Oxfordshire Federation of Women's Institutes


A super homecooked meal with a wonderful speaker! At Stanford-in-the-Vale village hall this summer, we enjoyed hearing Victoria Huxley talk about her book 'Jane Austen & Adlestrop - her other family'. This was between courses cooked by the Federation caterers, Carrol and Marilyn. All in all a splendid day.

The photo above shows Victoria Huxley with her book. Below are members of Stanford-in-the-Vale WI enjoying their meal.

This event was repeated at Kirtlington Village Hall 2 weeks later, the same lovely caterers and lots more happy members.


Gail Lawther, a great favourite of Oxfordshire members, brought along a collection of her superb quilts for members to look at. This particular collection were inspired by her travels around Great Britain. Here Gail is seen with one of her quilts and more of the collection is shown on the right.



A wonderful event with Alex Mackay, pictured here with the Chairman of the Home & Garden Committee, Jane Probitts. Alex gave a superb cookery demonstration in the morning.

This was followed in the afternoon with a demonstration by Angela Turner, NAFAS flower arranger. She is pictured here with some of her stunning designs.


We had a wonderful two days in Leeds for the Annual Meeting and can report that the Resolution on Organ Donation was passed with a 97.82% majority. More information will be coming from NFWI shortly to let us know how we can support this new campaign.

Oxfordshire delegates and representatives were thrilled to see Sue Jenkins, Thame WI, go up to collect the Lady Denman Cup from the stage. Sue is seen here with her trophy.

We were also pleased to recognise our own Trustee, Jane Probitts, Stoke Row WI, who is now a member of the National Board of Trustees. Jane can be seen here (right) with Tracy Strain, Grove WI (left), also an Oxfordshire Trustee, and Julie Pearce, E&W Hendred WI, who is the Oxfordshire Federation Treasurer.

We had an excellent selection of speakers: Andrew Motion, former Poet Laureate and now President of CPRE (Council for the Protection of Rural England); George McGavin, (below) entomologist, author, explorer and TV presenter who gave us a fascinating insight into how hisTV programmes are produced and finally Bill Turnbull, presenter on Breakfast TV and amateur bee-keeper.

The national Chair, Janice Langley, gave us more information on plans for our centenary celebrations next year and we were shown this map of the route the baton has already taken around the Federations. It will be in Oxfordshire 14-21 April 2015.

A superb meeting! We did enjoy it - and as for the singing of Jerusalem by 5,000+ women - it still thrills. More pictures can be seen on our Facebook page.


Meeting in Freeland Village Hall on the 2nd Monday at 7.45pm, this new WI would welcome visitors and new members. We wish them every success as they continue to grow.


A wonderful day, full of interesting speakers.  Also a sad goodbye to Sue Cox,  Federation Chairman for the last four years, and a warm welcome to Cheryl Boorman, the new Federation Chairman.  Here, Cheryl (on right)  is seen with Felicity Lusk, Head of Abingdon School for Boys, who gave a fascinating insight into her career path and current role.

The lovely Gold Medal entries for a wall hanging were also on display, here is the winner, a stunning barn owl design by Chris Phillips, Chadlington WI; the Australian themed hanging won the silver medal for Julie Jordan, Eynsham WI and the silver salver went to Jane Maddon, Marston WI, for the enchanting owls in a tree.


Inspiring Women Conferences 2014

Oxfordshire members are attending the Inspiring Women Conferences around the country. Here are some at the Ascot venue in early March.  Great feedback from these national led Conferences, let's all be inspired!

Christmas Songs - December 2013

This was the 40th anniversary of this event and the Combined Arts Committee really pulled out all the stops! Jane Finnerty (left in photo) led the singing of all our favourite festive songs and this was interspersed with readings and a wonderful rendition of Cinderella Revamped!

We were then able to sit back and enjoy the wonderful singing from Apollo 5, a group of young people who are part of Voces Cantabiles Music, a charitable foundation with a commitment to providing inspiring musical opportunities for young people. What a lovely way to begin the festivities!

Federation Weekend at Denman - November 2013

What a brilliant weekend we Oxfordshire members had!  Always lovely to treat yourself to a weekend away and especially good if it involves Denman!  As always we had some superb tutors and everyone finished the weekend relaxed - and better educated!

Sunday morning we are allowed to visit other classes and these are just some of the things we saw. The first was the willow class who were making a wonderful variety of items suitable for Christmas.

Then the beading class who were producing some exquisite items - Christmas presents perhaps - or did they keep them for themselves!

and the painting class - they all claimed to be complete beginners and we were very impressed with the results.

The Singers gave us a wonderful selection from their repertoire on the Saturday evening and the Cooks kept all our mouths watering with the savoury aromas coming from the Cookery School.

Thank you to all the organisers and particularly Jane and Cheryl who stepped in at the last minute to host the weekend.

Day of Dance - October 2013

Despite the adverse weather conditions the previous night, we were delighted to have nearly a 100% turn out for the Day of Dance, but then we know how keen you are to keep fit and step out under the guidance of Joan and the tutors.  Well, after warming up, we were certainly put through our paces - Bollywood, sequence dancing and cha-cha (with Liz), a break for lunch (ie a sit down!) and then back on the floor for country dancing and a rather lovely Argentine Tango (with Leroy), finishing with a Halloween themed line dance.  Our trustee, Mary Bakewell, kindly judged the Halloween hat competition – the winners are pictured in the photo.


Not quite Strictly Come Dancing standard but it was strictly fun and enjoyable.

India Day - October 2013

What a wonderful occasion this was! Exquisite saris in such stunning colours, delicious food and some wonderful talks. Seen here are just some of the saris we tried on during the afternoon.

New WI in Oxfordshire!

We are delighted to welcome COUNTRY GIRLS WI to the Federation.  They will be meeting on the second Thursday of the month at 7.30pm in West Challow Village Hall. If you would like to join them, do go along, you are sure of a warm welcome. We wish them every success.  

Murder Mystery Solved! - September 2013

A wonderful evening full of mystery and surprises!  A delicious meal with appropriate ingredients for 1944 and the costumes were superb! It was thrilling to see so many making the effort to look the part and really added to the atmosphere. Below are photos showing some of the splendid outfits to be seen. The first shows our Federation Chairman, Sue Cox, on the left, who was delighted that her disguise left many wondering who she was!




We are very excited at having our own Facebook page now!  Click here to see us and help spread the word by 'liking' our page.  Leave your comments, better still add a photo! We're looking forward to hearing from you.

Outdoor Bowls

Abingdon Bowling Club was the venue for the competition for the Elizabeth Davison Trophy for 2013– the September day was very sunny and the hospitality was wonderful.  24 WI members, representing 12 WIs, made 8 teams of triples who then played 5 matches during the day – very demanding in the heat.


In the photo, you can see the winning team from Sutton Courtenay WI - L-R, Brenda Budd, Doreen Denton and Claris Jordan receiving the trophy from Cheryl Boorman, chairman of the Sport & Leisure Committee.   In second place were Denise Whitehead, Abingdon Fitzharrys WI; Alison Eastgate, Begbroke WI and Pam Faulkner, Yarnton WI.  Everyone had a lovely day of bowls in a super setting.

Darts Finals

The final match was played between Stoke Row A and Shipton-under-Wychwood WI teams, with Stoke Row being victorious by three games to none. On a warm evening, games were played in a friendly spirit and the scoreline does not show how close the games were. In the end the team from Stoke Row WI were just quicker at the doubles, thanks to one of their players, Sylvia, who got them all! Pictured with the OFWI winners shield are from the left, Sylvia Miller, Marian Turner, Cheryl Boorman, Vice Chairman, and Penny Noble


The runners up from Shipton-under-Wychwood WI are shown below with their trophy.

Sarah Raven comes to Oxfordshire - June 2013

TV personality, gardener, cook and author, Sarah came and gave a presentation aptly named 'Grow, Cook, Eat' to a full hall at Horton-cum-Studley in June. Sarah began by giving us her ideas on what vegetables she considers best value for money per square metre and how she came up with this list. She interspersed these facts with wonderful mouthwatering suggestions for light meals and helpful tips on sowing seeds ready for planting out direct from a length of gutter piping! 

Sarah (right) is seen here with the Chairman of the Home & Garden Committee, Jane Probitts. After a lunchbreak, the audience was treated to more mouthwatering suggestions in the way of edible flowers! and the afternoon concluded with Sarah putting together a very impressive hand-tied arrangement shown here.

Oxfordshire members help the Chancellor

Hartwell House played host to the spring summit of the G7 group, chaired by Chancellor, George Osborne, and the Governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King. Mr Osborne called on the WI for help in producing an Afternoon Tea for his guests. Here we see Marilyn North on the left and Carrol Eaton, on the right, both Federation Catering Organisers,  preparing some meringues with fruit and cream. Anne Harrison, National Vice Chairman and also recently, judge on the TV programme, Food Glorious Food, is seen centre with George Osborne. 

Mounds, Monks and Mills

A lovely 4 mile walk in the Vale area of the county just outside Faringdon. Lots to see including this stunning Tithe Barn at Great Coxwell.

Chocolate Surprise

100 ladies had a wonderful evening of chocolate in Little Milton. We never knew so much went into the creation of this lovely substance! We tasted our way through the fascinating history of this amazing product with the help of Dawn from Le Salon du Chocolat (left).


After the talk it was a bit of a chocolate fight as several ladies were seen waving notes in the air to get their hands on a bar of this superb chocolate. All the free tastings vanished in minutes. We shall certainly look at our regular chocolate bars with even more interest in the future!