At our May meeting Janet Patterson, one of our members, gave us a fascinating talk about her 24 years volunteering for the Save the Children charity. Her work started when she was a member of Greysouthen WI in the Lake District. Some of the WI members there volunteered at the Save the Children shop in Cockermouth and this prompted her to give it a go as well.
The Save the Children charity was started in 1919 by Eglantyne Jebb and her sister Dorothy Buxton as a one off response to the starving children in Austria and Germany after the First World War. Next it raised money for the famine in Russia and from there continued to raise money until the present day.
When Janet moved to Warrington in 1997, she started volunteering at the Stockton Heath shop and was later persuaded to take on the post of Manager in 2009.
During her career she has been part of many the charity’s initiatives such as teaming up with IKEA. At one time if five books were donated by IKEA customers for Save the Children they would get a £5 IKEA gift voucher to spend at IKEA. As part of the Retail Advisory Group, which was set up to find the best ways of maximising profits from donations, she would make trips HQ in London. She also met Princess Anne the charity’s patron when the Princess visited the Stockton Heath shop.
Janet was also able to visit Mozambique to see how the charities money is being spent. This included setting up a mini 2 bed maternity ward in a hospital, building preschools and training and their teachers, training the equivalent of Health visitors for communities, setting up community loan schemes and setting up large shared crops so there will be some left over to sell. An amazing experience.
In 2013 she received a well deserved “Outstanding Volunteer Award”. The citation says “for making a major contribution to fundraising at Save the Children and going above and beyond”. Well done Janet!
Fortunately, the Save the Children shop in Stockton Heath has now reopened after being closed during the last Covid lockdown. Janet now welcomes donations and is always looking for new volunteers.
In the Middle Ages, bluebells were thought to be a cure for Leprosy and Spider Bites. They were also thought to stop nightmares if bunches were hung above people’s beds. This wasnt the plan for Whitley WI’s walking group which under the leadership of Sheila, and hoping for good weather set off to enjoy a walk of about 5 miles. Their second bluebell walk, this time in May. Walking under the railway bridge in Dutton, up Long Alley, then across the field to Bird’s Wood at Aston they saw stunning carpets of bluebells. Annette educated them with the names of various types of fungi that were spotted. After viewing the lake, they walked along the private road to a field leading to the river Weaver. Proceeding to Dutton Locks, the group had a well-earned rest at the picnic benches, finally returning over Dutton Horse Bridge to Dutton Lodge Farm. A couple of members had to leave early leaving the rest of the group to enjoy a welcome drink that was kindly provided by Sheila. A picnic lunch which all had brought with them was eaten on the patio, where they could bask in the warming sun instead of the rain which had been expected. All in all a very nice morning which stretched into the afternoon with good company and exercise rolled in. So no nightmares for Whitley members, instead sweet dreams of a good day out. Special thanks go to Sheila for leading the walk and for her excellent hospitality.
A group of 5 members of the walking group met up for Whitley WI’s spring bluebell walk – not as sunny as the weather had been but a very pleasant walk, dry underfoot and nicely level. They walked from Jean’s house past lots of beautiful gardens full of unusual tulips and other spring flowers and up to the Pewterspear area of Appleton. They then continued along the Pewterspear Green linear park and across parkland/woodland until they reached Green Lane. Carrying on through Julia’s wood and into the Lumb Brook Valley where they enjoyed the picturesque woodland of Fords Rough, full of bluebells, wood anemones, marsh marigolds and celandine. The spring colours on the trees, the birdsong, and the brook running through made a beautiful and peaceful walk with very few people around. As a bonus on their return journey they passed a small pond with 2 large clutches of 12 tiny mallard ducklings, and another one with a small brood of coot, very newly hatched. The walkers ended up with drink in Jean’s garden and tasted the fruit cakes which she had made for the Baking Beauties Zoom meeting – so good to be able to meet up and chat face to face. THANK YOU TO ANN FOR YOUR ORGANISATION AND TO JEAN FOR HER HOSPITALITY
At our April meeting on Zoom we had Angela McIntyre talk about her career working with the Homeless. It started thirty years ago when as part of an organised group, she would go once a week to help feed the homeless in Manchester with sandwiches etc. This led to doing voluntary work at Cornerstones in Salford; a day centre for the Homeless. Very soon after starting she was persuaded to apply for the post of Deputy and stayed working there for 25 years. People in need are given a welcome breakfast of tea and toast together with the option of showers and a set of clean clothes at the centre. Homelessness, she said, is getting worse, especially with a lack of social housing. She sees a lot of mental health and addiction problems.
During Covid-19 last year begging almost stopped on the streets of Manchester and the city managed to house homeless people in hotels that were not being used. Now there is a new initiative which Manchester’s Mayor Andy Burnham is helping to fund called “Bunkabin”. Containers that have been adapted to form 10 sleeping pods catering for 27 people every night. There is also a clothing shop run by Manchester city council where basic set of clothing is given free to homeless people. Their old clothes are then washed and given back to them in a bag or rucksack. They can also get their hair cut and sore feet sorted out.
She suggested that if any of our members wished to help then we should consider helping a local project – “A Room at the Inn” – in Warrington town centre. Angela said she would investigate how best to help coordinate donations.
Several keen members of Whitley WI’s walking group met in Whitley Village Hall car park for the April Walk.
The weather was sunny with quite a wind chill but all were suitably clad and raring to go. The walkers were extremely pleased to come together instead of zoom.
Setting off they turned right from the car park passing the school, then right again along Back Lane, winding their way through the leafy countryside. Happily the group scared off the aggressive buzzard. One of the members enlightened the group with stories of bygone days, pointing out houses and landmarks. A beautiful sight were the clumps of white wood anemones and yellow celandines lining the edges of the road. Eventually the road ran out and the group entered a field where they followed the path along the edge, eventually turning left down Old Mill Lane and winding their way back towards Whitley.
Turning left down Norman’s Lane they came across a rather large tree with a big hole at the bottom of the trunk it was suggested it could be the habitat of a fox. They turned left again into Bentley Farm Lane passing donkeys in a field who did not seem too impressed about being peered at over the gate.
They also came across expanses of marsh marigolds near the little brook that runs alongside the road. This was a lovely walk (more of a stroll than a hike) with the opportunity to catch up with friends.
Thank you to Ann for getting everyone out and about again. All are so looking forward to the next time.