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Guarlford Women's Institute

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Our last meeting in Guarlford Village Hall was a “Craft Taster” session on the afternoon of Saturday 14th March 2020. Then everything changed.

We had begun 2020 with many plans and events to look forward to but they were not to be. We were all told to stay home to keep the Covid pandemic at bay and to protect our NHS.

Over the past year members have kept in touch via emails and telephone, and our President started issuing a newsletter, The Guarlford Gossiper. At first a lot of our time seemed to be taken up with trying to get supplies, as items disappeared from the shop shelves, and members who weren’t isolating helped others who were. In The Gossiper we have shared recipes, news of our gardens, poetry, stories & jokes, and describing the various ways in which we are spending our time. Many members have noted over the year how Nature seems to be making up for the restrictions the pandemic has brought - we are so lucky to be surrounded by the lovely countryside on and around the Malvern Hills.

Our Charity make for 2019, which we continued into 2020, was to sew quilts and knit baby blankets for ProjectLinus. Hopefully we will be able to deliver them when lockdown restrictions end.

Quilt

Quilt for Project Linus

Members have helped the NHS by making Scrubs and bags and supporting an appeal for knitting pairs of identical hearts - to bring families together. As no money was being spent on speakers for meetings, it was decided that we would support local charities, such as Malvern Citizen Advice Bureau and the Food Bank, The Lyttleton Well Counselling Service, Salvation Army and Women’s Aid.

In May 2020 the Gossiper had descriptions of VE Day celebrations, both in our own gardens in 2020 and also in 1945, plus other memories of World War Two. One member recalled as a child watching the WI in Eckington canning plums. “There was a high standard of packing the tins, 2lb ones made by Metalbox in Worcester, with plums and syrup and sealed with a special gadget (reversed to be used as a tin opener). Large nets held several tins which were plunged into big boilers to sterilise them, and labels carefully stuck on.”

In the same issue another member vividly described working on the front line of the NHS as hospital cases soared in the first months of the pandemic, an account which moved us all.

Later came memories of Stir Up Sunday and making Christmas puddings, followed by marmalade making in January.

The finding of a WI badge in a house restoration miles away prompted memories of the badges belonging to a member who helped to found our WI in 1941 and later became President. And yes, this is the year of our 80th birthday (in June); the Committee are making plans to celebrate,  and hopefully we shall be able to meet face to face.

WI badges

Mrs Jones' WI badges

We have knitted and knitted - little blankets, squares, hearts, angels and items for what we hope will be a 2021 Guarlford Christmas Bazaar. (These beautiful angels were some of many distributed through the parish by our Rector for families to find and take home from their pre Christmas walks.) New skills have been tried, including one member who has taught herself to crochet and is proving to be very proficient!

Angels

Knitted Christmas angels

Before March 2020 we had never heard of Zoom - a year later members of all ages are Zooming monthly and Committee meetings, as well as the weekly get-together of the Craft Group. In the summer of 2020 easing of lockdown, small groups were able to meet briefly for socially distanced tea parties in gardens, but all meetings in the Village Hall were cancelled, including our Produce & Handicraft Show. And no Annual Council Meeting at the Three Counties Showground either - hopefully both might return in the Autumn of 2021. So we had an invitation, complete with teabag, to an online teaparty instead!

Teapot

Invitation card to on-line tea party

At our first Zoom monthly meeting this year in February 2021 we heard about the Worcester Big Parade when, between 12th July and September 5th, thirty decorated Elephants will be paraded through the city centre and then form a free Public Art Trail through Worcester city’s streets and open spaces. And about twenty Elephant calf sculptures, created by schools and community groups, will be on show in the city’s shop windows and Crowngate Shopping Centre. Members are already making items for an elephant themed pop up charity shop in the city centre - all proceeds to St Richard’s Hospice.

Elephants

Items made for St Richard's elephant project

Another member talked to us in March about how Guarlford plans to go carbon neutral by 2030, and how we can support this. A lively discussion followed.

Poem by Haroon Rashid of India

The following poem by Haroon Raschid was shared in 2020 - so will the pandemic change how we see climate change?

 

We fell asleep in one world and woke up in another.

Suddenly Disney is out of magic,

Paris is no longer romantic,

New York doesn’t stand up any more,

The Chinese Wall is no longer a fortress

And Mecca is empty.

Hugs and kisses suddenly become weapons

and not visiting parents and friends becomes an act of love.

Suddenly you realise that power, beauty and money

are worthless and can’t get you the oxygen you are fighting for.

The World continues its life and it is beautiful.

It only puts humans in cages.

I think it’s sending us a message.

You are not necessary.

The air, the earth, water and sky – without you are fine.

When you come back, remember that you are my guests – not my masters.  

 

RGM

 

Please contact us if you require further information.


 

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