By Margaret: When the Rev Libby Lane was ordained as the first female bishop in the Church of England, the news was welcomed by all members of the Womens’ Institute.  But Glossopdale WI had a particular interest because one of our members, Eileen Lythgoe, had taught Libby when she was a pupil at St. Luke’s  Primary School.  She contacted the Bishop and invited her to come and speak to Glossopdale WI.  But we knew her visit would be of much wider interest to local people as well as our members and decided to throw the meeting open to all the local Institutes, plus any friends who would like to join us on the day.  A bigger room was needed, so we hired the first floor of the Cricket Club on North Road on Wednesday 20th January.

The Bishop clearly remembered and valued her time in Glossop, the support and encouragement given to her by her parents, her school (especially the awe inspiring Mrs Lythgoe), and St John’s Church in Charlesworth where her faith was nurtured over many years.  She showed us her silver episcopal Cross which symbolises God’s love and support wherever life takes her and her episcopal ring which symbolises her covenant with God.  The cross is a gift from her husband, made by a Stockport silversmith and the ring, containing Blue John stone, was commissioned by her parents.

Libby outlined her history, beginning with reading theology at university where  she began to think about ordination, then an impossibility in the Church of England.  But it did become possible for her to train as a deacon and later she was able to become ordained as a priest in 1992 when that door too was opened to women.  She and her husband, also a vicar, spent years raising their young family in a variety of jobs, moving wherever they felt God wanted them to be.  So when in 2014 the Church finally agreed to allow women to enter the bishopric, she was sufficiently well known, with a variety of experience behind her, to be invited to become Bishop of Stockport.  She stressed that becoming a bishop is a matter of invitation; it is not a job for which one can apply!

Obviously as the first female bishop she has attracted an enormous amount of media attention during this last year.  She has valued that for the opportunities it has given her to talk to a wide variety of people about the message of the Gospel and to find ways to work across different faiths.  She has spoken to the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Governor of the Bank of England and other national leaders and at York Minster; she has also spoken to women in Styal Prison, been out to the Congo Republic, attended many public meetings and after our meeting was going back to join today’s pupils at St  Luke’s School.  It is these chances to contact and react with so enormous a range of people and communities, stressing always her own faith and commitment to God and his Church, that she has particularly valued.

One organisation with which she is involved is the Lin-Tim-Oi Foundation, a small charity which gives support to women stepping into new roles within their own communities, to become doctors, engineers, educators, priests, all roles within which they are acting as pioneers and where a small grant from the Foundation can make the difference between success in completing their training and failure.  Instead of a fee for her talk in Glossop, she asked for a donation for that particular cause, which was augmented by a large share of the admission fee for the meeting.

After her talk, the Bishop was happy to answer a whole range of questions from the floor, with her usual humanity, charity and faith.

By Margaret:  It was a musical morning for Glossopdale Womens’ Institute at their last meeting on a rainy November morning.  The Bus Pass Band consists of up to forty elderly members, nine of whom came to the Institute meeting to play their ukuleles and strongly encourage audience participation.  Old familiar songs,  such as Woody Guthrie’s Your Land is my Land, You are My Sunshine, Enjoy Yourself and Yes Sir, That’s my Baby soon got Members’ feet tapping and voices joining in, especially with the choruses.   A few spare ukuleles were handed round, a simple chord explained and demonstrated and the Glossopdale ladies were soon participating in the next tune and one Member needed little persuasion to join in a dance.  We were told of the Band’s origins as a more enjoyable alternative to modern disco music and the inspiration provided by George Formby, even though his instrument was slightly different, a cross between a ukulele and a banjo.  All in all a thoroughly lively and enjoyable morning was had by everyone, including, it was thought, the band members themselves.

The next meeting in December will be a social get together of Members before a Christmas lunch at the Golf Club.   The next regular meeting will be in 2016!  That will be at 9.30 on Wednesday 20th January at the Labour Club, when all ladies are welcome to join us.  Make a new venture one of your New Year Resolutions and come along and give Glossopdale WI a try!

By Sara Jayne: Each year, the Derbyshire Federation of WIs’ Sports and Leisure Subcommittee puts on one large event (plus several smaller ones).  This year, they decided to stage an Eisteddfod for the large event.  Glossopdale got involved in a big way, competing in five of the nine categories: Written Poetry, Poetry Recital, Group Singing, Short Story, and Drama.
Our member Jo won the Short Story category with her whimsical piece about making damson jam.  Best in the county!


Our singing group won at the regional heat in Chinley in June and made it to the final in September, along with the winners from the other two regional heats.  Here is their performance at Chesterfield:

We didn’t win, but we had fun doing it – and a better night out than we remember having in ages!


All members involved had a great time, learned new skills, and bonded with each other, which is what the WI is all about.  Looking forward to seeing what Sports & Leisure cooks up for next year!

By Diana: “Don’t go near a beehive if you’ve been drinking alcohol” was the stern advice given to members to Glossopdale W.I. at our February meeting. John Irwin, who keeps hives around Tameside, explained that, in the wild, bears which have feasted on berries emit an alcoholic aroma. Bees, scenting a potential honey thief, react aggressively and attack the intruder. Humans who give off the same aroma trigger the same response.

John’s talk revealed many fascinating facts. (Did you know that bees were around before dinosaurs? A 100 million year old fossil has been found in Indonesia!) He took us through the life cycle of bees, explaining the different roles of queen bees, workers and drones, and showing how he collects honey – and stray swarms.

In recent years bees have been under pressure, partly from varroa mite attacks and the use of nicotinoids. The W.I. is actively supporting a national campaign to safeguard bees and John’s well-illustrated and amusing talk was well received.

Glossopdale’s next meeting is on Wed, 9.30-12, March 18 at Glossop Labour Club. Visitors and new members welcome.

By Diana:  A feast of fifties music delighted Glossopdale WI on Wednesday, starting with Elvis Presley’s spectacular breakthrough recording of ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ and proceeding through the great hits from white musicians in the US and the UK. Older members reminisced, younger members were enlightened – all were tapping their feet in time with the music.

Presenter Bill Judd, a lifetime fan of rock and roll, pointed out the origins of rock music with black musicians early in the century: the first mention was in 1922 in a Memphis recording arranged by Ike Turner. It did not take off as mainstream American pop, though, until Elvis and others such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly burst on the scene. It was certainly not to everyone’s taste: Frank Sinatra described it as degenerate and headteachers forbade its performance in schools. Rock and roll singers in the UK largely copied their American models, although skiffle singers such as Lonnie Donegan had a similar rawness to the early rock.

On a cold January morning a session of lively rock music was just the thing to warm us all up.

Glossopdale WI’s next meeting is on Wed Feb 18 at 9.30 at the Labour Club. Visitors and new members welcome.

By Margaret: At their last Meeting, Glossopdale Womens’ Institute were interested to hear Kate Dibble’s account of the life of Elizabeth Gaskell.  Born in London she was brought up by an aunt in Knutsford, a much loved lady who was the inspiration behind Miss Matti in Cranford.  At 22 she married the Rev William Gaskell, an apparently somewhat uneven alliance between a lively young girl and a more seriously minded older man.  But the marriage worked and lasted for her whole life.  It was after the death of her young son that William encouraged his despondent wife to pursue her interest in writing.  She published several novels; perhaps North and South is the best known today.  In it Elizabeth did, as in most of her work, try to show both sides of the argument, both the mill owner and his workforce together with a rural setting for her heroine’s early life.  Her publishing success introduced her to an incredibly wide circle of authors, scientists, including Charles Darwin, and politicians.  Her wide range of interests and contacts, together with raising her family and supporting her husband in his ministry has led Kate to define her as one of the first multi-taskers – a modern woman in our eyes.

The next Meeting of the Institute will be on Wednesday 17th December at 9.30a.m. at The Labour Club on Chapel Street.  As it is our last Meeting before Christmas, a social get-together will be followed by a celebratory lunch at the Golf Club.  The next ordinary Meeting will be at the same time and place on Wednesday 21st January, when all ladies are welcome.

By Margaret:  The speaker at the last meeting of Glossopdale Womens’ Institute was Pat Alker, who told Members about her trip to Uzbekistan.  The famed Silk Road from China to the West was, in fact, a series of journeys, with goods being sold and bought at various stages across central Asia.  What we now know is that Uzbekistan comprised  a number of independent khanates, some of the most significant of which were Tashkent (now the capital), Samarkand  (the main base of Tamerlaine, Bukhara, which at one stage was largely destroyed by Genghis Khan as his Mongols swept across Asia) and Khiva.  The latter is now basically preserved as a museum while the others are still thriving cities in the modern state.  We saw pictures of local people, the Uzbeks, dressed in black whilst the other major ethnic group in the country, the Tajiks, wear much more brightly coloured clothes.  Pat explained that she gives her various talks as part of her attempts to support a small school at Dukem in Ethiopia and her talk started and ended with pictures of the children in their recently acquired uniforms, smiling broadly as Pat and her husband paid one of their regular visits to the school.

The next regular meeting of Glossopdale WI will be at 9.30a.m. on Wednesday 17th September, at the Labour Club when Joan Newton will be introducing us to the art of pressing flowers.  All ladies are welcome to come and join us.

By Margaret:  Barbara Davenport was the speaker at the last meeting of Glossopdale Womens’ Institute.  She talked to Members about her passion for singing, that has lasted throughout her life.  Concentrating mostly on her childhood  she told members how,  at 5 years old, she was determined to be the girl chosen to sing Papa Picolino at a school performance.  A little older she was heartbroken when another girl was chosen to perform, but delighted when her rival developed chickenpox at the last moment and she got her chance to perform in public.  She  revelled in the applause which resulted  – and had to be forcefully removed from the stage by a teacher in the wings!

Lively, amusing and illustrated by excerpts from many of her songs, she kept Members entertained throughout her talk.  To the disappointment of her coach, she decided against making a career in music, but it has remained a large part of her life.  Presently she is establishing a choir from Women’ Institiute ladies from all the local Institutes who just enjoy singing and several Glossopdale Members who have attended could confirm how enjoyable it is.

At their next meeting on Wednesday 16th July at 9.30 am  at the Labour Club, members will be going much further afield when Pat Alker talks to them about the Silk Road in Uzbekistan.  All ladies are welcome to come and share in the experience with us.

By Margaret:  In this centenary year of the start of the First World War, it seemed particularly appropriate for Glossopdale Womens’ Institute to invite Nigel Dunkerley to talk to them about the battlefields of the Somme.  Nigel explained that his interest in the subject had been aroused by accident when a car breakdown on a holiday in France meant that he had an enforced stay in northern France awaiting spare parts to be delivered.

It was a life changing breakdown – since then he has studied the history and personal stories, particularly of the Somme, and takes tours to the area.  His photographs showed many of the sites as they were during the battle and the calm rural landscape that they present today.  The seemingly endless rows of graves in the many war cemeteries, from the small to the immense, that are scattered around the area were particularly moving, especially for those members who had family members who had suffered there.

The next Meeting is on Wednesday 18th June at the Labour Club when Barbara Davenport will be talking about her life in music.  All ladies are very welcome to come along and meet us all.

By Margaret:  This was a comment made by a visiting schoolboy on a recent trip arranged by his school to Willowood Hospice.  He’d obviously come expecting a sad time, but his ideas underwent a radical change when he saw the newly refurbished building, the friendly nurses and other staff, and the newly renovated garden.  At their last meeting the members of Glossopdale Womens’ Institute came to more fully understand his point of view after they had listened to John Fellowes, fundraiser at Willow Wood, explain the wide variety of activities carried out at the hospice for both day visitors and in-patients alike.  His enthusiasm for the work undertaken by the hospice was infectious as he explained how much they rely on local support to provide the excellent service given by their highly trained staff and small army of willing and supportive volunteers.  At the end of the meeting, John was given a cheque for £120 from the Institute and he issued a warm invitation to Members to come and see for themselves all that was done at Willow Wood – an invitation which they will be delighted to accept sometime in the next few months..

The next Meeting will be held at 9.30a.m. on Wednesday 21st May at the Labour Club on Chapel Street when we shall welcome another local visitor, Nigel Dunkerley who will be telling us about his research into Glossopians who were involved in the First World War.  All ladies are welcome to come and visit us for our contribution to the centennial memorial of that sad time.

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