April 2024 - Annual Meeting and Line Dancing

At the Annual meeting we heard reports from our Secretary and Treasurer, followed by the President's Address.  The new committee was voted on, and the President was elected.  After refreshments, the tables and chairs were cleared and we were taught some line dancing moves, stepping them through until we were ready for the music.  What fun we had - the perfect post-AGM activity!


Outing:  March 2024.  Several members had a great evening out to see 'Carmen' at Weymouth pavilion  


March 2024 - Satellite Communication - Paul Coxhead 

We learned about satellite communication in our March meeting, with thanks to Paul Coxhead, who was involved in provision of huge satellite dishes from the 1980s onwards.  Paul gave us an insight into how satellites are launched ito space, and told us about the first satellite at Goonhilly in Cornwall in 1962, which enabled better weather information and navigation for shipping and aeroplanes.  The first TV broadcast via satellite was in 1983, enabling live sporting events to be broadcast.  International telephone calls became easier, and digital communications enabled newpapers to share content between the UK and USA.  We now depend on satellites for banking, energy, transport, defence, weather, mobile phones, the internet, and many other things. A fascinating evening.  


February 2024 - Chiropractor Richard Southam

We thoroughly enjoyed our insight into the mysterious world of the chiropractor, thanks to Richard Southam, who has a practice in Dorchester.    He explained that chiropractic deals with the nervous system rather than the structure of the body, looking for imbalances within the system which can lead to a variety of health related issues such as back and shoulder pain and headaches.  After a full assessment, adjustments can help to realign the body to make it work more effectively and with a reduced level of symptoms.  Two brave volunteers took a turn on the couch so that Richard could demonstrate a basic assessment and indications of imbalances.  Asked for advice for three basic things that can improve our bodies, Richard suggested improving core and glute strength, improving posture and, above all, having fun!  An excellent evening.  https://www.aquae-sulis.co.uk


January 2024 - Resolutions & Games Night 

Part of the business meeting was a lively and informative discussion about the proposed Resolutions put forward by National Federation.  We discussed dental health matters, impacts of poor housing, gambling advertising, and improving outcomes for women in the criminal justice system and voted on which one we would like the NFWI to take forward.  Business was followed by a fun games evening.


December 2023 - Christmas Party 

We enjoyed a delicious meal at the Castle Inn, West Lulworth for our Christmas party, and kept busy between courses tackling village anagrams, some with a festive theme and with all members' villages included, together with dingbats and a quiz.  We had fun guessing the identity of wrapped presents in a sack, and exchanged secret santa gifts.  A fun evening!


November 2023 - Ghosts, Royals and Ferrymen 

There was a good turnout for our November meeting despite the inclement weather.  Brian Margetson told us all about the oldest form of transport, the ferries across the 124 river and estuaries in and around England.  We learned about different types of ferries and ways of crossing rivers, including those powered by engines, oars and chains with examples from around the country.  We also enjoyed Brian's excellent storytelling as he took us to different locations with tales of ghostly apparitions and tactics employed by Roundheads and Cavaliers during the civil war.  



October 2023 - Xtreme Falconry - talk with birds

We were pleased to share our October meeting with eighteen visitors who, like us, had come to see and learn more about birds of prey from the Dorset Falconry Park.  Martin from Xtreme Falconry gave a very lively, entertaining and informative talk, ably assisted by four of his birds of prey, telling us about their habitats, colour variation, hunting methods and food preferences.  First, a beautiful barn owl, which uses its hearing to seek out its prey, and were even shown its surprisingly large ears under its feathers.  The kestrel was next, a bird that we often see hovering in the fields, but what a treat to see one close up.  The African Spotted Eagle Owl was very sociable, and had huge eyes, being a visual hunter.  Finally, we were in awe of the enormous bald eagle, now thankfully off the endangered species list.  We thoroughly enjoyed meeting all these beautiful birds and finding out more about them.  We learned about how the birds of prey fit into the ecology of the countryside, and many of us are now hoping to visit the Park when it reopens in the spring.  www.dorsetfalconrypark.co.uk 


September 2023 - Fine Cell Work and the History of Patchwork

Ginny Stobart gave us an extremely interesting and informative talk, touching on the history of patchwork, and the introduction of needl craft sessions in prisons.  She highlighted the difficulties faced with working in a prison environment, and of the positive outcomes of the voluntary work with prisoners.


July 2023 - Dorset Search and Rescue

Dorset Search and Rescue (DORSAR) specialise in finding vulnerable missing persons, which could include children, elderly people, people with medical needs or mental health issues.  Alerted of an incident by the Police, DORSAR mobilises a highly trained team of volunteers to carry out an organised search, covering an area from the hills of North Dorset to the coast, often working with neighbouring counties or the Coastguard.  They work on similar lines to the more well-known mountain rescue teams in upland regions.  Dave, a veteran of DORSAR, explained that they are a charity relying largely on fund-raising efforts to deliver their valuable service, with unpaid volunteers always ready to respond to emergencies.


June 2023 - Exploring the Villages and Lanes of West Dorset

Jackie Winter, ably assisted by her husband Alan, showed us pictures and talked us through a variety of familiar and not-so-familiar pretty places in West Dorset.  Starting, of course, with pubs (!) Jackie went on to reveal some of the lesser known churches, villages, manor houses and sunken lanes, with some background on their history.   


May 2023 - The Creech Barrow Seven

The Creech Barrow Seven were part of a secret resistance unit in the Second World War.  John Williams gave a very interesting talk, giving us an insight into the fascinating work of this unit.  Men considered to be of the right calibre were selected from local units including the Home Guard but, having signed the Official Secrets Act, even their families did not know what work they did.  John has been instrumental in discovering more about the operation of the unit, finding some of the limited documentation that is available, restoring bunkers and providing information boards.  You can read more about their research at www.staybehinds.com

To follow up, twelve of us visited the Creech Barrow Memorial the following week, and walked in the pretty Kilwood Nature Reserve, ending at the Cake House at East Creech for coffee, cakes and lunches.


April 2023 - AGM and Country Dancing

At the AGM our President and Treasurer reported on another very successful year for West Lulworth WI.  You can read all about our meetings below, and regular activities and fundraising events can be found on the relevant website tabs.  The new committee was elected and Jacqui Leaton was voted in as President.  Several members had brought in home baked Easter goodies to enjoy, and we rounded off the evening with some country dancing.  As well as being our teller for voting for the AGM, Isabell van Millingen from Wool WI very kindly organised the dancing, which was great fun.


March 2023 - Recycling with Dorset Waste Partnership

What might have been a fairly serious and possibly dull subject was made very interesting and informative by two members of Dorset Council's Waste Partnership.  As well as explaining which bins welcomed which items of waste, we also found out about where our waste goes, how it is processed and what happens to it afterwards.  Plastics are processed into pellets for making into new things, and paper repulped and made into boards.  Glass jars/bottles and their lids are separated electronically, before being processed separately. Even the rubbish in our 'skinny bins' is made use of, being incinerated and producing energy.  The Waste Partnership has several projects on the go to encourage us to recycle more and, better still, to create less waste in the first place.


February 2023 - Janine Scola, Call of the Wild

We were lucky to have local photographer Janine Scola to talk to us for this meeting.  Janine is a professional wildlife photographer and she shared moments of her intrepid visits to Sri Lanka, Antarctica and Namibia, with fantastic photographs of all manner of animals including elephants, penguins, seals, whales, impala, leopards and lions.  We were impressed that she got so close to her subjects - only ten feet from a cheetah! - and it was also lovely to see less-known creatures such as pangolin and star tortoise.


January 2023 - Games evening

To liven us up on a cold wet January evening we all got involved in some games. We are lucky to have a very impressive pop-up skittle alley at the village hall, and we each played two rounds, taking it in turns to be scorers and sticker-uppers.  After a lot of varied results, and a lot of laughter, the eventual winner was Jacqui.    We then enjoyed a social time with coffee and nibbles before sitting down for a rather rowdy game of Beetle, which was won by Gill M.  A fun and enjoyable evening.


December 2022 - Christmas meal

We enjoyed a lovely Christmas meal at the Castle Inn, West Lulworth, with a few festive games and quizzes and a Secret Santa.


November 2022 - Rob Clarke, Papermaking

Rob started off with a demonstration of how paper is made, first sploshing some blue dye to a container of water, then adding some pulp which he swooshed round in the container.  Using a frame with a mesh bottom, he scooped up the pulp which quickly became a sheet of paper!  He then talked about the history of papermaking and passed round various types of paper, parchment and even money made from sources including wood pulp ad animal skins.


October 2022 - Wendy Jeavons, Red Brick Glass

Local glass design artist, Wendy Jeavons, treated uimage.jpegs to a taster workshop where we had great fun designingour  own glass Christmas trees, stockings and snowmen for tree hangers.  Wendy took them away to be fired and will return them next month after they have been fired. We also had a chance to look at some of Wendy's beautiful fused glass creations, including coasters, wall art and jewellery.  


You can see some of Wendy's glass at www.redbrickglass.co.uk 





WI Group Meeting - September 2022

We meet up with members from Broadmayne & West Knighton WI, Crossways WI, Dorchester Maiden Castle WI, Overcombe WI and Wool WI  twice a year to enjoy a speaker, get involved in some fun competitions, catch up with what other WIs are doing and, of course, eat cake!

The speaker was David Bailey, wildlife photographer, who gave us a very lively, entertaining and informative talk.  We had some success in the competitions:  

  • A courgette creature - Gillian Coxhead (3rd place)
  • An Ode to Autumn - Jacqui Leaton (3rd place)
  • Apple cake - Jenny Halsall (highly commended)

West Lulworth WI won the third place silver cup

September 2022 - Clapper Chaos

We welcomed a fabulous four-piece handbell group, Clapper Chaos, to our September meeting.  With a vast range of handbells covering three octaves, they entertained us with folk tunes, hymns and film music.  Following coded charts, they each played several of the 40 main bells and 25 chimes during each tune, setting out the bells ready for each set. We learned about the history of handbells, as well as the task of repairs and maintenance.  We learned just how difficult it is when groups of eight of us were led through charts with two bells each - with dubious outcomes!  A great evening.  

Clapper Chaos welcome enquiries from other WIs - see https://sites.google.com/site/clapperchaos or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


July 2022 - Amy Brenan, Heirlooms

We were delighted to welcome Amy Brenan, from Heirlooms in Wareham, for a valuation evening. Amy brought a selection of vintage and antique jewellery and talked us through each piece, passing them round so we could have a good look.  We also brought items from home which Amy assessed and valued for us, although no one discovered they were sitting on a fortune!  We had a lot of fun and learned a lot.


June 2022 - Queen's platinum jubilee - Miranda Pender

At this meeting we celebrated the Queen’s platinum jubilee, with the hall decorated in red, white and blue bunting.  We were entertained by Miranda with light-hearted songs of her own composition and we joined in with some traditional folk songs.  Entries into our three competitions were judged by members putting a penny on the exhibit they liked best.  There was a variety of crafted crowns, poems in the form of an acrostic spelling out the word ‘platinum’ and a vast selection of impressive jubilee-themed puddings, which we enjoyed with a cup of tea after the entertainment.


May 2022 - So Far So Good by Malcolm Wells

A former Army officer, Malcolm had later turned to rescuing and training dogs and then taking on challenges to raise funds for charities close to his heart.


April 2022 - AGM and the Ukelele Ladies

Following our AGM we were pleased to welcome the Ukelele Ladies from Swanage, who entertained us with their singing and playing.  Passing round various traditional percussion instruments, we were encouraged to get involved, with one of our members joining in on the washboard!  A most enjoyable evening.


March 2022. Margaret Green Animal Sanctuary

We enjoyed an illustrated talk about our local animal sanctuary, which focused on some of the many cats and dogs who had been successfully rehomed.


February 2022 - Rod Miller, Thatcher

For our February meeting we welcomed local thatcher, Rod Miller, who gave us a fascinating insight into his trade.  Bringing a selection of tools and equipment, he demonstrated aspects of his work and talked about the history of thatching.  He explained that, although the basic techniques have altered little, the sourcing of materials had changed, with reeds now being imported from abroad and spars bought in ready-made rather than being produced by apprentices.  Next time you see a newly thatched roof, have a really good look at it to appreciate the skill and artistry used by the thatcher.