The role of WI Advisers is to support and guide our WIs, whether they be new or long standing ones, whilst promoting the WI to the wider population. To fulfil this role, they take part in a national training scheme.

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Below are your current WI Advisers and details of the convening groups they look after. These are currently being updated so not all groups will appear. If you have any queries, please contact fedsec@essexwi.org.uk

Details of which WIs are in which groups can be found here: WI Groups

 
 

WI ADVISERS

Jan Curtis
JAN
CURTIS
 
Jan says, “I’ve been a member of Bulphan WI for 11 years & am currently President. From the minute of joining, I loved the whole ethos, history & inspiration of the WI which led on to my becoming a member of the Federations archive, editorial and media/digital teams as well as an Essex Climate Ambassador. Then taking the step to train as an Adviser seemed a natural progression, which I’m thoroughly enjoying especially getting to visit all the fab WIs around Essex.
In my other life I’m a mum of two sons and have a grandson, I have an allotment, enjoy travelling around the country with my WISP (WI Supporting Partner) Wayne, sometimes visiting a WI in the area we’re staying in. I fit in loads of opportunities to enjoy time with my family & friends which usually involves drinking prosecco at some point!
Other parts of my WI journey so far have been camping three times with 500 WI members at Tea & Tents, resulting in my being one of the core group of TWICE (The WI Campers Essex) which had two camps. Having the picture of our group at NFWI’s Brighton AGM published in the Sunday Telegraph & taking part in the pageant at the centenary County Annual Meeting in 2017. 
One of our members recently told me “If you were a stick of rock and we cut you in half it would say WI all the way through”,  more than happy to accept that comment and I’m looking forward to many more WI based adventures with the wide circle of friends being a member of the WI brings.”
 
 
 
 ANGIE
STEPHENSON
 
My WI story is very short (I have only been part of the WI since I hit 50) but I have managed to pack in quite a lot of experiences into that time.  I was inspired to join by talk of the WI’s Centenary in the media and felt that I might fit in.  I had always believed that you needed to have ‘time’ to be able to get involved with the WI, but I rapidly found out that you don’t – you have to ‘make time’ to give yourself new opportunities and expand your own horizons.  As they say, ‘it is what you want it to be’.
I was asked to become secretary of my WI just as I was being made redundant at work and I felt that it might assist me through my journey of finding out what I want to do next.  I attended Federation’s Presidents and Secretary training and took the opportunity to attend training for the Treasurer’s role as I felt that, as a trustee of my WI, I should know what is expected.  During this training I was asked if I would be interested in becoming an IFE (Independent Financial Adviser) for the WI possibly even an Adviser.  I have never looked back!  I have been mentored by Pat Pratley who has 40 years of valuable experience. I enjoy meeting the treasurers with their accounts and the members at meetings throughout Essex.  You will often find me speaking to members who, like I once did, think that they are too young or too busy to get more involved.
I was born in Northamptonshire, brought up in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk then returned to Peterborough and its surrounding districts when I left school.  I have been married and divorced twice and experienced bringing up children and stepchildren.  I had always worked, so when I was made redundant, I thought I would try not working for 6 months and then find a job, but I found myself involved in village life in Thaxted and loved it.  I have since moved to Great Easton with my partner, Mark, with my daughter, Alex and her husband and I have changed allegiances to my new local WIs – Eastons & Tilty and Dunmow.  I have embraced the Jam & Jerusalem side of life as my garden is full of fruit in the Summer & Autumn and we also try to grow as much veg as we can to reduce our food miles.  We like to reduce, recycle and reuse as much as we can through crafting and sharing.  A trip out is often to experience a new ‘Refill’ shop so that we can do as much as we can for the planet.  I love learning new things and meeting new people which is why I have enjoyed being part of the WI so much.
 
 

MAT HELPERS WITH GROUP RESPONSIBILITY

Pat Pratley
 PAT 
PRATLEY
 
Pat, is known amongst the other WI Advisers as “Our rock of the north” as she looks after several WIs in the north of the County has been an Adviser for 7 years, although she has been a member for over 40 years. In that time Pat has taken on most of the roles within a WI but never been a Treasurer as “it’s just not her thing”. That said Pat is a fully trained Independent Financial Examiner and is happy to work with WIs in this role, especially leading up to the end of the financial year.
The three loves of her life apart of course from her children, two daughters and a son, now with the added bonus of a lovely grandson are the WI, Flower Club and cycling, although she doesn’t do so much of the cycling now days. Pat also enjoys crafts and will try out any new ones that she comes across, especially those on offer at Federation as that means she gets to meet members as well. Meeting the members has been a major enjoyment both as an Adviser and during her time as Chairman of Essex Federation, a role which she was honoured to accept and she had a wonderful time going to many WIs, where of course she was made really welcome in the way only WIs can. Pat has found her time as an Adviser a really satisfying one, answering queries, supporting WIs and members, helping resolve problems but she admits she doesn’t enjoy the one thing that seems to blight all WI Advisers, getting lost in the depths of Essex especially when it’s dark and usually raining!
Pat’s latest “hat” is as Essex Denman Ambassador and hostess, which she has been for nearly 2 years. It’s a busy role but as we’re sure all those who went on the last Essex Denman weekend will agree, one that Pat does very well. Pat told us about the changes she has seen over her years visiting Denman, in the 1970’s you would have had to make your own bed and the teas, none of the equipment that they use today was about then. That said Pat has enjoyed all her visits and that comes across in the way she talks so fondly about Denman. Being there for the members and doing what is best for them in whatever the role comes across when talking to Pat, what more could be asked of anyone who volunteers as much time as she does for the good of the WI.
 
 
 
Kay Lodge
KAY
LODGE
Kay Lodge who has been a member of the WI for over 50 years. Kay has been in all the roles on WI committees including carrying on as Treasurer when undergoing her training to become a WI Adviser in 2005.
Kay has four children, two sons, sadly one has passed away and twin daughters, along with nine grandchildren between the ages of 17 and 26. She is very proud of all of them and enjoys spending time with them especially on family holidays and special occasions.
Having been interested in drama and dance from a young age the WI gave Kay the perfect opportunity to showcase her talent. Starting with joining her WI’s drama group as a performer she ended up producing and directing many plays and reviews for them, winning awards at Federation drama festivals. This led to Kay putting on some very successful shows for Essex Federation, including 90 Glorious Years which was recorded on DVD.  Also for many years Kay organised the Federation’s Christmas Concerts in Chelmsford Cathedral.
After being co-opted on to the Board of Trustees in 2006 Kay was elected as Chairman in 2016 until 2019. She is still a member of the Arts & Leisure subcommittee where amongst other things she organises the popular Inter WI Quiz.
Being a member and receiving support from the WI has got her through illness and bereavement, “The WI is always there”. Kay’s role as a WI Adviser has opened up the wider world of the WI, enabling her to meet many members during visits to WIs over the years.
Kay has stepped down as a full time Adviser, but she’s not been let completely off the hook as she’ll be a MAC Helper with Responsibility for a couple of groups of WIs.