Good weather helped to make this a successful weekend. We had a good journey to Cardiff leaving Brigg at 9am. The St David’s Hotel was in a superb position with lovely views on to the bay area from our very own balcony and spacious bedroom. After settling in we explored the Mermaid area close by and took a boat trip to Cardiff Castle; we were too late to visit the castle but the boat trip afforded us excellent views of the bay. We enjoyed a bargain meal (thanks to some bargaining by the ladies of our group) which was top quality at Demiros, Home of the Singing waiters. And sing they did! We were treated to some Italian arias which created a wonderful atmosphere.
Next morning a bountiful breakfast was followed by a short coach ride to Motorpoint, our venue for the day. A rousing rendition of Jerusalem started the proceedings and Chairman of the NFWI Ruth Bond then began the meeting.
An Extraordinary AGM was first on the agenda which asked approval of a Special Resolution about the Articles of Association which was duly voted on and approved.
The main meeting continued with three separate Constitutional (Ordinary) Resolutions. There was an opportunity for members to voice their views followed by three separate votes. All motions were passed with 98.14%, 99.14% and 99.36% majority. Ruth Bond presented her Address as did the Treasurer. Denman featured again as a loss maker although matters are showing signs of improvement.
The first guest speaker was William Shawcross, President of the Charity Commission and was full of praise for the WI. Amusingly his mobile phone rang out and it emerged his daughter was checking up on his progress.
A further Constitutional Resolution followed which gained a 96.56% win.
Lunch was next on the agenda and after trying to find a suitable place to eat our sandwiches we went into the nearby shopping centre. We window shopped at Vivienne Westwood but ventured into other designer stores. What a treat after out Lincolnshire shopping centres!
Things grew livelier in the afternoon as we debated this year’s Resolution on the ‘Decline of our High Streets’ but before that discussion we were treated to a speech by Griff Rhys-Jones. In fact the High Street motion was given a huge boost to its argument by his humorous but impassioned comments on the decline of some British towns and buildings. His concluding thoughts were that he owned up to being a Nimby. He argued that a yard is a garden in England and if we do not tend and care for our own gardens who on earth will?
The discussions were largely in favour of the resolution but the wording was considered misleading as the focus should not be just on towns but on local shops and amenities in small towns like my own Kirton In Lindsey. I was wavering up till that moment but cast the vote for the motion for Kirton and the three WIs I represented which were Messingham, Hibaldstow and Barton on Humber. The final count was 5266 for the motion and 758 against which was 87.1% carried.
John Humphrys of Radio 4 Today and BBC Mastermind was our final speaker and he was brilliant. He chose a format of answering questions from the audience previously submitted at lunchtime and read out by Ruth Bond. He did not need any prompting and
had a variety of hilarious anecdotes of his guests on Today and could do a
wonderful mimic of Tony Blair. We could have listened to much more of him but
we had to move on to the Chair’s concluding remarks. Ruth summed up that the WI
with its membership of over 200,000 was a force to be reckoned with but to
remain effective we must move with the times and be up to sped with our use of
modern media. She also raised the problem of Denman College which is still the only
loss maker in the WI and urged us all to use it.
Jonathan Willcocks, musical adviser to the WI, concluded the meeting and had us all joining in with a jolly action song which was great fun.
Next year’s NFWI AGM will be nearer home at the new arena in Leeds and the Centenary 2015 AGM will be at the Royal Albert Hall with the proceedings being beamed to Federations so that more members can take part.
We arrived safely back in Humberside after an excellent couple of days and thanks must go to Sue Hawney for the organisation and to Maureen Moody for standing in for Sue and doing the job so efficiently.
Delegate:Jean Hall, President Kirton in Lindsey WI