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. 


Invite: Christmas Crafts

Wow, what a beautiful autumn we’ve been having. But it’s October already and that means that it’s time for our annual Christmas Crafts meeting.

Come along on Monday 19th October and you’ll be able to have a go at four different Christmas crafts. You’ll also get a break from me because our lovely Vice President, Ruth Gosden will be chairing the meeting (it’s one of those wacky WI rules – they make the Vice President run one meeting a year.)

As usual, guests are welcome to attend for £3, so feel free to bring a friend along. The meeting is in the Waterfront Hall in Hebden Bridge Town Hall and doors open at 7pm-ish for a 7.30pm start.

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Invite: Buzzing with bees

Hi everyone,

It’s June and the weather is finally picking up, so it’s the perfect time for us to support the WI’s SOS For Honeybees campaign with a talk from our resident beekeeper, Jen Kaines.

At this month’s meeting on Monday 15th June, Jen will be introducing us to her interesting hobby and explaining how we can all help bees and other pollinators by planting nectar rich flowers and providing habitats. I know gardens are a rarity in Hebden but even a few pots or a window box can make a surprisingly big difference to insects.

And because we’re all about the eating at Hebden Bridge WI, there will also be a honey tasting to explore how different plants affect the taste of the honey. Did you know there are over 300 distinct flavours of honey in the world? Sadly we won’t be trying them all but we will have a few for you to try.

The doors open at 7-ish for a 7.30pm start on Monday 15th June. Members are free and guests are welcome to come along for £3.

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Wadsworth’s Wonderful Birthday

Happy birthday Wadsworth WI!

When the invitation to Wadsworth WI’s birthday party arrived there was a scuffle to be the chosen few to represent the Hebden Bridge gang at the event.  Wadsworth has a reputation for throwing a top evening and this year’s birthday party lived up to their high standards.  We look forward to next year.

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The Human Fruit Machine

The perfect day for a fun day at Salem Fields Archery Club

The committee had an idea at the last meeting to get a human fruit machine to take to all the fetes we’re asked to attend.  Although we’ve got a healthy membership in the Hebden Bridge WI, we don’t want to constantly ask them to make jam, chutneys and cakes, but at the same time we don’t want to say no to the community events that take place around Hebden Bridge.

The whole committee agreed a human fruit machine sounded like a top idea and Maxine, one of our talented members, offered to knock one up for us in her spare time!  The machine had its inaugural outing this weekend and we had a constant flow of excited participants.  We raised £150 for Living Well, a charity in Todmorden that supports women with cancer.  We’re pretty pleased with our work.

A humongous thanks goes out to Maxine for her talent, time and energy.  We are so lucky to have a passionate group of gals who dedicate their time to take part in weird and wonderful things, thanks all.

Can you tell what it is yet?
Up and away
Says it all
And we’re off…
Magnificent Maxine
We raised £150 for Living Well
There wasn’t even time for a ukulele sing-a-long


Written and posted by Amy

Happy birthday

Embracing the magic of ABBA

We celebrated our second birthday on Monday with a trip to Hebden Bridge Picture House.  The members didn’t know what film we were watching, but dressing up in the style of ABBA, or the 70s generally was encouraged… some took it more seriously than others.  We were really pleased to welcome members of Mytholmroyd Marmaladies to our birthday and hope they come to visit us again.  It was an ABBAtastic evening.

ABBA wigs were bought especially for the evening.
Getting the ABBA grove on.
ABBA sophistication
Ready for the film to start


Written and posted by Amy

Rhubarb! Rhubarb! Rhubarb!

The Hebden Bridge WI rhubarb fan club.

A group of intrepid Hebden Bridge WIers headed East to a land known as the Rhubarb Triangle.  They returned with alcoholic recipes and tales of rhubarb thievery.  And, it seems, an obsession with rhubarb.

Written and posted by Amy

Tour of the town halls: Hebden Bridge

Fully equiped for the tour

In 2010 Hebden Bridge Community Association sucessfully completed an asset transfer agreement of the town hall from our local metropolitan borough council.  It gave the charity a 125 year leasehold ownership of the building and land which sees Hebden Bridge as one of the first communities in Britain to own its town hall in this way.

Last year the Community Association finally secured all the funding required for a major capital development on the land behind the original Victorian town hall.


What a view: the original town hall and the surrounding hills

The Hebden Bridge WI have comitted to move our meetings to the new town hall and we were thrilled  to be invited on a hard hat tour whilst the building is still under construction.  It was pretty exciting walking around the site knowing we’ll soon be using this building on a regular basis.

Sarah Lister-Blow conducts the tour

The town hall will open this summer featuring the Waterfront Hall, a riverside courtyard and enterprise facilities to attract weddings, conferences and businesses to Hebden Bridge.

We’re pleased to announce that the next Hebden Bridge WI Rag Market will be one of the first events on the calendar.  In what we’re considering our home warming celebration, we’re preparing our biggest Rag Market to date; running over two days and offering our usual bargains for crafters, sewists and vintage lovers.  We hope you’ll join us and take the opportunity to take a peek at our brand new home.

Work continues


Written and posted by Amy

Tour of the town halls: Halifax

Mosaic of the Halifax coat of arms
The decadent entrance

Let’s face it, Halifax cannot be considered a glamorous location, but the town hall reminds us just how important Halifax was in textile manufacture during the Victorian era.  It’s with this in mind that some of the members of Hebden Bridge WI joined other groups in Calderdale for a guided tour.

Calderdale WIs take over the Council Chamber
Victoria Hall

Opened on 4th August 1863, Halifax town hall was designed by Sir Charles Barry, the architect of the Houses of Parliament.  The exterior and interior tell the story of a wealthy mill town more than capable of raising the funds to build an extravagant public building.

Bust of Princess Alexandra

Built with 24,000 tons of local stone from the Swales Moor near Queensbury the building was described as “a masterpiece of the nascent high Victorian style.”

Princess Alexandria and the Prince of Wales with the chair made for the opening ceremony

No expense was spared for the opening ceremony by HRH The Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, as the mill owning families in the town ensured everything was perfect, even down to making sure the prince had his own bespoke chair made for the day.

Queen Victoria
Calderdale WIs in the Victoria Hall
Council Chamber

The Council Chamber is still used for regular council meetings and acts as the coroner’s court.  This room is panelled in dark mahogany.  The original seating and writing desks act as a reminder of why we love craftsmanship.

Seat number 62 in the Council Chamber

The Mayor’s parlour was orginally designed as the main reception room, but is now used for informal meetings with the Mayor and invited councillors prior to main council meetings.

Time for tea in the Mayor’s Parlour
Part of Calderdale’s stunning silver collection

The parlour is now used as an opportunity to celebrate Calderdale’s history with paintings, trinkets and the silver collection on display for public consumption.

Halifax coat of arms decorating the back of a chair

Stood in Halifax town hall you can pretend you’re in a different world, and most certainly different country.  That is until you step back outside.

Written and posted by Amy