Oxfordshire Federation of Women's Institutes


This event is always a wonderful start to the Christmas season. This year we were treated to the delightful sound of the St Giles Church Choir on arrival to enjoy with our glass of wine and homemade mince pie; we then listened to some beautiful singing by the Garsington School Choir and were also treated to a couple of carols from our own federation choir, the Foxy Singers. Later we did some singing of our own, led superbly by Jenni Matthews, listened to some lovely readings by the Combined Arts Committee as well as their usual amusing sketch to round off a wonderful evening. 


Oxfordshire Federation was delighted to welcome Michael Portillo to Oxford Town Hall in October. A charming and considerate man, he gave an amusing and informative talk to our members, dipping into his political career and his work with Margaret Thatcher, as well as giving some humourous insights into his railway TV programmes. Lots of laughs, lots of questions, lots of book signing, a wonderful evening! He is pictured here with Federation Chairman, Cheryl Boorman, standing behind him.


The OFWI Choir, The Foxy Singers, conducted by Nick Prozillo,  is competing in the first round of the NFWI Choir Competition on 18 October in Dorking. Their dress rehearsal drew many compliments and we wish them every success for the first round. They can be seen here at the concert they gave in St Giles Church, Oxford.


This was a very successful day in Woodstock. A splendid turnout of 73 members ensured there was much chatter and fun to be had while walking round Woodstock looking to solve the clues. Pleasant weather helped and a nice lunch was already laid out for the quizzers on their return. The marking resulted in a three way tie to find the winners, which was then decided by several tie break questions. The winning team was the PSVs, no, not Public Service Vehicles but a Pauline (Goddard, Wendlebury WI) a Sue (Oliis, West Witney WI) and two Vals (Val Lester from West Witney WI and Val McCarthy from Langford Village WI). They are shown with their prizes.

The eventual runners up were Thame Tearaways, namely Sue Jenkins, Julie West and Chris Burrows, all from Thame WI. Well done to everyone who took part in such good humour, a real day of true WI fun.


Congratulations to Diane Marshall, Mary Jones and Stella Powling, all from Didcot Evening WI, who won the triples competition for the Elizabeth Davison Trophy in September. Very close runners up were Pat Durrant, Marcham WI; Penny Moorley, Appleton & Besselsleigh WI and Pat Strange, a non-member who stood in at the last minute for a poorly WI member. It was a very enjoyable day for all: Abingdon Bowling Club's hospitality during the day was superb, the company was excellent and it was dry and sunny – perfect.



The Inter-County Autumn Event was held at Cumberwell Park Golf Club, Royal Wootton Bassett in September. Ten ladies competed with only four from Oxfordshire. Wiltshire retained the Inter-County Cup. Mary Greene (South & North Moreton WI) won the best front nine and Gwen Cotton (Cleeve-by-Goring WI) won the best back nine; both from Hadden Hill Golf Club. The best team was Jacky Hiscock (Wilts.), Sue Roberts (Wilts.) and Maureen Rhymes (Yarnton WI and North Oxford Golf Club). We all enjoyed the day.

Left to right:  Mary Greene, Gwen Cotton, Maureen Rhymes, Mavis King


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!