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Annual Council Meeting

On 26th March, the East Kent Federation of the WI had its 93rd Annual Council Meeting in Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone. It was a resounding success with 850 in attendance, a wonderful singer for the morning entertainment and well-known BBC presenter in the afternoon.

The meeting was opened by Wendy Allen, Federation Chairman of the East Kent Federation WI. The attendees sang Jerusalem and the official welcome was given by the Town Mayor of Folkestone, Councillor Roger West and Mayoress, Councillor Pat West.

Delegates voted for the Adoption of Standing Orders and the appointment of Tellers. The date for next year’s ACM was set for Wednesday, 25 March, 2015 in Margate.






The morning entertainment was provided by Rebecca Robinson, a professional singer. She sang more than a dozen tunes, mostly from her own albums, and encouraged the audience to sing along with several of them. Her performance was enthusiastically well received by everyone. She also had several of her CDs for sale. She announced she would donate 25% of the proceeds to the WI.


After the entertainment, the Forthcoming Events and Announcements were given by Robyn d’Albertanson:

  • Speakers auditions to be held 31 March in Bapchild

  • Spring Garden Day

  • Dance, 26 April

  • Monkton Nature Reserve, 3 May

  • Quiz, 21 June

  • Trip to Eltham Palace, 26 June

  • WI Centenary will be observed in 2015


She also said the ACWW fund had raised £2609 of a needed £4488 to complete the Watering Can project. In Sri Lanka, the project had completed the installation of ten water tanks. In Cameroon, progress had been delayed due to heavy rain. She appealed for members to continue fund-raising activities for the ACWW.

After the lunch break, during which there was plenty of time for attendees to visit the numerous tables with tempting merchandise, presentations were made for various achievements. The Kentish Rose Bowl went to the editor of the East Kent News. Various other awards included the Wigfall Cup to Stanford WI, for largest increase (four member increase was 50%). The Joan Boucher cup was presented for writing, a short story “Skating on Thin Ice”. The Achievers Cup went to the Whitstable WI. The NFWI Award Certificate was given to Middlemarch WI for their 25th Anniversary.


The afternoon guest speaker was John Craven. Before his talk, Mr Craven sold and signed copies of his book, “Countryfile Handbook” and donated £1 from each copy to the WI. He sold out of books before he spoke.

John's talk was about 40 years of journalism, consisting of a slide show and punctuated with his own humorous anecdotes. He began as presenter of the children’s program, Newsround, but for the past 25 years has been one of the presenters of the popular BBC program, Countryfile.



As a Countryfile presenter, John has become increasingly concerned about loss of the British countryside. He mentioned tree cover, which is currently only 14% of the British countryside. In contrast, in most of Europe it’s 44%. Also he noted the loss of hedgerows on country roads, which has had a detrimental effect on wildlife by destroying habitat. Further, he noted that 97% of hay meadows have been destroyed since WWII, resulting in the loss of wild flowers and other vegetation, which also negatively affects wildlife.

He supports Panda research and has been made “Panda Ambassador” by the Chinese government. He also supports children’s charities. The sales of the Countryfile Calendar have raised £7 billion for these children’s charities and its popularity is clear by over 55,000 entries in its photo competition.


After his talk, Mr Craven was invited to draw the raffle tickets and the Denman Draw for a bursary prize of £400 to Denman College. The winners were Goodwins WI, Broad Oak WI, and Minster WI.

The afternoon ended with a thank you speech from Wendy Allen, who is stepping down from her post as Feration Chairman. She emphasised that she is not stepping away from the WI and will continue to be involved in many aspects.

The results of the election to the Board of Trustees were also announced. The new Chairman is Marion Rose. Vice Chairmen are Beryl Ravensdale and Mary Telford. Federation Honourable Treasurer is Dorothy Dowse. The meeting was adjourned after the singing of the National Anthem.

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