January 2021’s meeting started with the sad news of the passing of three members: Liz Keen, a committee member, Brenda Doran an ex-president and Marie Horne.
‘I wear one of my beautiful costumes and talk about all the naughty bits of history you would probably not have learnt about at school! I discuss royal mistresses, prostitution, sexual diseases of the time and the methods used to prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancies. Warning, this tour is not for the prude, it is fun but rude!’
This was the description our speaker Sarah Slater gave in her talk to our members in January, entitled Sex, Secrets, Scandal and Salacious Gossip of the Royal Court, 1660 to 1830. She spoke with great enthusiasm and showed slides and a vast array of activities at Hampton Court palace where Sarah is a tour guide. We were joined by members of Hayes Town, Southbourne and Stanwell WIs.
At our February meeting our speaker was Anthony Boden MBE. Anthony spoke to our members on his 18 years working as a Prison Officer in the Feltham Young Offenders Institution. The Institution is committed to providing a safe and educational environment where young boy 15–18 years and young men 18–21 years old can learn new skills to help them on release.
He gave us an insight into a day in the life of the residents. They have access to nursing staff, doctors and a library. All of the young people have access to religious services and multi faith rooms. Education is very much encouraged with 150 GCSEs passed, and one resident attending university. They also help each other to read. Anthony has worked in many sections across the Institution, and our members and visitors had many questions.
Our oldest member Kate Elliott celebrated her 106th birthday at the end of January. Kate lives with her daughter Pamela. Her family recorded their greetings so she could watch them at her leisure. Kate has been a WI member since 2004.