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!).
At what we soon realised would be our last WI meeting for some time, we warmly welcomed Simon Dell MBE to deliver a talk entitled ‘The Fair Arm of the Law’. We had no idea… It turned out to be the most fascinating account of the role of women in the police service, starting with the wives of PCs looking after female prisoners and being called wardresses. This was in 1910. The first policewoman was sworn in during 1915 and the suffragette movement, campaigning for free choice for women, not just votes, played a large part. At first women were only allowed to be volunteers, but eventually were paid for their valuable services!
Simon served in various parts of Devon throughout his police career and was privileged to know many notable policewomen. Some of them were formidable characters and went on to live to a ripe old age, enjoying continued contact with the police service to the end. The book to accompany the talk was snapped up by many of our members to read later!
The Atlantic Group meeting has been cancelled, as has the April meeting. All WI activities, walking, choir, regular and committee meetings are currently on hold for obvious reasons, and members will be contacted as soon as normal service can be resumed. In the meantime, we intend to support one another in whatever ways we can, offering practical help and emotional support.
Please call Steph on 451272 with any questions.