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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Women’s Institute reports

FOR the first meeting of 2014 the speaker was John Clark, the owner of Featherstone Castle. The castle started as a farm back in the 12th century on a ‘haugh’ or raised area of fertile land in a bend of the South Tyne.THE January meeting was members’ night when they were entertained by the committee which provided the excellent buffet and regaled them with monologues and poetry which were highly amusing.

These haughs of rich alluvial soil were created by the Ice Age and this is where farms were sited. As at one time the Scottish Border was as close as Hadrian’s Wall, the area suffered many raids throughout the ages and a stone pele tower was built to protect the farmers and their stock from the reivers who made regular forays across the undefined border.

The area was also attacked by Catholics during the late Tudor period and then Royalists during the Civil War. Fortunes waxed and waned and legends grew.

In recent times the castle has been a school, a training camp for troops and a PoW camp. Mr Clark bought the castle in the 1960s and still lives there. Today it is a centre for children’s conferences. Following this fascinating talk, it is hoped to visit the castle later this year.

WILL Nichol was the speaker for the January meeting and got the year off to a fine start with his talk and photographs entitled Discovering Northumberland and Beyond.

Will is a very talented photographer and his pictures were superb, getting members closer to the wildlife than the fleeting glimpses they usually catch when out and about. Equally fascinating was the insight he gave them into the patience and skill required to take his stunning pictures.

Final arrangements were made for the members’ meal out at the end of the month and they were told the response to the members’ survey had been very good.

The subject for February’s meeting was Japan behind the fan.

Jane Hale

AFTER all the excitement of Christmas, the New Year meeting at Prudhoe was quiz night, when the ‘little grey cells’ were revved up into gear to try and answer the questions set for the members by Ken and Caroline Stow.

General knowledge – not too bad; music and musicals – not too bad; sport – not too good! Everyone did their best and the chocolate prizes were delicious.

The members were looking forward to welcoming visitors here and being the visitors at other Institutes in February, and the spring council meeting at the beginning of March. Two of the ladies will be going to Newbrough when the centenary baton comes through and Anne Tullock is looking forward to going to St James’s Park to attend the Inspiring Women event.

Margaret Weatherspoon won the competition for a tie pin with Margaret Coulson second, and Elizabeth Grant won the raffle.

Barbara Robinson

The committee was thanked for its efforts and hard work.

February was chair exercises, which was organised and co-ordinated by the secretary Pauline, a fitness teacher.

All of the 25 members joined in with a large range of ages participating.

It was a good way to keep fit without having to do vigorous exercises. It was a fun night and everyone went home with a list of exercises that can be done at home.

There weren’t too many creaking bones. Pauline was thanked for her hard work and it was decided that this would be a good thing to be done again especially on a cold evening to warm everyone up.

The competition was for a quirky pair of socks. This was won by Joyce Laws for her hand knitted socks.

In January, the institute had a very successful coffee morning, and the members will be holding a pancake day with savoury and sweet fillings plus a tray bake and raffle on Saturday, March 8.

Everyone welcome – come and see what your local Women’s Institute has to offer.

Olive White

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