Warkworth WI Meeting April 3rd 2018

Our president, Serena Coulter welcomed 36 members to our April meeting. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sadly, Serena announced the death of Margaret Burrell who had been a WI member for more than 60 years.          We had a minute’s silence. 




We sang Jerusalem. 

Judy Townshend read the record of the last meeting held on March 6th and it was signed.

Serena, in her president’s remarks told us that:

  • At the Shilbottle WI Quiz our team had won. There was huge applause.
  • Juice as well as tea and coffee would be served at meetings.
  • The presentation evening at the Coach Inn was well attended.
  • Anyone without their name on the tablecloth should sign it and Marion Jones’ mother would embroider it.
  • Badges for those who didn’t have one could be ordered from Jan Shotton.
  • The Federation birthday party at Ulgham was very good. The booklet received there showcasing social history through the ten decades would be read out at a members’ night.
  • £54 had been raised on our cake stall at the Hall coffee morning.
  • The next meeting, on May 1st will be our Annual Meeting with Anne Pringle, our WIA from Cresswell House. There will be a pooled supper and the competition is an item made from a 50g ball of wool.

The birthday flowers were won by Audrey Jones.

Judy Townshend read out the correspondence:

Visit to Northumberlandia; volunteers to join the IMB at Acklington Prison; National Federation’s Sports week; Application form for “Down Your Way” – Longhoughton and Boulmer.

Book Group on April 10th, venue to be announced later.

Craft Group on April 17th in the Hall, 2pm.

Bowls Team meet in the Hall at 10 am on Thursday mornings. Bowls competiton, April 25th at Powburn.


A walking group planned to start during Federation Wellbeing Week, if interested sign up.

Anne Cashmore’s Plastics Action Group met on 3rd April. Suggestion: take a box to the butchers/fishshop instead of using plastic bags and use local shops instead of supermarkets.

Anne’s Fairtrade afternoon tea had raised £342.

Serena introduced our speaker, Rob Wilson.


Rob was a scientist working at Westminster and in retirement he worked as a guide in the Poison Garden in Alnwick. He talked of the fascinating, though macabre topic of poisoning victims starting with the earliest Stone-age times when arrows poisoned the prey but amazingly not the meat, through Greek and Roman and of course Victorian times when poisoning was a popular method to get rid of anyone who was not wanted. Women were more likely to poison than men as no physical strength was necessary. In recent times Russians have been accused of poisoning those who have upset their status quo. Very recently it has been suggested that more of these murders have taken place than had previously been thought and these deaths are being investigated. In the UK Dr Shipman murdered 250 patients using a form of heroin.

Rob went on to talk of accidental poisoning such as the ‘Hungry Winter’ deaths in Holland in 1944 when the starving Dutch resorted to eating bulbs for food and the death of Van Gogh who was addicted to absinthe and it is thought that it eventually poisoned his brain.

Finally Rob spoke of the poisonous plants that have been found to have medicinal value when used correctly, for example yew is being used to treat some cancers and periwinkle used to treat leukaemia.

It was a fascinating talk.

Marion gave a vote of thanks and presented Rob with some of his chosen poison (a bottle of red wine).

Tea, coffee, juice and cakes were served by Sheena Blackett and Gillian Bell.

The competition for a spring posy was won by Pat Dodd, Jan Shotton second and Kate Burnham third.