Cockfield WI LogoWI National LogoCockfield WI is part of the Suffolk West Federation of WI’s and is affiliated to the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, NFWI, the largest women’s organisation in the UK. Members come from Cockfield and several neighbouring villages.

Meetings are normally held on the first Thursday of the month in Cockfield village hall, and usually consist of a talk or demonstration on a variety of subjects. There is also time to hear about other WI events, and to share in a chat and refreshments. Other activities include craft and book groups, cycling and walking, and community events.

Adult education is also on offer at Denman College in Oxfordshire, the WI’s own college. A huge range of courses are on offer, to both members and non-members.

Visitors are always welcome. Come and see what we have to offer.

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June Meeting Report

Following a short business meeting Fran introduced our speaker for June, Geoff Heathcock talking about the “History and Future of the RNLI”.

Geoff has been involved with the RNLI for 46 years and having spent his early years in Cornwall, he was interested in the sea from an early age. In his grandparents’ home, he found a metal box and inside was a bronze medal for gallantry which went back to one of his ancestors in the 1880’s who helped to rescue a schooner at Fowey.  In 1824 the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwrecks was formed by a group of business men.  In 1860 Queen Victoria granted the Institute the Royal Charter and the charity became known as the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.  The Queen is now Patron and the Duke of Kent is an active President.  Geoff told us that following a major incident in the 1980’s involving a pleasure boat and a barge on the River Thames, when 52 people died, the RNLI now have four lifeboat stations at Westminster, Chiswick, Kensington and Gravesend.  These are now some of the busiest lifeboat stations and were able to assist in the recent disaster in Westminster. As the crew are needed to be there full time they are paid to work 12 hour shifts. All other crew members are volunteers with the exception of the coxswain who needs to be at the lifeboat station full time.  The RNLI has 237 lifeboat stations and operates 444 lifeboats but with the reduction in coastguards their services are needed even more. There are 5,000 men and women volunteers in the RNLI.  The RNLI Lifeguards operate on more than 200 beaches and are paid by the local authorities but the RNLI provide equipment and training.    It is planned in the future that the RNLI will make their own lifeboats and by 2024, when the Institute will be 200 years old, the “old ladies” will be replaced by new boats.

Geoff was thanked by Joan Ball and members were able to purchase RNLI items for sale during refreshments.

Our next coffee morning will be on 27 July at the Village Hall from 10.30 am and all residents of Cockfield are welcome to join us for a morning of friendship and chat.  The next WI meeting will be on 6 July, 7.30pm in Cockfield Village Hall – visitors welcome.

Suzanne Veal

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Calendar of Events 2017-18

Meeting dateTalk TitleSpeaker Name
1st June 2017History & Future of the RNLIGeoff Heathrock
6th July 2017Friends & Foes in the gardenKaren Kenny
3rd August 2017Lavenham walk & tea at Fran’sFran Bradshaw
7th September 2017Medical Detection DogsNorma Howell
5th October 2017Humorous EtymologiesAnthony Poulton-Smith
2nd November 2017Life of a RacehorseGeoff Evans
7th December 2017Cookery DemonstrationRichard Barr
4th January 2018Members’ Talents evening
1st February 2018The Doxa ProjectRay Balmer
1st March 2018Sudbury Water MeadowsAdrian Walters
5th April 2018The Printer’s DarkroomAlan Bardolulou
3rd May 2018Annual Meeting, Resolutions & Social Time