Pillaton WI Meeting Report - July 2010

A packed hall, a hum of conversation and a distinct atmosphere of “school’s out” set the scene for the July meeting – the last for a while as we don’t meet during August. Important, then, to catch up with friends, arrange outings over the summer and generally get into holiday mode before the meeting began in earnest.

The guest speaker for July was Anne Tregarthen, representing Operation Sunshine, a Christian charity which has now operated for almost 30 years and whose aim is to send aid direct to named contacts working with the neediest people in parts of Africa. Anne explained that the Tavistock based branch of the charity fund raises to buy containers and fill them with the items required to promote self sufficiency amongst communities in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania and Malawi. During the current year they have already succeeded in shipping three containers, with plans for a fourth during August. Anne described some of the ongoing projects they support, such as the Liteta Leper Colony and the Canaan School for abused children in Zambia.

Anne spoke with passion and commitment – imagine, she said, managing on less than one dollar each day. Imagine being a grandmother responsible for the care of grandchildren orphaned by AIDS. Imagine the excitement of the child given two exercise books, a pencil and a pen – the first four items that child has ever owned. Can you realise that Wellington boots save lives in the rainy season by helping to prevent cholera outbreaks? Remember that left-over tapestry or embroidery wool lying idle in the drawer? They may help women in an African village to start a craft business. Are there redundant gardening or wood working tools in your garage? They can help villagers grow food or carve souvenirs for tourists.

Anne passed the floor to her colleague Sue, who told us about the fund raising methods used by Operation Sunshine, including handmade cards, cream teas, an annual Craft Fair and other events.

By the end of their presentation, Anne and Sue had inspired us to go straight home and gather together unwanted items ready for collection on August 9. During the break, WI members browsed the photos that Anne had brought along showing gifts being put to practical use in their destination villages.

Then it was time to clear the decks ready for a photograph of the presentation of a cheque to ShelterBox. The very successful Pillaton Garden Safari on June 27 had made enough profit to buy two Shelter boxes and give some money towards a third one. Representatives from the charity accepted the cheque, telling us that we would be able to trace our boxes on the Internet to see where they end up.

The business meeting rounded off what had been a fairly hectic evening. As well as the regular agenda items, Treasurer Sue Archer gave a detailed breakdown of the Pillaton Garden Safari income and expenditure, and members approved a generous donation to Pillaton Village Hall as well as the ShelterBox donation already referred to above. Anne Barnicoat made a short speech thanking everybody for all the hard work that had gone into making the day such a success and this was echoed by our President, Alison Downing.

Lists were circulated for a number of events organised by Cornwall Federation, including the Anniversary Garden Party, Mount Edgcumbe and Tamar River Cruise, trip to Boscastle, Speakers’ Auditions Day, Pumpkins, Gourds and Squashes and Family History Day. It looks as if it will be a very busy late summer and early autumn!

Passers by glancing into the church porch on a damp and drizzly Monday 9 August would have seen a huddle of WI volunteers waiting to receive items on behalf of Operation Sunshine. Despite the weather, Pillatonians came up trumps as ever and between 12 and 3 pm amassed a fantastic amount of “stuff” – possibly the only thing missing was the kitchen sink! Operation Sunshine was absolutely delighted and overwhelmed by the generosity of everybody who gave. The booty included bicycles, gardening implements, craft materials, clothing, shoes and lots of other “stuff” crammed into large bags. Thank you all for making the collection a huge success.

A group of us thoroughly enjoyed our trip to the Theatre Royal Plymouth on Thursday 19 August, to see “Joseph and the amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” We enjoyed a pre-show hot buffet supper and a good time was had by all.

Our next meeting will be on September 13 with guest speaker Ryan Metters talking about “Sweeping Changes.” We are a friendly group and welcome new members, so if you would like to come along to see what we do, please join us in Pillaton Village Hall. We meet at 7.30 pm on the second Monday of each month. If you would like to know more about Pillaton WI, please contact me.

Ann Henderson

Last updated: 14 January 2011 Contact Us