October 15th – Pumpkin Carving


This month we turned our thoughts to Autumn, the year ending and Halloween.  We all took along a pumpkin to carve but soon discovered that some had more talent in this field than others.

Vanessa won the prize for the best carved lantern. She is such a talented woman

The evening was good fun and it was lovely to sit and chat whilst carving and it meant that there was an opportunity to get to know our newer members

The committee did a good job of creating a festive atmosphere with spooky music  and we enjoyed festive nibbles and cake

The October Rag Market

Our Rag market was a huge success once again. We had another great day

We were at 3 venues this time and the day was opened by Mr X Stitch and we even had a stall where you could get your scissors sharpened

Each Rag Market raises funds for our charity and also our bursary fund

The next Rag  market will be in April 2019

September 2018 Sir Titus Salt

86EACE21-95F3-4992-B1C0-5AE94E40CC30Maria Glot gave us a fantastic talk about Sir Titus Salt. She has studied him for more than 40 years.  We were all issued with bookmarks bearing the names and addresses of people who lived in the village of Saltaire and worked for Sir Titus. Maria had researched who had lived in the houses, found out about the people and their families, and made the characters come to life by telling their stories  Maria was Ellin Dooley on her visit to Hebden Bridge WI

Sir Titus was born in Morley in 1803  He worked initially in his father’s wool business but developed a number of new processes over the years which led to wool that previously wasn’t used to be turned into cloth.   This included alpaca wool which was turned into cloth and then used to make clothes for Queen Victoria.  

Over 100,000 people from the Bradford workhouses worked for him but when poor conditions and poor water supplies led to illness and disease, Sir Titus, who was Mayor of Bradford, began to change things.  He moved from Bradford and bought the site at Saltaire.  There was a clean water supply, a railway and a canal.  He built a railway station and with the railway and canal developed transport links. He then built his mill which opened in 1853, and later houses, schools, churches, shops, parks and a hospital.  He named the streets after his wife, children and family members.

Though he is considered to be a philanthropist, the changes he made were primarily to keep his business going.  He made sure the houses and his workers were clean and put in many systems to stop pollution, and recycled and sold the waste from the factories!  Maria amazed us with information about him and his cleverness.  He developed drainage systems, fireproofed his factory, recycled the water used to supply the houses and even put the urine from the factory toilets to use for dying of cloth and leather!

Maria was also able to tell us about the restoration work that has been done in Saltaire to try and return it to the state it used to be in.  Her talk was fascinating and as a result, we are thinking of having a group visit to Saltaire to go on one on Maria’s walking tours.

It was a fabulous evening!


August 2018 – Blazing Saddles

Oh what fun we had!

Last night we had an amazing outing to Blazing Saddles in Hebden Bridge to try out their electric bikes

There was a mixture of excitement and nerves as many of us had not been on a bike for years!  The staff were very reassuring and efficient, adjusting saddles, handle bars and hats to fit all, as well as providing positive, encouraging words.

In groups of five we wobbles out the back of the shop to Calder Holmes Park.  There the fun began.  the bikes were amazing and so much more comfortable than the bikes many of us remember.  The electric power made handling the bikes very simple.  When we approached our first hill there were shouts and screams of delight as we whizzed up without any effort.  we were keen to do another circuit or two when we gained confidence .  Our speed increased as we experimented with the electrical setting .  Bells started to ring  and lights were put on as we became more confident and ready to try the various switches and attachments.

We returned to the slopes with more confidence and speed.  Feeling like Mr Todd from ‘Wind in the Willows’ we were just discovering the joy of bike riding and the exhilaration of speed out of doors when we had to return to the shop for the next group of five to have a turn.  As I passed a group of teenagers sitting on a bench I couldn’t help shouting ‘Women’s Institute on Wheels’, as we raced back to Blazing Saddles.

We had tea and biscuits and  Q and A in the shop after our trial runs, and were informed about charging distances and the maintenance of the bikes.  There were some really searching questions and we learnt a lot.

We are ‘geared’ up to have a future WI day out in the countryside on some hired bikes.  Blazing Saddles have also offered us a bike maintenance course too.

Thanks to the staff at Blazing Saddles for a lovely evening re-discovering the joy of bike riding

Jeni Wetton

July 2018 – Pextenement Cheese Company

Pextenement Cheese Company is based in Todmorden and produces organic cheese.  It was established in 2008.

All the cheese produced by the company is made from organic milk taken from their own cows.  The cows are fed organically – organic grass and feeds only with no unnecessary antibiotics or medication used.

The company has won many prizes and most recently won 1st prize at the Great Yorkshire Show for their Devil’s Rock Blue and their Pikes Delight won the 2nd Prize

The evening consisted of a talk relating to how Cheese is processed and was followed by some cheese tasting.  There was an opportunity to buy some delicious cheese to take home  The evening was a huge success and was enjoyed by the members present

June 2018 – Flamenco

Patricia Skeet gave us a fantastic insight into Flamenco. 


She told us about its origins in Spain and how it has remained an important art form. Her explanation of the art – the singing, hand clapping, music and dance – was really interesting. She showed us some lovely old film footage of the Guitanos and also some film of modern day flamenco/ ballet fusion.

Patricia demonstrated flamenco dancing to us and then explained the clothing and shoes worn by men and women. She explained the differences in the male and female hand movements and the importance of the gestures and skirt movements used

She encouraged us to dress in some of the clothes that she brought and then, of course, showed us some movements which we put to music.  There was a lot of foot stamping and clapping which made it sound fantastic.


May 2018. Annual General Meeting

Fliss, our president, gave her address

She talked about the highlights of the year, which for her were:

The Race for LIfe which several members took part in and raised money in memory of Janet Blackburn

Burglar Bingo, which many of us enjoyed.  She reminded us of the spotty package, which everyone became determined to try and win!

The  Summer party and the games that we played and the laughter that we shared, not to mention the cheating that occurred during some of the activities!

The talk by Steve Morgan who had been a Greenpeace photographer for his career.  He shared wonderful experiences and photographs with us.

Fliss has been a fantastic president for 2 years and was presented with a gift from the members


Sarah Louise Long gave a review of the year and an annual report. She included photographs to remind us of the year we had shared and what we had done

Libby Wood gave the Treasurers Report and the accounts were reviewed and approved.  Libby also told us that we had raised £1200 for Overgate Hospice.

April 16th – A visit to the Egg Factory


We went to the Egg Factory where Amy and Sue Mellis guided us to create some lovely items.

We were all given an embroidery hoop and some fabric and were shown how to transfer letters or patterns onto the fabric by way of screen printing

The prints were then embellished with stitches to create some lovely designs


It took a lot of concentration and even members who had little experience of stitching, made some lovely items


It was a really good evening, made better by the chat and friendship that we had sitting around the tables undertaking the task in hand.


WI Bursary 2018


Last time the bursary came round I put my name in the hat and was lucky enough to be a winner I was the last name out of the hat so the amount of money I received wasn’t huge but it was enough to push me into making the plunge to sign up for a sewing course.

I have been envious and in awe of people like Vanessa and Ruth in the WI who are so talented with a needle. I don’t come from a family of crafters and when I was a teenager in the 1970s (I know -before some of you were born) sewing lessons in school were very un-cool and I remember spending most of my time sulking and complaining that I should be allowed to do woodwork with the boys: as of course I should.

Anyway, since being in the WI, I’ve seen the light and took advantage of the free lessons offered to us by the lovely Jinny at Word of Mouth. Although it was obvious from that experience I had everything to learn it gave me the courage to go on a beginners patchwork course at The Quilt Cabin in Albert Street. I have really taken to patchwork and made several baby cot blankets and a quilt for my own bed. With that experience behind me I signed up for a month ‘Block of the Month’ course which teaches a different patchwork technique each session as is labelled as a ‘Quilter’s Rulers Masterclass’. It is for this course, which I am part way through, that the WI Bursary money
is being used. It has the added delight that one of the women on the course is Sophie Hudson.

I was nervous on the first session but all the other ladies on the course are friendly, encouraging and happy to share experience and equipment. Now I can’t wait for that day of the month to learn a new skill. Following each session I go over the lesson at home making a couple more blocks so that the new technique sinks in. By the end of the year I will have a enough blocks to join together to make another quilt. For my birthday last year my husband bought me loads of Kaffe Fassett fat quarters and it is this material that I use each month in the block.

I hope you enjoy looking at the photographs. I have included some of the work I have completed and the brightly coloured blocks alongside the rulers that I have been getting used to. I encourage all of you to put yourself forward for the bursary next year. The only condition is that it has to be educational in some way, and as the names are simply drawn out of a hat it is just a very democratic first come first served system.

Thank you to Vanessa and her volunteers for all the hard work that goes on in hosting the Rag Market, the profit from which, goes to the bursary fund.

Jeni Wetton

March 19th 2018 A beginners guide to the Camino Way – Miriam O’Keefe


Miriam is one of our members and came to give us a talk with slides, about her experience of walking the Camino de Santiago.  She described her journey in four words -WALK, EAT, SLEEP, REPEAT!

It was a fantastic talk.  Miriam explained the history of the Camino which was first walked by pilgrims in 821.  She explained that there were a number of Caminos which all finished in Santiago de Compostela, where the bones of Saint James are buried in the cathedral.  Miriam walked the Camino Frances which started in France and took her across the Pyrenees into Spain and across the north of Spain to Santiago de Compostela.  This is the most popular Camino and is 800 kilometres in length.

She did a lot of research prior to starting her 6 week walk.  She took advise relating to the rucksack she needed and how it should be worn, and most importantly, broke in her walking boots in advance of the journey.  She did a lot of training! She showed us the things she carried on her journey and explained the three stages of the journey which she described as- the physical stage, the mental stage and the spiritual stage.

She explained, with the aid of her photographs the places where she stayed en route, her footcare regime each day and the rituals that are done along the way.  She also told us of the many people she met and showed us her camino passport full of stamps collected along the route.

It was a lovely evening which ended with some Spanish Tapas type food.