President, Serena Coulter welcomed members, 6 guests, 1 visitor and our 2 speakers.
“ Jerusalem” was accompanied on the piano by one of our speakers, Beverley Palin.
Serena thanked the Craft Group for making the hundreds of knitted and crocheted poppies that now decorate the bridge and the Memorial Hall. Serena also thanked June Carruthers for making a beautiful cake, decorated with a large poppy, especially for our meeting,
Serena congratulated our two teams who reached the final of the Federation Quiz; one team excelled by winning, while the other team took the wooden spoons!
Kindness Day on November 3rd had been successful with several members of the public attending our free drop-in coffee morning.
Birthday flowers were won by Beattie Warwick. The competition for a hand-made piece of jewellery was judged by our speakers and the winners were : Kate Burnham 1st, Audrey Thurgood 2nd, Helen Franklin 3rd.
Our first speaker was Sarah Reay author of a book called ‘The Half-Shilling Curate’, a biography of her grandfather who was a Chaplain in the First World War. He had survived two major incidents; the first was a horrific attack on a French hamlet when he sustained life threatening injuries; the second was when he was being transported home and the hospital ship struck a mine in the Channel and sank. He somehow found the strength to save himself and others. He continued to work throughout his life to help others although, due to his injuries, he could no longer be a church minister. When Sarah found the many letters and memoirs of her grandfather after his death, she felt compelled to write them down for others to share.
Our next speaker, Beverley Palin, resplendent in army uniform, complete with sword, showed us her trench organ. It was fascinating to hear about its history and how it would have been used as an accompaniment at church services in the trenches. It is the only working trench organ in the UK. Beverley then played it and the haunting sound perhaps gave us a small insight into how the troops might have found comfort in listening to it all those years ago.
It had been a memorable meeting to commemorate the centenary of the Armistice.
The next meeting will be our Christmas party on December 4th. Helene Dolder, a comedienne, will entertain us and a pooled supper will be shared. Members were asked to bring a full table setting, also a contribution to a hamper raffle.