PLEASE NOTE - DUE TO COVID-19, ALL WI ACTIVITIES AND MEETINGS ARE CURRENTLY SUSPENDED. Parkham WI is a thriving and diverse group of around 43 members ranging in age from late 20s to over 90. Part of the Devon Federation of WIs, the rich and varied programme of speakers and events at Parkham provides a broad range of subjects to interest all. It’s an inclusive, friendly and sociable group and there is so much friendship and support for each other demonstrated whenever we meet. Plenty of opportunities to chat over tea and coffee with homemade cake and biscuits – always a lively and enjoyable time and there is an annual lunch where partners are also included.
Some notable meetings in recent times have included a highly interactive talk by Exmoor Zoo (all sorts of creatures came to visit!); croquet and cream tea at Tapely Park; an Indian cookery demonstration and tasting; a talk about the work of the North Devon Air Ambulance; an insight into the work of the wonderful ChemoHero charity with a bring and buy sale afterwards to support the charity; walking tours of Bideford learning about the fascinating history of our town… there have been too many special evenings to list them all, but the forthcoming programme is looking great too.
The weekly programme of ‘Walk and Talk’ caters for all abilities, with interesting local walks ranging from short and level so that walkers can turn back when they’ve had enough to day-long walks on Dartmoor and Exmoor for those with a bit more energy to burn! A fortnightly gathering of singers has proved most popular with regular requests for small performances locally. We have such fun singing together, laughing, drinking tea and chatting – we all agree that we leave feeling uplifted and happier. The monthly Craft Group meetings are very well-attended and open to non-WI members too. Many different crafts can be learned or practiced; the current programme can be found on the Craft Group page below (coming soon!).
Gay Kite from Project Pickles kept us entranced for our March WI talk on Zoom. Dubbed ‘The Hedgehog Lady’, Gay established Project Pickles only four years ago, but now looks after up to 40 hedgehogs at a time in her Hartland sanctuary. It really is a labour of love, and the highly endangered and most endearing creatures are so lucky to have her to nurse them back to health when needed. On the Red List for British Mammals, hedgehog numbers have reduced from 40 million down to less than 1 million in the UK, a truly shocking statistic.
Gay has her main hedgehog hospital where most of the animals are looked after, as well as an 'intensive care unit' in the house for when tiny hoglets need hourly feeds 24 hours a day for three days. What a commitment! They are kept in incubators, fed with a syringe and thrive on the care they are given, leading eventually in most cases to being released into the wild to lead the sort of life a hedgehog should.
Hedgehogs end up with Gay for a variety of reasons – bonfires, strimmers, baler twine, cars, barbed wire and netting all playing their part, and we need to be aware of the damage that can be caused to these beautiful creatures. If you find an injured hedgehog, wearing gloves, put it into a box with some straw or a towel and keep it warm. Warmth is key, food and water are not essential, but some cat biscuits or food and a little water might be appreciated. If you find an injured hedgehog, do call Gay on 01237 441943 for advice, she’d love to help.
Next month we have a talk on Lundy to look forward to and we will always welcome new members to our most friendly WI. Please call Steph on 451272 with any WI questions.