Over 600 Bucks Federation WI members attended their Annual Council meeting at the Waterside theatre, Aylesbury on Wednesday April 18th. Guests included the High Sheriff of Bucks, Professor Ruth Farwell, who was also a speaker, Lady Aubrey-Fletcher and Councillor Patricia Birchley, Chairman of BCC. There were representatives from Berkshire, Bedfordshire, Middlesex and Northamptonshire WI Federations, the Townswomen’s Guild and Aylesbury Women’s Aid.
The speakers were:
Dr Natalie Welden of the University of Portsmouth who enlightened the ladies on her research focusing on the impact of plastics on the aquatic environment which gave more info in line with their Plastic Soup Resolution from last year.
Professor Ruth Farwell, the new High Sheriff who talked about her background and career to date. Stephen Irons, Resilience Officer, BCC who explained how the WI can get involved in the Resilience plan for the County.
Wheelpower Charity-Joyce Sheard, referee for Para Powerlifting, Joyce had just returned from officiating at the Commonwealth Games in Australia. Joyce is a Wheelpower Ambassador and has volunteered for this Charity since 1980. Martin McEllhatton, Chief Executive for the past 20 years and involved for 30 years had a spinal injury in 1979 aged 18. He represented GB at the 1984 Paralympic Games.
Nick Battle, Countryside Books who spoke about launching a new Village Book for 2020 where WI members can participate by writing about their villages.
The main speaker who came on in the afternoon was Christine Walkden. Christine has been a horticulturist since the age of eight when she tended the neighbours’ gardens then obtained an allotment, started growing vegetables and flowers which she sold to her school teachers! She charged her Headmaster 1 penny more than the other teachers as she felt he could afford it! She is best known for her appearances on gardening programmes such as Gardeners Question Time and the One show.. She is a Gardener, writer, broadcaster and keen photographer. In 2014 she was voted TV Gardening Presenter of the Year. She never stopped talking for an hour, no notes, no power point presentation, she was truly inspiring telling us about her journey through life mainly without any academic qualifications until later in life. She obtained a degree at the age of 47.

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