Slemish area Spring meeting held

The platform party at the Slemish Area W.I. Meeting
The platform party at the Slemish Area W.I. Meeting

The eight institutes of the Slemish Area held their annual Spring Area meeting on Thursday 11th April 2019 in Cullybackey College.

Area chairman Ethel Simpson from Carnlough WI welcomed everyone including guest speaker Geraldine Foley and her partner Peter Maxwell, Muriel Barr from NI Childrens Hospice, Pamela Brown Federation Treasurer, Ards Peninsula Area Executive Member, and Margaret McCracken Sperrin Area Executive member.

The platform party consisted of Institute members who hold posts of special responsibility for the Area for the year 2018-2019, Sophia Maybin, Broughshane WI and Slemish Area Executive member and Chairman of Homecraft sub committee, Ruth Orr, Cullybackey WI Arts Sub-Committee, May Small, Broughshane WI Arts Sub-Committee, Annie Davidson. Broughshane WI, Balmoral Sub-Committee member, Diane Murdoch, Broughshane WI, Home and Garden Sub-Committee, Ethel Simpson, Carnlough WI Slemish Area Chairman and International Sub-Committee, Marie Mewha, Kells and Connor WI, Slemish Area Secretary and Janet Gaston, Broughshane WI Slemish Area Treasurer.

Mrs Pamela Brown, Federation Treasurer, brought greetings from WI Headquarters (Northern Ireland). Federation Chairman Collette Craig was unable to attend as she is at ACWW Conference in Melbourne, Australia.

Pamela praised the wonderful display of crafts shown by Glarryford W.I. She commented on the great number of trophies displayed on the awards table and congratulated the members for all their achievements. Pamela thanked the Area for its continued support of the Federation. Pamela then presented the awards to the talented winners.

In the Arts Kathleen Kennedy, Cullybackey WI, received the Lorna Walker Salver-Oil Painting (Novice). Homecraft Ribbons were presented to Broughshane WI members Ann McMaster, Sandra Adams, May Adams and Margaret Logan. Carnlough WI, Ethel Simpson, Cullybackey WI, Ruth Orr, Kathleen Kennedy and Margaret Connaught, Glarryford WI, Elizabeth McLeister and Ann Johnston, Grace and Galgorm WI, Sally Armstrong, Kells and Connor WI, Phyllis Currie, Jean Smith, Gwen Henson and Tillie Crawford.

Home and Garden Awards: Festival of Food and Flowers October 2019. Mary Knox from Broughshane WI was congratulated on her tremendous achievement winning so many awards. In Floral Art she won The Killinchy Cup, the Donaghadee Cup, the Kathleen Abercorn Trophy and the Broughshane Rose Bowl. In cookery Mary won the Eleanor Holding Salver and the Susan McBride Trophy for the Best Overall In Floral Art and Cookery. Elizabeth Patterson from Broughshane WI won the James McNeill Perpetual Trophy and Dorothy Watson, Ahoghill WI won the Exorna Trophy.

Magazine and Leisure: In the scrap book competition Broughshane WI won the Waringstown Cup 1st Overall and the Crystal Bowl (front cover). Jean Clarke, Ahoghill WI won the Area bowls competition and was presented with the Slemish Area Wexford Plate. She then won the final and brought home the Bowler of the Year award The Milk Marketing Board Salver. The Area Quiz was won by Glarryford WI members Margaret Ferguson, Alison Reid and Tracey Paul. They received the Rosemary Kennedy Award and were wished all the best for the quiz final in May.

Comprehensive reports were given by Ruth Orr Arts Sub-Committee, Annie Davidson Balmoral Sub-Committee, Sophia Maybin Homecraft, Magazine and Leisure and Federation. Diana Murdoch Home and Garden Sub-Committee. Ethel Simpson International Sub-Committee.

Area competition winners on the night were Ballymena Borough Council Vase (baking) Kells and Connor WI ,Ruth Orr Trophy (floral art) Gracehill and Galgorm WI, Ahoghill WI Salver (craft), Cullybackey WI, Jane Black Trophy (best Overall Institute) tie Gracehill and Galgorm WI with Cullybackey WI. Wexford International Vase (photographic competition) Kells and Connor WI.

Thanks again to Mrs Paddy Loughridge who judged all three sections and to Darren Crawford who judged the Photographic competition.

Slemish Area Chairman Ethel Simpson presented a cheque for £565 (proceeds of the Slemish Area Carol Service hosted by Randalstown WI) to Muriel Barr from NI. Childrens Hospice. Muriel thanked members for the generous gift. NI Hospice is a local charity which supports children with life threatening illnesses and their families at home or in the Children’s Hospice. It relies on donations for funding.

Ethel Simpson introduced the guest speaker, Geraldine Foley, whose illustrated talk was entitled “Where Airlines Fear To Tread”. Geraldine and her husband sold their house so that they could build a sailing boat to live on and explore the world.

They worked together constructing a 50ft x 15ft boat called the Mithril. On screen she showed the different stages of building the framework and welding it together to be water-tight. Then the inside had to be planned and made into a home. When it was ready this extraordinarily couple set off to journey the world’s oceans. They spent 20 years travelling to such places as Cape Horn, the Caribbean Islands, Antarctica, Australia, The Falklands, Kerguelen and Nova Scotia. They enjoyed bird watching, fishing and meeting up with people in far away places. It was hard for the ladies to believe that two people could accomplish so much.

Ethel thanked Geraldine for her interesting talk and presented her with a gift.

Ethel then entertained members with two stories. The Slemish Area Choir sang “As long as I have music”, ”Any Dream will do” and “Love changes everything”.

Rosemary McAllister from Kells and Connor WI gave a comprehensive vote of thanks to everyone who had made the evening such a success.

Ethel said the WI Grace and the members all joined in singing “A Countrywoman’s Song”.

Everyone then enjoyed the welcome supper served and provided by Kells and Connor WI.