Monday, 5 October 2015


All three Cookham WIs joined forces for a bumper Macmillan coffee morning on Thursday 24th September at the Cricket Club in Cookham Dean.

More than 40 people turned up to the event, raising more than £400.

Annie Panton, Vice President of Dean Rise WI, said; “ It was an absolutely beautiful morning and was a very pleasant event indeed. Everyone was in very good humour and very willing and eager to make donations. I think we will certainly have to do it again.”

Monday, 16 March 2015


In this, the centenary year of the Women’s Institute, from town to countryside, coast to coast, Women’s Institutes around the UK are welcoming and passing on the Federation Link Baton. As it makes its way to the Royal Albert Hall on 4th June for the Centenary Annual Meeting of the WI.

Since January the Baton has journeyed around England and Wales and in April it is passing through Berkshire, resplendent on it’s Centenary Cushion designed and made by local WI member Ruth Daniel. 

On April 13th the three Cookham WI’s will welcome the Baton at a celebration tea in the Cookham Dean Cricket Club Pavilion. Special guest will be Mayor Richard Kellaway whose wife, Mayoress Mary-Lou Kellaway is a long standing member of Dean Rise WI.

Annie Panton, of Dean Rise WI, said: ‘We are delighted that this occasion is being celebrated in Cookham, where we have three branches of the W.I. We are all looking forward to the next century of the W.I. and its continuing inspiration towomen around the world’

Monday, 7 July 2014


On Monday June 2nd.a group of members and friends went to London by coach for a day to visit "Hidden London and the Regent's Canal".We were badly delayed by very heavy traffic and road closures in London, occasioned by Westminster rehearsals for the State Opening of Parliament. We crawled along the Embankment to our destination at the Museum of London, where we met our Blue Badge guide.The late arrival meant less time for our morning guided walk, so the coffee break had to be quick. 

We saw Postman's Park, where a wall of plaques commemorates civilian heroes and heroines who have given their lives to save others in emergencies ,such as drowning.

We visited London's oldest parish church, St. Bartholomew's , and learnt the history of Smithfield ("Smooth Field") , where so many brutal executions were carried out over past centuries, especially during Tudor and Stuart reigns.

After walking through the handsome Victorian buildings of the Smithfield meat market we walked a short distance to Charterhouse Square ,to hear that the park is laid over a Plague pit containing victims of the Great Plague of 1665, and to have pointed out to us the building, across the park, where Hercule Poirot lived-fact and fiction !

After lunch in the neighbourhood, the coach collected us to go to Camden Lock's cobbled yard to board a "narrow boat" to cruise along the Regent's Canal as far as Little Venice. There we met the coach, departing for home c.4.30pm on a  trouble-free journey back to Braywick.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

5 February 2014 - ODDITIES OF LONDON

President Annie Panton commenced the meeting by welcoming the members and signing the previous month’s minutes.   A thank you letter was received from the Alexander Devine Hospice for our donation,   with a suggestion for a visit from their representative to update us on the progress of the hospice, also a thank you letter from Hearing Dogs who spoke to us in January for our donation to them.    Matters arising from the minutes were nominations for the committee for 2014 to 2015, the election will be held at the March Annual Meeting.    One or two members will be resigning from the present committee therefore these vacancies will need to be filled.

Reports were given on the progress of our various group meetings which all appear to be flourishing, except the walking group which hoped to resume this month but it would be more of paddling than walking as our local communities have been so severely hit by the floods which are affecting the whole of our area.   

Our speaker, Sally Botwright a Blue Badge Tourist Guide regaled us with stories of the London Curiosities accompanied by her collection of excellent slides. The first telephone box which is in Piccadilly is made of wood designed by Giles Gilbert Scott, the idea of the design came from a tomb he discovered in a churchyard.   Another oddity is a pulpit which is on the outside of Trinity Church near St. Pancras station.   The first weighing scales were in Berry’s Coffee Shop where they still have the original scales although it is now a wine shop, people still visit to be weighed.   There is a statue of George Washington outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, he said that “he would not set foot on British soil ever again” so the soil that he stands upon was sent over from America. Winston Churchill did not want a statue erected of himself as he did not wish to be “pooed upon by pigeons” whether his statue has secretly been treated with a substance of some sort, it always appears  to be unsullied by the local bird population.   The Pelicans that are in St. James Park were originally a gift from Russia in 1600 and they have bred there ever since.   These are just a few of the ‘oddities’ that Sally told us about and as she is such an amusing and engaging speaker we are going to invite her to return for part 3. 

Our next meeting which will be the Annual Meeting is on the 5th March, 2014.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013


Vice President Margaret Pleming took the meeting in the absence of Annie Panton.   We welcomed two new members to our group.   After the business part of the meeting was over,    Margaret welcomed our guest speaker Malcolm Nelson,  the subject of his talk was “40 years catching smugglers”.   Apparently most smugglers are trained in Russia, Malta, Jamaica and elsewhere.   They then recruit the carriers.   The high risk areas being Bogota, Lagos and Jamaica, with the majority of the drugs coming from Colombo.  

Beware ladies when travelling if you carry fashionable large handbags,  these are most likely to be searched, also pink suitcases!   They can carry half to one kilo of drugs, also do not wear a wig as these believe it or not have been known to transport drugs underneath.   There are also the carriers who swallow condoms full of drugs there could be at  least 20 people on 1 flight, 85 per cent of drugs found, come into Heathrow.    The skill of  the customs officers as to which people are likely to be searched is purely by experience, by studying their faces or mannerisms when coming through customs.  

Of course we know that sniffer dogs are now used, if they locate any drugs or money they will just sit next to the bag or place a paw on the carrier, one dog can carry out a search of one flight in just 20 minutes.   Just to let you know that the majority of dogs used that can smell the money are bitches!  

The adrenalin rush that the officers experience when they know that they have a suspect and an arrest is made was described by one female officer “as better than sex”.    But to put it all into perspective these officers are carrying out a very necessary and difficult job when you think of the thousands of people that are travelling around the world at any one time and they have only a short time to decide who to stop when you are walking through customs whether going through the red or green area, this is where training, experience and knowledge come in, and also there is an element of danger involved, although the carrier may not be armed,  those waiting for them at arrivals can be, sometimes the officers allow the carrier through so that they can be followed to where the drugs are being delivered to and the  gang leaders or controllers arrested.

Malcolm gave us an insight into his working days and we will certainly be inviting him back to give us another talk in the future.   Jean Lewis then gave the vote of thanks  to Malcolm.

Our next meeting will be the Christmas Party on the 4th of December.


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

QUEEN MARY'S DOLLS' HOUSE - 2 October 2013

The meeting commenced with President Annie welcoming the members and visitors, also telling an amusing story.   It was agreed that the monies raised at our August garden party would be donated to the Alexander Devine Hospice.   Reports were then given by our various social groups i.e. book group, bridge, walking, scrabble and tai chi.   We then had our social time with refreshments.

We were fortunate to have Lucinda Lambton as our speaker.   Lucinda gave a wonderful presentation and talk on the Queen’s Dolls House at Windsor.    It was designed by Edward Lutyens at the request of  Princess Marie Louise for Queen Mary. The shell was ready by 1921, Queen Mary often visited the room at Windsor  to watch the progress of the dolls house, and of course the garden was designed by Gertrude Jekyll.   Mrs. Benjamin Guiness painted the panels and the ceilings, all the furniture, curtains  which have 121 stitches to the inch, wallpapers, pictures, needlework for the tiny beds were made by expert designers and seamstresses of the day, no expense was spared.  There is even a miniature gramophone that actually works,  playing the National Anthem, Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory.   Sir Edward Elgar rudely refused to donate a mini score as he said “a word can never be used as magical to describe the Queen’s Dolls House.”   He also refused to make a private visit when invited.  James Purdey made 3” rifles which can actually be fired, the stoves in the kitchen have real fires and the copper kettle was made from a George V penny, the amazing miniature library books, utensils, china, furniture are a work of art which must be seen to be believed.   We were all enthralled with Lucinda’s talk that a visit to see the doll’s house again should be arranged as one of our outings in the future.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

GARDEN DESIGN - 3 July 2013

The meeting commenced with President Annie Panton welcoming our members and one visitor to the meeting.   She then told a funny joke to get us all into a joyous mood before starting with the serious and business side of the meeting.

She read out an abridged report from the National Federation meeting whereby members were asked to give their support to Denman College.   The Resolution for the Decline of our High Streets and Town Centres was unanimously supported by the membership with over 5000 votes.  

The new Chairman for the National Federation of Women’s Institutes is Janice Langley from Worthing W.I.   

Two of our members will be attending Cookham’s annual tea party at the Sailing Club the same afternoon as our morning meeting.  

Reports from our various activities were given which all continue to be well supported. 

Kath Pinto gave us a visual demonstration of the Dean Rise W.I. website which can be found at

After the break for coffee our speaker garden designer Linsey Evans gave a riveting talk on “How to create a planting plan”.    She also specialises in designs for sloping gardens.   One interesting theme which many members found inspiring, including myself was painting pergolas, sheds etc. black, it appears to make them fade into the background.   All this was supported by a superb photographic presentation of the lovely gardens and planting schemes she has designed.

President Annie thanked the coffee makers and the committee for their help in preparing for the meeting.   Our next meeting will be our garden party held in Candy Skinner’s lovely garden in Bourne End on the 7th August.