August 2017 – Zumba!

IMG_0100Nicole Wickenden came to do Zumba with us.  What a fun night we had.

She told us the history of Zumba and explained that it started almost by accident in Columbia in the 1990s.  A fitness instructor arrived at his class without his usual music and improvised with some Latin dance music.  The people in his class enjoyed it so much that they asked him to use it again.  Zumba then spread to America and is now used worldwide

Nicole is a trained instructor and very gently took us through our paces.  She was a great teacher and made us all laugh a lot.  The workout gave us a good appetite for cake!



Domestic Abuse. July 2017

Angela Everson from Calderdale and Kirklees Womens’ Centre came to talk to us.  We have supported the Womens’ Centre in the past, and it was interesting to learn more about the work carried out in Calderdale, Huddersfield and Dewsbury

Angela told us that the centre in Calderdale started 32 years ago but combined with Kirklees about 8 years ago.  The work undertaken is slightly different in each area but predominantly they support women and families, children and young people in a variety of ways.

They work with male and female victims of abuse predominantly, but  also undertake some work with the perpetrators of domestic abuse in some situations.

The work is varied.  It includes one to one work and also group sessions.  There are opportunities for women to have counselling and therapy.  There are sessions to help women with skills, practical work, and to build self esteem and confidence.

Angela told us about the strategic work that is vital and how the Womens’ Centre works with other groups in consortium, how it is funded and how volunteers play an essential role.

It was a very informative session.

Race for life -written by Jeni Wetton


Race for Life
Hebden Bridge WI is just six years old and throughout those six years we have had many highs and celebrations but March this year brought our first really sad event with the death of Janet Blackburn.
Janet had been an enthusiastic member of the WI. She was fun loving, arty and a fantastic dresser. She gathered people to her, and expanded the WI by bringing in new members with her enthusiasm for all we did, her beaming smile and her fantastic ability to talk to anyone.
Following her death at Overgate Hospice we put our heads together to try and think of a fitting tribute to Janet. We decided on having Overgate Hospice as our charity of the year and we have set a target of trying to beat our previous charity work by coming up with small fundraising activities through the year so in May 2018 we hope to be handing over a substantial cheque to Overgate.
But we also wanted to achieve something this year and something that we needed to work towards; something Janet would have encouraged us in, and be proud of us for doing. So we came up with running in the Race for Life for Cancer Research UK and raising money in Janet’s name. Eight brave members of the WI: Val, Emma, Fliss, Vanessa, Annette, Jilly, Libby and myself self-consciously put our hands up. We span an age range of 30 something to around 60 years old. Some of us have done running before and some of us hadn’t so we were a complete mix.
Last Sunday in temperatures reaching 23 degrees centigrade Team Hebden Bridge WI ran either 5k or 10k around Heaton Park, Manchester with a photograph of Janet on our backs, an intimidating Race for Life number on the front and a determination to do our best and not let Janet down.

We did it! And we did it for Janet. And so far we have raised over £800, and there is still money coming in. It seems fitting that others suffering from cancer in the North West region will benefit from our efforts. We know that Janet would be proud of us and have supported what we did.
Thank you to all those who sponsored us. If you would still like to donate click on the link below. It’s really easy. Thank you.
Jeni Wetton.


June 2017 – Summer Party


We had a really fun night with Games Fascilitator Hannah Merriman.

The evening started with our usual ‘stand up sit down bingo’ and also included a raffle with lucky dip prizes.  Hannah got us to play lots of different fun games and though we started off being reserved and rather shy, by the end of the evening everyone was fully involved and in some cases, cheating in order to win the team events!  It was a fantastic evening all told.

Everyone brought along some food to share and we had a lovely buffet supper to end the evening.


Annual General Meeting – May 2017- 100 years of WI

The AGM was not all business!  We started off the proceedings with a game – What’s in your handbag  We each were given a list of items which scored points, and the person with the most points won the prize  the listed items included the basics such as lipsticks and train tickets but also had items such as Swiss Army knives!

We had a review of the previous year and a review of the accounts.  Helena Harrington from West Yorkshire Federation was in attendance.

We had a very interesting talk entitled ‘100 years of WI’ given by Gill Brown.  It was full of interesting facts and photographs telling us the history of the WI.  Gill informed us about the most influential women, why the WI started and how it had had a big revival in recent years.

She told us about how the groups differ to suit the community of women that attend and informed us that there are WI groups in some prisons.  However the groups differ , the focus of each group is around having fun, meeting people, gaining new skills and new experiences.

The evening ended with new members being voted onto our committee and the usual beverages and cake.


The Rag Market April 29th 2017


We held our Rag Market in April, which was a huge success again.  We raised £858.29 for our charities.


There were some fantastic stalls with so many fantastic things to buy and of course we had a cake stall at the Egg Factory which went down very well


The next Rag Market will be in October

April 24th 2017 – Modern calligraphy

Nicky Chadwick from Scarlet Starfish came to tell us about her current work with calligraphy.  She writes labels, place names, invitations and many more things for people for many different occasions.  Her work was lovely.

We were were given the opportunity to try doing the lettering ourselves. We borrowed her pens, nibs and ink and copied the lettering.  It was not quite as easy as it looked!  Many of us ended up with very inky fingers and blotted paper but some people made a really good job of it and invented their own a style of writing and drawing

All in all it was a really good evening

March Meeting WI CAN CRAFT

What a fantastic evening we had!  The evening was filled with topics related to crafting and included a competition open to all WI members.

The competition categories were:

  • Home knitting
  • Crochet
  • Soft toys
  • Something for tea
  • Upcycled Jeans
  • A needlecraft sampler
  • Quilt or patchwork
  • Water themed decoration for the WI Hebden Bridge Arts Festival tree

There were some fantastic entries

It wasn’t just about prizes though.

There was a quiz about crafting, a tombola and a guess the number of buttons in the jar competition

Even the cakes that were served with our tea and coffee were craft themed – decorated with buttons made from chocolate, and there were biscuits that looked like huge buttons too

There were prizes – highly commended and first prize in each section.  There was also a Star Maker prize which was awarded to Vanessa Kay who had submitted some fantastic pieces in every section

Everyone had a fantastic time and many of us left with inspiration for future  projects


February 2017 – Suffragettes

For our February meeting we welcomed Jill Liddington, Honorary Research Fellow of the University of Leeds and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society to speak.


Surprisingly, as a historian of Women’s history, this was Jill’s first talk to a WI group. She focused on the 1911 census which was boycotted by many women as a protest against the lack of female suffrage. In fact the suffragette’s slogan for 1911 was ‘No Vote-No Census’.

Jill took us beyond the slogan to put the census of 1911 in the context of the Liberal government’s social reform agenda and by looking at where the suffragettes were, by this year, in their fight for equality. To our delight she did this by taking a local perspective, largely following the trajectory of four suffragettes: Halifax’s Mary Taylor, Dinah Connelly, Laura Wilson and Hebden Bridge’s Lavena Saltonstall (a room at the town hall is named in her honour). Two of these women evaded the census of 1911 by ‘disappearing’ that evening while two complied with the census.

By examining the political and social reform ideas at the time and the personal histories of the individual women Jill has been able to make a calculated guess as to why women tired and brutalised by prison and campaigning might comply with a government order, fill in the census and avoid the £5 fine. She explained both what the women who evaded the census achieved and what the government did (or in this case) didn’t do afterwards.

Jill also put the eventual suffragette achievement in its wider world context of the First World War and Bolshevik Revolution. The talk was illustrated with historical documents which both informed Jill’s debate and bought these West Yorkshire women and their hand-made banners to life.


The evening finished with a lively Q & A and of course WI cake and tea.

For those wishing to continue learning more about local suffragettes, see Jill’s website.

April 2017
9 Sunday: Walking with Women’s Suffrage ~ 2.30 pm.
Huddersfield: meet at St George’s Square (by Harold Wilson statue), in front of Huddersfield station.

In 1906, the nation’s eyes were trained on Huddersfield. Emmeline Pankhurst swept into town and addressed massive crowds. Join historian Jill Liddington to walk in the footsteps of local suffragettes. Jill’s latest book, Vanishing for the Vote, tells the story of the suffragette boycott of the 1911 census.
Charge: £3; no booking required.
Walk: lasts 1½ ~ 2 hours.

Organizers: Discover Huddersfield: guided walks.

We rarely invite formal speakers at Hebden Bridge WI but the evening was proved to be a great success with the high attendance, visitors from afar and following lively debate. Thank you to all those who made the evening a success.


December Party

December saw us celebrating at our Christmas party

We started with our usual ‘stand-up-sit-down’ Bingo and then proceeded to take part in some swing dancing

Our teachers were TC and Joyce.  They gave us a demonstration of the 1940s dancing style and then taught us some 1940s strolls. This kind of dancing was very popular in the war years because it could be enjoyed by groups of people and partners were not required

Many of our members dressed in 1940 style clothing and looked fantastic

We learnt several strolls and had a really good time  We mostly remembered the steps and no toes were broken in the process!

We had a really good supper and obviously some very nice cake to complete the evening

There was a Secret Santa opportunity so many of us even went home with Christmas presents

Ruth Gosden had asked members to donate toys for the Children’s Refuge and there was a good response.  Ruth was able to take lots of toys away at the end of the evening and along with Sowood WI make the donation to the children

A great evening was had by all