Horsham Weald WI Group autumn meeting

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The Horsham Weald Group gathered together again on Thursday 3rd October, this time in the village hall at Mannings Heath.

It hardly seems possible that seven months have passed since the last meeting. Barbara Maguire, President of Mannings Heath WI welcomed everyone, and Mollie Gray, Group Chairman, opened the meeting by asking everyone to join in a rousing rendition of Jerusalem.

Guests, Val Court – Chairman of Parish Council, Duncan England – Parish District Councillor and Sue Hempstead – Chair Country Club, were welcomed, along with Brenda Adlam – WI County Advisor and Jenny Ault – Member of WI Board of Trustees. Last but certainly not least, the members from the WI’s who make up the Horsham Weald Group.

As always its business before pleasure, but once WI business was over everyone settled down to listen to our guest speaker, Lucinda Bowen, talking about her adventures sailing around the world on board an ocean racing yacht, and what a delight it was. With a sporting background, culminating in a gold medal rowing for England in the 2006 Commonwealth Games, Lucinda told how she couldn’t resist responding to the yacht race advert that she kept seeing whilst travelling to work. Being successful in her application resulted in 10 months at sea, travelling 35,000 miles, crossing 5 oceans, visiting 6 continents and 15 ports. Setting sail in one of the ten yachts, teamwork was the key with everyone looking out for each other, rotating roles so everyone had a go at everything. During the racing legs the boat was under sail 24/7 with a crew of 18 divided into two groups. We heard about waves the size of Box Hill, conditions in the doldrums changing from a stunningly beautiful mill pond to a grey festering depression with force 1-6 squalls in minutes. How everyone looked forward to their turn on ‘Mother watch’ when in return for cooking and cleaning for the crew the reward was 12 hours uninterrupted sleep! Of course there was time for fun too, the transition from Pollywog to Shellback during the equator crossing ceremony, celebrating St Patrick’s Day and Halloween, plus wildlife spotting and watching the wonderful sunsets and sunrises. After sharing her travel experiences with us, and answering questions, we were left in awe of Lucinda’s tremendous courage.

There was a floral competition – Life on the Ocean Wave – to compliment the talk. Congratulations to Horsham Normandy who won the cup with their arrangement.

Mannings Heath served up a very nice tea, and after the raffle the meeting was brought to a close with a vote of thanks from Bolney WI to the Group Chairman and Mannings Heath WI.

A full and exciting programme is already being planned for our next Group meeting which will be held on 27th March 2014 at YMCA, Gorings Mead, Horsham, commencing at 2.30pm

Copy submitted by Hazel Hewitt, Mannings Heath WI