Our February meeting was the first meeting of the year as we had to cancel our January get together due to snow. We now have twenty three members and most of them managed to turn up although the day was very cold and the wind whistling round the Village Hall was bitter. We are always on the lookout for new members so please forgive me if I insert a little promo here. We gather on the second Thursday of each month at 2.00 pm in Kirton Village Hall and the meeting usually last for about two hours. We have a variety of interesting speakers plus a competition and trading stall four times a year. There is always a raffle with nice prizes and we end with tea and a chat. Visitors pay £2.50 and the raffle and tea costs £1.00. But to join the W.I. means so much more than just monthly meetings. The organization has nation-wide clout and campaigns for a number of worthy causes. We have our very own college, Denman College, where you can attend a huge variety of courses ranging from crafts to music, from T’ai Chi to Sushi to Jane Austin. There are also local and national AGMs to attend where you can see the W.I. en masse and be suitably awed. Please just drop in on us if you feel so inclined or give me a ring on 01394 448487.

Our speaker this month was the Felixstowe Town Crier, Mr J Wearne. As he had reached eighty the previous day we sung ‘happy birthday’ to him before he started his talk. He told us that age must be having an effect on him as he had forgotten his bell. However he looked resplendent in his blue livery and top hat. He began his career in 1996 when he answered an advertisement from the lady who runs the Felixstowe carnival and out of six he won. Before the days of radio, newspapers and now the internet the town crier was the only way of getting news to the populace. There are records of heralds announcing the ancient Greek games going back to 290 BC.

He had been to many town crier contests both in this country and abroad including ones in Vancouver Island, Canada, and Maryborough, Queensland, Australia. He showed us a DVD of these competitions where we were able to appreciate the wide variety of ages and nationalities (including Natives Americans and Poles) that take part and the many different rig outs they wear of all styles and colours. Mr Wearne finished up with his party piece, a rendition of O Sole Mio in Italian, which proved to us that there was nothing wrong with his vocal chords!

V. E. Bines


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