The Festival

West Pennard Primary School


Womens Institute

Pilton Village Women’s Institute

President: Janet Ladyman

Secretary: Shirley Watt

All enquiries to 890224 and 899514

The new WI has gone from strength to strength with a membership that has increased to forty.  We have an enthusiastic membership of mixed ages and a friendly warm welcome awaits all members old and new.  We offer the opportunity to learn, develop and pass on new skills, to belong to something special, making friends, working as a team and having fun with events.    

Our WI meetings are held on the third Monday of the month at 7.30pm at Pilton Village Hall.  In addition we hold bi monthly coffee mornings in members’ homes and twice a year we meet for lunch at a local pub, restaurant or cafe.  We also arrange outings to local places of interest and these have included Cole Manor at Bruton and visits to Wyke Farm and Yeo Valley to look at the cheese and yogurt making processes.

Over the past year, we have enjoyed a varied programme, which have included a talk on the history of the local carnivals, Wine Tasting Evening by Majestic Wines and a taste of how the Scot’s celebrate Burns night (see below). Future events planned for 2017 include a presentation on the “History of Clarks Shoes”, and an introduction to Tai Chi, along with many other WI County Events available to members.

Why not come and give us a try, you don’t need to know how to bake, and it’s not all about Jam and Jerusalem!!

January 2017

It was Christmas Party Time for the Pilton Village WI at their December meeting.

After the formalities members gathered for an evening of fun, food and entertainment. Each member had brought in some savoury or sweet food for us to nibble on, but before we could sample the treats, Alison had arranged our entertainment for the evening – a music quiz through the ages.  Alison had music from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s,and 00’s, and played a few notes of each song, to enable us to try and recall the artist and the name of the song.  

There was a lot of brain racking and frustration, along with reminiscing and laughter.

It was a close call, but the winners were, Shirley, Christine, Joyce and Jane who took the title with a score of 79, bagging themselves a prize of a bar of chocolate!!

We then tucked into the food delights, which was followed by singing a couple of Christmas Carols and finally, the committee presented each member with a Christmas Gift.

                                                                                       Jane Marchant


Next came the “Piping in of the Haggis” which was accompanied with Alison and Lysbeth presenting the Haggis to “A Man’s a Man for “A” that”.


We were then served with our Haggis, accompanied by neeps and tatties,! otherwise known as mashed potato and carrot and swede, both mashed with a generous helping of butter. It appeared to be very much enjoyed, with lots of clean plates.  If that wasn’t enough, pudding, was a “Tipsy Laird” – trifle, with just a hint of alcohol added!


Whilst coffee was being served our member Daphne, recited a poem she had written about Burns Night with Carole, kindly giving all our members a gift of shortbread.


Our evening ended with the business matters, and the raffle of Marmalade and Chocolate being won by Pauline and Molly having raised an incredible £40.

February 2017

At our January meeting we were treated to “A Hint of Burns Night”.  This was an idea from our Scottish members, to show us English how Burns Night is celebrated!!


The committee members had set up the room, beautifully with table lined with tartan, and various Scottish decorations around the room, and our committee members having dressed up in their Scottish dress.


We were delighted to be joined by five guests, brought by Molly, for the evening.


The evening started with one of our Scottish Members, Lysbeth Ballantine, reading the Scottish Grace “The Selkirk Grace” before we were all served our starter of Rye Bread and Scottish Salmon.

April 2017

At our March meeting we were visited by Andrew McElwee who came to talk to us about the National Trust. He used to live in Kent where he was a surveyor but in retirement he took up a job advertised at Polesden Lacey as a manager. Polesden Lacey is an Edwardian house and estate located on the North Downs at Great Bookham, near Dorking, Surrey. It is owned and run by the National Trust and is one of the Trust's most popular properties.

Andrew spoke at length about his job interview to get the job and then about his time there, explaining one particular time when the property was suffering with a problem with bats that got so bad they had to call in a professional to sort the problem out. A Batman was called who just happened to be called Robin!!

As Andrew went on talking, one of our members, Molly, discovered that her daughter got married at Polesden Lacey during the time Andrew was there, which was a great coincidence. Andrew was very humorous with his stories, and the evening was completed with Sheila thanking Andrew for his presentation. Jane Marchant

May 2017

Our April meeting was “Members Night” and our members had arranged for a visit from Peter Lawrence who is an artist having spent many years working in the Middle East, drawing inspiration from the area for his water colour painting.

After the formalities, Peter introduced himself and explained how he has always loved painting and the arts, but his education took him down the engineering route, which lead him to work as an engineer for a sanitation company based in the Middle East. Peter spent many years in various difference countries, such Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Dubai, and in particular the capital city of Jordan, Amman.

As Peter had always loved to paint in watercolours, he started to paint, drawing inspiration from the area, such as the landscapes, where he painted the Ancient Lost City of Petra in Jordan.  He also painted many other scenes of the local ancient architecture, people and flora and fauna, all using vibrant colours and different techniques. Peter explained how many of his paintings hold particular memories for him, and reflect his mood at particular times.

Following a meeting with another artist, it unexpectedly led to the opportunity of publishing a book displaying his art work of Jordan.  This led to two further books published with his artwork, along with an exhibition displaying his work in Amman, Jordan, to which three Jordanian  Princesses’ attended.

Peter was obviously very enchanted with the area, particularly Jordan and the city of Amman explaining how the difficulties in the area, through religion and politics have not done any favours for the area.

March 2017

On the 18th March 2017, Pilton Village WI hosted their Afternoon Tea Event at Pilton Village Hall.

Our members had set up the room beautifully, with tablecloths, fine cutlery, china and flowers adoring the tables.

Our guests were treated to a selection of homemade dainty sandwiches and cake treats, along with scones with jam and cream, all served on three tier cake stands and with a plentiful supply of tea by our very smart WI waitresses for the day.

The afternoon was very pleasant with guests taking the time to sit, relax and chat, creating a lovely buzz in the room.

It was a lot of hard work, but well worth it, raising an amazing £350, with the proceeds going to the Pilton Village Trust and the refurbishment of the foyer area of the village hall.

June 2017

At our AGM in May the local WI Advisor, Anne Preston, attended to help with any queries or issues.

A skittles team is being organised by Clare.

There will be no meeting in June because of the Festival, but we shall visit Midney Gardens.

We were delighted that our Burns Supper appeared in the County News.

Several members recently enjoyed a performance of ‘Guys and Dolls’ at Strode Theatre by the Street Musical Comedy Society.

The next item on the agenda was discussion of the Resolutions. Celia spoke on ‘Action on Loneliness’ and Clarissa spoke about attempts to ban Micro Plastic Fibres. After hearing all the pros and cons, 21 members voted for ‘Action on Loneliness’ and 19 also voted for the Resolution on Micro Plastic Fibres.

Our secretary gave an account of our achievements over the past year and Janet, our president, thanked everyone for their help.

Janet was re-elected president; Shirley and Sheila will be secretary and treasurer respectively, and the committee members are Jane, Joyce, Tracey, Linda and Ann.

Celia expressed the members’ thanks to the committee for all their hard work during the last twelve months.

The evening closed with tea and cake.

Jane Marchant

September 2017

Our guest tonight was Dawn Lawrence who visited us to introduce us to her poetry books that were inspired by her husband who was a geologist in different counties, and had various encounters with wildlife.

Dawn, has written for People's Friend, a women's magazine since 2003, with the magazine recently celebrating 150 years.

It was from creating the stories, poems and illustrations, Dawn decided that the funds raised from the books would go towards animal conservation, particularly the Born Free Foundation set up 25 years ago by Virginia McKenna.

Dawn explained that in 3 years  over 100,000 elephants were killed.  In addition, there are now only 15,000 lions left in the wild with only 2,800 Tigers and 300 Siberian Tigers.

In the UK there are only one million hedgehogs left, along with Kingfishers, Puffins and the Dormouse along with Bees being on the endangered list. The Water Vole being the most most endangered UK animal.

Along with Dawn's wildlife information, she shared with us the poems she has written about the numerous different animals that are on the endangered list. Dawn's poems were charming, and you could see and feel her passion when she read some of them to us.

Dawn had a lovely selection of books available to purchase, and many people took advantage of purchasing early Christmas presents.

The evening ended with Clarissa giving the vote of thanks to Dawn for her wonderful presentation

Photos of Pilton Village's WI Summer Party. Our members enjoyed a lovely evening get together with a selection of nibbles and drinks, and the surprise visit of a hot air balloon.  Our member, Sue, is shown prior to her visit to the hairdressers, where she is donating her hair to charity.

At our October meeting we were treated to a demonstration of Tai Chi by Zabeth Reid.  Zabeth  explained that Tia Chi is over 500 years old.

Zabeth showed us a movement called Z4 which was extremely soothing and performed by Zabeth very eliquently.

All our members were able to join in, either sitting or standing, demonstrating it is accessible for all.

Zabeth finished off by showing us some moves with a sword and fans.

A very enjoyable evening, leaving our members very relaxed and calm.

Pilton Village WI October Meal Get Together

We all enjoyed a lovely get together the other evening at the Old Down Inn, kindly organised by Val Dixon. It was a great way to have a good chat supported by excellent food and drink.

We all enjoyed a wonderful evening recently at our Christmas Party. Wonderful food, drink and company. Alison was our quizmaster for the evening, with a very random quiz!!  First prize being won by Clarissa! The evening was completed with each member receiving a Christmas gift from the WI committee to thank all the members for their support over the last 12 months

November 2017.

At our November meeting, we were joined by Tiggy Trethowan who works behind the scenes as events manager for The Antiques Roadshow. Tiggy explained that as a child she was not academic, but was passionate about drama which she studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. After many years in the television industry working on various shows, she was offered a job with the Antiques Roadshow who at the time wanted to update the image of the show, and make it a bigger and better show with more visitors than the 1500 visitors attending at that time.

With her experience gained from the other shows, she brought in new security, health and safety, lost children, first aid and training for the many volunteer stewards. There are now up to 6,000 visitors per event. She explained that the way in which visitors are chosen has not changed over the years, and every visitor to the Antiques Roadshow gets a valuation if they visit, but it is only 5% that are filmed.

It was lovely to hear about Tiggy's life, with its many ups and downs. She was most enthusiastic, and you could tell she loves everything about her job. Jane Marchant

Pilton Village WI  -  January Meeting

Have you ever noticed the Blood Bikes driving around, thought they were part of the NHS? You'd be wrong! This organisation is totally run by volunteers,and our guest for this evening was biker, Julian Barefoot, who came to explain how it all works. Known as Freewheelers and Blood Bikes they are Emergency Voluntary Service "EVS".  Their motto being Riding for Life. Julian explained the organisation was originally established in the 1950/60's in the Bristol, Bath and Somerset area, with the organisation becoming a registered charity in 1990. They provide an out of hours courier service to the NHS.

The bikes will carry the following items: blood, pathology, medication, equipment, X-rays and scans, patient notes, surgical tools. Since 2015 they also carry breast milk for the NICU Milkbank, following the purchase of special boxes by The Lions. They work Monday to Friday 7pm to 7am, and 24 hours at weekends and bank holidays, running four bikes at a time. So, you won't see them during the daytime throughout the week. There is no fixed central office, with all riders working from home. All bikes are fitted with blue lights and sirens, and road traffic laws must be complied with at all times, so no breaking the speed limits!

Julian went on to explain that all riders fit this volunteer work around their regular jobs. Julian fits the work around his job as an accountant for the NHS.  This is the same for all the different roles in the charity, such as fundraising, co-ordinators, and committee members. Funds do need to be raised to cover the running costs of the bikes, which is approx. £120k per year, excluding the cost of the bikes. It is estimated they save the NHS half a million pounds a year, and in 2016 they performed 4974 deliveries, and covered one hundred and eighty thousand miles.

Julian's presentation was fascinating. I was certainly one of the ones who thought these bikes were funded by the NHS. Just goes to show you can learn something new everyday. What an achievement to the members of this organisation.

The aims of the organisation are:-

To save lives

Provide medical support to the public

Help the NHS save money

To promote a positive image of motorcycling

To promote safe motorcycling

April 2018

At our February meeting we were joined by Catherine who introduced us to jewellery making. Many of us had a go, and after a little bit of frustration with the intricacies, we had some lovely results. For those who did not wish to indulge, a good catch up, with tea and cake, completed the evening.

Jane Marchant

May 2018

At this month’s meeting we were due to be visited by Angela Pitt to give us a presentation on her voluntary work for the Galapagos Islands. Sadly, due to the arrival of the ‘Mini Beast from the East’ she was not able to make it.

Fortunately, Alison came to the rescue, and arranged at very short notice, a few games of Bingo for all of us who dared to venture out. Alison was Bingo Master for the evening and after calling out the numbers for a while, there was eventually a player with a full house. Daphne claimed the prize in the first game, with Gill being the winner of the second. Both were presented with their prizes - Cadbury Creme Eggs!!

Our thanks go to Alison, who was able to arrange the Bingo at such short notice.

Jane Marchant

The Pilton Village WI are organising a trip to Highclere Castle on 11th July, and currently have a few spare spaces.

We wondered if other Pilton residents would like to join us?

We will be leaving the village around 9.15 am and returning about 5.30 pm.

The cost, which includes entrance to the House and Gardens and the coach, is £25.

If you would like to join us please call Alison on 899516.