NFWI Centenary Annual Meeting

Today was the big day! The 2015 Centenary Annual Meeting at the Royal Albert Hall. Although nobody from Crowlas & Ludgvan WI was able to go, we did send our resolution vote (more on that below!) with our delegate from Porthleven WI and for the first time we were also given the rare opportunity to watch the meeting live online.


The Queen, Princess Anne and the Countess of Wessex were all there, and the Queen addressed the meeting after receiving the Baton.

During her speech, the Queen said, “In 2015, the Women’s Institute continues to demonstrate it can make a real difference to the lives of women of all ages and backgrounds”. You can say that again!

After her speech, Her Majesty pressed the button to begin a slide show highlighting some of the Centenary Baton’s journey around the country. And what a surprise it was to see our own Jane, Niamh and Pat up there on the big screen for all to see!

NFWI_AM slideshow

The important bit was the resolution, and that’s when things got rather heated! After a lot of discussion, both about the resolution and its proposed amendment, one member proposed that the meeting move to the next item of business. That meant that the would be no vote at all on the resolution. The proposal was seconded, and by a majority of more than three-quarters, the meeting voted to move on. In effect, the resolution was thrown out!

Here’s a photo I loved, posted by another WI on Twitter, of lunchtime at the Albert Memorial, then and now. Things don’t change much, do they?!

memoralThere have been a flurry of newspaper articles about the WI over the past day or two. Here’s a quick rundown of some we found, in case you missed them. The Guardian, The Telegraph, another from The Guardian, another from The TelegraphHello magazine, and some television coverage from the BBC and ITV.

If you missed the live feed but would like to see it, you can still catch the whole thing on YouTube (see below), including a lovely rendition of ‘Jerusalem’.

A Day to Remember: The Royal Garden Party

Colleen, Helen, Julia and Kathy represented Crowlas & Ludgvan WI at the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, and what a day we had!

We left our end of Cornwall at the shocking hour of 5am, picking up excited ladies as we headed north. The atmosphere grew more and more festive the closer we got to London, particularly after our last comfort stop when we all changed out of our comfy clothes and into our garden party finery!

Kathy Reed and Barbara Corbett looking lovely in their hats
Kathy Reed and Barbara Corbett looking lovely in their hats

The weather was dreadful during our journey, but amazingly began to clear as we got to London. Though there was still no sunshine.

The weather didn't look promising!
The weather didn’t look promising!

Excitement reached a fever pitch as we approached the Mall!


Everywhere you looked were ladies in hats!


We queued up and were finally IN!




The gardens looked beautiful and we all had a quick wander around with a glass of lemon barley before forming ‘lanes’ for the royals. The Duchess of Cornwall, the Countess of Wessex, Princess Alexandra and the Duchess of Gloucester were all there – some of us were lucky enough to get a handshake and a few words!

And the sun shone!

After that, we headed to the tea tents where there were sandwiches, cakes and tea on offer.

Helen with Hayle WI President Margie Stockton




There was time for another look around the garden’s beautiful roses before heading back to the coach for our trip home, arriving back in Cornwall in the wee hours of the morning.

It was a long day but an amazing one; a true once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Apologies for the very few photos inside the Garden Party, but we were seriously law-abiding (for the most part) and followed the Palace’s No Photography rules quite closely until we realised that everyone else had their phones and cameras out!