During the COVID pandemic we took the decision to suspend our regular meetings, especially as a number of our members were “shielding” themselves and their families. However, we have now restarted our regular meetings, held on the third Wednesday of each month, in Bradbury House, where greater spacing is possible. We look forward to welcoming both existing and prospective new members to join us and get socialising again!

By Diana: Glossopdale WI welcomed Dawn Mackenzie to their Christmas meeting to hand over some ‘Twiddle Muffs’.  Dawn works for the Derbyshire District’s Citizens Advice Bureau and she told us about their efforts to make their advice centres more dementia friendly.  Some clients find Twiddle Muffs a good way of relaxing – and our members found it an enjoyable way to help their campaign.

By Margaret:  Glossopdale Womens’ Institute has had a busy and involving autumn.  In October Wendy Wilkie (who helps to run the Dressing Up Box shop) gave a hugely original and entertaining talk on her passion for vintage clothing.  She brought along many beautifully crafted items including coats, dresses, shoes, hats and handbags which she has keenly collected over the years from many sources.  The items were greatly admired by the Members, but then it was their turn.  Several of them had brought vintage clothes of their own and they talked about the happy memories the items invoked.  Wendy was somewhat nervous about giving her maiden talk, but once launched her bubbly enthusiastic approach resulted in a delightful occasion, one of the most stimulating events of the year.

Shortly afterwards Members were involved in some regular activities; a Scrabble playing session and the usual Knit and Natter meeting, whose name neatly describes their occupation.  A little later a large number of Members gathered at the station, a bit apprehensive as to whether the train would run as their outing clashed with the day’s rail strike.  But their train did turn up and took them to Manchester for their prearranged visit to the Exchange Theatre.  They were able to explore not only the stage and auditorium, but also the back stage dressing rooms and the fabulous collection of clothes from previous productions, while rehearsals for the next show went on in the background.

Participation was certainly the ‘Name of the Game’ in November when Joanne Griffiths came along to lead the Members in a Singalong.  But they had to get it right first with a series of exercises on how to breathe to make the best of the sounds they produced.  Songs, arranged in parts came next and the gentleman outside the building making a delivery to the Labour Club kept looking up in amazement (or horror!) as the various sounds emanated from the building.  Members certainly felt they had earned their mid-meeting break at the end of an unusual and exhilarating session.

All in all, an interesting and involving couple of months.  In December it is a social gathering for Members, culminating in Christmas lunch at the Golf Club.  The next normal meeting is on 17th January at 9.30am at the Labour Club when Sheila Conchie will be telling Members about ‘All Things Indian’.  All ladies are welcome to come to visit and see if a lively and friendly daytime group would enhance their lives.

By Sheila:  The Glossopdale Women’s Institute entertained visitors from Chernobyl to a party this summer.  The families who played host to these children and their mothers also accompanied  them to the party  and some brought their own children.  Some W.I. members set up a play area with a variety of toys for the children, some of whom were as young as 2 years old.  The thirteen children made a beeline for the craft, the colouring books and the train sets.  They even played “pass-the-parcel” in exemplary fashion.

A buffet lunch was served at noon and the children were given attractive party gifts; their mothers were each given a W.I. tea towel as a memento of their visit.  The Chernobyl mothers said they were delighted with the welcome they had received.  Our local MP had a meeting upstairs and popped in to say hello to everyone at the celebration.

This branch meets every third Wednesday of the month at 9.30 in the Labour club.

By Margaret: Beatrix Potter was the subject of a detailed talk by Pat Osborne.  She explained that Beatrix’s father Rupert had rejected the family calico printing business, trained as a solicitor, set up his own law firm and left most of the work to his employees, while he enjoyed meeting friends at his Club and attending art galleries.  Beatrix therefore was brought up in an affluent family, but she was a delicate child and was prevented from mixing with other children for fear of infection and ‘bad influences’.  Both she and her brother, six years her junior, enjoyed painting and Beatrix was especially fond of her terrier dog and a rabbit called Benjamin.  Pat showed us a photo of Beatrix taking her rabbit for a walk, complete with collar and lead.

As she got older, Beatrix sold some of her paintings for greetings cards and then published her first book herself, so that she could keep the cost down to one shilling, which she thought children could afford.  But most of her books were subsequently published by Warne Brothers, the youngest of whom, Norman, eventually proposed marriage.  But her parents, apparently oblivious to the origin of their wealth, refused consent to her marrying into trade!  Reluctantly Beatrix and Norman agreed to separate temporarily during the Potter family summer holiday in the Lake District.  But sadly Beatrix was to lose the man who remained the love of her life when Norman died suddenly from leukeumia. By the time she had received the news and travelled to London, she was too late for the funeral.  She had to console herself by visiting his grave in Highgate Cemetery, together with his sister Millie, who remained her friend for the rest of her life.  She continued to produce a book for Warnes each Christmas for most of her life, though her enthusiasm for the projects gradually faded.

She returned to the Lake District and bought Hill Top Farm.  She appointed a farm Manager to continue with traditional methods of farming.  Encouraged by the local vicar, Beatrix continued to purchase more land.  The local solicitor, William Heelis, acted for her and eventually the two married.  Again her parents opposed the match; they were getting older and thought Beatrix should devote herself to them!   In fact Beatrix devoted more and more of her time to her Lake District life and became a local expert on Herdwick sheep.  When her father died, her mother reluctantly moved to the Lakes, but lived separately from Beatrix.  The two were never close and she only visited her mother occasionally.

Eventually she sold 2000 acres of land to the National Trust and on her death bequeathed the rest of her substantial estate to them.  William had the right to stay in their home for his life, but after his death no one was to live at HillTop. She further insisted that there should be no hunting on the land she gave to them.  Hill Top remains open to the public and William’s office in Hawkshead now houses many of Beatrix’s original drawings.

At their next meeting, Glossopdale WI will be staying nearer to home when local trader, Wendy Wilkie, will be talking about vintage clothing.  Members are invited to take along their own example.  The meeting will be at the Labour Club on Chapel Street on Wednesday 18th October at 9.30am and all ladies are welcome to come along.

By Margaret:  In July Glossopdale Women’s Institute were fascinated to hear from Ernie Drabble about his life long career with Derbyshire Police.  Most of his childhood was spent in Chinley, helping his father on the family farm.  But he had always had the ambition to be a policeman and as soon as he was 16 he walked into the Ellison Street Police Station and applied to join the cadet force there.  After his time with the cadets he progressed to the regular police force and was initially stationed at Matlock where he met his wife.  In order to get a Police house when their baby was due he moved to Glossop.

But most of his talk consisted of the enquiry into an event many of the members remembered when a man was murdered and his body found near a lay by in Taddington Dale.  There was no apparent motive for such a vicious crime; only a small amount of money was missing and the victim had no known enemies.  Ernie talked the members through the various stages of the investigation.  Forensic evidence suggested a particular type of rifle was used; nearly two years later information from a fellow prisoner of the most likely suspect (in prison for another offence) led to the recovery of exactly the same type of rifle from the bank of a stream.  We learnt that every reel of sellotape carries telltale identification marks from dust added when the glue is put on the paper, so every batch is unique.  That same sellotape was found on the hands of the dead man, in the house of the chief suspect and, when it was eventually found, on the rifle.  Members were impressed with the meticulous way in which every small clue was followed up, even when it seemed unlikely the murderers would ever be found.  But the combination of painstaking investigation and forensic support ended in life sentences for the two men involved.

Ernie has now retired from the police, but is still working as a Witness Relations Officer.  He obviously had more tales to tell.  Members made it clear they would be glad to hear from him again and learn more of his experiences.

The next formal meeting of the WI will be on Wednesday 20th September at 9.30a.m. At the Labour Club on Chapel Street.  Pat Osborne will be talking about Beatrix Potter and all ladies are welcome.

By Margaret:  At their last Meeting Glossopdale Womens’ Institute were visited by Julie Holmes, who runs an organisation called Pure Olive.  She bought a small soap making business 10 years ago and since then has turned it into a thriving business with a wide range of products.  In addition to soap, she makes a wide range of products, including such items as bath melts, candles and gift sets all with a very wide range of shapes and perfumes.  She has a shop in the Cavendish Arcade in Buxton and outlets in local shops, national chains and has even exported goods as far away as Japan  Her success won her an award as Gift Of The Year in 2016 and she came second again this year.  But in all this success, there have been two key themes. The first is to produce locally, employing local people.  Originally she manufactured in Hadfield, but as the business has expanded bigger premises were required and she works in Chapel.  Even packaging is sourced in Bury, still firmly in the north west area.  Secondly she uses natural products; her bath melts(looking just like cupcakes) are made 98% of butter, helping to soften the skin!  Originally she only used essential oils to scent her products, created wholly from plants.  Now in order to expand and give variety to the range she also uses perfumes and fragrances which are produced chemically, but are all clearly labelled to differentiate them from the essential oils.

During the course of her talk Julie passed round numerous phials of scents, which left Members fascinated as to their variety, confused as to which were their favourites very and very impressed with her entrepreneurial skill and enthusiasm.

Glossopdale WI is unusual in that we meet in the morning.  Our next Meeting is on Wednesday 19th July at 9.30am at the Labour Club on Chapel Street.  All ladies are welcome.

By Margaret:  The speaker at the last meeting of Glossopdale Women’s Institute was Dave Carter.  Dave first became interested in First Aid when he was in the Scouts as a boy.  That led on to work with the St John’s Ambulance, where he was instrumental in increasing the number of ambulances available to the Society and where he learnt his trade as a First Aider at events like the Woodford Air Display and horse trials at Lyme Park, both events sadly no longer operating.  He worked as a teacher and was always sought after by his colleagues who were organising school trips; with Dave on board they knew there was always someone available who would cope calmly and efficiently with any emergencies that arose!

Since he retired Dave has made use of that life long interest and experience by becoming a Community Responder.  That means that he works with the North West Ambulance Service as the first point of call for any emergency calls.

He can normally reach the patient before an ambulance.  By means of simple checks on pulse and temperature and by observing breathing patterns and, above all, by listening to what the patient has to say about his condition and existing medication, he can assess the seriousness of the situation, start treatment and, if necessary, let the ambulance service know that priority needs to be given to that particular case.

He concluded by impressing on Members the importance of taking action ourselves if we become involved in an emergency either at home or in the street.  Making sure airways are clear and carrying out heart massage can literally make the difference between life and death for someone whose heart has stopped.  You cannot do harm (the worst is a broken rib and that’s curable while a stopped heart means death) and by giving time for the professionals to arrive and take over, your action can be vital.

Dave left us all thinking that, with his calm and considerate approach, we would feel in very good hands if we ever have need of his services or that of his colleagues and the paramedic officer who is now stationed in Glossop.

The next meeting of Glossopdale WI is on Wednesday 18th May at 9.30 am at the Labour Club on Chapel Street.  It will be our Annual General Meeting, so there will not be a speaker, but if any ladies want to know what has gone on over the last year and so get an indication of what the next year is likely to offer, they are very welcome to come along.

By Margaret:  Earlier in the month several Members (and one dog) went for a guided walk round Mottram on a very wet day followed by much needed coffee and lunch.  Their guide, Roy Howerty, kept much drier when he attended the last meeting of Glossopdale Women’s Institute to talk about British monarchy over the centuries.  Roy explained that he was inspired to write this talk after the opprobrium poured on the royal family after the death of Princess Diana.  He explained how seven Saxon kingdoms were eventually united under the one crown and the varying dynasties that have followed down the centuries to our present Windsors.

But those dynasties have not been always been peaceful as Roy outlined the very unpleasant deaths suffered by many earlier kings, of which poisoning was probably one of the least horrendous – red hot pokers in indiscreet places had the advantage that the physical damage was not so obvious.  War, of course, had its own victims.  Deaths gradually became less dramatic as Roy Howerty progressed to the morality of previous monarchs.  Bastards were common, some recognised, some not.  Homosexuality was far from unknown and the treatment of spouses often left much to be desired.

All in all, he concluded, whatever aberrations there may have been in the current royal family were minor indeed compared with the activities over the centuries, positively ‘pussy cats’ to use Roy’s descriptive phrase.

The next meeting of Glossopdale WI will be at 9.30am at the Labour Club on Wednesday 20th April, when all ladies are welcome to join us.

By Margaret: After last month’s successful meeting at the Cricket Club with the Bishop of Stockport, Libby Lane, Glossopdale Women’s Institute returned to their normal venue at the Labour Club for this month’s meeting.  The speaker was Sheila Conchie who explained that she started sewing because she felt she would never be as good a knitter as her mother!  She brought a wonderful collection of items she has made over the years, ranging from a small needle case she made when at school to a superb stump work dragon that she made for her grandson. She ranged from clothes in her favourite orange shades to a tablecloth she made when she got married, sadly without knowing the size of the table it would be needed for so it has never got the wear it deserved.  The growth of her skill and her versatility over the years was amply demonstrated by the articles we passed round to each other with growing admiration.

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 16th March at 9.30am at the Labour Club on Chapel Street when Monarchy will be the topic under discussion.  All ladies are welcome to come along.

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