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At the December meeting Louise Grey gave an amusing account of how she came to set up her business, Silver Sentiments Jewellery. She was made redundant from her legal secretarial job and decided to take her life in a different direction. She travels every year to India, Bali and Thailand to source the stones which are then mounted by talented silversmiths. She had brought along a large array of beautiful pieces. After her talk members rushed like bees to a honey pot to look more closely and buy items for themselves and also for friends – lucky friends!

Twenty ladies enjoyed a noisy and convivial lunch on 13 December at The Moorings in Myton Road. This was the Christmas lunch organised by the Barford WI Dining Club which meets most months in a local hostelry.

In January Janet Wroe and her assistant produced a Fun with Antiques evening. Eight objects were passed round for the teams to value. Much hilarity and friendly discussion ensued. Points were then given for accuracy. Some of the answers were absolutely correct and some were completely wrong, but it was definitely a fun evening.

The speaker at the 1st February meeting will be Chris Edwards. The title of his talk is ‘Birds’ and he is an avid birdwatcher, but not a twitcher!

Visitors are always welcome and we are a friendly bunch.
A date for your diaries: Saturday 28 April will be the Barford WI quiz evening.

Angela Watkins

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Louise Cleife joint President, welcomed members to the Annual meeting.

Hilary Maynard gave an interesting account of a recent “Behind the Scenes” trip to the RSC, enjoyed by 21 members. Reports were also given about the book club and luncheon club and the secretary gave a brief report of the activities for the year. Helen Clay, the WI representative on the village hall committee, reported on all the improvements that had been made to the hall during the current year.

Federation Chairman Margaret Pilkington was welcomed to the AGM by Louise Cleife who was nominated to stand for another year as President. Judith Coltman retired as Secretary after 3 years and was thanked for her hard work and dedication.

The meeting was followed by a Ploughman’s supper provided by Sue and Gloria.

Jacqueline Norton

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Louise Cleife, Joint President, welcomed members to our October meeting.

Liz and Mike Ashton brought Joseph in to see us all. He was much admired and surely will remember his first visit to Barford WI!

Jacky Meyers, our Programme Organiser, very sadly passed away at Myton Hospice. Jacky’s contribution to our WI over many years from Secretary, Quiz Master, Programme Organiser and Committee Member, was recognised at the meeting. Rosemary Lloyd gave a heartfelt tribute to Jacky mentioning her many interests, activities and her kindness towards other people. Jacky’s vitality and bravery facing the end of her life will be remembered by members and residents of Barford.

Our speaker for the evening was Kate Allen, Occupational Therapist, who has experience of working with adults of all ages and disabilities. Using the book, Sod Sitting, Get Moving, she took us through a series of exercises to encourage us all to be more active.

Nancy Williamson

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Joint President, Louise Cleife, welcomed our members to the first meeting after the summer break on Thursday 7th September.

A range of activities for members were announced including a tour of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre on Thursday 24th October. Entertaining accounts were given of recent WI outings by Juliette Homer, Marion Hancock and Jackie Horton. The Luncheon Club’s next outing is to The Boot in Lapworth on Thursday 28th September.

The speaker for the evening was Jane Good who gave us an amazing display of creating a painting in 45 minutes using “Wet on Wet oils”. She called this doing oil painting the easy and quick way and the results were quite remarkable. It cannot have been as easy as she was able to suggest! She entertained us with a wry sense of humour describing her need to escape from employment in the civil service and how she has now become a full time teacher of the Bob Ross system of introducing oil painting to the ordinary person who is not able to draw. It was quite fascinating.

Nancy Williamson

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The July meeting was held in The Barford Memorial Hall. It was a beautiful balmy summer evening and WI members arrived dressed up for the occasion.

A small committee, headed by Angela Watkins, prepared a delicious two course supper and afterwards everyone drifted outside to enjoy the good weather and each other’s company. It was lovely to see over 50 members enjoying such a special evening together.

There were a good number of entries in the annual Corsage Competition which was won by Lorraine Thorne. A visual quiz of sights in Warwick proved to be a little testing and the well-deserved winner was Juliette Homer.

Nancy Williamson

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Joint President Louis Cleife welcomed everyone to the June meeting.

We were sorry to learn that after a recent illness, Anne Starkey has been recuperating at Priory House; she hopes to be home soon. We sent our good wishes to Angela Watkins following a bad fall recently and we wish her a speedy recovery.

Jan Warner gave a talk entitled "The survival of the fittest", not as you might expect about keep fit, but the history of the care of babies and children in the days when hygiene was unheard of.

The Annual Group Meeting will be on Thursday 12th October and this year the host will be Hatton WI. Looking ahead, our New Year Dinner will take place on Thursday 25th January 2018 when members have chosen to go to the Masonic Rooms in Warwick.

Hilary Maynard announced that after many years she will no longer sell her lovely jams etc at our monthly meetings. They will be sadly missed.

Finally, we were very happy to hear that Liz and Mike Ashton's baby arrived safely on Monday 5th June - a boy, Joseph Daniel.

Marion Hancock

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Joint President, Sheila Reed, welcomed everyone to the May meeting. It was a busy meeting with the arrangements for a range of events and outings being discussed ranging from a trip to London to see "The Girls" and an outing to CAD Kineton. Plans were even put in place for the New Year dinner in 2018!

Carole Whiteley was thanked for the excellent work she had done in putting together Barford's page to be entered in the WI Centenary Book ready for next year's celebrations.

The evening continued with a discussion led by Louise Cleife and Cindy Cook on the WI's National Resolutions. The first topic to be developed was "Plastic Soup: keep micro fabric fibres out of our seas" and those at the meeting voted in favour of adopting this resolution The second resolution was "Loneliness and the greater recognition of the impact of loneliness as a health issue". The meeting felt this resolution was too vague in its present form and voted against.

A lovely supper followed with thanks being given to Phil Derbyshire.

Nancy Williamson

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Joint President Sheila Reed opened the April meeting by welcoming members and guests. The Quiz Evening on 1st April had been a great success raising £715.17. Thanks were given to John Barrott, the Quiz Master and Rosemary Lloyd, the Scorer.

It was a busy meeting dealing with up and coming events both locally and nationally.

We enjoyed a fascinating talk from our speaker, local writer and Barford resident, Jenefer Heap .She told us that after having a story published in Good Housekeeping her writing career was put on hold until her family were at school. She then completed an Open University course in Creative Writing. She has written a book of short stories and read out extracts to the audience which were enjoyed greatly. Jenefer is also involved in local projects and including going into our Barford school to help pupils with their writing skills.

20 of our members attended the Warwickshire Annual Federation Meeting on 10th April in Chesford Grange Hotel. After a rousing “ Jerusalem” and slick business meeting, the audience was treated to a range of outstanding speakers including Professor Steven Parissien, Director of Compton Verney, Caitlin Davies an author and journalist and the unforgettable Jonathan Moseley who filled the stage with the most amazing floral displays.

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Joint President Louise Cleife opened the March meeting by welcoming everyone and especially Betty Woodcock as a visitor. Louise congratulated Barford’s Team A quiz team consisting of Hilary Maynard, Diane Sinclair, Sue Lusby and Gill Jones for performing so well in the Warwickshire WI Quiz.

Carole Whiteley was thanked for her impressive job in updating the WI leaflet given to new and prospective members. It was agreed to have them printed professionally.

After last year’s success, Jan Bradley has agreed to produce a new play with some of our members and a meeting is planned at the end of March to start rehearsals and be ready to perform at our meeting in June.

We enjoyed a light hearted talk about Maths in primary schools from Graeme Currie, our speaker for the evening. He talked about the importance of engaging pupils and making the subject fun and we were then put in a classroom situation with a range of tasks to tackle with limited success in some cases!

Nancy Williamson

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Joint President Louise Cleife welcomed all members and guests to the February meeting. She thanked Philippa Wilson and her committee for arranging such a successful New Year’s Dinner. The catering was excellent and 47 of us had enjoyed the happy and relaxed atmosphere.

Barford WI has a very busy programme of events planned for 2017 starting with the Village Quiz on Saturday 1st April. Tickets are going fast so please contact Cindy Cook on 624175 for more information.

The speaker was Nick Channer who gave an illustrated talk entitled Downtown Abbey to Watership Down. This turned out to be a description of The Wayfarers Walk which is a 71 mile trail running from the north of the county down to the sea at Emsworth. It starts with imposing views from Combe Gibbet on Inkpen Beacon and we were given several interesting snippets of historical information along the way, being taken past Highclere Castle and the beautiful rolling countryside at Watership Down.

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At the December and January meetings, Co-Presidents Sheila Reed and Louise Cliefe welcomed members and guests wishing everyone "A Happy Christmas and New Year".

After the minutes and reports, the speakers were:

Mr Liam D'arcy Brown on Chusan the Opium Wars and forgotten story of Britain's first Island. He was enthusiastic making it a fascinating talk.

Mr Alan Leech on Thoughtfully Wrapped. He explained how-to wrap a bottle making folds and cones. He made it an enjoyable evening.

The speaker for February 2nd will be Mr Nick Channer on Downtown Abbey to Watership Down.

Visitors and New members always welcome

Cynthia Cook

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President Rosemary Lloyd welcomed members and guests to the November meeting. Diane Sinclair showed everyone examples of the sensory bands which she and a few other ladies had knitted at the request of WI for people with dementia. Patterns were handed out for anyone who wanted to get involved. Hilary Maynard gave an entertaining account of the recent lunch with Michael Portillo which so many of us had enjoyed at Wroxall Abbey. Marion Hancock reported on the recent Group Meeting held by Hampton Magna and Bubrooke. The New Year’s Dinner is to be held in Barford Memorial Hall on 19th January and tickets costing £22.50 will be available at the next meeting. Contact Philippa Wilson for information.

The Annual Meeting began and Rosemary introduced Yvette Hunt and Julia Baker, WI advisor and trustee. Last year’s minutes were provided and the Byelaws were agreed. Jean Tuck, the Treasurer, gave her report and Judith Coltman, Secretary, gave her report of our year’s events. Other reports were given by Gill Jones (Book Club) and Sue Lusby (Lunch Club). Rosemary Lloyd thanked everyone for three enjoyable and busy years as President and encouraged all members to consider standing for committee for the coming year. She thanked everyone for their support.

A discussion took place and Louise Cleife and Sheila Reed agreed to be joint President for 2017. Judith Colman is to remain as Secretary and Jean Tuck as Treasurer. The rest of the Committee include Marion Hancock, Sue Lusby, Jane Price and Cindy Cook. Sheila Reed was thanked for preparing the Ploughman’s Supper enjoyed by all.

The next meeting will be on Thursday 1st December at 7.45 pm in the Memorial Hall. The speaker is Liam D’Arcy Brown who will be talking about Chusan: The Opium Wars and the Forgotten Story of Britain’s First Chinese Island. He comes highly recommended!

Visitors and new members will be very welcome.

Nancy Williamson

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The October meeting was held a week later than usual as a result of the referendum and members were treated to an evening where they could try out their skills at curling after a short business meeting.

Sheila Reed thanked everyone for their help and attendance at her recent coffee morning in aid of the Scout and Guide Hut. The event raised £211. Entertaining reports were shared about the AGM in Brighton and a locally organised “Essence of India” where members had learnt about Indian food, dress and had even tried out some Bollywood dancing moves.

For the future, it is hoped to organise a course in jewellery with Karen Van Hoff and a new play under the expert guidance of Jan Bradley.

Members were invited to put themselves forward for the committee and a new President will be required for the coming year.

A very competitive curling session then began with teams hurling the "stones" at a target with a huge variety of techniques on show and with varying levels of success. The team who prevailed in the knockout competition were unbeaten all evening and well deserved their victory. Many thanks to Matthew Macfadyen for organising the evening for us and managing to keep control! Hopefully the five visitors who joined us enjoyed their evening

Nancy Williamson

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Vice President, Ingrid Oliver, welcomed our members to the first meeting after the summer break on Thursday 1st September.

A range of activities for members were announced including a walk at Draycote on Monday 12th September as part of WI Sports Week. The lunch in November with guest speaker Michael Portillo had proved so popular that a ballot of members had to be taken and 13 lucky ladies had their names drawn out of the hat.

The speaker for the evening was Karen Van Hoff who gave us an amazing talk on her life and showed us the most exquisite jewellery and embroidery she had designed. She is totally self taught and was both funny and inspiring. Her career was kick started by entering a WI competition by mistake and her entry was given first place. The company that organised the competition gave her a job making flowers for hats sold in Liberty´s London. Today she knits and embroiders with fine wire, gems and pearls to create her unique fine art, couture jewellery. She also organises workshops for small groups and many ladies seemed interested to organise this for later in the year. Her talk included many funny and poignant anecdotes.

Nancy Williamson

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Our July meeting was our Members’ Night held at the home of Gill Forster and despite the dull weather we managed to have a lovely supper in the garden, a big thank you to Gill and her committee. Hilary Maynard won the cup in the cortège competition. We sang happy birthday to Jo Westbrook who had recently celebrated her 90 th birthday.

We now have a break until September but as always we would be happy to welcome new members. We meet on the first Thursday of the month at the Memorial Hall at 7.45 pm.

A Coffee Morning is being held at Watchbury Cottage, 6 High Street on Wednesday 7th Septemberfrom 10.00 a.m. by kind invitation of Sheila Reed. Cost £2.50 to include a cake. All monies to be donated to the Youth and Community Centre (new Scout Hut). Everyone welcome.

In the Autumn we are having a walk as part of the WI Sports Week. We have also been invited to join in a walk around Draycote Water, Best Foot Forward (music and movement) at Cawston Community Hall and Yoga at Hatton Park Village Hall.

We are meeting up with 5 other W.I’s in the area in October when we have a meal and a floral demonstration and the Secretaries read out reports of what their Group has been doing during the year.

On Thursday 17th Novemberthere is a trip organised by the Warwickshire Federation called “Lost and Found” – with a visit to Sunken Cities … Egypt’s Lost Worlds at The British Museum.

In December there is a trip to Chester Christmas Market and a Festive Food and Flowers demonstration at Bulkington Village Centre .

Judith Coltman

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President Rosemary Lloyd welcomed 35 members and 2 guests to the June meeting. A Minute’s Silence was held in memory of Freda James who had been a member of Barford WI since 1983 and will be sadly missed.

As part of WI Activity Week, a walk has been arranged on Tuesday 13th September along the canal from Morrisons to Warwick and back, stopping off at The Cape of Good Hope for lunch. Hopefully there will be a big turnout.

Plans for a coffee morning in aid of the new Scout Hut were announced. It is to take place on Wednesday 7th Septemberat Sheila Reed’s, Watchbury Cottage, from 10am onwards. Entry will cost £2.50 and there will also be a raffle. Please come along and support this event.

Pam Harben shared her experiences of the Legal London trip which included Gray’s Inn and the Supreme Court and Liz Hainey reported on the Book Group’s interesting trip to Stoneleigh Abbey. It seemed no coincidence that the success of both events seemed to revolve around what they had for afternoon tea!

Our speaker for the evening was Val Rainbow who spoke to us about the origins and history of belly dancing. She showed us some lovely costumes which she had had made for herself in Egypt and several very brave volunteers took part and shimmied their way around the hall. Maybe this is a new interest for some of them!

Nancy Williamson

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The WI Quiz night proved a great success with everyone enjoying the challenging questions and a most enjoyable supper. The raffle raised an impressive £228 which has been donated to the Scout Hut Appeal.

The WI members congratulated Pauline Currie on celebrating her 90th birthday and presented her with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

At the May meeting two Resolutions were discussed which will be presented to the National Annual Meeting in June. The first one calls upon the NHS to provide facilities to enable carers to stay with people with dementia during a stay in hospital and the second addresses the issue of food waste from supermarkets. Both of these very important issues were discussed and a vote was taken on whether to support the resolutions. Our delegate, Angela Watkins, who will attend the National AGM in June, will vote on our behalf. Following the debate a ploughman’s supper was enjoyed by all.

We are also planning an evening in September to walk along the Birmingham canals and a curling evening in October.

Nancy Williamson

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President Rosemary Lloyd opened the April meeting by welcoming 28 members and 2 guests. It was a busy meeting dealing with up and coming events both locally and nationally. Helen Clay gave a detailed report on the Annual Federation Meeting held at Chesford Grange on 21st March with its wide array of interesting speakers.

Denman College in Oxfordshire featured largely in the night’s business. Our members, Anne Starkey, Maureen Tweedie and Gillian Glover, who had recently received bursaries to attend residential courses there, gave interesting and enthusiastic accounts of their experiences urging those who had never been to consider a visit.

We enjoyed a lively talk from our speaker Meriel Acton. Her talk was entitled “Life of a Crown Court Judge” but, in fact, she turned out to be the Judge’s Clerk of Court and she told some rather hair raising accounts of her experiences in the Fred West and Rosemary West trials. Surprisingly, she had no qualifications in law as she took us through her career ending now with her involvement in the Family Law Courts. Her outgoing and dramatic personality made for an entertaining evening.

Nancy Williamson

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President Rosemary Lloyd opened the March meeting by welcoming new member Elizabeth Manrey and also friends and guests who were invited to enjoy the play being presented later by our own members, A WI Inspector Calls.

She congratulated Barford’s Teams A and B for their recent fine performances in the Warwickshire WI Quiz. Tickets for our own quiz on 16th April are going quickly and several members offered to supply raffle prizes in aid of the Scout Hut. A few tickets remain priced at £10 to include Ploughman’s and a dessert. Contact Rosemary Lloyd (624670) for further information.

Hilary Maynard intimated that there were copies of an “easier” cryptic quiz available in the shop to help raise funds for the Scout Hut.

The business meeting ended with a good luck message from Kerry Rosney, the author of A WI Inspector Callswhich set up Jan Bradley’s preamble about how the play had come about. She pointed out that the actors were all novices and she was proud of them all.

Well, what a success it was! It was slick, funny and at times quite outrageous. It was quite clear how difficult it must have been to perform with all the farcical comings and goings and some of the character depictions were almost too convincing. We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, both in the audience and on stage. Many thanks to Jan as Producer/Director and to Terry Offiler for his guest appearance as a disgruntled villager. Hopefully this could be the start of a new career for some of our members…….

Nancy Williamson

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In the absence of President Rosemary Lloyd, our Vice President Ingrid Oliver welcomed members and visitors to the February meeting.

Two teams from Barford will be entering the Federation quiz on the 15th February. Barford WI quiz will be held on Saturday 16th April in the Memorial Hall when the proceeds from the raffle will be donated to the fund for the new scout hut. We were advised that some places are still available for the Warwickshire weekend at Denman College in June. Toiletries for the homeless may still be donated by members, and will then be taken to the Federation AGM on the 21st March.

Our speaker for the evening was Ted Watson, whose career as a musician with the Royal Shakespeare Company commenced in 1966 until his retirement some 42 years later. Composers through the ages have been inspired by the works of Shakespeare. We were taken on a wonderful musical journey through many of Shakespeare’s plays and together with recorded music we listened to Mr. Watson playing a range of musical instruments including a penny whistle, didar from India, the bones (ribs of sheep) recorder, crumhorn, soprano saxophone and an outback sax from Australia. Finally a waterphone giving a vibrant ethereal sound throughout the hall.

Philippa Wilson

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The December meeting began on a sad note with a minute’s silence after the announcement of the death of one of our past Presidents, Margot Healey. After the short business meeting, Rosemary Lloyd introduced Jane Wroe and her fellow actors to act out 5 civil cases where the police had not been involved and we, the audience, were to judge on who was guilty or not. We were split into 3 teams and the evening was both jolly and extremely competitive!

Our first meeting of the New Year was on 7th January when President Rosemary Lloyd and her committee welcomed 39 members and 3 visitors. We were told that the new flag we had donated was now flying above the Church Tower. The Warwickshire Federation appeal for 2016 will focus on the homeless and we were asked to donate any sanitary items such as toothbrushes, soap etc and bring these along to the next two meetings. We were invited to view the 2014 Village Diary and our Centenary book at Angela Watkins home on 20th January from 10 am to 12.30. Many thanks to all those involved for their hard work.

A donation of £30 has been given to the Motor Neurone Charity in memory of Margot Healey and her family are delighted that her name has been entered in the Denman Memorial Book. Jacky Meyers is to be the Programme Organiser for 2016 and Philippa Wilson to be Sick Visitor. The speaker, Sue Drage, surprised and exhausted us with her demonstration and ideas on recycling.

Nancy Williamson

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President Rosemary Lloyd welcomed everyone to the November meeting and thanked all those involved in a very successful Group Meeting in October which had been enjoyed by all our guests from other WIs in the area. She thanked Sheila Reed for organising a lovely trip to Westonbirt and Tetbury . It was agreed to provide a new flag for the Church as the original was now badly frayed. Rosemary also thanked Angela Watkins, Philippa Wilson, Hilary Maynard and Carole Whiteley for all their hard work in preparing the newly bound Archives celebrating 95 years for Barford WI which were on show at the meeting.

The Annual Meeting began and Rosemary introduced Sue Coats as our WI advisor. Last year’s Minutes were provided and some changes to the Byelaws were agreed. Sylvia Udell, the Treasurer, gave her report and was thanked for looking after the books so competently over the last five years. Other reports were given by Judith Coltman ( Secretary), Gill Jones (Book Club) and Sue Lusby (Lunch Club). Rosemary Lloyd, President, thanked everyone for a very successful year and encouraged members to stand for committee for the coming year.

A vote for President was taken and Rosemary Lloyd accepted the position of President for a third year. Judith Colman is to remain as Secretary and Jean Tuck will be taking over as Treasurer. The rest of the Committee include Marion Hancock, Ingrid Oliver and Sheila Reed. Angela Watkins thanked the committee for all their hard work over the year and Gillian Glover gave special mention to Sylvia Udell.

Nancy Williamson

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What is the WI?

Barford Wl, together with others in Warwickshire, forms the County Federation (WFWI) which in turn integrates with other counties to form the National Federation (NFWI). Barford meets eleven times a year, on the first Thursday of the month from 7.45pm until around 10:00pm. At eight of these meetings we organise a speaker, from a wide range of interests, sometimes accompanied by slides or a demonstration. In May we have a meeting to discuss Resolutions usually with a social, health or rural theme. The result of our vote goes forward to the Annual National Meeting in June. In July we hold a social gathering hosted by a member in their garden, weather permitting. This a fun evening - maybe a quiz - with food and wine. The evening which is run by members allows the committee to relax.


In November we have our Annual Meeting when the President and committee are elected for the coming year. As the committee organise all the events and business of the Barford Wl, there are many other smaller roles available for the members to take on.


The evening commences with a short business meeting foHowed by the speaker. Afterwards coffee and tea are served by members whose names are shown in the programme.


During the year we organise various events to raise money for the benefit of the local community. There is also the opportunity to attend lunches and suppers with other local WIs, as well as joining for example outings, holidays and lectures.


The National Federation publishes the Home and Country magazine. The Warwickshire Federation publishes a County News Sheet providing information on local events that you may wish to attend.

Denman College

NFWI has its own residential adult education college, Denman, a lovely Georgian mansion in Oxfordshire. Courses are held in a wide range of interests including sports, country pursuits, arts and crafts, drama, music, not forgetting the domestic subjects. Every alternate year Barford Wl offers a bursary for a member to attend a course at Denman College. Details and date of the next meeting will be found on the Village Notice Boards and this website.

History of Barford WI

The Barford Heritage Group website has a page showing some of the history of Barford WI.

Click here to visit.

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