Bicton & Oxon WI

Our diary of events for 2021

Despite the best efforts of Covid-19 we still managed to produce a full diary of events for 2020 – even including some extras such as socially distanced outdoor meetups in the summer – and we continue to offer a full programme in 2021. The first part of the programme features a wide range of speakers from all round the country. From April most of the speakers are fairly local and able to visit or hold a meeting on Zoom, but we do hope that by September we will be back in our regular meeting place at Bicton Village Hall. Watch this space for updates!

Memoirs of a ‘lady’ prison governor

Whether it's flying out of the UK with a briefcase full of class A drugs, talking to the BBC's John Humphries in her nightie, displaying a naked hunk's willy on her office wall, or having Myra Hindley as her tea-lady, Chris Duffin's life as a prison governor was never dull. As the first female governor into HMP Strangeways and the notorious Dartmoor Prison, Governor Chris Duffin was a ground-breaker.

jail talesA fascinating talk by Chris Duffin yesterday, a very personal story of her journey to becoming a prison governor and then hair raising tales of her time as governor of Strangeways and other prisons. Her book is only £1.99 on Amazon kindle - I'm looking forward to reading it! - Cathy

with entertainment by magician Jack Dent

This year our New Year Party - open to partners - is online via Zoom. As well as some magic from Jack we will be having a treasure hunt.

2021 01 Jack Dent
A fun evening with Jack Dent! Treasure hunt, music and magic, audience participation but how strange for Jack not to hear us laugh and applaud him!

and Life Story Writing with Sarah Lott

Picture from Sarah Lott's website has met far too many people who regret not asking their loved ones questions about their or their relatives’ lives or getting memories written down.
Sarah will help us celebrate and secure precious family memories, in a friendly, enjoyable and personal way and take part in a creative and worthwhile project.

Another great meeting this evening! Sarah has certainly inspired me to write down some memories... Cathy

I'm certainly guilty of having boxes of photographs with no notes of who anyone is. I must sort them out. Gillian

Misba Khan takes us on an epic journey

misba khanExpeditionist Felicity Aston, MBE, led Misba Khan with 10 other women on The Women’s Euro-Arabian North Pole Expedition in April, 2018 in temperatures as low as -40°C. Misba, who works in finance for the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, is the first British Muslim to do an Arctic expedition.

What a wonderful speaker! Such an inspiration, in the rest of her life as much as the north pole trek. - Cathy

She was certainly an inspiring woman. She is not only a great role model in her own Muslim culture but for any women of any creed how she took on this challenge! Such a lovely person as well. We could have listened to her for ages , just telling it like it was. Amazing. - Carol

Well, it’s not often that I think that the talk was great but that the Q&A after was better, but I think it was! What a lovely lady - Gillian

with Lindsey Rowlands

guide dogs logo
Lindsey, who is assisted by her guide dog Leyland, will be speaking to us about the varied work of the charity.

Once again a very good talk last night. I have attended several talks on the same theme but Lindsey put a completely different slant on the detail. I was very interested in a blind person’s perception because people usually concentrate on the dog. - Ann

Her talk was fascinating and gave us a real insight into life with a sight disability, and how a guide dog makes such a huge difference - Cathy

Speaker: Penny Thompson

wedding bouquetAn informative talk from Shropshire-based Independent Celebrant Penny Thompson with some amusing anecdotes covering the changes in trends for weddings, baby namings, and funerals.

What Penny talked about was so interesting, and certainly gave us food for thought as to how to celebrate or commemorate important life events.

Speaker: Kathryn Kelly

The 1832 red and white 'lighthouse-on-legs' at Burnham-on-Sea. Picture by Zenon Panteli.Life on the Rocks tells the story of Kathryn's family’s long and distinguished service as lighthouse keepers. It includes the tale of how her paternal grandfather found his way into the record books after being stranded for the longest recorded period on one of the UK’s most challenging lighthouses – miles out to sea in the tempestuous Atlantic. The family connection with this proud, but dangerous, profession stretches back for generations on both sides of Kathryn's father’s family.

Kathryn Kelly lives by the sea in Torquay, Devon and has had a long and varied career in journalism, broadcasting and writing. She is a former BBC and ITN journalist and studied history at Oxford.

What an interesting speaker! Fascinating to hear about her family history of lighthouse keepers, and what wonderful photos of her grandparents!

Postponed until 1st June 2022

The talk by Alf Jenkins, originally scheduled for June 2021 will now be held next year.

Our garden meeting 2018

[Pictured: our garden meeting at the same venue in 2018]

Crossed fingers we will be able to meet up for our garden party this year. If restrictions allow, we will meet at member Gilli's and celebrate the first NHS, Social Care and Frontline Workers Day! Cake will be involved......

It was good to have a proper meeting and see so many members face to face, especially those that we have barely seen except on zoom since they joined.

Gilli was a wonderful hostess, the rain kept off and England won the football!   - Cathy

A great opportunity to re-engage with everyone and a welcome change to zoom! - Sara 


The Isle Estate houseLifting carrots on the Isle Estate

We will stay local this year, and plan to visit the Isle Estate, Bicton, for a talk and walk on the history of the farm and update on modern agricultural practices and regenerative farming. To be followed by afternoon tea!

A really fab afternoon, Edward was so informative, just lovely to walk on the farm. The cakes were something else! - Shirley

Fantastic afternoon in the Shropshire countryside! Cakes were amazing - Tanya

Speaker: Paula Pierce

Eco-friendly, zero waste and plastic-free products and ideas to help you on your journey to being kinder to the planet. This meeting will be held in Bicton Village Hall at 7.30pm.

We were so pleased that Paula was able to step in at extremely short notice to replace our original speaker, who had recently moved to the south coast, for our first meeting back in the Hall since March 2020. – Gillian

A wonderful night, good speaker, good company good food! – Carol


Speaker: Dorothy Nicolle

humpty dumptyAfter our AGM we will welcome back Dorothy, this time to talk about nursery rhymes. Many of the rhymes that we sing to our children and grandchildren go back hundreds of years. Some recall historic events, some were political lampoons of their day, some were simply quite scurrilous.

[Photo credit: Human Vectors by Vecteezy]

Dorothy is such an engaging speaker - a fascinating whistlestop tour of nursery rhymes! Not so sure many of them were really suitable for the nursery.... - Cathy

Tutor: Malcolm Whittall

malcolm whittallIn 2020 Malcolm took a cartoon workshop for us at very short notice (his first ever on Zoom) and it was a roaring success, so we’ve invited him back for another - hopefully in the Village Hall this time.

A really lovely meeting! - Gilli

Good fun but I don't think I'll be giving my Xmas card to anyone!! - Shirley

Great night - good fun - Sara

The Croft, Hadnall

We had to cancel our 2020 Christmas meal due to Covid-19 restrictions but this year we return to The Croft for good food and good company!

A view of our Christmas party from the restaurant gallery

Last night I became to feel "normal" again. Lovely food and great company. – Margaret

A really lovely evening, we enjoyed ourselves very much. – Shirley

Yes we had lots of fun on our table, the venue was lovely xx. – Mandy

Speaker: Grp Capt (Retd) Jon Fynes

red arrowsIn a career lasting 35 years, Jon flew over 40 different aircraft and, amongst many roles, was responsible for the Red Arrows.

Absolutely fantastic presentation, one of my favourites since becoming a WI member. What an amazing career, a great storyteller as well how he relived the day of the Queen Mothers funeral. - Kandis

An absolutely entertaining speaker - Mandy



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