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Kibworth & Smeeton WI

March began with the County Federation’s ACM. The first speaker was Michael Vlasto from Trinity House. For over 500 years this charity has aided navigation of our increasingly busy waters and is the authority which manages our lighthouses, buoys and light vessels, as well as providing education and training.

Second speaker Laura Bingham, the Leicestershire explorer and adventurer, described her recent expedition to Guyana, leading the world’s first descent by kayak of the Essequibo River, the third longest in South America. The team had to find the source which meant climbing and hacking through the jungle. Aged just 25, with an adventurer husband and baby son, Laura has many more exciting plans ahead.

Afternoon speaker Giles Brandreth kept us laughing for an hour, from his opening question “Are you, like me, wondering what I’m doing here?” Language is power, he told us, emphasising the importance of punctuation, clear enunciation and grammar, lack of which can have funny or disastrous results. For example, the title of his latest book is ‘Have You Eaten Grandma?’ (no comma). While attending Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, Giles heard ‘There will now be a minute’s violence and ‘The Arch Bitch will now speak’. His hour finished all too quickly.

Foxton WI hosted our Fernie South Group meeting with Peter Barratt, great-grandson of Leicester’s famous suffragette, Alice Hawkins, speaking about her life, from working in the boot and shoe industry to her joining campaigns for better pay and votes for women.

Peter’s family have a collection of suffragette memorabilia, photographs and press cuttings, among them one about her arrest and prison sentence to Holloway jail. She was imprisoned five times with other suffragettes. Peter gave us a personal insight, adding to our knowledge of Alice. Our thanks go to Foxton WI for an excellent evening with delicious refreshments.

On 30 May we will host Radio Leicester who are recording ‘Down to Earth’ in the Grammar School Hall at 7pm. We will provide refreshments and a raffle. Everyone is welcome

For members Thursday 9 May will be our ‘Resolutions’ meeting at 7.30 in the Grammar School Hall. Thanks to the kind co-operation of other users of the Hall, we can now meet there every month and with more space we are able to expand our membership. If you are thinking of joining, why not come along as a visitor to learn more about us.


Pat Sharman
Issue 411
April 2019


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