NFWI AGM 2013 held in Cardiff Arena on Saturday 1st June 2013

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After a very early start we had a pleasant scenic drive from Gloucestershire to Cardiff for the National federation of Women’s Institutes AGM .  Our arrival was a little awkward as staff at the venue would not let us in until 9.30am.  However it was warm and dry and the nearby shopping centre was open so time passed quickly.

Once inside we had allocated seating, mine, as a delegate, being in a superb position in the second row on the end, so I had a wonderful view of the proceedings.  There were about 5000 WI members there and the one and only Peter, our County Secretary, who has got to be the bravest man in the UK.

Once everyone was settled we stood for the singing of Jerusalem.  When sung by 5000 WI members this is a very moving experience.  Suffice it to say it was spine tinglingly good.

Of course we were there for official WI business so there were a great many notices and presentations by the members of the board of trustees among others.  They were very ably supported by their legal representative who seemed to have every detail and clause of our constitution at her fingertips.  She managed to convey the meaning and reasons behind all the legal language to the satisfaction of members who gave her a resounding round of applause.

As a Link Delegate I was given an envelope containing results on the resolution voting from Benhall WI, Shurdington WI and Badgeworth WI whom I was there to represent.  The envelope also had different coloured cards with the words, For, Against, Discretion on them, which were to be used in the voting.  A very sensible and accountable scheme I thought.

Before the meeting proper got under way there was an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to debate a Special Resolution designed to amend the Articles of Association.  This is a result of two years of hard work and consultation carried out by the Trustees.

There followed some fascinating debates and very good questions from members.  All were answered professionally and succinctly by the Trustees or the legal representative

When the votes were eventually cast the Special Resolution was carried by a huge majority.

The main agenda then started with the appointment of the returning officers and tellers which was carried.  Then the trustees were introduced. 68.5% of WI had voted for the Trustees.  This was followed by the adoption of Standing Orders.  Every WI has received documents explaining all the details of the proposed changes at local, county and national level, and many gave feedback.  The documents were then amended to take that feedback into account.  The purpose and ethos of the WI as an organisation will not change. The changes are to bring WI into the 21st century and more in line with current Company law or Charity Commission rules.

Some of the changes were controversial, although after reassurance from Ruth Bond and others, they were accepted.  Main topics of discussion were about subscriptions eg, 15 months for 12 and flexible payments.

Some fascinating facts emerged during these debates.  Did you know that on mainland UK members must be 18 or over but on Isle of Man the age of majority is 16 so members can join at 16?

Again there followed some fascinating debates and very good questions from members.  All were answered professionally and succinctly by the Trustees or the legal representative.

When voting got under way all were carried by over 96% of the vote.

It was then time for the Chair’s address.  Ruth Bond is a warm, smiley lady who is obviously totally devoted to the WI as an organisation.  She has been tireless in her 4 years as Chair, travelling the country and occasionally the world for high profile meetings with some very important people.  She has ensured that the WI as an organisation is a force to be reckoned with and an influential member at any meetings.  She has also travelled to many WIs and attended lots of Council meetings in different counties.  Ruth told us of some of the very funny experiences she has had, and the amazing things she has heard while going about WI business.  But basically she describes the WI as a force for good in our communities, a place to form friendships and a catalyst for change with our campaigns.  She described the new GUIDE which we have recently received as a useful way of promoting WI for the modern age.  It shows that WI members are creative, active, principled, and relevant.  She then reminded us of all the good things that WI is involved in; MOODLE, Let’s Cook, Gardening in Schools, Crafts, Baking, Sharing talents to name just a few.  She really did inspire us and fill us with pride in our WI.  The only downside of Ruth’s talk was the state of Denman College.  Although members have rallied round with fundraising to help out, what Denman really needs is for more members to book courses and stay overnight.  It is operating at 88% capacity and needs £200, 000 by September in order to survive.  There are many reasons why people do not make the journey to Denman, but members have said in the recent survey that they want it to continue.  So we must try to help in any way we can.  An appeal was launched for members and WIs to make a donation towards Denman of whatever they feel they can afford.  Donations should be sent to Denman direct.

Next was the Treasurer’s statement.  Stephanie Fort is our very able Treasurer and her full financial accounts were published in the Annual review which all WIs received.  They can also be seen on the website http://www.thewi.org

In brief the WI is in a healthy financial position mainly due to the tax rebate of over £1million, which was received some time ago.  This enabled NFWI to spend more than they were taking in over the last financial year.  Recently it has been ruled that WI subscriptions should not incur VAT therefore NFWI is expecting a refund of about half a million pounds this year.  So while we can expect a small increase in our subs for the next year, national may increase the proportion that WIs and County keep from the subs.  This will be decided in July.

Following Stephanie’s excellent report, the meeting voted on the adoption of the accounts and auditor’s report.  This was carried, the auditors were appointed for 2012/2013.  Then the Annual Review was adopted unanimously as far as I could see.

This brought most of the official business to a conclusion so the next part of the meeting was the fun bit as far as I was concerned.

We were introduced to William Shawcross whom I am ashamed to say I had not heard of.

In July 2012, William Shawcross was appointed Chair of the Charity Commission, and is a widely renowned writer and broadcaster. In 1995 he wrote and presented the three-part BBC television series Monarchy and in 2002, to tie-in with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, he again wrote and presented a landmark four-part BBC television series, Queen and Country. He has also written the official biography of the Queen Mother.  He served on the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) from 1997 to 2002.  He has travelled the world.

His father was the politician, lawyer, Chief British Prosecutor at Nuremberg and life peer Hartley Shawcross, who was a Labour MP in the Liverpool area for many years.

He is, in short, a fascinating man who holds the WI in high esteem. His mother was a member.  He talked about the Queen Mum’s 65 years as President of Sandringham WI where our Queen is now President.

Mr Shawcross gave a wonderful talk about charity.  He said there are 160,000 charities in the UK, mostly small.  He described UK as a nation of ‘doers’ and charities as ‘little platoons’, The WI has thousands of these little platoons including family, friends and helpers. He defined them as forming a “Living Tapestry” which is a phrase used in the Beveridge report of 1944.  He defined society in the words of Edmund Burke as, “a contract between the living, the dead, and the unborn”.  He described the WI and other tolerant and charitable institutions as Oak Trees providing shelter and protection.

As Chair of the Charity Commission, he is very aware that some charities are set up by unscrupulous people with uncharitable aims including fraud, terrorism, and politicisation.  These are quickly rooted out.

Mr Shawcross had a wonderful voice and I could have listened to him all day.  But it was soon time to move on.

Next there were presentations for the winners of the Lady Denman and Huxley Cups as well as the Elizabeth bell and National Quiz Trophies.

This was followed by a talk about Denman College which reinforced what we had already been told.  But this talk focussed on the great learning opportunities being offered now.  There are 240 new courses this year covering cookery, craft, lifestyle, history and heritage.  It was stressed that all the rooms are now beautifully appointed and en-suite.

There was then a vote for Anglesey Federation to become Incorporated which was passed. Did you know the difference between incorporated and unincorporated WIs?  I didn’t but it was clearly explained by the legal representative.

After this it was a very welcome lunch break.  I went off to find a park to sit in and was lucky enough to find a bench near the Cathedral.  It was a beautiful sunny day and I sat next to a friendly local who chatted nonstop about her lovely family while I ate my packed lunch.  I then had time to mooch around John Lewis and Marks which was fatal as I came away with unplanned shopping!

After lunch our next speaker was Griff Rhys-Jones.  He said he was happy to be there as he was born in Cardiff and considers himself Welsh through and through.  He surprised some members, including myself for being extremely smart and unusually serious, although he still managed to be very amusing and a fascinating speaker.

An active conservationist, Rhys Jones is the president of Civic Voice, the national organisation representing Britain’s civic societies, which campaigns for better places in the built and green environment.  He is well known to WI members for his work on Comic Relief and the Restoration programme.

He talked with passion about conservation issues and linked it very well with our resolution on the High Street.  He is anti the Government’s proposed changes to planning laws.  He encourages us all to get involved in the debate about our towns, parks and buildings through neighbourhood forums.  He believes that High Streets must smarten themselves up and ‘become destinations by knowing their value’.  He likened them to our ‘front rooms’ which should be attractive and welcoming to visitors.  He quoted several towns which have become destinations through lively markets or restoring old buildings. His talk was very inspiring, topical and very well received.

The next part of the day was the Public Affairs Resolution.  This is what I was particularly interested in as I am on the Public Affairs Committee in our federation (GFWI).  I had enjoyed the local Campaign and Debate Day and the Resolution Day very much.  I felt that Gloucestershire members had the opportunity to be very well informed on this resolution and I hoped that all WI members had discussed it fully before voting.  As I said I had the results of the vote for the 3 WIs I was representing, which were quite varied.

The proposer Marilyn Haines-Evans gave an impassioned and knowledgeable account of the state of our High Streets now.  The seconder, Sybil Grahame, said High Streets must be fit for purpose in a changing world.  Sean Spear was the first expert speaker for the resolution.  He is from the Campaign for the Protection of the Rural Environment (CPRE).  He stressed that we must revive the High Street, not just hang on to what we have. For the local food sector, which is worth £7billion to the economy, to flourish, we need a healthy High Street.  He quoted Ledbury as a town which saved their High Street in the face of plans for 2 large supermarkets.  They used the CPRE toolkit “From Field to Fork” in their campaign

There was an expert talking against the resolution who was also very knowledgeable and a very good speaker.  He predicted that in the next 5 years 50% of shops would close and 30% of towns would be affected because of fundamental changes in the way people shop.  High Streets must reinvent themselves, focusing on their differences and local strengths.  They must diversify becoming once again places where people live, where there are pleasant leisure facilities, small offices and workplaces, a healthy night time economy, and where public services like police, health centres, libraries etc come together.

There was a lively debate from the floor before the vote for the resolution was carried by an 87.4% majority with 5266 for the resolution and 758 against.  The proposer said that the mandate sets the WI an ambitious challenge but they would do all in their power to achieve it.

Our final guest speaker was John Humphrys, journalist and foreign correspondent, who has been presenter of Radio 4s TODAY programme (which has 7 million listeners) for over 25 years.  He also chairs Mastermind on BBC2.  But today it was Mr Humphrys answering the questions set by WI members! John was very open and honest about his background telling us he learned to read from old Superman comics when he was young.  He also said that he was inspired to be a journalist by Clark Kent, who was Superman!

His ambition now is to interview the Queen but from what he said it is not very likely to happen any time soon!

Mr Humphrys spoke warmly about the WI saying it is a vital tool and the essence of democracy in our country.  He said WI has more members than most political parties, which makes it very powerful when campaigning.

Mr Humphrys came over as a compassionate and insightful man.  He has written several books and was selling them at the end of the AGM in aid of the Kitchen Table Charitable Trust, which he set up some years ago to give small grants to schools and orphanages in Africa.  It is a mark of how popular he is that he ran out of books to sell while there was still a very long queue to buy them.

There only remained the Chair’s closing remarks.  Ruth talked about the 2015 celebratory AGM for our WI Centenary. Events are being planned from January 2014 when a Baton will go from Federation to Federation.  There will also be commemorative gifts available and a commemorative stamp. After consultation and much consideration of costs it has been agreed that the 2015 AGM will be at the Albert Hall.  But in order that all members have an opportunity of being a part of the day, the proceedings will be beamed to venues which local federations will hire for their members.

The day closed with a very patient guest, composer and conductor, Jonathan Willcocks, who taught us a song.  He is working with WI on ‘Singing for Joy’.

Some Gloucestershire members of WI in Cardiff for the AGM

Some Gloucestershire members of WI in Cardiff for the AGM

The Answer is Blowing in the Wind

The Answer is Blowing in the Wind
Who would have thought you could get around 350 members and friends of GFWI back to a school hall for a talk by a forensic scientist?
Well, thanks to Sue Moulds, Chair of Public affairs committee we did, and it seemed that they enjoyed it very much!
Julia Webb, pollen expert, senior lecturer at the University of Gloucestershire, and forensic scientist, was the speaker at Chosen Hill School last night and she held her audience spellbound for the duration of her talk.
Julia managed to pitch her talk just right to hold the interest of the scientists in the audience, and to inform and enthral the non-scientists. Her talk about how pollen and other microscopic entities can be used to help solve crimes was illustrated with fascinating slides on a huge screen.
Julia, who is clearly extremely well qualified and experienced, described how she was introduced to the criminal investigation side of her work by Patricia Wiltshire who was a pioneer in the field.
She revealed the forensic background to several high profile cases that she has worked on and it was amazing. Facts about soils and pollens were interspersed with gory details of some very distressing crimes of rapes, murders and drug trafficking. Riveting stuff!
Julia has co-written a book for academics in the field but has learned that it sells well to a broader audience, probably crime writers who want to get the details right. And the details were amazing. We learned that pollens are extremely tough and long lasting. Apparently even washing trainers in a washing machine will not destroy the microscopic evidence, although for any criminals reading this ~ bleach will. However, the police might be a little suspicious if they find you have bleached your shoes, clothes, car and home! In fact most of her work is with pollens over 20,000 years old. But it was pollen from a walnut tree which had been cut down 80 years previously which helped convict one murderer.
Several members of Benhall WI attended the talk and are keen to know when the next Public Affairs event will be. A visit to RAL Space Station at Harwell on 6th May is the answer. Tickets are £10.50 and the closing date is 6th April.

Inspiring Women

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Many years ago, it seems like another lifetime, I was a busy single mum to 4 wonderful children. I had a full time job that I loved, a nice home that was all my own work, an adorable miniature wire haired dachshund and a stray cat who turned up one day and stayed for 17 years. Over the years I progressed from teacher to deputy head and then Headteacher of a great primary school at the heart of an estate in my adopted home town. Luckily my profession fitted in perfectly with being a single parent as I was usually around in school holidays and always at weekends. But if ever there was a crisis due to illness or something I had the backup of my mum who lived nearby and was always delighted to look after the children or pets!

My school and parish was my community and together with my family, was the source of all the joy, friendship and social life I needed. Although I knew my immediate neighbours, my life was much too busy to get involved in the local community or the people in the wider neighbourhood.

And so life went on and my children became adults and gradually left home. I had always encouraged them to follow their dreams and take any opportunity they could to travel and sample other ways of life and other cultures. I was lucky enough to travel extensively through my job, working with schools in Russia and Africa. I also took great holidays in America, Canada and many parts of Europe. So I think I probably went a bit too far with this advice as now 3 of my children live and work abroad!

As my children grew more independent I filled my spare time travelling to Lourdes at every available opportunity as a volunteer/helper with the sick or disabled whom we called VIPs. This was one of the most rewarding 10 years of my life. It also indirectly brought me my wonderful second husband who was also a volunteer.

I knew that I was very lucky in every way and I worked very hard to try and improve the life chances of the children in my school. But of course life has a way of turning your world upside down sometimes. For me several events occurred to produce the perfect storm that would shatter my well ordered life. I buried my feelings and worked harder and harder until my body refused to do any more and I had to retire.

There then followed 5 very gruelling years which felt like 50 years. I was caring for my mum who was disabled after a heart attack, and my husband who has Amyloidosis and renal failure. I only ever went out of the house to shop or for their hospital appointments. I became reclusive, antisocial and anxious. By 2009 my life and social circle was as limited as it could possibly be.

Then in that Autumn my youngest daughter said some women wanted to start a WI in our area. She said she thought it would be good for me so she would go with me to the inaugural meeting. It took all my courage to turn up that night and fortunately there were only a handful of women there. In fact there were so few that almost everyone there ended up on the committee by default! My daughter said I was good on computers so could be the secretary.

Now, almost 4 years on, I know that joining the WI was the best thing I could have done. At first I forced myself to go to all the meetings as I had to take notes. Gradually it became a pleasure to attend the meetings and I looked forward to them. I joined the Book Club and started reading again. I started putting my name down for trips and events. To give me the courage to turn up for them I took my camera to hide behind and became our unofficial photographer. I ventured out to concerts and big events like the AGM in Cardiff. It still takes quite a lot of courage for me to attend these things but I know that if I am struggling I will not be alone. The friendship and support WI members offer each other is very special. I even joined the Public Affairs Committee at our Federation.

Usually I find that the speakers at meetings are so interesting that I completely forget to worry or panic and just enjoy myself!

Now the WI is my community and my family. Through joining, I have rediscovered my creative side, writing a blog at http://www.heavenhappens.wordpress.com I have become outgoing and physically active again and renewed my interest in campaigning.

Best of all, when I walk anywhere in my local area now I seem to know everyone and they all stop for a chat. I feel that I am part of a vibrant and supportive community.

The WI offers all kinds of opportunities to all kinds of women. I would advise any woman of any age to join and get involved to whatever extent you feel able.

The WI is all about inspiring women. It is a rich source of experiences, knowledge and skills passed down through generation ~ and updated every day!

WI even enriches my now rare holidays, as I try to pop in to a local meeting while I am away. It is fascinating to see how different WIs conduct their meetings. But I can honestly say that whichever WI I go to, I know a warm welcome is guaranteed.

Playing a 1950s WI member at the Filming of Father Brown

It has been such an unusual and exciting week for me.  While I was on holiday in Cornwall, I got a call from a casting agent about doing some filming as a supporting artist for a BBC production of a TV series.  I had not auditioned or even applied for a part so I was very surprised and a little puzzled.  However the explanation was simple.  Earlier this year, I helped some students at the local university in the making of a short and very moving film, for their degree course.  In order to complete the whole project professionally I had to register with an agency which I did.  The film, “The Day My Name Changed” was produced, directed, shot and edited successfully.  One of the students was kind enough to write a glowing comment on the agency’s website about me, which apparently had been picked up by a casting agent who was looking for people of just my age and type.

So it was that I found myself working this week in the Cotswold countryside alongside professional actors I have admired for years.

The TV series is called Father Brown and it is set in some of the most beautiful Cotswold villages, which is perfect for me as I live nearby.   This will be the second series of the 1950’s drama based on stories by the author GK Chesterton, and starring Mark Williams who played Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter films.  The character Father Brown, who wears trademark shabby robes and a misshapen hat, is a bicycle-riding, crime-fighting, Roman Catholic Priest in the series. Sorcha Cusack plays the Parish secretary, Mrs McCarthy.

I can’t tell you the storyline or the other characters in the series we were filming for professional reasons but I can say the whole experience was fascinating and really enjoyable, if a little exhausting!

I was told to arrive on set by 7am prepared to work for up to 12 hours.  First I had to go to a costume area where I found everything hung up on hangers or bagged with my name on them.  There were underclothes from the 50’s including corsets, petticoat, suspenders and stockings with seams.  There was a hat, gloves, shoes, a handbag and a pair of glasses, all genuine 1950’s.  There was a dress and matching jacket.  Once I had got into all of this on one of the hottest days of the year I was a bit uncomfortable!  Next it was into the makeup and hairdressing area.  Here there were several superb makeup artists and hairdressers equipped with whole tables of boxes and bags of exciting things ~ brushes of every size and thickness, rollers of every colour and type, hairgrips and combs by the dozen, and more makeup than I had ever seen!

These wonderful artists sat me down and transformed me with heated rollers then pinned on my blue hat.  A covering of mat makeup and pink lipstick as per 1950 and I was done!

I hardly recognised myself and I thought I looked ancient and awful but everyone else seemed to think I looked ok so off I went to be photographed by Continuity.  The continuity people are amazing and very important when filming.  As shots are not necessarily filmed consecutively it is really important that every detail is right.  The arm holding the handbag, gloves on or off, the right glasses on, hair still in place, makeup still on ~ the continuity people are checking and photographing constantly.

When everyone had been through costume, makeup, hair and continuity, it was time to line up for more photographs and an inspection for approval by the Director of Costumes.  At this point details could be checked and adjustments made.  Hats swapped, jewellery dispensed or removed, cardigans and jackets altered on the spot, shoes changed ~ his word was final.  Only when he was happy were we allowed to get onto a minibus to be taken to the actual set for the filming.

It was at this point I felt like a real star as we were treated so well.  Everyone on the crew from the driver to the director knew each of our names.  They have a list of the actors and supporting artists with photographs and are expected to know them by name.  We were given bottles of water during breaks, coffee and tea was available at any time, and a lovely cooked lunch was provided from a big catering van, which everyone used from the most important to the least.  There were crew buses which everyone sat together on to eat lunch.  After lunch everyone had to go through costume, makeup, hairdressing, photographs, continuity and inspection again to make sure nothing had changed.  Then off in the bus for an afternoon of filming.

The whole experience was wonderful, and, at the end of the day, 5 of us were asked to stay behind for late filming.  I was really excited to be one of the 5 chosen.  Suddenly a sleek 1950’s black car drove smoothly down the road and stopped right where we were filming and out stepped one of my favourite stars from Casualty who was also a winner of one of the best shows on TV in the winter, “Strictly Come Dancing” ~ Tom Chambers!

I can’t tell you what he was doing there but I was tickled pink to be on set with him and to have my photograph taken with him.

It was a long day and it was very hot.  It was uncomfortable wearing all those 1950’s clothes and the stiletto heeled and pointy-toed shoes were killing me. I still think I looked awful.  But I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.  I enjoyed every minute and I got to do it all over again on Thursday in a different village wearing a different costume.

I do hope they ask me again!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/writersroom/posts/Tahsin-Guner-and-Rachel-Flowerday-on-developing-new-BBC-One-daytime-drama-Father-Brown

http://doyouwriteunderyourownname.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/father-brown-tv-review.html

Living with the Aborigines

It was a lovely sunny evening when we got together for our July meeting.  We were surprised that members were slow to arrive, which is unusual, until we realized that Tim Henman was still playing in the Wimbledon Final ~ which he won!

Our speaker for the evening was prize-winning novelist and short story writer, Kim Fleet.

Kim, who lives in Benhall, has a PhD in Anthropology.  She lived and worked with Aboriginal people for several years. She did a number of temporary jobs in remote communities as a tour guide, bus cleaner, store keeper and dental nurse, before working as Senior Anthropologist at Yamatji Land and Sea Council, researching land claims cases for Aboriginal people.  Kim’s experiences in the outback have informed her novels ‘Featherfoot’ and ‘Sacred Site’.  She has also published over 50 short stories in magazines and anthologies in the UK and abroad.  Most recently The Knife Edge Anthology, featuring her short story “Supermarket Sweep”, which is now available on Amazon and good bookshops.  All profits from this go to the Booktrust Charity.  Several members, including myself bought copies of Sacred Site from Kim on the night.  She was kind enough to sign them for us.

Kim now works as a life coach, specialising in writers. You can find out more about her work at: http://www.kimfleet.com

Kim gave a fascinating talk which really opened our eyes to a way of life most of us would never see.  She described how beautiful some communities are and how messy others are.  She told us about the primitive airstrips she arrived at, with camels wandering along them and how she dealt with a snake in her shower!  She brought a selection of artefacts and very rare photographs to illustrate her amazing talk.  We learned about Aboriginal culture, jobs, education, health service, traditions and beliefs.  We heard about the dreaming stories, the ‘ghost people’ who are the last of the nomads, cooking Iguana in a fire pit, and the impact of tourism on the Aborigines.  I was interested to hear that if someone dies it is not done to mention their name again or show their photograph.  It was sad to hear about the problems with alcoholism and wife beating but encouraging to hear that the ‘Aunties’ are dealing with these problems now.

Kim explained the complex legal process the Aborigines have to go through to claim the rights to their traditional lands, and how they have to lease it back to the Australian Government when and if they succeed!

Members had lots of questions for Kim after her talk.  I think everyone felt like me that Kim was a very brave woman to spend so long as the only foreign woman in a totally different culture in the 400+ heat and the primitive conditions.  We admired her greatly for her work and look forward to reading her books!

Crescendo reached with Sing and Jerusalem

Laughter and Lyrics Choir

Laughter and Lyrics Choir

I joined a ladies’ choir this year run by Caroline Edwards at the Everyman Theatre.  It is held on Friday mornings and several of my WI friends joined too.  Lots of choirs popped up in the UK after the charismatic Gareth Malone appeared on TV to prove that everyone could sing by setting up choirs in all kinds of establishments.  Of course in order to make a beautiful sound you need a great teacher to whip you into shape.  We have Caroline for that and she is wonderful.  She has moulded our lively group of women into a choir!

We have a great deal of fun, drink lots of coffee, eat lots of cake, chat a lot, and have become firm friends who support each other.   Caroline runs several choirs who will all get together on 15th July for a grand show at the theatre.  It is a sell out concert.  I have enjoyed every minute with our choir ‘Laughter and Lyrics’.  The last song we are singing at the show is Sing ~ I know that along with a backdrop of video images produced by the fabulous Mark Kempner, there won’t be a dry eye in the house.  I will post a clip after the event when it goes public, but for now listen to Gary Barlow and the Military Wives Choir by clicking on the word as you read my haiku on ‘crescendo’

Deep emotions flow

To spine-tingling crescendo

Heartfelt harmony

~

Together we stand

Black with a splash of colour

Hearts break while we sing

~

‘Latte and Lyrics’

Choir gathers, faces aglow

Singing with gusto

~

Caroline’s choir grows

Along with coffee and cake

Gathering goosebumps

~

Perfect performance

As 5000 women sing

Hymn ‘Jerusalem’

I recently went to the Annual general meeting of the WI at Cardiff Arena again.  As always it reaches a crescendo when the 4000 plus women sing Jerusalem.  When you are part of it the sound is wonderful.   Click on the word Jerusalem to hear the clip from 2010 when I was one of the women singing.