HOLMER GREEN EVENING WI
June celebrations began with our birthday party meeting, which included dinner, desserts and wine.
While setting the tables, our speaker, William French, couldn’t resist folding the napkins for us in a fleur-de-lys design, a skill he learnt while working as a butler both to members of the Royal Family and film celebrities. After enjoying our food, he spoke to us of his career, starting in the Navy, where he served in the Falklands conflict, later joining the Royal Yacht Britannia.
His talk was funny and cheeky, with titbits of gossip about his various famous employers. Arriving just in time for the dinner, were members Jean Casson and Betty Furner, dressed in hats and elegant outfits, having come straight from a WI Centenary Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.
Later that week we met with other WIs at the High Wycombe cinema to watch a live streaming of the WI Centenary AGM, held at the Albert Hall, and attended by HM the Queen, Princess Anne and Sophie, Countess of Wessex.
Centenary festivities continued two weeks later at a grand party held at Waddesdon Manor, where members could enjoy various stalls, music and activities in the wonderful grounds.
We will be holding a Flower Festival at Holmer Green Baptist Church this weekend (July 11 and 12). There will be several floral displays to the theme of Jerusalem, and the famous WI refreshments will be served.
Chalfonts U3A had a very successful first outing on June 25 to the Mapledurham Estate near Reading.
It was a day full of variety – 51 members boarded the coach in Chalfont St Peter and the first stop was a visit to The Herb Farm in Sonning Common, which had a wonderful selection of herbs and flowers for sale and served coffee in their charming cafe and rose garden.
Next stop was Caversham Lock where we boarded the Caversham Princess for our 45 min cruise up river to Mapledurham – a charming Tudor manor house on the edge of the Thames belonging to the same family for 500 years – where soup & sandwiches were waiting for us on arrival.
Later followed a very interesting tour of Mapledurham Mill, the only surviving working mill on the Thames – Cory the miller gave a lively talk on the production of various flours and also of electricity using a new Archimedes-style turbine – the first to be installed in the country! Cream teas were served in the old Manor Hall before returning home.
CHESHAM TOWNSWOMENS GUILD
In spite of the fact that Chesham Townswomens Guild had inadvertently chosen the hottest day of the year for their July meeting, there was quite a respectable gathering of members. Pauline Baxter was in the chair and she welcomed everyone, including Ron White who had kindly stepped in as speaker at the last minute as the original speaker was unable to attend due to her husband’s illness.
During the birthday announcements special congratulations went to Joan Edmonds who celebrates her 90th birthday this month.
Pat Semon gave the Federation report including details of the Picnic in the Park event in August, and as Chiltern & Castle are the hosts she expressed the hope that some Chesham members will attend. They are collecting unwanted sewing materials or household tools at this event, and these may be brought to the August meeting. Pat Jeffrey said that more numbers are needed for the Federation holiday at Eastbourne in September.
In mentioning the Press Officer’s report, Pauline thanked Pat Semon for standing in for her during the months of May and June, when she herself was unable to attend the meetings.
It was then time to introduce Ron White, an old friend of the guild, who was to give a talk on his years with the Chesham Light Opera Company from 1950 to 1979, although of course he is still a member.
However he began with the early history of the company, which started life in 1937 at the Embassy Cinema, now alas long gone. It was originally called Chesham Amateur Operatic Society – CAOS for short, although there was surely no pun intended! They had several different homes including the Church Rooms and the old Co-op Hall befiore finally ending up at the Elgiva; and entertained audiences with performances of Gilbert & Sullivan operettas and musicals such as Show Boat, Tom Jones and light operas by Strauss.
Ron showed many slides of these shows, and as he sang parts in most of them we watched his progress over the years from a young man to a more mature one. He kept his audience highly amused with his many anecdotes, and Pauline thanked him for being such an entertaining and informative speaker.
The next meeting on August 5 is as usual in the Lowndes Room of Chesham Town Hall at 2.30pm and will be Members Own.
This will be an afternoon of quizzes and games, with a competition for your favourite holiday souvenir. Visitors will be most welcome.