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South Tonbridge   7 April 2017

Committee Welcome

Hello Members
So spring has sprung in sunny Tonbridge! And rather fortuitously April’s speakers come from ‘Blooming Green’ a local flower grower from up the road near Yalding. Tying into this we will be visiting their beautiful garden in July for an evening workshop and flower picking – more details below and at the meeting.
March was pretty busy for WI business with STWI attending both a District Meeting and also the Federation Conference. There are reports on both of these events below but a massive thanks to Fay, Thushara and Louise  for volunteering as Stewards at the local Federation Conference Day which gained us lots of brownie points from the Feds!
Our Annual Meeting is in May where we vote for the Committee and President. We’ve also got ‘Ringpull Man’ coming back to accept our huge ringpull donation that Hot Tub Helen (she has a hot tub!) has been co-ordinating. For the benefit of our new members - you will be so pleased if you start collecting ringpulls today! We’ll also be looking to introduce some fixed terms into membership of the Committee so that we keep our Committee reflective of our membership. We will be voting on this at our Annual Meeting, more information below. Also, don’t forgot to let us know if you’re interested in joining the Committee.

See you Tuesday!


Members Meeting: Blooming Green

Tuesday, 11 April
19:30 - 21:30 
Angel Centre

Cousins Jen and Bek run Blooming Green, growing seasonal, organically grown flowers for weddings and events on an acre plot in the middle of their family fruit farm near Maidstone. As well as offering pick-your-own wedding flowers -- at the moment they are, as far as they know, the only people in the country who are doing this -- they also run courses and workshops. They are also big fans of the 'bo-dig' method of gardening. They started the business almost ten years ago, and their talk covers the learning curve of setting up their own business, their experience of appearing on television with Monty Don and their plans for the future. Check them out at

Previous Meeting Minutes

Treasurer's Corner 

In order to keep you more aware and involved in how the committee is spending our money, we will be including a few updates in each newsletter on that month's expenditures. As usual, before we spend any large amount of money, we will consult you at the meetings and vote on it.

March 2017 Members Meeting

Room £77
Speaker £150
Wine £41.94
Raffle profit £14.38

Total cost: £254.56

Lesley Mason, Treasurer

District Update

We attended the District Meeting on 18th March at which it was unanimously decided to disband the formal Tonbridge District and in its place put an informal Tonbridge Group with a co-ordinator who will be responsible for collating and circulating the District Programme.  This co-ordinator role will rotate annually around the WIs in the group.  It was agreed that each WI should have a representative to be the Group contact, so any volunteers, please let us know.  All this means is that you will get emails from the co-ordinator which you in turn pass on to our members, perhaps via the newsletter or Facebook page.  It does mean that if we organise events like the quiz, carol concert or ceilidh again we can invite who we like and not just the District members and we get to keep any profit.  Read the full minutes if you want more information or talk to Becky, Laura, Ruth, Karen, Helen or Sam who went along.

Please find the full minutes from the meeting here on our site.
Ruth Davies, Subgroup Coordinator


Your WI Needs You

We have our annual meeting every May and there you elect your committee members for the next 12 months. Some of our committee will not be standing for re-election and we have already had conversations with some of you about joining the committee. We are looking for some new faces! We have 10 spots available and if we have more people interested then we'll have an election. This isn't a popularity contest so nothing to shy away from! More the merrier right?

Being on the Committee involves a monthly meeting and some additional small organisational tasks to help our WI run smoothly. We have devised a matrix showing the roles within the committee which you can find here. This isn't fixed though and it can be shifted around.

The success of our WI depends on our members getting involved when they can and at some point most members should be considering doing a stint on the committee. I should also mention the nights out for pizza and wine too!

Come speak to us at any meeting or or alternatively e-mail us on with any questions or to let us know you're interested.

Check out the list of roles and responsibilities of a committee member.

Committee Fixed Terms
We’ve been discussing at Committee introducing fixed terms for serving on the Committee and for having a formal Officer position – these are the President (hello!) Secretary and Treasurer. We are proposing that there is a five year maximum term for serving on the Committee and three years as an Officer. It is hoped that this means that everyone gets a go, fresh ideas can be fed in and we all get to know each other and feel invested in our brilliant WI.  We will be voting on this at our annual meeting because we need to update our Constitution to reflect this. Obviously, these are maximum terms not minimum, and joining the Committee for just a year is equally welcome!

Becky Lamb, President

Subgroup Updates

Book Group 

Five members met on Thursday, 30th March to discuss The Invisible Man by HG Wells. It was generally agreed that the book, written in 1897, had not aged particularly well and that the author’s decision to make the title character bad-tempered, selfish and brutal prevented the reader from developing any sympathy for the difficulties that he faced.  His final demise was met with either indifference or relief depending on how much of a chore finishing the book had become! 

As a complete change of direction the next book is the very creepy thriller The Widow by Fiona Barton, a Richard and Judy Autumn 2016 winner. Available on Audible or Kindle it is a slow burn of a read that gradually pulls you in.     

We will meet on Thursday, 24 April, 19:30 at Wetherspoons. Everyone is welcome, so start reading! Make sure Ruth has your email on the list to keep up to date -  

Tina is planning to compile a register of attendees, probably in the form of a note book with a page for each meeting where attendees can sign in, and we can keep a record of the books read and general consensus of opinion. This can remain property of South Tonbridge WI for all posterity!! 

Quiz Night is temporarily cancelled while Humphrey Bean works out a new format. Further info to follow as it becomes available.

Walking Group

Only the 3 organisers went on the last walk. They would like feedback about what you would like in terms of walks so please talk to Thushara, Tracy or Laura if you have any ideas.

April walks:
  • Easter walk in Barden Park with adult and children with an egg piñata,
  • foraging walk at the end of the month in Strood.

In June whoever wants can join the Moonlight walk in Sevenoaks. You need to do this independently on the Hospice website.

Any questions, contact

 Ruth Davies
Subgroup Coordinator


Choir Update

We had a fantastic first choir rehearsal on the 25th March with members from several WI's in the area. We sang in a round and also enjoyed learning April's beautiful arrangement of Jerusalem. We will continue to learn Jerusalem and some songs on the theme of family/sisterhood for the carnival parade.
The dates of rehearsals until the end of June are as follows:
  • 29 April
  • 27 May
  • 24 June
If you would still like to join us please sign up on the sheet on the secretary's table. The choir is a very relaxed set up where everyone is welcome, no experience necessary!

Katherine Hougham, Assistant Secretary

Kent West Kent Federation Annual Council Meeting Report

I attended the annual meeting for our federation on 23 March at Assembly Hall as our official delegate. The morning started out with all of the business. The Federation made a surplus in budget from tickets to events and are using the funds to upgrade the computer system at Ethel Hunt Lodge, their offices, to help with communication and membership. It will be the federation's centenary in 2018 so there are many plans to celebrate throughout that year with events around the federation. This hopefully will include our own choir!

All the bursaries were drawn and I'm sorry to say we didn't win any. 

This year, the speakers include:

  • Sarah Rogers, The Legacy of Riverhill, owner of Riverhill
  • Dr Helen Sharman, OBE, first British person in space in 1991
It was an interesting day and I was glad to see more than 900 ladies come together from all over the federation. I just wish we had put all that power to work and possibly work shopped new ideas, or spent the time talking about ways to improve the WI, rather than listen to speakers that are unrelated to the WI.

Thank you to Fay Carradine, Thushara Kasturiratne and Louise Parry Gathercole who served as volunteer stewards.

Laura Olley, Secretary

Tonbridge Carnival 2017

The Tonbridge Carnival is taking place again this year on Sunday 18th June with the theme of Famous Families. We are hoping to have a group marching in the parade once again and there will be a sign up sheet on the Secretary’s table at the next meeting if you are interested in joining us in the parade, it really was great fun last year! There will also be a sign up sheet if you have any suggestions for the Famous Family we should parade as!

If you have any thoughts please speak to any of the committee at the next meeting or alternatively e-mail us on

Katherine Hougham, Assistant Secretary

Murder Mystery: STWI Wins!

Who doesn’t love Cluedo?! -It’s one of those games that tends to come out of retirement from the back of the cupboard at Christmas. But on Saturday 1st April four of us donned our Miss Scarlet red outfits and headed to Crockham Village Hall for what promised to be a classic Murder Mystery evening. We all know what it means to talk about Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick, but as Detectives we were looking for the answers to three slightly different questions:

  1. Who murdered Professor Plum?
  2. How did the murder him?
  3. Why did the murder him?

Around our three food courses, actors brought the popular game to life and encouraged us to feel like we were really solving a mystery. We may have taken it slightly too seriously, scribbling notes and asking the suspects questions, trying to piece together the clues – there was no hiding we were competitive… The storyline and actors got funnier as the drinks flowed, and the evening was a great opportunity to meet fellow South Tonbridge members as well as those further afield. We really threw ourselves in to it and were thrilled to have walked away as winners! A great time was had by all and I would definitely do this kind of thing again.

Sarah Bowes, Member

Friendly Scrabble Evening

As everyone seems to have enjoyed it previously, I hope all Institutes within our Tonbridge Group will once again wish to join in a friendly evening of SCRABBLE on
7.00pm for a 7.15 start
A small charge must be levied to cover costs.  The amount will depend on numbers attending but will not exceed £3.50 a head.
Please email no later than 8 May tif you want to attend.
Those having their own tiles and board are asked to please bring them on the evening.                                                                                          
Rosemary Atkins
Cage Green W.I.

Member Profile: Beverley Buttery


Where are you originally from?
I was born in Rotherham in Yorkshire but my family moved to Somerset when I was 7. I went to uni in Bath, where I met my husband David and moved to the east of London for my first job. We moved to the US in 1993 and our son was born there in 1996.  When I moved back to the UK, we bought a house in Ightham and I started working at Sevenoaks Prep School where I have been ever since.
How do you spend your days?
I love my job, teaching Year 2 and being Pre-Prep deputy. It's a great job working with wonderful people and marvellous children. No day is ever boring or the same! My holidays and many weekends are spent travelling, as David lives abroad and has done for over half of our married lives (30 years this summer). I also love to knit, swim and walk.
What is your favourite thing about living in Tonbridge?
I don't live in Tonbridge  but being in Ightham, it's a great nearby place to shop and go out. Over the past few years the number of fabulous restaurants has increased. Watch out Sevenoaks!
What unique skill or area of knowledge can you share with members?
I don't think I have anything unique to share but I am able to offer great travel or knitting advice. Oh and I can do joined up mirror writing!

Upcoming Events

Check the calendar for full details and the list of Federation Events
  • Member's Meeting, Angel Centre, 11 April 19:30
  • STWI Book Club, Wetherspoons, 24 April, 19:30
  • STWI Choir practice, Christ Church, 29 April
  • Member's Meeting, Angel Centre, 9 May, 19:30

Quick Links to Information on our Website

Sub-group Updates
Federation Events
Members-Only area (Password: tonbridgewi)
About the Committee

Find the Kent West Kent federation (the regional section we belong to) on Facebook!

Created by Secretary, Laura Olley and

  Katherine Hougham, Assistant Secretary
Copyright © 2017 South Tonbridge WI, All rights reserved.

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