Next meeting: Thursday April 14th at 2.00pm in Kirton and Falkenham Village Hall – visitors welcome.
Speaker: Mark Mower
Subject: Suffolk Murders
Competition: An appreciation of a favourite ‘Who-done-it’ novel or thriller
Trading Stall: miscellaneous

On March 5th Kirton and Falkenham WI did its bit for the ‘Clean For The Queen’ campaign, an attempt to get the country into a fit state to celebrate our monarch’s ninetieth birthday which takes place on twenty first of April. The nine diligent litter pickers started work in Park Lane and then moved on to Back Road. Before they reached Guston Gardens and it had started to rain they had managed to fill twelve sacks with rubbish.

At the March meeting which was when we marked our ninety-forth birthday with an extra-special tea and a beautiful cake iced by June Wells our speaker was Hattie Bennett who came to talk about ‘My Life in Music’. She is a cellist and had brought her instrument along, so, when we sang ‘Jerusalem’, which we do once a year, it was to a gorgeous accompaniment. Before she began her talk Iris welcomed our WI Advisor Gillian Slaughter and then Chris Welling read out a few items of correspondence. The Ipswich office is already looking for photos of local scenes to include in the 2018 calendar. The theme this time will be ‘water crossings’. The heart Research Charity is requesting any broken jewellery that people can spare and St Elizabeth’s Hospice wants volunteers to work at the hospice and also to open their gardens in order to raise funds. A group visit is being planned for June 7th to the Tiptree Jam Factory and Perriwood Garden Centre while, at our April meeting, we will be participating in ‘Wear a Hat’ day in aid of the Brain Tumour Association. After getting this business out of the way we settled back to hear about our speaker’s very interesting life as she illustrated her talk with various short excerpts on the cello.

Hattie told us she grew up in Manchester and that both her parents were members of the Halle Orchestra under Sir John Barbirolli. She was the first baby to be born to members of the orchestra. Her father played the cello and her mother the double-bass. Her mother had actually wanted to be a pianist but took up the largest member of the string family because it was wartime and men were in short supply. Later our speaker inherited her father’s cello but it took over a year for it to lose his sound. With such a background her childhood was spent surrounded by music and she inevitably ended up at the Manchester School of Music. Before that she had joined a youth orchestra and was actually asked to play a solo. She gave us a demonstration of what this had sounded like – a performance somewhat painful on the ear! At this time she also participated in a production of Benjamin Britten’s opera ‘Peter Grimes’. Later, on moving to East Anglia, she realised that all the natural sounds of the Suffolk coastline are there in the music.

She got engaged to a trombone player but broke it off and then, only a few days later, became engaged to another while underneath a grand piano! Marriage quickly followed and eventually two children. When they came to Suffolk they decided they wanted to live ‘The Good Life’ and so filled their garden with animals. Her husband bought her a cow. She taught in Ipswich and then got involved with staging musicals at the Wolsey Theatre, before going on the road with the show ‘Annie’. She and her husband now live at Felixstowe Ferry – they have been flooded twice – and she organises various musical events which were listed in a pamphlet she gave out. The final piece she treated us to on the cello was The Sailors’ Hornpipe’ as played at the last night of the proms and we clapped along, managing to keep up even as she got faster and faster.

V E Bines


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