WI Life – Institute News Reports (*New Year 2022)

Posted February 4, 2022 by WI Staff in Local Areas


“The New Year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written.”

(Melody Beattie)


Snippets of WI Life!


Now that some form of normality has returned and Institutes are holding official, face-to-face meetings again, our traditional Institute New reports return!  For future reference, if you are submitting a report for publication in the Ulster Countrywoman, please follow the format of the condensed, edited versions that are published in the magazine.  


News reports only need to give a brief synopsis of your meeting and should not be too lengthy.  The word limit is approx. 70 words per monthly meeting (give or take!)


Don’t forget, you can also submit photographs of your meetings and activities for the main Features section of the magazine, as well as for the WI Facebook page.


Please email all content for consideration directly to:   editor@wini.org.uk


*All the reports submitted on time for the New Year 2022 magazine deadline are published here:


Aghadowey                              Meetings resumed in November, with President Betty Hazlett warmly welcoming everyone back.  Members stood for a minute’s silence in memory of dear friend and fellow member Vera Topping.  Secretary Doris gave an illustrated presentation on her trip to South Africa.  The journey began in Johannesburg, then up to Kruger National Park, travelling back down the east coast and then across the south of the country to Cape Town, ending with a visit to the spectacular Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. President Betty gave the vote of thanks.

The annual dinner was held in The Brown Trout Inn in December.  The meal was delicious and everyone enjoyed the chance to socialise in the relaxing surroundings. The evening closed with each member receiving a Secret Santa gift.  The ladies are looking forward to more meetings in 2022!


Aghanloo                    President Lorna welcomed everyone to a very well supported meeting in November.  Arrangements were outlined for the Christmas meal in December.  Lorna then handed over to fellow member Clare Robertson, who gave an illustrated talk on her nursing career and the vital role she has in Infection Prevention and Control – a very topical and busy role at present! Linda McMullan thanked Clare and presented a planter.  Some WI business brought the meeting to a close.


Ahoghill                 President Yvonne Crabbe welcomed everyone in December.  The demonstrator for the evening was Maureen Scullion, who created a festive floral arrangement. Maureen’s beautiful arrangement was later gifted as 1st prize in the Christmas draw, won by Alma Suthers.  Other prize winners included Rhonda Kyle and Wendy Keys (hampers), Jean Clarke (poinsettia) and Liz Gardiner (chocolates). Gifts were presented to the honorary members.  Supper included delicious mince pies and shortbread, supplied by Valerie Shaw and Mary Kernohan.


Annahilt                  President Miriam welcomed everyone to the October meeting.  The speaker was Ethel Murdock, who gave a presentation on a Boys Brigade project in Uganda that she and many BB members were involved in.  Ethel explained how the project began back in 2000 and had continued to develop to date. It was wonderful to see the progress made over the years.

The speaker at the November meeting was Alwyn Millar, who gave a delightful demonstration on how to make a Christmas wreath and table centre.  Both arrangements were beautifully finished and later gifted to members – the winners were Christine McConaghy and Lorraine McKibben.  The competition for a pretty candle in holder was won by: 1st  Margaret Johnston, 2nd Julie Harbinson, 3rd Yvonne Coyle.


Annalong                  New President Linda welcomed everyone to the November meeting, especially two of the newest ladies – Alice and Eileen.  Members learnt of the very sad news that a well-loved and extremely talented member of the group, Mrs Evelyn Trimble, had passed away.  The guest speaker was Jenny from The Green Holiday Cottages, situated in the Kingdom of Mourne.  Jenny stressed the importance of keeping healthy and active, and outlined the benefits of walking.


Artana                    President Elizabeth Cross welcomed everyone to the October meeting. The speaker was Richard McCaw from the Northern Ireland Daffodil Group.  Richard delivered a very interesting account of his experiences in breeding new varieties of daffodil, and also advised of the do’s and don’ts of growing them. The competition winner was Vera Gibson with her beautiful flowerpot.  The birthday girl was Elma Somerville.

In November, the ladies held their 70th Anniversary meeting. Long-time member Elma Somerville delivered a potted account of the Institute’s seventy year history, which started in November 1951, in what was her primary school classroom!  The speaker was Stewart Taylor, who told of his experiences as a former painter and decorator, and now Bed and Breakfast host.  The competition winner was Marie Cosgrove, for her description of a 5-star B&B.  The birthday girl was Lila Scott.


Aughnacloy                         In November, the group met for the first time in new premises – the first proper meeting in almost two years!  There was a wartime theme for the evening – Doreen and Jean recited poetry, Patricia spoke about her grandfather in World War l, and Helen discussed how her two daughters coped with tours of Afghanistan.  The competition for a war-related item was won by: 1st Mabel Leitch, 2nd Elizabeth Bell, 3rd Patricia Gibson.

In December, the ladies enjoyed a festive night in, with party boxes from The Diamond Tearoom & Catering, and a Christmas cake baked by the President.  The entertainment included a quiz, a poetry recital, and a Covid-friendly game of ‘pass the parcel’ – with an invisible parcel!  The competition was for the prettiest parcel and all the parcels were later donated to Copperfield’s Private Nursing Home.


Augher                  After a long period of lockdown, the ladies were reunited with a delightful meal in Sally’s Restaurant, Aughnacloy.  President Brigid Hackett welcomed everyone and Mary Daly brought members up to speed with general WI business.  Brigid thanked Treasurer Sylvia McClung for her financial work during lockdown.  The existing Committee agreed to serve for another season.  Geraldine Williams gave a talk on the Augher Men’s Shed, a social venture for men aged 50+, and outlined the range of activities.


Ballievey                      In November, with the new starting time of 7.30pm, the ladies enjoyed a creative floral workshop entitled ‘Christmas is Coming’, led by fellow member Linda Woods.  Everyone went home with beautiful festive flower arrangements.  The competition for a floral napkin was won by: 1st Linda Woods, 2nd Jewel Flemming.  Marjorie Adams won the ballot prize.

President Barbara Moore welcomed everyone to the Christmas Fun Night. With games, quizzes, flasks of tea and goodies, it was a warm festive evening! Leslie Martin was congratulated on winning the Federation competition at the Christmas Event in the Crowne Plaza, for her handmade Christmas tree decoration. The competition on the night was won by: 1st Linda Woods, 2nd Geraldine Sayers.  Leslie Martin won the ballot. A donation of food was given to the Banbridge Community Store Bank.


Ballycarry                           In November, President Maybeth McQuitty welcomed everyone to an informal get together, to renew friendships and catch up on news. Casual discussions on possible future events took place. Maureen McWha and Maybeth McQuitty were congratulated on their recent golden wedding anniversaries and presented with pot plants. Three members also celebrated birthdays in November.  The meeting closed with some light refreshments.

In December, the ladies visited Coleman’s Nursery for morning tea/coffee, followed by some Christmas shopping.  Everyone enjoyed the chance to socialise and catch up on recent events. Members had produced lots of knitted garments during lockdown and these were presented to the Neonatal and Maternity Unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital.


Ballyclare                      In December, the ladies met in Ballyclare Golf Club for afternoon tea, their last meeting of the year.  Everyone had to produce a Covid pass or vaccine confirmation, but this was no bother and there was an almost total turnout of the group.  Past members and those unable to attend were in everyone’s thoughts and the room was filled with the sound of voices in conversation.  It is hoped there can be more socialising together in 2022!


Ballygawley                In November, the ladies held their first meeting since Covid restrictions were imposed.  President Violet welcomed everyone back together again.  The speaker was Laura Thompson from NI Chest Heart & Stroke.  Laura was presented with a cheque on behalf of the Institute and members were brought up to date with the latest Federation news.  Elizabeth Smiton thanked Violet for her kind contribution to funds and presented her with a bouquet of flowers.  Tea and plenty of chat followed, as everyone enjoyed catching up.

In December, the speaker was Ann Marie O’Neill, who led a baking demonstration featuring a selection of seasonal cupcakes – these were later enjoyed at suppertime!  The competition for the prettiest wrapped gift was won by: 1st Nan Gilmore, 2nd Carol Cathers, 3rd Nora O’Donnell.  Violet presented Ann Marie with a token of appreciation and extended Season’s Greetings.


Ballygrainey               Christmas came early to Ballygrainey, with an afternoon of craft led by fellow member Diane Leitch in November.  Under Diane’s creative expertise, members produced a selection of beautiful lighted bottles, all decorated with Christmas in mind.  President Fay Higgins expressed her thanks to Diane, and Secretary Vera Kerr brought everyone up to date with Federation news. Plans were made for the Christmas party in December and the meeting closed with a welcome cuppa.


Ballymoney                   The ladies held their Christmas Dinner in the Brown Trout Inn, Aghadowey. The meal was lovely and every member received a Christmas gift. Following the meal, a number of prizes were handed out to lucky members.  In accordance with Covid regulations, there were no party games or singing, but it was still great fun socialising together.  The birthday girl was Nicola Osborne.  President Isabel Dobbin wished everyone a Happy Christmas.


Ballynure                  President Liz Steele welcomed everyone to a casual get together in November, adhering to Covid regulations.  Some members had brought along their knitting and crochet to work on, while others were happy to just chat and catch up. Those wishing to learn crochet were shown the initial steps by member Beth Rowney.  After supper, Liz thanked everyone for coming and plans were made for another meeting.

Vice-President Jeannie Lynd welcomed all those able to attend the December meeting. Once again, Covid regulations were observed. Jeannie recited amusing poetry and shared a few funny stories. Everyone was able to have a good chat and catch up with the latest news.  A tasty supper was provided by the Committee.  Margaret Gault won the magazine prize.  Christmas wishes were exchanged and plans were made to meet up in the New Year – Covid restrictions permitting!


Ballysallagh                    In November, the ladies welcomed Jane Fox, a member of Carryduff WI and the Feltmakers North Guild.  Jane displayed many items, including a hat, scarves and ‘toys’ – a dog, a fish, a gnome and a fox finger puppet! – all created using various felting techniques and wool from different breeds of sheep.  After WI business, Fiona showed the lovely photo album she had made, featuring Institute activities and celebrations. Eileen won the ballot.


Boardmills                            President Agnes welcomed members to the December meeting. The proceedings kicked off with a tasty finger buffet meal, which everyone enjoyed. Committee member Ann had organized a Christmas special ‘snowman drive’ game, which brought out a bit of competitive spirit!  The night concluded with Agnes wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and each lady left for home with a small goodie bag.


Broughshane                     In November, President Annie Davison welcomed textile artist Shelley Steele whose felt creations can be purchased online or at Midtown Makers, Ballymena. Shelley demonstrated the process of creating felt fabric from woollen fibres with pieces of silk, lace and viscose incorporated.  On display was a range of her felt scarves, hats, collars, brooches, bags, bowls and wall hangings. Shirley Knox gave a vote of thanks.  Iris McFetridge won the competition for a felt item.  Margaret Logan had the lucky magazine number.


Caledon                   President Teresa welcomed everyone to the December meeting.  The speaker was Hilary Gillespie, who guided members through a creative demonstration of Christmas crafts. A tasty festive supper was provided in individual boxes by fellow member Pam Morrow.  Hilary judged the competition for the prettiest Christmas napkin and the winners were: 1st Anne Herron, 2nd Margaret Verner. WI business was conducted and the meeting ended with everyone exchanging happy, healthy Christmas wishes.


Carnlough                      The ladies enjoyed getting together in November.  WI Business was discussed, including the monthly meeting time and forthcoming events.  It was decided that the meeting time would be changed for the duration of the winter months – to 1pm on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, in Ardclinis Church Hall.  The limerick competition was won by: 1st Mary O’Kane, 2nd Pat McCormick, 3rd Moira McAllister.  Plans were made for the Christmas dinner in December.


Carrickfergus               September was the group’s first official meeting since the start of the pandemic, so the ladies enjoyed a casual evening together catching up.  Some members brought along craftwork they had produced in lockdown, including knitting, cross stitch and various upcycled items. It was good to get back to some kind of normality and to chat with friends after so long apart.

In October, the speaker was Marion Magill who gave a demonstration on the art of fruit sculpture.  Marion explained that when she was a Girl Guide leader, the girls did not want to eat the fruit at camp, so she found ways to make it more fun – making owls from pineapples and frogs from melons!  Marion showed the ladies how to make the frog with a mouth full of fruit, and create the shape of turtles using kiwis.


Carryduff                       The group met in November and WI business got underway.  Unfortunately, the planned speaker was unable to attend but the ladies made their own fun with a lively beetle drive. There were plenty of laughs and a bit of healthy competition along the way!  The competition was for a fancy purse and the winners were: 1st Rhubina, 2nd Wendy, 3rd Marlene. Emma was the birthday girl.

A special Christmas meeting was held in December, with some lovely nibbles and mulled wine – very tasty!  The competition was for a Christmas bauble and the winners were: 1st Marlene, 2nd Elaine.  There was a big list of ballot winners, but the first three lucky ladies drawn were Elaine, Linda and Jean. The evening closed with some carol singing.


Collone                 In November, members headed out to dinner in Digby’s Restaurant, Killylea.  The meal was delicious and everyone appreciated the relaxed environment and excellent service.  WI business matters were addressed, followed by a time of reflection in memory of Rita Gray, who sadly passed away in October.  Prior to her illness, Rita had been a very active member, serving as President and Secretary on several occasions. The evening concluded with a quiz, spot prizes and a humorous poetry recital by Jennifer and Ann.


Crossgar                 In November, the speaker was John Cartwright who displayed a treasure trove of items from bygone eras – from postal whistles, to household utensils. A lot of his treasures related to the war era.  The competition for a piece of wartime memorabilia was won by: 1st Lorna Stevenson, 2nd Debbie Smyth, 3rd Olga Cairns. Eunice Murdock won the ballot prize. Rhona Niblock was the birthday girl. Last year’s Competition Cup was shared between Ethna Douglas and Elizabeth Hutchinson. Lily Gabbie received the Purdy Cup.


Crumlin                   The ladies enjoyed a Victorian Christmas evening in Ballance House, Glenavy. Freddie Hall from the Ulster/New Zealand Trust welcomed everyone and outlined the history of John Ballance, who became Prime Minister of New Zealand.  The festive evening featured party games, and poetry and songs performed by the Institute’s award winning quartet.  A delicious supper was served in the tea barn and everyone received a Secret Santa gift. The competition winners were: 1st Ann Puttock, 2nd Joan Stephens, 3rd Hazel Minford.


Cullybackey                    President Ruth Orr welcomed everyone to the December meeting.  The evening had a festive theme – Maureen Adams demonstrated her skill in creating a Christmas dinner table centre, Rebecca Evans recited two of her own witty poetic compositions (in which every member got a mention!), Christmas decorations were made by the ladies, under the guidance of Merle Campbell, and there was a recitation by Rosemary Kennedy in relation to Covid. A really fun night together!


Culmore                  The November meeting was chaired by Avril, as President Dawn Devine is still recovering from Covid. The ladies were glad to hear that she is getting better by the day!  It was an enjoyable night, as Secretary Milda led a creative demonstration, helping each member to make a lovely needle and thread holder.  The competition for a Christmas napkin was won by Margaret Thompson.


Derriaghy                   After a long lockdown, members were at last able to resume their regular meetings, on 11th October and again on 8th November.  March 2022 will be a very big date for the ladies – the Institute’s 70th Anniversary!

In December, the ladies were able to meet for a lovely Christmas lunch in the Beechlawn Hotel.  It was great fun to be able to socialise together and there was plenty of chatter and catching up.  President Marie Darrah proposed holding monthly meetings on Thursdays, in the hope that it would suit a lot more of the members.  On leaving, Marie gave each member a small gift, wishing all a Happy Christmas.


Desertcreat                       The AGM was held in September.  The 2021-22 Committee was elected, with Maureen Steele Graham as the new President.  All members are looking forward to the Institute’s 75th Anniversary year and hope that meetings can resume safely in their lovely hall. The ladies had been using WhatsApp to keep in touch during lockdown.

On 1st October, some members travelled to Woodbank House Vintage Tearoom in Garvagh for afternoon tea.  Everyone was delighted to be able to meet again and enjoy the most delicious food.  On the return home, they visited Garvagh Museum and Heritage Centre and the Mid Ulster Garden Centre.  A great day out!

At the October meeting, the speaker was Evelyn McAleer, a life coach and author, who entertained with some very interesting and inspiring ideas to improve your mindset.  Evelyn has written several books on this subject.


Donaghadee                          At the December meeting, postponed by a week due to Storm Barra, President Yvonne McIlmail thanked members for their generous contributions to the Storehouse Food Bank charity.  Christine Rankin led members in decorating a candle for Christmas with pleasing results; she also gave members ideas on how to upcycle and remake Christmas decorations.  The competition for a homemade Christmas card was won by Maureen Wilson. Birthday pens were presented to President Yvonne and Trudy Heatherington.


Downpatrick                  November saw the Downpatrick members donning their trainers and getting active!  Jane Campbell, the guest for the evening, led the ladies through a yoga-based exercise and relaxation session.  The exercises were fun and easy to follow, and Jane’s friendly manner ensured that everyone went home feeling rejuvenated and ready for anything!  The competition ‘tips for a healthy life’ was won by: 1st Linda Sales, 2nd Geraldine Grey.  Linda Sales also won the ballot.


Drumbeg                 In December, the ladies got together for their Christmas party.  The celebration was held in Belsize Road Masonic Hall, allowing plenty of room to socially distance but still enjoy lots  of chat and fun.  A ballot and a quiz were held and a lovely festive supper followed.

Unfortunately, the annual dinner had to be postponed, but hopefully it will get the go-ahead for January instead.


Drumcree               In November, President Johanna welcomed guest speaker Elaine Devlin from the ABC Council whose subject was ‘Take 5’.  Elaine gave a light-hearted but informative well-being presentation, sharing practical mental health advice.  Each member received a goodie bag.  Jean Clarke thanked Elaine and presented her with a plant.  The competition for a relaxation tip was won by Iris Aiken. Vera Best was the birthday girl. Fiona Waugh won the supper prize.

In December, the ladies got into the festive spirit with a fabulous Christmas dinner in The Yellow Door, Portadown.  The meal was delicious and proprietor Simon Duggan even dropped by to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Each member received a Christmas gift. Joy King was the birthday girl.


Dundonald                 The Dundonald ladies were in festive mood when they met in the Ballyoran Centre for their Christmas meeting. Following WI business, the group played Christmas bingo when a full house was won by Evelyn Ruddock. Muriel Whyte won the Christmas quiz. Wendy Barr was the birthday girl and also won the ballot!  Members enjoyed a festive supper and sang carols, accompanied by Ann McKinley.  On leaving, each lady received an engraved bud vase commemorating Dundonald WI’s 75th Anniversary.


Eglinton                               President Karen welcomed everyone in November.  The speaker was Jai Hunter from Hunter Aromatics who gave a presentation on essential oils, outlining their healing properties and health benefits. She explained how the oils can be used in everyday life. Jai also holds yoga classes in the village. Olivia thanked her for the very informative talk.

In December, the ladies held a special Christmas Night in The White Horse, Campsie. After a lovely meal, guest speaker Mary Murphy was introduced.  Mary taught in Thornhill College, a girls grammar school in Londonderry, but she also worked for the BBC and Radio Foyle and is renowned for her storytelling.  Mary entertained with funny stories from her teaching days and tales of her childhood. The competition for the best wrapped parcel was won by Olivia Nutt.  The parcels were later donated to Faughanvale Community Centre.


Fivemiletown                           President Florence Brunt welcomed everyone to the November meeting.  Florence was recently presented with her MBE award by Princess Anne at Windsor Castle and she showed a video of the ceremony, where she was accompanied by her daughter Angela. She also brought along her outfit and her medal.  Congratulations were extended to Phyllis Johnston who celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary back in July. Members stood as a mark of respect to all who had been bereaved since the last meeting.

The December meeting was held in The Buttermarket and all the members were glad to get together again.  Everyone tucked into a delicious festive supper, after which Florence showcased examples of her handmade Christmas wreaths.  Secretary Thelma Coulter surprised each lady with a gift and the evening closed with Christmas wishes.


Garvagh                             In November, the ladies were reunited after lockdown and welcomed back by new President Kirsten Houmann-Green.  The 2021-22 Committee have planned an interesting season ahead!  The speaker was Aidan Convery from the opticians in Maghera who gave an informative eye care presentation. The competition for the prettiest glasses case was won by Elizabeth Connor.  Christine Brown proposed a vote of thanks. It was lovely to be together again and the ladies are looking forward to many more evenings of friendship and fun!

At the December meeting, the speaker was Nonglak McFadden, a very talented Garvagh lady, who shared stories of her life and business, including journeys from Thailand to Northern Ireland. Susan Green entertained with lovely festive harp music and the evening continued with a quiz, poetry and creative crafts. An exciting programme is planned for 2022 – Covid permitting!


Glenanne                       The December meeting was the Institute’s annual Christmas dinner, held in the Charlemont Hotel, Armagh.  President Carole Baird welcomed members and guests, and everyone enjoyed a lovely meal. Christine Watt had compiled a fun Christmas carol quiz sheet; this was followed by a raffle. It was great to be able to socialise together and celebrate Christmas.


Hillhall               The AGM was held in October, with Federation Treasurer Sheelagh McRandal presiding.  The 2021-22 Committee was elected: Anna Scott (President), Norma Coggins (Vice-President), Davina Gilbert (Secretary) and Alice Simpson (Treasurer).  Dorothy Simpson was congratulated on her golden wedding anniversary. Daphne and Sandra were wished a speedy recovery from their hospital stays. Condolences were given to Margaret and Danielle on their recent bereavements.  Sheelagh updated everyone on the latest Federation news and events.

In November, the ladies welcomed their youngest ever guest speaker – ten year old Lucy Stewart, assisted by her younger sister Katherine and accompanied by their mother. The trio gave a presentation on the great work carried out by the Children’s Heartbeat Trust, outlining how they benefited from the charity when Lucy was born with congenital heart disease. Lucy displayed a number of delightful handmade items for sale.


Hillsborough                  The planned speaker for November was unable to attend, but luckily Simon Walker stepped in at short notice.  Simon is a wonderful historian and he enthralled the audience with stories of the origins of Hillsborough and the ‘Old Guard’.  He also displayed photographs of the men, as well as his own uniform – and after explaining how to get into it, the ladies were relieved that none of them had to wear it!

Things were a little different at the Christmas party – Santa couldn’t come due to Brexit border protocols and members had decided there would be no music!  The first party game was a snowman drive (similar to a beetle drive), with individual dice and shakers. It’s truly amazing how quickly some ladies can throw dice!  Members recited poetry and chatted, before a rendering of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.


Irvinestown                       The AGM was held in October.  Outgoing Secretary Colette Harrison read the minutes and outgoing Treasurer Caroline Bleakley gave the financial report. It was proposed by Rhoda Farrelly and seconded by Margaret Beacom that seven Committee members would be elected for the 2021-22 season.  Voting commenced and the new Committee was elected as follows: Colette Harrison, Eileen Turner, Caroline Bleakley and May Armstrong, with Rhoda Farrelly as President, Margaret Gray as Secretary and Violet Duncan as Treasurer.

New President Rhoda Farrelly welcomed everyone to the November meeting. Secretary Margaret Gray had brought along a beautifully decorated Christmas wreath and cracker. In addition, Margaret showed the ladies wonderful knitted items including pixies and carol singers. The competition for the most unusual magnet was won by Gwen Pattison. Rhoda Farrelly won the raffle prize.


Jerrettspass                The ladies met on 8th December, when the topic for the meeting was ‘Anne on her griddle’.  This was a very enjoyable demonstration, especially the apple potato bread and soda bread!  Everyone got to sample the bread with a cup of tea and found it to be delicious.  It was great to be back to some sort of normality after such a long period of absence due to the Coronavirus. The ladies hope that this will be the start of better days to come.


Kells & Connor                       In November, the ladies held their annual dinner in the luxury of the Rosspark Hotel and the standard of cuisine was excellent. The 2021-22 Committee members were introduced and a fun quiz followed. The competition was for a mask with a difference and due to the entries, the winners were split into two groups – Covid masks and ‘other’ masks!  Six long-standing members were awarded honorary membership and each received a yellow rose to signify friendship. 

At the Christmas party, there was a varied programme of entertainment, including dingbats and a quiz, organised by Olga O’Neill and Iris Manson, a sketch by Marie Mewha and Eleanor Worthington, and poetry by Rosemary McAllister and Wilma Buick. The competition for a handmade Christmas bauble was won by: 1st Jean McKee, 2nd Mary Crothers, 3rd Sharon Graham. Several lucky ladies won Christmas hampers and foodie goodies.


Kesh                     President Jackie Savva welcomed everyone in November, including speaker Maurice Lee.  With the aid of an illustrated presentation, Maurice gave a synopsis of his book Memories of Kesh, which covers everything that makes up the historic and present structure of Kesh, including a chapter about Kesh WI; it will be an invaluable record for future generations.  All proceeds are being donated to Kindfund and The Peoples History Project.

In December, members met at the Courthouse Café for a Christmas Movie Night.  Everyone settled down with popcorn to watch Miracle on 34th Street.  At the interval, the usherette (Jackie) served ice cream and later everyone enjoyed a festive supper prepared by the Courthouse staff.  Anne Keys won the prize for best festive outfit.  Secret Santa parcels were distributed. Iris Knox proposed a vote of thanks to Jackie and Audry Reid for organising the evening.


Killinchy             After a very long break due the Covid-19 pandemic, the opening meeting of the season took place at Killinchy Play Park.  In support of the ‘Plant a Tree for Our Future’ campaign, and with the help of a council member, the ladies planted a selection of trees and a plaque was placed to celebrate the WI’s 90th anniversary in 2022.  A cup of tea/coffee, scones and a chat was a very welcome reward afterwards at the Old Post Office.

In December, the ladies celebrated Christmas at The Secret Garden restaurant, where members enjoyed a lovely festive dinner, followed by a delicious dessert, tea/coffee and shortbread.  After the meal, everyone had the opportunity to have a browse around the adjoining gift shop.


Killultagh                 In November, President Elizabeth Halliday welcomed everyone to a craft presentation by fellow member Elizabeth Hendon. From an early age, Elizabeth had mastered many creative skills.  She showcased wonderful examples of her work – crochet, knitted vegetables, fruit and toys, embroidery, Japanese embroidery, patchwork, appliqué and quilting! Her competition ‘Name that Stitch’ was won by: 1st Alice McMurtrey, 2nd Heather Adair, joint 3rd Susan Watson and Olive Campbell.  The ballot winners were Betty Shirlow, Etta Morris and Margaret Hollinger.

In December, twenty-four ladies enjoyed a delicious Christmas dinner in Gowdy’s restaurant at the Maze. Honorary membership certificates were presented to Beth McCullough and founder member Maeve Campbell. Many ballot prizes were won and the birthday girl was Beth Shirlow. The festivities came to a close with some carol singing.


Killycurragh                   The Killycurragh ladies are back again!  In December, the group had its first official meeting of the season, with a lovely meal in the Royal Hotel, Cookstown.  President Jenny Bell welcomed everyone, and although the membership is relatively small, it is hoped that some new ladies will be recruited in 2022. It was agreed that the present Committee would continue for the rest of the year.  The Committee had actually met earlier and an event programme has been completed.


Larne                    The Larne ladies finished off 2021 with a fun-filled evening.  Once WI business was dealt with, everyone enjoyed a festive craft session, making beautiful Christmas baubles, all from one inch scraps of fabric.  A delicious supper followed, with traditional mince pies and shortbread. They closed the evening by exchanging their secret Santa gifts.
Leckpatrick                         The ladies met in Foxlodge Cricket Club in December.  Margaret Connolly demonstrated how to make different styles of Christmas floral table arrangements, which she later kindly donated to be raffled. The competition for an unusual piece of Christmas jewellery was won by Liz Henderson. The monthly raffle was won by Gail Sproule. Individually wrapped, delicious, home-baked supper parcels were made by Ethel Patterson, Alison McCrea, Lorna Clyde and Ivy Bell.


Loughgall                       In November, members enjoyed a craft evening, making delightful Christmas baubles.  This activity was expertly led by Ina Crawford, who provided all the resources.  Ina demonstrated the use of lambs’ ears, both fresh and fabric, and other materials to cover a polystyrene bauble. Coloured pins were used to attach them and a hook was the finishing touch. Elizabeth Dodds and Florence Anderson were judged as 1st and 2nd consecutively for their Christmas bauble decorations. The lively evening culminated in a delicious supper.

The December meeting was marked by a Movie Night. Members watched ‘Finding Your Feet’, starring Imelda Staunton and Timothy Spall. A Christmas supper was provided by the Committee, including popcorn served in festively decorated tubs, scones, sandwiches, mince pies, tray bakes and a selection of sweets and soft drinks. Christmas greetings were extended to all, ending the festivities.


Macosquin                              President Jennifer Creelman welcomed everyone to the November meeting. She expressed heartfelt thanks for all past President Rose Watson had done during the last two very difficult years. Vivienne Wright was presented with a gift by Gladys Wallace, President forty years ago when Vivienne joined the WI. Christine Williams spoke entertainingly about Grandma’s Spoons: bracelets, pendants and rings made from Hallmarked silver spoons. ‘Sea Secrets’ uses sea glass from local beaches. A lovely display was much admired.


Maghaberry                   President Ann Henning welcomed everyone the special Christmas Night, where members shared their talents!  Ann demonstrated how to make ginger truffles – later sampled at supper time.  Ina entertained with festive jokes.  Lynsay made some Christmas crafts, including decorated jam jars and a beautiful Prairie Point Star. Shirley tested brains with a ‘House Of Games’ quiz – won by Ann, Heather, Laura and Sharon. The winners of the oldest Christmas decoration competition were: 1st Lynsay, 2nd Dawn, 3rd Audrey.


Maze                         In November, members were treated to a very informative talk from Yvonne and Jocelyn of Orchid Lingerie, on how bras are made and how to ensure that when choosing a bra it is the right fit and shape for you. The competition for the Helen Dunlop Vase was won by Heather McCaw. Cathy Robinson and Margaret Leckey won the Foundation Members Shield for attaining the most Homecraft ribbons over the last two years.

In December, the meeting started with mulled wine and shortbread, after which members learnt how to properly wrap Christmas presents, with Patricia Grant from Ballyclare WI explaining how to measure and fold the paper properly to avoid lumpy ends. There was a visit from Santa Claus and his chief elf who gave all the members a small gift!  The competition winner was Dorothy Andrews.  Sally Houston won the Christmas raffle.


Moneymore                In November, President Marian welcomed everyone and signed the minutes of the last meeting, read by Secretary Christine. Marian reported on the upkeep of Federation House and highlighted important items from the magazine. June entertained with her floral art skills, producing three enchanting arrangements, with flowers from the President’s garden and her own!  The lucky recipients of the finished arrangements were Marion Elliott, Carol McGuckin and Linda Brown.

There was, of course, a Christmas theme for the December meeting! After WI business, Doreen recited a poem, Marian read a wonderful acrostic piece that she composed using the letters of recently deceased member Beatrice Miller’s name, and  Sylvia reported on the Christmas Event in Crowne Plaza.  Everyone enjoyed a lovely festive supper provided by Committee, as well as the fun of the Christmas raffle. The meeting closed with carol singing.


Moneyrea                In October, President Anne Graham displayed a beautiful wooden bowl, commissioned in memory of dear friend Kay Campbell, which will be presented to the Quiz winner each year.  The speaker was Jane Fox of Carryduff WI who led members in a creative workshop to make a felted poppy brooch.  Jane judged the finished poppies for the competition: 1st Jennifer Skelly, 2nd Fiona Doherty.  Gail Givan won the ballot.

The Christmas dinner was held The Auld House.  Everyone received a beautiful menu card handcrafted by Doreen Hogg.  The competition for the best wrapped Christmas present was won by Jennifer Skelly. The Birthday girl was a guest Lynn Patterson. The Molly Lappin Trophy for an item from the Homecraft Syllabus was presented to Jennifer Skelly. Nelson and Laura Bryce revealed two special items in memory of Linda Bryce – a trophy for the handwriting competition and a commemorative linen tablecloth.


Muckamore                        Elizabeth Gray welcomed the ladies to their November meeting. The guest speaker was Vera McCullough, multi-award-winning jewellery designer.  Florence McFarland proposed a vote of thanks to Vera.  The competition awards were presented as follows: Rebecca McCourt Trophy – Joan Gray, Crystal Bowl (2nd place) – Lynda Brown, 3rd place award – Mary Taylor; The Loyalty Cup – Treasurer Lesley Allen. The birthday girl was Mae Ashcroft.


Mossley                   At the November meeting, members took part in a ‘craft and natter’ session, with some ladies bringing along knitting, crochet or sewing projects. Those who had no craft with them were able to decorate glass jars to use as tea lights, under the guidance of Thelma Coffey – and of course everyone took part in the nattering!  The competition for an unusual fridge magnet was won by: 1st Nancy Wharry, 2nd Greta Crawford. Celia Catherwood won the ballot.

In December, President Jennifer Cosgrove welcomed members and friends to the cafe at Coleman’s Garden Centre, where they all enjoyed a scone and coffee or tea, plus small tasty treats supplied by the President and Vice-President Angela O’Connor. The following lucky ladies won prizes in the ballot: Ina Nesbitt, Margaret Stokes, Christine McCormick and Jennifer Cosgrove.


Newtownbreda                Members and visitors alike enjoyed the Christmas Evening in December. Windmill Fabrics came along to engage everyone in making a festive decoration. Alistair (the President’s husband) provided delightful background music while the ladies laughed and chatted, helping one another to complete their projects. Jane Laverick won the competition with her amazing knitted Christmas teddy bear!  Farmhouse Treats provided the delicious supper (all within Covid restrictions, of course).  The evening closed with carols and each lady received a goodie bag.


Newtownstewart                     There was a good turnout for the last meeting of 2021, which featured a demonstration by the very talented Roberta, who showed members how to make Christmas flower arrangements using different foliage and textures. Roberta also shared floral art tips on how to create your own arrangements.  The competition was won by new member Hazel Giboney. President Valerie was congratulated on the birth of her first grandchild. The meeting closed with some festive singing.


Rathfriland                         The November meeting opened on a sad note, as President Noreen Smith paid tribute to honorary member Bessie Shannon, who passed away in October. Bessie loved the WI and is greatly missed by her many friends.  The speaker was Roberta Campbell, from Clay House Pottery Studio, who demonstrated the techniques involved in making a plant pot.  Ada Elliott and Caroline McCreight volunteered and worked alongside her.  The competition for a favourite piece of pottery was won by Rosemary Harbinson, Mae Ingram and Ashley Thompson.

Members, sporting festive headgear and jumpers, met in December for Games Night! Dingbats needed concentration, while Scattergories and True/False got folk thinking! The Christmas quiz was won by: 1st Margot Groves, 2nd Sheila Mark, 3rd Mae Ingram.

The Book Club, now split into two due to its popularity, has been meeting monthly, while the Dining Group enjoyed lunch out in October and November.


Richhill                           The ladies celebrated Christmas with a party in St Aidan’s Parish Centre, enjoying a glass of mulled wine on arrival. Festive music was provided by the very talented Qua Family, comprising of mum, dad and three beautiful daughters, with their array of instruments. No WI party would be complete without supper, which consisted of a finger buffet served by the Committee.  There was also a special surprise – a visit from Santa distributing gifts! The only thing missing was Santa’s big hugs!


Seaforde                   In November, the Seaforde ladies chatted at length about membership and discussed plans for an open day, with the potential to meet and greet prospective new members. It was felt that youth is needed in the WI and ideas were generated on how to attract younger members.  The subject of social media was raised, with suggestions of making short videos of WI groups for YouTube, etc. The ladies would appreciate any thoughts/ideas other Institutes may have.


St. John’s                In November, the speaker was Michael Fryer, who gave an informative presentation entitled ‘NI War Memorials’, focusing on the role of women during World War I and II.  Michael displayed many interesting artefacts, including photographs, as he spoke about jobs undertaken by women, the rationing of food and clothes, and romances with American GIs! His talk concluded with facts about the Belfast Blitz.  The vote of thanks was given by Sandra Titterington, followed by a lovely cup of tea (luckily not rationed!)


Tamlaght                In November, the President welcomed along the first guest speaker in eighteen months – Betty Galloway, who demonstrated the art of papercraft. Members were enthralled by what could be produced from a simple sheet of paper. Marie Morrow thanked Betty and a welcome cup of tea and biscuits followed, provided by Jean and Ruth. Evelyn Thompson won the raffle.

President Iris welcomed everyone to the Christmas meeting which was Members’ Night. This was the moment everyone had been waiting for, as members put their talents to the test – and they weren’t disappointed! There was everything from poems and quizzing, to sewing and party games.  The newest member Laura really sprang a surprise on everyone when she announced she had been married the previous week! Good wishes were extended to her and husband Sebastian. The evening ended with a festive supper.


Tartaraghan                  New President Mandy Neill, together with the 2021-22 Committee, welcomed Mrs Reilly to the November meeting. Members were treated to several floral art demonstrations, both contemporary and traditional.  Some quick, simple yet very effective crafts for tea light holders were also shown.  The competition for a flower arrangement in an egg cup was won by: 1st Janet Fleming, 2nd Harriett Millsopp, 3rd Mandy Neill. Many of the arrangements were kindly raffled at the end of the evening.

Members were delighted to be able to hold their Christmas Dinner at The Head O’ The Road in December. A great evening of food, quizzes and laughter was had by all. Each member went home with a lovely gift for Christmas.  Everyone is looking forward to more meetings planned for the year ahead in 2022!


Templepatrick                 In November, the ladies were led on a virtual trip through South Africa by fellow members Margaret Harbinson and Roberta Stinsin who showed slides from their South African adventure. The highlight of their holiday was a Safari Park. They also visited a national park, a bird sanctuary and a penguin colony.  The tour included a visit to a hospital in Cape Town where the first heart transplant was performed. Margaret Beattie proposed a vote of thanks. Irene Lyttle won the ballot.


Terrydremond                         President Ruth MacCombe welcomed everyone to the December meeting, when they travelled to Woodbank House in Garvagh for a sumptuous afternoon tea.  The ladies met in the drawing room of the house – where the WI in Northern Ireland was first formed!   Each member had brought a gift for the best wrapped present competition, judged by Phyllis from Woodbank, the winners were: 1st Daphne Garrett, 2nd Jennifer Deighan, 3rd Hazel Gordon.  After judging, the gifts were randomly exchanged amongst members.


Waringstown                    President Brenda Brown welcomed everyone to the October meeting – the first to be held again in the usual venue, Waringstown Primary School.  The speaker was Angeline Murphy, former Great British Sewing Bee contestant. Angeline discussed her life as a designer, blogger, sewer, teacher, brand ambassador, crafting judge and full time marketing manager!  Flowers were presented to Sandra Ledlie and Dorothy Kane, outgoing President and Secretary, for all their work during the pandemic.

In November, the President was delighted to introduce seven new members! Brenda thanked the ladies who had cleaned out the flowerbed. Committee member Alison Pickering distributed little craft packs to each lady and the rest of the evening was spent in comfortable chat and laughter, while making delightful Christmas decorations to take home! Pearl Sinnamon won the competition for the best decoration. Brenda Brown was the birthday girl.



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