KINGSTON WI: Meeting on September 6. The meeting was about Objects of Interest belonging to members.

To begin the meeting we had a short talk by Amanda Cleaver from the NHS Voluntary Community Service, outlining the work done and the benefits for volunteers and those helped. We then heard from Nicoletta, a Rumanian young woman now living in Kingston who, as a child, had received a shoebox sent from the Shoebox Charity. She described the emotions she felt as she opened the box to reveal items that she rarely had before. She thanked us warmly for sending boxes to Romania.

The treasurer reported that our finances were very good, and that WI teas served at the Downland Race made over £100. Members were asked to contribute towards this year’s charity Shoeboxes and WI raffle tickets were for sale.

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Activities: Tap Dancing is every second and fourth Thursday of the month and Pilates every Tuesday 2pm to 3pm both at the Parish Hall. Craft is every Friday 2pm to 4pm at the Pavilion. A Speakers Selection meeting is on October 10 at Boreham Street.

Helen Dudley showed the first Object of Interest; a silk loom shuttle about 10 inches long. She told of her father’s family who lived in the Spitalfields area of the east end of London and were silk weavers. One family member started Vanners’ Silks, a factory in Spitalfields, which is now in Sudbury in Suffolk. They produce silk scarves and ties for Liberty’s. The second object was a certificate given to Beverley Wakeford-Brown as the first person to cross the channel by Hovercraft, with a two wheeled vehicle, a scooter. She had joined a motor scooter club, in her teens, went to lots of rallies, was involved in scooter racing, and became Queen of the Road at her club. We were shown pictures of her races and club events, and her boarding the Hovercraft. Fiona Harrison showed us a treasured knife and sheath which had been made by her grandfather in South Shields for her father. She told us how her father trained to be one of the air crew in Bomber Command, a navigator during WW2. He went on 30 operations and was awarded the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross). Although he was always scared he loved the camaraderie and the knife was to be used in case he was shot down. Lynn Tunley’s object was the wedding photo of her grandmother, who was born in 1896. She was a dressmaker who worked in the sweatshops of London and made a ballet tu-tu for Lynn’s dance lessons. She enjoyed visiting London and would often wait at Tower Bridge for it to open. The final object was a metal money box, shaped as a book, shown by Hazel which she described and told us why it was so dear to her as a child. (Helen Dudley).

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