trip to and your WI might feature in Essex WI News or on our website or social media too!

Show The Love At Essex Federation

Bulphan WI at Village Halls Week Event

Last week was Village Halls Week and Bulphan WI took part in an event at their local village hall and advertised themselves. They had a great stall that got much attention especially as it included the WI’s most famous member

New City Girls Out & About

More Trees Planted

On Friday, Gay Leggett and her team of WI volunteers, planted 400 more trees in South Woodham Ferrers as part of our involvement with the Chelmsford County Council aim of planting 15,000 more trees. Thank you to all the volunteers who came from a variety of WIs in Essex.

Welcome To Tea & Tiaras WI in Chelmsford

We’re delighted to announce another opening.

Tea & Tiaras, a bubbly new WI, was opened on 13th January by WI Advisers Jan Curtis and Jo Norris

We wish them all the best!


Welcome To Rainham Clocktower WI

We’re delighted to announce that the new Rainham Clocktower WI opened today.

WI Advisers Jan Curtis and Shirley Perkins with MAC helper Diane Tyrell signed up 31 members.


FEWI Launches 2020 Photography Competition

The FEWI Arts & Leisure Committee are delighted to be launching a photography competition for 2020

photographycompetition (2)

Click here for full details: Arts & Leisure News

Second Tree Planting

On Friday 6th December, an small but intrepid group of FEWI members from North Springfield WI, Hall Green WI and The Brentwood Belles WI braved the windy and damp weather to plant a fantastic 310 trees, at Hylands Park.

Group photo

It was again organised by Gay Leggett. Thank you to all ladies who came – the slideshow below has all the pictures.

We look forward to our next session in February 2020. Full storyin a future issue of Essex WI News.

A Celebration of Christmas

Baynards School from Tiptree, and Lynne Creasey on the harp, performed at the FEWI Celebration of Christmas at the Chelmsford Cathedral on Tuesday afternoon. In the evening e were joined by the Essex Police Choir. A most enjoyable time was had by all to kick off the festive season.

Look out for full details of the event in an upcoming edition of Essex EWI News

Earls Colne Tree Planting

Earls Colne WI braved the frosty conditions to plant 66 native tree saplings today (including oak, willow, rowan and silver birch) on the Millennium Green. Then they popped off to the Lion for a warming mulled wine! Thanks to Sue from Essex Federation, Millennium Green Trustees and various husbands for coming along too. Also, the Millennium Green Trust for giving them permission and Jayne, their Climate Ambassador, for the idea and organisation.

Well done to all – it certainly looks like it was a chilly one! And thank you to Helen Fryer & Sue MacEwen for the photos.

WI Walking Netball Festival

All Seasons’ Table Runner Success

A great time was had at our latest craft session with the ladies who attended making an All Seasons’ Table Runner,

and we’re sure you’ll agree that their results were pretty impressive

Speakers’ Day News

Here at FEWI, we’re always looking for new and exciting speakers to inspire, teach or entertain our members.

Today has been our latest Speakers’ Day at FEWI where members hear speakers who are hoping to get into our fabulous Speakers’ Book.

The line up was as follows (and some were definitely popular, as they were booked straight away by members of the audience!)…

Jane Williams: Menopause Matters
A personal look at the menopause with a great deal of humour thrown in. Whether menopause is looming on the horizon,
an awful reality or a distant memory this talk is relevant to all of us.
Dr Kathleen Sherrit: British Servicewomen’s Path to Combat
Fascinating talk on women’s roles in the armed forces. Kathleen shines a spotlight on some very interesting and inspirational women who really made a difference.
Mark Sippings: Beginner to Best Seller
An in-depth look at an author’s lot, from the first word to his first book signing. Mark puts a humorous spin on this often difficult process.
Messes Dwyer, Lawson and Mrs Pattensen. Three’s Company: musical entertainment with hits from 1920’s to 1970’s
Daniel Trussler: ‘Health begins at home, not in your doctors surgery’
An interesting look at an holistic approach to health and wellbeing.
Jordan Cox: How to save £1000 a year
‘Britain’s Coupon Kid’ speaks about how not to pay full price for anything – ever again!!
Full speaker details will be in the next edition of the book. Thank you to Moyra Jackson for the report.


10,000 Trees Project Underway

The first ‘10,000 Trees’ planting morning, at Hylands Park, was a great success last week. Thirty five WI members, friends and family planted approximately 1,200 mixed species native trees. It was a cold but dry morning and everyone got digging sustained by hot drinks and biscuits. We soon got into the rhythm of dig, plant and mulch… dig, plant and mulch. Everyone enjoyed working together to get the trees planted and went home with a sense of satisfaction and well-being.
 Three more planting mornings are planned, the second Hylands Park event is fully booked but
places are available for 6th December at Admirals Park and 17th January at South Woodham Ferrers.
To get the details and sign up for a place email
And we will come back in the summer for an organised “aftercare” event to see how our trees are doing.

More Poppies From Our WIs

To mark the centenary in 2018 of the ending of the First World War, Briscoe & Pitsea WI members knitted and crotcheted these lovely poppies, which they installed on the gates to the hall where they hold their meetings.

They received such lovely comments from the local community that they have done the same again this year and hope to make it an annual event.

Hall Gates

Members of Fox Hatch WI decorated St Nicholas Church Kelvedon Hatch.


Beautiful Poppy Display

100th Birthday Celebrations!

We received this lovely photograph from the President Ruth of Great and Little Horkesley WI. It is of Fed Vice Chair, Sue MacEwen cutting the cake at their hundredth birthday party. A picture tells many stories! And a big happy birthday and congratulations from the FEWI team.


First Walking Netball Match

Bulphan WI and Furtherwick WI played their first game since starting the Walking netball scheme.

We look forward to hearing about other matches in the future.

East Hanningfield Lunch

Today East Hanningfield held one of their famous lunches. Members from several other WIs went along

NFWI National Council Meeting 2019

Federation Chair, Jan Curtis, and Vice Chair, Moyra Jackson, spent from Friday afternoon til Monday lunchtime in meetings with Chairmen, Fed Treasurers and representatives from almost all of the other Federations, along with NFWI staff and Board of Trustees. It was a full on weekend but well worth attending.

Festive Fusion Workshop

Saturday saw our fully booked Festive Fusion workshop take place – a full write up will appear in a future issue of Essex WI News.

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!


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

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  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 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 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!

 Announcement for FEWI

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.

Member of ExxexWI
Member of EssexWI
Member of EssexWI

 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

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

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 – 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 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: to let us know.

Sports Week Update…

Don’t forget to send your pictures and a brief summary into us at 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!

oct 16 1

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

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

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?

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
  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 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 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 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

Christmas Tree Winner

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! 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?