Flying high!

At our September meeting, we were joined by Chris Pearson, the manager of Land’s End Airport, who spoke about the facilities there, the activities that are based at the airport and the people who are employed there.

Members were surprised at the extent of airport operations, which involve not only the regular flights to the Isles of Scilly, but also operations for the Royal Navy based at Culdrose, for Trinity House and for a large number of private pilots who use the runways on a regular basis. Thiry-eight pilots are currently based at Land’s End, some of whom have also been trained there, and there is also a small team of air traffic controllers to manage the process. Flights to the islands are operated by the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company, who also have routes from Newquay and Exeter, so planning involves teams at all three airports working closely together.

Chris extended an invocation to members to visit the newly refurbished cafe at Land’s End and enjoy watching flights taking off and landing from the comfort of the lounge – an invitation which some of us will undoubtedly take up.

At the same meeting, the Treasurer was able to report that our fund-raising this year, including the August Causewayhead stall and plants sales (thanks, Viv and Staf!) have raised just over £250 for Mount’s Bay W.I.

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The Denman Experience

At our July meeting we were joined by Kathy Reed, CFWI’s Denman Representative, who spoke with enthusiasm about the history and work of the W.I.’s own adult education college. Some members are already “old hands” at Denman, but for those who have never been or have only recently joined it was a chance to find out about the surprising range of provision which the college offers  and the significant role it plays in the life of the W.I.

Some members were interested to learn that each Federation has responsibility for its own room at Denman; Kathy had brought along pictures of the Cornwall Room for us to look at. During a previous Federation visit, the then-Chairman, Barbara Corbett and her husband had spent the week not in classes but in painting and redecoration the Cornwall Room for future visitors!

Members can, of course, attend courses at Denman at any time, but Kathy told us that the next Federation visit will be in May 2019. Details of the programme will be available next year, but we can all start saving now for three days of learning and laughter in the wonderful peace and tranquillity of the Oxfordshire countryside.

A pain in the neck? – a physiotherapist can help

On June 15th, those of us with aches and pains in various parts of our anatomy were delighted to welcome as our speaker, Lesley Harry, a physiotherapist with the Harbourside practice in Newlyn.

Lesley grew up in Penzance and qualified in 1989 from Kings College Hospital and started her career in Oxford working within the field of Orthopaedics. She returned to Cornwall in 1996, based initially at the RCHT,  before moving to West Cornwall in 1998 where she was lead clinician and also set up the acute service for RNAS Culdrose. Her main interests involve the sporting world and, alongside teaching a HND in sports science and injury management in 1999, she was an approved tutor for the Football Association sports injury courses.

Lesley has been the lead Therapist at Harbourside Physiotherapy since its opening in 2003. She continues to expand her extensive experience in sports injury management, along with her many manual skills in treatment modalities in the field of musculoskeletal physiotherapy. Her extensive knowledge of individual sports covers gymnastics, (having competed at a high level as a junior), racquet sports and contact fighting sports whilst she is also well known as an accomplished therapist in the running and triathlon arena.

Although most of us are not particularly athletic ourselves these days, Lesley had us up and moving and showed us a number of simple exercises we can do at home to improve our suppleness and balance, and to counteract everyday gripes such as neck and lower back pain. Who knew exercise could be such fun?

Votes and totes!

Or Resolutions and Handbags!

Our May meeting provided an opportunity to consider and vote upon the two resolutions proposed to go forward to the National A.G.M. in June.

The first, on alleviating loneliness reads:

“This meeting calls on every WI and the NFWI to work alongside health and social care providers and their local community to raise awareness of the causes and impacts of loneliness, thus ensuring better identification of lonely people in order to be able to offer them the appropriate assistance and support.”

The concerns raised provoked strong feelings from members. Most of us are aware of people who may be lonely, and many of us recalled times when we ourselves had experienced loneliness and the impact this had had on our well-being and self-esteem. There was an overwhelming consensus that this is just the sort of issue which the W.I. should address and where it is in a good position to take action.

The second proposed resolution on “Plastic Soup” relates to the marine environment.

“Microplastic fibres are shed from synthetic clothing with every wash and are the main contributors to microplastic contamination of the oceans. The NFWI calls on Government and industry to research and develop innovative solutions to this problem in order to stop the accumulation of microplastic fibres in our oceans.”

Whilst many of us were aware of the problems cause by microbeads found in cosmetics and other products, we had been largely unaware of the damage which comes from the shedding of microplastic fibres, for example from clothing in the wash. These fibres are often toxic and when they enter the food chain can harm not only fish and other marine wildlife but also humans. Preventing such contamination is essential, as cleaning up the sea once the plastic fibres are in the water is almost impossible, and we agreed that – however difficult – it was important to start somewhere.

After lively discussion, both resolutions were voted on by our members and both passed.

The discussions continued over tea, but members also had a chance to browse the accessories Bring-and-Buy – assorted handbags, hats, scarves and jewellery brought along and all looking for new homes! A share of the proceeds was duly delivered to our funds.

Now we are Nine!

Our Annual Meeting on 16th March 2017 was the opportunity for members to elect a new Committee for the coming year and to review the events and achievements of 2016 – 17.

Our Secretary, Liz Anderson, in the Committee report gave a succinct summary of the variety of speakers, activities and excursions we have enjoyed, thanked members for their participation an interest and encouraged them to pass on the message to their friends that the W.I. is a great organisation and an excellent way of having fun in great company.

Retiring Treasurer, Stef Russell, reported that our finances are in healthy shape, but warned that we are still heavily reliant on our summer fundraising sale and cannot afford to be complacent. Our speakers this year have been more expensive than in previous years, and it becomes increasingly difficult to find good speakers who live locally enough not to cost us significantly in travel expenses.

Both the Committee and Treasurer’s Reports were approved by the members without exception.

Our President, Val Stevens, thanked the Committee for their hard work over the past year and presented Stef with flowers as a token of our gratitude for what can be a difficult – and sometimes frustrating – job.

The Committee for the coming year will be:

President: Val Stevens

Vice President: Jean Grey

Secretary: Liz Anderson

Treasurer: Jenny Fitton

Other members: Joan Hutchings, Liz Preston, Nina Sully

Following our formal business, we were able to celebrate the ninth birthday of Mount’s Bay W.I. with a drink and a slice of birthday cake!

President, Val Stevens, cuts our birthday cake at the 2017 Annual Meeting of Mount’s Bay W.I.

On the right track for Helston Railway

Roger from the Helston Railway Society with some of the many photographs of the work done by volunteeers

Roger from the Helston Railway Society with some of the many photographs of the work done by volunteeers

Our February speakers were volunteers from the Helston Railway Society, a group whose ambition is to reopen (eventually) all of the old branch line from Gwinear Road to Helston which was shut down by Dr. Beeching in the 1960s.

It was in October 2005 that volunteers began the mammoth task of clearing 40 years of vegetative growth from the first part of the line, since when one and a half miles of track between Prospidnick and Truthall have been reinstated. The first trains to run on the newly opened track were diesel, but the Railway now has its own steam engine, “William Murdoch” to pull the converted brake vans which form the passenger fleet.

Some of us could remember riding on the Helston branch line before its closure while others had parents who did so in days past (including the airmen and navy personnel stationed at Culdrose during and after the Second World War. Few of us, however, were aware so much work had been done to bring the line back into use – let alone that it had won a national award for the Best Preserved Railway!

The Helston Railway re-opens to the public in April and many of us will be making  trip this summer to make the half-hour ride up and down the line.

It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vicar!

vandaOur speaker for our first meeting of 2017 was the force of nature that is the Reverend Canon Vanda Perrett.

Vanda is the Priest in Charge of the Land’s End Benefice which, alongside St Sennen, also includes the churches of St Levan and St Buryan – quite an achievement for a lass named by her mother after a fictional serial adulterer and temptress from a Mills and Boon novel!

But then Vanda clearly makes a habit out of achieving the strange and unusual – sneaking out to the pub during training for her ordination, greeting the bishop wearing a practically identical (highly coloured) outfit, or conducting Christmas crib services by conscripting human substitutes for the shepherds, wise men and donkeys absent from the non-existent Crib display!

Regardless of our religious persuasions, Vanda had us laughing and crying at the stories she told from her years of service in the Church. To paraphrase what she was told by one of her tutors in the pre-ordination process, she may not be what the Church wants, but she is certainly what it needs!