Members Page

May 2024 - April 2025

MAY 2024
The Annual Meeting took place in the Village Hall. The  meeting was well attended and our Delegate at the NFWI Annual Meeting attended.  The  various  reports from the Secretary, Treasurer and President were  given and the committee was voted on as a block. Annie Phillips was returned as President for a second year, The President  thanked all the members for their support over the year and  presented the volunteer helpers not on the committee with a small gift to show appreciation for their efforts.

The resolution was discussed and it was decided to  vote for the  Resolution, but to give the delegate discretion if any of the wording changes at the  meeting in June.

A  delicious tea was served and the members enjoyed chatting in social time.
May 2023 - April 2024
APRIL 2024
The first meeting after Easter was a particular treat, as  we held an open meeting, inviting members from local WIs to  attend.  Members came from Hadleigh Evening, Leavenheath, Nayland, Bures and Polstead. Everyone was captivated by the arrival of two  delightful alpacas from the Hilly Ridge Alpaca Farm. Jo' Hilly Ridge' Bridge gave a most informative talk about the care and development of alpacas, and the members were able to stroke  the boys and ask more questions during social time.
MARCH 2024
The  ladies were entertained by the Nayland Handbell Ringers who gave a wonderful  recital of many  well known songs and pieces of music.  The skills required to perform were much admired and an enjoyable afternoon was had by all.
The members at a well attended  meeting found out about The Men's Shed in Hadleigh. It was started in 2020 and is well used by the men there to develop their social skills through socialising while working on projects together. It has been a lifeline for several people who have retired and found themselves at sea, without their usual contacts developed over years of being at work.  We discovered that a lot of the values of the WI are similar to those of the Men's Shed, developing connections through friendship and education. It has grown from one session a week to two evening sessions and one morning session each week, thus performing a much needed benefit to the members' mental health. The tea and cakes provided a fitting end to a most enjoyable afternoon.
The first meeting of the year was a Beetle Drive organised and run by the committee. Each table of 4 was split into two teams. Team 1 was asked to move to the next  table  at the end of each game, and each round was ended when the first team completed a Beetle. It proved to be a most enjoyable afternoon, with plenty of laughter and conversation.  It was also a great way for the members to meet each other on an informal basis. We are all looking forward to a fun packed programme for the rest of the year. we also welcomed a new member, which was most encouraging.
The Fleece Hotel in Boxford provided the venue for our last meeting of the year. A wonderful 3 course lunch was provided for our members and  the added bonus of a Christmas Quiz and a bumper Christmas Hamper Raffle in aid of the Lighthouse Women's Refuge in Ipswich helped to make the occasion go with a swing!
Boxford WI took part in the annual Christmas Tree Festival, with knitted 'paper chains' as our entry. They also ran a Jam Jam Tombola at the Christmas Fair,  selling knitted snowmen made by our members as a little extra.
The  ladies have also planted bulbs at the entrance to the village, which should come up in spring to give  a cheerful welcome to any passers by.
The members enjoyed an entertaining afternoon playing Handbag Bingo and enjoying each other's company at social time. It gave everyone a chance to take stock and catch up with friends. We are all looking forward to our Christmas Meal together at the Fleece Hotel in Boxford.
An open meeting was held this month to make the most of the wonderful singing provided by the Shanty Folk. Members came along from Polstead WI, Bures WI, Leavenheath WI and  Hadleigh Evening WI to join in the fun. It was a really brilliant occasion , with lots of great shanty songs and information about them. All monies at the meeting were given to the RNLI as payment for the entertainment, and we were delighted to find that the amazing sum of  £280 was raised.
It was wonderful to welcome back many of our members to the Village Hall after the summer break and  were fortunate to be able to hear the tales of  Nigel Oakley, an ambassador and breeder of  Suffolk Punch horses. He was able to inform us of the breeding programmes taking place to help this wonderful animal survive and  he had many tales to tell. Not only has he appeared on Countryfile with Adam Henson several times, he has also driven carriages at the Queen Mother's 100th birthday parade  and to celebrate the  late Queen's jubilee at Windsor.

AUGUST  2023

20 ladies spent a very enjoyable day on the River Stour, travelling by electric powered boat up to the Swan at Henny, where a delicious lunch was eaten, and returning back by mid afternoon. The weather was just right and it was so interesting to see the familiar landscape from a different perspective and a very knowledgeable crew  navigated through the Great Cornard Lock, and negotiated other  people enjoying a day out kayaking, rowing and paddle-boarding.

JULY 2023

The business part of the meeting was carried out and then we all sat back to listen to an account of the development of Perrywoods Nurseries from the granddaughter of the founders.The speaker, Hannah Powell gave a most interesting talk about the History of Perrywoods from the perspective of the family.

In 1955 her grandparents lived in a tied cottage linked to Braxted Park when they decided to buy a small bungalow and 4 acres of land for £2,375 next to Perry’s Wood. They grew mainly strawberries which they sold at the end of their drive.

Her father worked for the Colchester Parks Department after leaving school and gained a great deal of knowledge about planting and horticulture and suggested that they buy a greenhouse for plants. They bought a second hand greenhouse and this small beginning expanded in 1975 to 4 greenhouses and 3 sheds where they started growing bedding plants.

In the late 1970s they bought a brand new greenhouse for £750 and created 1000 hanging baskets for sale.

In 1984 her family swapped houses with their grandparents and they moved to what has become Perrywoods Tiptree. They worked 7 days a week, and all the children were involved in the business.

A third version of the shop emerged and this included signage and trolleys, with a double door entrance.

They have a computerised pricking out machine and the culture of improvement and investment has stood them in good stead.a coffee shop was added in 1999 and in the 1990s they were fortunate enough to buy neigbouring land to expand the business even more. There are now 22 acres and in 2010 the current shop was built, which includes indoor retail. This ensures that they have customers all rear round.

They bought the second site at Sudbury I, 2018 from Wyvale Garden Centre, and their TLC has brought the nursery to life once more with a 3.5 million turnover. The main focus is on plants here and they sell and cultivate plants on site too. There are 35 acres and there are plans to expand further once the economic situation improves.

Her father is now 72 and is the main plant buyer. Simon, her brother joined the business in 2008 and he is the Retail Director. In 2010 Hannah joined the business as the HR and Communication director and in 2016 Tristram, her second brother joined the family business.

They now have 235 staff and a 15 million turnover the 2 sites. and the future looks good for the company, but the ethos of taking things slowly and caring for the well-being of their staff is key to their success.

Hannah then took questions from the floor and a most enjoyable tea provided by the members took place.

JUNE 2023
Annie welcomed everyone to the meeting and DeeDee Martin  gave a very lively demonstration  of Zumba. Many  members joined in and  those who were not so active, enjoyed watching from the sidelines! The music was enjoyed by all, and the meeting's business continued  after the  activity was over. Delicious refreshments were served and  social time gave the members an  opportunity to catch up with friends and sign up to the varied activities on offer this month. 

MAY 2023

The Village Hall was decked in flags in honour of the King and Queen's coronation on Saturday, 6th May. The members were asked to wear Red White and Blue, and to decorate hats in a festive way. As a result the meeting was very colourful.

The current resolution was discussed and it was decided to vote for the Resolution.

The Annual Meeting followed and  the new committee was voted on as a block. Annie Phillips was voted in as the next President.

Once the  business was over, a delicious tea was produced and much chatter and  laughter was heard. A good start to the new WI year.

May 2022 to April 2023

APRIL 2023

This was the last meeting before the new membership year starts and many ladies payed their subs to renew their membership. After the business of the day, the members tried their hand at Indoor Curling, with many ladies clearly not knowing their own strength! A most lively and entertaining afternoon!

MARCH 2023

After the business part of the meeting, the members were treated to a very interesting talk by Andrew Wiltshire, who revealed the secret journal of Beatrix Potter, which had been written in code. When the journal was discovered at the time of her death, it was given into the safe keeping of Leonard Linder, who spent years trying to break the coded writing. It was a fascinating look into her life and times. The members had the opportunity to chat with Andrew about his own work and book on the subject.


Members then greatly enjoyed a talk from Mandy Wild on the Power of Colour.  Mandy selected various members from the audience to demonstrate how colour changes our appearance and explained why this happened.  Many were surprised to learn they were wearing ‘sludge’!!


Great fun was had by all those taking part in the Call My Bluff session that then took place.  One successful team galloped away with the prize!  Grateful thanks expressed to Sylvia Preedy who organised and compered the event.  This was followed by refreshments and social time


The members enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Stoke by Nayland Golf Club to celebrate their Christmas meeting. There was a Raffle for hampers, with the money going to the Lighthouse Women's Refuge in Ipswich, linking in with the WI campaign 'No More Violence', and the regular Christmas Quiz proved to be most enjoyable.


Jayne Foster gave some inspirational ideas of ways to make Christmas Decorations and the results were raffled off at the end. As always her inventiveness proved to be most enlightening, and gave us all the push to start thinking about the Festive Season! Final arrangements were also made ready for our Christmas Tree decorations in the Christmas Tree Festival and the final contributions to the Jam Jar Tombola were collected.


We took a moment to remember 'Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II' after her death in September. A message of condolence was entered on the Members' behalf in the condolence book in the church. Eyes down for a full house! Two very enjoyable games of Bingo were played in the Hall. Our new spinning globe with the balls shooting out proved to be a great success. A delicious tea was served at the end of the games.


Our Speaker, Margot from Hearing Dogs for the Deaf, introduced us to her Hearing Dog, Linus and explained what the charity does. The members enjoyed seeing Linus show us some of his functions and a lively discussion took place afterwards.

A chocolate cake was provided by our Secretary, Annie to help her celebrate her 70th birthday.


Some of the members went on a trip to  Otley Hall Gardens. It was a beautiful day and the members enjoyed a delicious lunch after a walk round the gardens.

JULY 2022

Our Speaker, Louise Carpenter gave a most interesting talk about the origin and use of essential oils. She explained about its use from early times and the different purposes it can be used for. Samples of the oils were passed among the group for us to smell and many interesting questions arose from the talk.

JUNE 2022

Our Speaker, Hattie Bennett gave a most entertaining and informative talk and recital about life with her cello. From her first steps into the world of music in Manchester to her formation of Music in Felixstowe, we all enjoyed the music and the anecdotes of her life in music and the wider world.

MAY 2022

This was the first 'in person' Annual Meeting after COVID and  the ladies discussed the  Resolution going forward to the Annual Meeting. A Celebration Tea  was eaten after the Annual Meeting, when Val Clark took over as President for the following year.

January 2021 to April 2022

MARCH 2022
The speaker was Lucy Lewis who gave a most entertaining talk called 'Lighting the Fuse'. She was the first  woman to become a Bomb Disposal Officer and is now the University Marshall at Cambridge University. She  gave a highly amusing account of her experiences at Sandhurst and later at Bomb Disposal  training. Her life has certainly not been dull!

Boxford WI held their first meeting of 2022 at the beginning of January and it was very well attended. Colin Hooper, who is a member of the magic circle, gave a very entertaining talk on optical illusions and made the ladies doubt their own eyes. It was a very enjoyable speaker to start the new year.

December saw a fabulous Christmas Lunch for the ladies at the White Hart Pub in Boxford with a quiz so popular, the landlady and other customers joined in. Great fun was had by all.

The WI ladies were thoroughly entertained by the guest speaker, Pip Wright, who gave a fascinating talk on the amazing story of John Steggall - the Suffolk Gypsy. It was lovely to see so many members attend and everyone enjoyed the afternoon which was followed by tea and biscuits

The ladies enjoyed an entertaining and enjoyable afternoon with Linda Scoles who told a series of amusing stories about the time her and her family settled in Britain when her husband was posted at Lakenheath by the US Air Force.


George Double the freelance drummer, arranger and teacher, who is active on the British jazz scene visited the WI in the Village Hall and got our Secretary Annie Phillips playing the drums for our members. Great fun was had by all. Members also took part in a village litter pick at the playing fields, playground and allotments followed by coffee and delicious cake at the Box River Cafe.

Members enjoyed a day out at the Beth Chatto garden, '7.5 acres of garden, based on ecological planting, and the right plant for the right place. Created by award-winning gardener, author and lecturer Beth Chatto OBE VMH, who won 10 gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show, in the 70s and 80s'. It was a wonderful way to spend some time outdoors in the sunshine and meet up with members again after lockdown.

JULY 2021
A socially distanced Annual Meeting was held at the Village Hall with the new Committee agreed. The Box River Cafe supplied a sumptuos boxed high tea for all those present which was much appreciated.

JUNE 2021
The ladies met at the Pavillion and played socially distanced outdoor games and had a cup of tea. As usual it was a fun event and good to be back after lockdown.

MAY 2021
Members met in each others gardens in groups of 6 following the lifting of lockdown. It was lovely for members to catch up and see each other again. The WI resolutions were also discussed.

APRIL 2021
The ladies were treated to an afternoon with David and Jane Corby who gave a wonderful talk on their hobby as Ballroom Dancers, dancing in competitions all the way to the Tower Ballroom. The talk was illustrated with beautiful photographs of David and Jane dancing with lots of detail about Jane’s dresses, hair and makeup. An extremely popular 'Strictly Come Dancing' afternoon!

MARCH 2021
Louise Quarmby gave the ladies of the Boxford WI an insight into the life of a TV gameshow researcher through her work on Tipping Point and Pointless. She gave the group hints about 'good' questions and 'bad' questions and explained how each fact is verified from at least two reliable sources. It was very novel topic and enjoyed by all.

The members had a most interesting talk and slide show given by Tim and Matthew Fairbairn about the Fulibroch Herd, based in Bures. Tim explained how the goat herd had come about and how it had been developed over the years, breeding pedigree dairy goats for showing, commercial sale, milk, meat and hides. He also told us about the the gorgeous and popular Fulibroch Dairy soap which all members received as a gift during lockdown.

A chair yoga session was held with Marianne Marshall BWY Dip to ease us back into the new year. This was greatly enjoyed by all. Yoga is a traditional discipline which includes a number of postures with movement, posture and breathing techniques which, and with regular practice can contribute to ones feeling of wellbeing.

Once Lockdown began in March 2020, the physical meetings ceased. Since that time a fortnightly Federation newsletter called The Hive has been distributed to all members. Telephone calls by committee members helped the WI to keep in touch with each other and once we mastered the technical challenges of Zoom, we had a weekly catch up chat each Wednesday afternoon for several months. In July each member received a gift bag to try to lift spirits.

When some of the restrictions were relaxed in the late spring and summer, a socially distanced catch up took place outside the Boxford Playing Fields pavilion when we met face to face for the first time! In July a garden party took place across several members' gardens as we were allowed to meet in groups of 6.

In September there was great excitement as we were allowed to meet in the Village Hall for the first time. We were socially distanced and had a catch up which included a Bingo session.

Sadly, we returned to stricter Lockdown for the rest of the year, but held a catch up on Zoom in October, followed by our first meeting with a speaker on Zoom in November when we had a wonderful demonstration of how to create Christmas decorations with Jayne Foster. This proved very successful and the meeting was able to be viewed by members unable to attend through an online link.

We were disappointed not to be able to hold our regular Christmas Celebrations, but a Zoom meeting was held where we took part in a Christmas Quiz and 3 names were drawn from a pot, with the lucky recipients receiving a Christmas Hamper each. It was wonderful to see members wearing Christmas jumpers, earrings and headdresses.

MARCH 2020
At the March afternoon meeting speaker Charles Garland gave an interesting talk about the Nations Favourite Comedy, which included his work alongside David Croft producing Dad's Army and many other programmes for the BBC.

The next meetings are: 1st April at 2pm in the Village Hall: Fat Bird and a boat
16th April at 8pm in the Pavilion: Resolutions meeting

New members are always welcome so if you are interested please come along to one of our meetings or contact our secretary
Annie Phillips
Secretary, Boxford WI
(01787 211729 | Annie-Phillips@Hotmail.Co.Uk)

WI Dad's ArmyWI Dad's Army

At the February evening meeting Kelly Cornwell gave a most interesting talk about Genealogy and how we can find out about our ancestors by using a variety of methods, both on and offline. It was a fascinating insight into the information that is stored online, in church records, in military records and in record offices all over the world. We found out about one of her grandfather's using and we were shown how to set up a family tree for ourselves. One WI evidently transcribed the gravestones in their churchyard to help preserve the information for future generations, so even our organisation has played its part!

WI Genealogy

The new year started with an afternoon meeting on the 'True Price of fish and chips' by Andy Malcolm who represented the Fisherman's Mission. He gave an interesting talk about what the Fisherman's Mission do to help Fishermen and their families both working and retired from all around the UK. Along with the talk, Andy sang two shanties followed by a 'fish' quiz for everyone to participate. At the first evening meeting, Karen Baker gave a most interesting demonstration of Blind Contour Drawing and explained the benefits which aid children's confidence when beginning to draw. A really varied number of items were placed on tables for members to draw 'Blind' and the results were both varied and amusing! The pencil drawings were further enhanced by the use of water colours, felt tip pens with some members showing a real talent.

Our speakers for the February meeting were 'Shanty Folk'. A group of 5 entertained us with a most information explanation of many different types of shanty along with some enjoyable singing with some member participation too.

The Boxford WI table cloth has now been finished by a talented group of sewers and will be used regularly.

The next meetings are: March 14th at 2pm in the Village Hall:
Dad's Army - the nation's favourite comedy
March 19 th at 8pm in the Pavilion: Learn to crochet
New members are always welcome so if you are interested please come along to one of our meetings or contact our secretary
Annie Phillips
Secretary, Boxford WI
(01787 211729 )

WI Shanty FolkWI tablecloth

Boxford WI met for the first time after the summer break in Boxford Village Hall on 4th September at 2.00 pm. The meeting was well attended, and we caught up with all the local events happening in the next few weeks. Our speaker was Pip Wright who gave a most
interesting talk about ‘Frolic, Fervour and Fornication’. Who knew the Parish Records could hold so much information about the people who lived in the area, and how many clergymen wrote poetry in the records? It was very entertaining and enjoyed by us all.

Our Dining Divas had a good meal at the King’s Head in Hadleigh in the summer, and we look forward to our next trip at the end of September at the Newton Green Golf Club!

Our craft group, renamed the ‘Sewcial’ will begin again in Mary’s House on Thursday, October 10th at 2.00pm. It is going to be a relaxed afternoon where people can bring along a piece of work which they are doing, or indeed just come along for a chat and a cup of tea or coffee if they are not particularly good at Crafty things!

The afternoon ended with tea and delicious home made cake, brought by one of our members who had just celebrated her birthday!

The evening meeting was on 19th September in the Pavilion Sue Tetley gave an interesting talk about the Thrive Programme which was founded by Rob Kelly. The talk showed how one can make life long positive changes by boosting self-esteem, reducing social anxiety and taking back control of thinking. The topic linked in very well with a previous WI Resolution ‘Mental Health Matters’ and a lively question and answer session took place.

JULY 2019

Boxford WI had a most interesting meeting on the afternoon of 3rd July in Boxford Village Hall. There was a good turnout of members and we enjoyed an afternoon finding out all about Suffolk Cheeses from Jason Salisbury. He and his wife, Katharine, founded Suffolk Cheeses in 2004. The company is family owned and run and it has state of the art milking equipment to let the Guernsey cows go to be milked whenever they require. The result is the delicious Suffolk Gold, Suffolk Brie, Suffolk Blue and Suffolk Blue Brie, which can be found at any good farm shop and farmers markets in East Anglia.
We were lucky enough to be allowed to taste and buy the excellent cheeses at the meeting!  As always we had tea and chat afterwards, finishing with the Raffle!

Suffolk Cheeses


Our Speaker Andy King spoke to us about Suffolk Lowland search and rescue. The Suffolk branch has been established for 20 years and all of the team are Volunteers. Their role is to search for vulnerable missing people including children, young people
those with mental health problems and older people often with Dementia. They work with the Police, Fire and Rescue and Air Ambulance services. Much of the work is on foot or on bikes and sometimes includes using specially trained dogs. The searches
are often late at night or in the early hours of the morning in poor visibility and atrocious weather. Their control van is equipped with networked laptops running specialist software, radios and scene lighting. Come rain or shine the team of volunteers are always prepared and ready for call outs to find missing loved ones.
What an amazing service!


Everyone loves a cup of tea and our Speaker Jane Paley gave us a fascinating insight into its history. All tea comes from the tea bush Camellia Sinensis and was said to have originated in China. When tea was first introduced in England in the mid 1600’s, the consumption was limited by the high cost and also because of the segregation of tea being served in coffee houses that catered solely to men. Once tea became popular in the coffee houses, more specific tea houses began to be opened in London and elsewhere in the country. Afternoon tea, a tradition that is thought of being almost synonymous with the word “British” did not become established until 200 years later. Later on in the 19th century, Queen Victoria’s love for afternoon tea was well known. Today the tradition of afternoon tea continues in the home, hotels and tea rooms.



October 3rd - Riding for the Disabled
November 7th - so you thought you knew about Tea!


October 18th – making canapés
November 15th – making Christmas decorations


Our Speaker Susie Weston has been keeping Bees for 4 years. She now has 3 hives containing 60,000 Bees in each. In Spring the Bees come out to start foraging and in the Summer the colonies are bigger and Susie can start taking off the honey.
The Summer Bees (Workers) live for around 6 weeks, the Winter Bees who are more inactive for around 6 months and the Queen for 2/3 years. Bees need to be protected from predators such as Woodpeckers and mice as well as wasps who try to get into the hives to take the honey.
Honey makes an excellent substitute for sugar in cakes and biscuits; it is also used in soaps, balms and polish.

It was a fascinating talk enjoyed by all of us.

JULY 2018

Our Speaker Joan Smith gave us a brief history of fans. The earliest known fans were from China dating back to the 2nd century. In 16th century Europe they became fashion items. Fans are made from many different materials including bamboo, chicken skins and Ostrich feathers. In the 18th century lace and mother of pearl started to be added to fans and children’s versions also became popular. Fans scented with sandalwood were also available. Joan told us that there is also a language of fans used to convey messages for example if presented shut this asks do you love me?, with the handle to the lips this says kiss me and a shut fan held to the heart tells the person you have won my heart. There is a wonderful fan museum in London and here are some of the beautiful fans on display there.

JUNE 2018

Historian Roger Kennel gave us a fascinating insight into the corset factory run by William Pretty and his Son (here is a picture of William Pretty Junior) who were part of the great Ipswich store (pictured) of Footman, Pretty and Nicholson which is now Debenhams in Westgate Street. William Pretty Junior developed and rebuilt the factory to become the largest such factory in the Country. Big fashion changes in the 1920’s saw a 42% drop in corset wearing and social changes especially for women during the early 20th century, brought financial problems for the factory and eventual liquidation, but it was re-organised and prospered once again. Further social and fashion changes in the 1960’s then led towards its eventual demise.

MAY 2018

Wednesday, May 2nd - Afternoon Meeting - 2.00 pm in Boxford Village Hall (AGM and Resolution Meeting)
Teas - Sue K, Margaret M and Heather
Raffle Prizes - Sue, Margaret M and Heather

Thursday, May 10th - Walking Group - venue Long Melford, starting at Cherry Lane garden centre car park (CO10 9HD) at 2.00pm.

Thursday, May 17th - Evening Meeting - 8.00 pm at Boxford Sports Pavilion - Topic: Drawing workshop, led by Liz D'Alwis

Saturday, May 19th - Hadleigh Show

Thursday, May 24th - Lunch Group at the Cock Inn at Polstead.

MAY 2018

Here are some of our Ladies together with Annie’s dog Bertie enjoying the first of our walks this Season in and around the beautiful village of Stoke by Nayland. The village sits on a hill overlooking the Stour and Box river valleys and has some excellent timber framed buildings including the village hall and the old Guildhall. One of the highlights of Stoke By Nayland is the 15th century church of St Mary’s which appeared in several of Constable’s paintings. The church tower dominates the landscape of Dedham vale and can be seen for miles around. Its outstanding treasure is the 15th century carved oak doors in the South porch, unique to Suffolk.  After an exhilarating walk there was a stop for coffee at the Crown, which was most welcome.

APRIL 2018

As well as our firmly established and successful afternoon group, we now have an evening group which is proving very popular. We meet on a Thursday at 8.00 pm which for the Spring and Summer months will take place at the Boxford Sports Pavilion.  Becky the Co-Ordinator and the Ladies who attend, are planning a number of different Speakers and activities for the months ahead.  In the photographs below they are enjoying a lesson in Belly dancing. It is wonderful to have the opportunity of attending not one but two meetings a month which gives us twice as much fun and friendship.  Our walking group has their first Spring walk soon, always followed by tea and cake! We also have some lovely meals to look forward to with our well attended lunch club as well as some great Speakers for the rest of the Year.

MARCH 2018

Belly Dancing - Evening Group


Our Speaker Ron Murrell introduced us to the ghost stories of East Anglia. These tales have been passed down from generation to generation with sightings of a ghostly black dog known as “Old Shuck” as well as appearances from grey or white phantoms. The Nutshell pub in Bury St Edmunds reputedly has a number of phantoms including a monk and a nun, who were believed to have had an affair. Raynham Hall in Norfolk has the brown lady thought to be Dorothy Townsend the second wife of Lord Townsend then there is Lady Henrietta Wilson of Yaxley Hall who when her mausoleum was knocked down resulted in her ghost returning. Ipswich has a number of haunted sights including Christchurch mansion, the former Spooks restaurant and the Buttermarket. We are glad to report that there were no such sightings at the village hall during our meeting!

Our first evening meeting was well attended with a number of ladies expressing an interest in joining us in the New Year. Our afternoon meetings continues to flourish with interesting Speakers as well as an active craft group, book club, walking group and theatre group. So what are you waiting for come along and support Boxford WI and enjoy new experiences in our lively, friendly groups. We look forward to seeing you in the New Year.


At our Afternoon meeting our Speaker was Rebecca Parry who talked to us about conservation at Colchester Zoo. The Zoo first opened in 1963 and is now the largest privately owned Zoo in the UK with over a million visitors a year. The specialist collections of animals there are kept in enclosures to mimic the natural environment very much how the animals would live in the wild. The conservation work includes breeding and reintroducing the animals into the wild. The Zoo houses 260 species in over 60 acres of land. In 2004 the Zoo created its charity Action for the Wild which is involved in a broad spectrum of conservation projects worldwide. One of its ongoing projects is the setting up of a 6,000 hectare nature reserve in South Africa involving rehabilitating the land and releasing native species back on to the reserve. With our thanks to Rebecca for a fascinating talk.

Boxford WI now has both an afternoon and an evening meeting. We meet at 2pm on the first Wednesday of the month and 8pm on the third Thursday of the month. Please do come along to either or both meetings we would love to meet you and can assure you of a very warm welcome.

JULY 2017

Our Speaker Chris Hunt talked to us about being a Town Guide. Guides can work anywhere in the Country but generally cover their local area. Their work includes visits to museums, walks and places of historical interest. For example Colchester is an important town historically and the castle which is now a museum is one of the earliest stone builds in the country. Around 4/5 years ago a Roman circus where chariots raced was discovered near the old garrison and is well worth a visit. In Lavenham the old Guild Hall which is now owned by the National Trust was originally used as a religious meeting place for wealthy Catholic merchants.  It has also been used as a prison, a workhouse and a social club for US troops during the Second World War. A fascinating insight into the rich history of East Anglia.

JUNE 2017

Our Speaker Oggie Wheldon worked as a private secretary before taking up Millinery. She took an 18 months course followed by some shorter courses on techniques and now runs a small business. Oggie has made pantomime hats for the Mercury theatre in Colchester as well as hats for big race and society meetings.  We were given a demonstration of the basis for making a hat on a wooden block and the various stages that need to be gone through. Oggie brought along a wonderful selection of hats and fascinators (as the attached picture shows) and we all had a great time trying them on, including our lovely Jennifer modelling a beautiful fascinator. As well as making exclusive hats for all occasions; Oggie also has hats for hire. What an enjoyable and fun afternoon we had.

MAY 2017

At our AGM we looked back on the last year and at what we have achieved, whilst enjoying some cheese and wine courtesy of Waitrose.  The highlight was celebrating our 10th birthday with past and present members. Our Speakers have covered various topics from the history of Melford Hall, the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds to an afternoon with the perennial Mr Potter. Our walking group, book club, craft club and theatre group continue to thrive. Well done to our craft group for winning the snail competition at the group meeting, see 'Competition Success' below. We look forward to another great year of fun and friendship at Boxford WI.


Boxford Women's Institute wins the Rose Bowl with their Snail at the Three Valleys Group Meeting held on 11th April 2017.  Well done to all our 'crafty' members!

APRIL 2017

We spent a wonderful afternoon in the company of the perennial Mr Potter (Bryan Thurlow).  As a young lad in 1913 Horace Potter went to work at the big house owned by the Tindall Sisters. Old Efran Clark the Gardener soon got Horace working on the vegetable patch as well as taking cuttings from plants. When Efran died, Horace became the Gardener and together with his Brother Bertie who had returned safely from the War, continued to maintain the Garden. Horace took a shine to Rose who lived in the big house looking after the Tindall Sisters and when he and Rose married, they lived in the Bothy in the Knot garden. Many changes followed after the Tindall Sisters died and the property was sold but the couple continued to live in the Bothy even in retirement. What a lovely tale of a bygone age!

MARCH 2017

Our Speaker this month was Jonathan a Dementia Champion for Dementia Friends whose talks are to help people understand what it is like to live with dementia and encourage them to make a positive difference to people living with dementia in their community. The 5 key messages that Jonathan gave us are:

Dementia is not a natural part of ageing

Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain

Dementia is not just about losing your memory – it can affect thinking, communicating and everyday tasks

It is possible to live well with dementia

There’s more to a person than the dementia

The NFWI supports Dementia Friends and we are grateful that Jonathan could come along and talk to us about what can be done to make our communities more dementia friendly.

Here is a picture of our President Val presenting Jonathan with sensory bands made by our lovely Members.

Val with speaker on dementia


Tina Loose came to talk to us about Tai Chi which she has been practising for 40 years. It is a gentle exercise with many health benefits helping the body to be more pliable and supple. It is done through slow movements giving better posture and balance. There are around 108 moves in Tai Chi which can take a considerable time to learn. Tina was however very kind in her practical demonstration illustrating some 4 to 6 movements all with wonderful names including Grasp the Bird’s tail, Carry the Tiger to the Mountain and Parting the Wild Horse’s Mane. We all enthusiastically joined in and hopefully practice makes perfect and we will improve in time!


2016 has been a great year for us here at Boxford WI. We have welcomed three new members with three more to join in the New Year. This year was of course our 10th birthday and we had a wonderful celebration. We have had some excellent Speakers including talks about Melford Hall, the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds and a painting demonstration from Vernon Lever. Our craft group is very popular as well as our book club and our walking group continues to visit our lovely Suffolk countryside. Some of our members attended Elmsett and Aldham garden party and others Bures 95th party. There was a visit to Cambridge including a tour of Queens College as well as a trip to Paycockes house and gardens. Our lunch clubs has had some excellent meals at The Loft in Sudbury, The Horseshoes in Cockfield and the Veggie Red Lion in Great Bricett to name but a few. Our newly formed Theatre group went to see made in Dagenham at the Wolsey Theatre

In 2017 there will be a number of Speakers on a variety of subjects for example: Tai Chi, Couture Millinery and a return visit from the wonderful Jenny Gibbs with further tales of her life in Turkey. Our craft club will be busy making sensory bands and snail making. Our walking group will run from April to September and our lunch club will continue to meet regularly as will our book club. The Theatre group is off to see the play that goes wrong at The Mercury in Colchester in February.

Life is full and enjoyable here at Boxford WI and we are looking forward to many good things to come in 2017.


Our Speaker this month was Vernon Lever a local Artist. Vernon has been painting for around 10 years and takes his inspiration from the Suffolk landscape. He demonstrated his watercolour skills with a painting of Pin Mill. His advice is to keep the colours simple and to use a limited palette. This year Vernon’s work appears in the Sudbury calendar. As well as doing his own art, Vernon is also Chairman of the Lavenham Arts Society, Chairman of the U3A Art Group and runs 6 art classes including passing his skills on to children. How does he find the time? We all enjoyed Vernon’s talk and demonstration and it has inspired those artists amongst us to take up our paint brushes again!  Thank you Vernon it was a pleasure to have you visit our WI.


Rory O’Brien and his Son-in-Law Paul gave us a fascinating talk on the history of the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds. It was designed and built in 1819 by William Wilkins and is the only remaining Regency playhouse in the Country. It enjoyed large audiences until the arrival of the railways in the 1840s when people were able to get to London and local Theatres suffered.  In 1925 it closed its doors and became a barrel store for Greene King. So it remained until the 1960s when a group from the local community restored and reopened it in 1965. Today it hosts a mixed programme of ballet, opera and plays as well as running drama activities for children and adults. There are regular behind the scenes guided tours and the theatre also provides a unique and very special setting for weddings!

JULY 2016

In July our speaker Trudy gave us a fascinating talk about the history of Melford Hall. There has been a property on the site for over 1,000 years. The Hall was originally occupied by monks who were thrown out during the dissolution. Henry VIII then leased it to William Cordell and on his death it passed to his sister, Jayne Allington and then to her grandson Thomas Savage. Thomas and his wife, Elizabeth had 19 children and extended the Hall in 1610 to accommodate them all! The house was extensively plundered during the Civil War. In 1649 Richard Cordell MP for Sudbury purchased the property. Cordell was succeeded by a son and a grandson. The line of ancestry came to an end in 1786 when the house was sold to Sir Harry Parker. The house became the home of the Hyde-Parkers whose descendants continue to live there today.

JUNE 2016

We have been very busy here at Boxford WI, in June we celebrated our 10th birthday with both past and present members. We were joined by guests from The Three Valleys Group and SWFWI, we all had a great time! There was a quiz from Sally on events from 2006 to 2016, followed by a strawberry tea and a delightful cake. We are looking forward to the next ten years of fun and friendship!

Boxford WI's 10th Birthday Celebration 1st June 2016See Gallery for more photographs.


MAY 2016

After our AGM and resolution meeting we looked back at our past year at Boxford WI. There was attendance at the Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, the WI Centenary Annual meeting at the Royal Albert Hall and our Federation Garden Party at Park Farm.  Our local activities have included organising the Group Carol Service at St Mary’s Church and entering a competition for the Group Meeting in Hadleigh. We have had some amazing speakers and learnt about Museum Costumes, the Samaritans, how to be Savvy Shoppers and had a go at some Fun Dancing. There was also a taster session at the Boxford Bowls Club followed by tea and cake at the White Hart, a delightful talk from Marie Paddon on Talking Textiles and a talk from Jenny Gibbs about Traditional Turkish Weddings. Our walking group has had some wonderful walks in the local area, our craft group continues to thrive and our lunch club is always very popular. For our next venture we are considering starting a theatre group. As you can see we are always very active and innovative here at Boxford WI! This year we will be celebrating our 10th Anniversary on 1st June.  We all feel that it is a fantastic achievement and worthy of celebration which we intend to do with great style!

APRIL 2016

Our speaker Jenny Gibbs having previously given us a talk on her Shirley Valentine moment when she embarked on her new life adventure and met the man of her dreams, this time came along to tell us about hatching, matching and dispatching, the Turkish village wedding. The traditions go back hundreds of years and are far removed from the weddings in Cities and Towns in Turkey, which are similar to those held in the UK.  The celebrations begin on Thursday and last until Sunday lunch time. There are two different weddings in one, where the Bride and Groom have their own celebrations. On Thursday morning there is a short legal ceremony with a Registrar and vows are exchanged. The Bride and Groom then go back to their own homes. The Bride has a Henna night with her female friends and family when she wears a traditional Ottoman outfit in scarlet and gold. There is much dancing and singing then the Bride's hands and feet are painted with Henna by her Mother. Songs are sung to the Bride that gives advice on how to please her Mother in Law!

The next morning the wedding begins with all the Villagers invited which can be as many as 1,000 people. The invitations to the wedding are in the form of gifts usually a bag of Turkish delight from the Bride's family and handkerchiefs and towels from the Groom's family. Wedding gifts to the Groom are a bag of dried food such as flour, sugar, tea and dried fruits. Gifts for the Bride are a variety of bowls in different sizes wrapped in newspaper. Later money will be pinned on to the Groom as he is dancing. The wedding itself is all about feasting and dancing, there will be about twelve different types of food, which are the same at every wedding. On Sunday lunch time everything stops and the Groom and his family take the Bride from her home to his. All of the villagers turn out for this and there is much noise and merriment.

Jenny is an amusing speaker with many stories to tell and we are looking forward to her visiting us again for one of her many other talks, these range from a village farmhouse restoration, Turkish Cuisine, Christmas customs and other celebrations and the story of silk and pashmina.

MARCH 2016

Our WI Member Marie has recently completed her City and Guilds Diploma and gave us a talk about her course as well as bringing along some exquisite pieces of her work for us to see. Marie used the pond in her garden for inspiration capturing what happens when things grow and decay. She photographed the wildlife especially the Moorhens as well as the water itself and the ripples on the pond. The footprints from the Moorhens were used in Marie's designs which included a dress and a miniature quilt in a Perspex box to reflect the surfaces on the pond. Her final piece was a large quilt where she used ice dyeing and screen printing techniques on sheer materials. The quilt was aptly named "Follow Me" as it showed the baby Moorhens following their Parents.  Thank you Marie for sharing these delightful pieces with us.


This month Janet Drake from Fun Dancing came to give us a demonstration of routines with an invitation to join in. Janet started Fun Dancing in 2010. She began dancing at 8 years old and attended Elmhurst ballet school learning lots of different dance styles. This was followed by theatre work and touring as a minstrel belle. When she married and had children, dancing was put aside to take an office job in the City. After being made redundant Janet took up health and wellness life coaching and eventually returned to dance. Fun dancing developed from this and covers many different styles including Latin American, ballroom and ballet. It is a good way to keep fit and active and we did indeed have great fun joining in, if not necessarily picking up the steps quite that easily! Hopefully with a little practice improvement will come.


At our January meeting, Cherry organised a Beetle Drive and great fun was had by everyone. We all gave great thought to issues to put forward to the National Federation of Women's Institute, which they can campaign on or raise awareness about. The NFWI take action on a wide range of topics that matter to women and their communities and this year covers areas such as Ban the Micro Bead, British Fruit: Reviving Our Heritage, First Aid to Saves Lives and Avoid Food Waste - Address Food Poverty. We have many activities to look forward to this year especially planning our 10th birthday party for the 1st June.


Christmas Celebrations

Our WI was very busy during the festive season starting with Christmas lunch at the Fleece, our thanks to Judith, John and all the staff for a superb meal and excellent service. Our Christmas party in the village hall was great fun as we all got creative making crackers. Sally had prepared a Christmas quiz which we all enjoyed and Diane B won the hamper in our raffle, proceeds of which are going to ACWW. The very next day we hosted the Three Valleys Group Carol Service in St Mary's Church. We were delighted that our Federation Chairman, Elizabeth Lansman together with members from many groups in Suffolk West were able to attend. It was a very uplifting and joyous occasion and special thanks to the Reverend Judith for taking the service. Thank you to Richard and his team for pealing the bells, to Patrick for the wonderful organ music, to all the Ladies who gave readings and to our Boxford WI members for preparing cakes, biscuits and mince pies. Last but not least many thanks to our very own Brenda and Diane B for making numerous cups of tea and coffee as well as washing up all the cups, saucers and plates!  There was also the Christmas tree festival at St Mary's for which our members made some delightful decorations.  This was followed by a trip to the pantomime the Snow Queen at the Quay Theatre is Sudbury.

Pat at Buckingham Palace Garden Party

Pat Rocks at the WI Centenary Garden Party at Buckingham Palace
on 2nd June 2015 where she had a special introduction to Princess Alexandra.


Our speaker for the month

Our speaker this month was Malcolm Crowe from Capricorn Crafts.  Malcolm has been making wooden toys and games since the 1980's.  It all began with a visit to a well known toy shop where his young daughter was rather taken with a string puppet.  After seeing the price, Malcolm thought I am sure I could make one and so he did and to this day Henry still accompanies him on his talks and demonstrations.  The range of toys Malcolm showed us were amazing in their detail; they are all handmade and extremely intricate.  There were spinning tops, fire engines, trains and a Noah's Ark complete with all the animals.  There were also games of solitaire and Chinese chequers which are made on a lathe out of Canadian pine.  Malcolm uses all the off-cuts of wood to make items such as candle holders, ducks and rabbits.  There were beautiful memory boxes and family trees (all in wood) which can be made to order for special occasions.  It was a fascinating talk and demonstration which was enjoyed by us all.


A talk by the Samaritans

Our Speakers this month were Mary and Maureen from the Samaritans. The Samaritans offer a completely confidential service to anyone in emotional distress. They offer an active listening service and are never judgemental. Their role is not to give advice but to talk around the problem with the caller and help them to come to their own conclusion. Many callers will talk about their situation but not always express their feelings about it. The Samaritans do not offer opinions and respect the decisions of their callers who can be anybody and everybody. The reasons for calling the Samaritans are many and varied including depression, loneliness, mental health problems, alcoholism and suicidal thoughts. Nowadays the Samaritans also receive texts and emails especially from younger people as well as phone calls. We all agreed that Mary and Maureen gave us an insight into the wonderful work that they and their colleagues do.


Visit to Fulibroch Dairy

This month we visited Fulibroch Dairy in Bures St Mary where Tereza and Tim have a small herd of goats. It all started when Tereza left her job in the City of London and her colleagues bought her a goat as a leaving present (yes really!). Tereza had already been on a cheese making course and was very interested in dairy produce, so her colleagues thought a goat would be a good way for her to take her hobby forward.

We all agreed that our tour of the Dairy was amazing as were the tea and cakes served to us in Tereza and Tim's beautiful farmhouse kitchen. It was for us the perfect end to a perfect afternoon.


July Meeting

In July Ciara Canning from Colchester museum came to talk to us about the costume collection. The museum houses more than 5,000 pieces which are a local collection showing a social history of the people of Colchester from 1700 to modern day. A lot of time and care goes into documenting the items many of which are fragile and can be damaged by changes in temperature. Before 1850 and the advent of the sewing machine, all clothes were hand sewn and made to fit the individual. These are generally garments from the more well to do, clothing from every day folk did not survive as adult clothes were cut down for children and textiles were recycled. There are more women's than men's clothes in the museum but as Colchester is a Garrison town there is also a military collection. This was a fascinating talk which we all thoroughly enjoyed.

At our July meeting we were also delighted to hear from Margaret Walker our delegate who attended the Centenary Annual meeting at the Royal Albert Hall on 4th June. It was a beautiful day attended by Her Majesty the Queen, the Princess Royal and the Countess of Wessex. It was an amazing experience to hear Jerusalem sung by 5,000 ladies in this spectacular building, what a perfect way to celebrate 100 years of the WI.

Garden Party at Park Farm on 25th July 2015


In June we visited the Bowls Club in Boxford on a lovely sunny afternoon. Les, the President and Committee Members Jill and Monica gave us a basic introduction to the game with great humour, patience and kindness. Some of us were familiar with the game but mostly we were novices and a great time was had by all. Afterwards we strolled over to the White Hart where the Team had laid on a superb afternoon tea for us complete with sandwiches, cakes and scones with cream and jam. It was a lovely way to finish our day and our thanks to all at the Bowls Club and the White Hart for their hospitality.