Friends

19 February 2017

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN


The closure of my WI went smoothly though not without sadness. Everyone put on a brave face, each person determined to make the final meeting one to remember. Why were we closing? Because membership had fallen and the cost of running the hall was prohibitive. If the money didn’t come in we couldn’t meet the bills.

The speaker we booked for the day was well known to us, a genuinely nice lady with a terrific sense of humour. We had been joined by the local vicar who came to give a blessing … WHAT, the speaker cried, A MAN? Well, it was the last day so distractions were welcome. Actually, the vicar enjoyed himself, and he laughed with the rest of us when the speaker got going, particularly when her delivery went near the mark.  I think Vicar laughed louder than anyone at those times.

Ladies had made special cakes for the occasion; the vicar enjoyed those and his compliments were like a healing balm on a difficult day.  

After the visitors went home we spent some time planning our own future. We didn’t want to give up WI so some of us decided to join one of the other institutes that meet in our hall. They used to pay rent to us for the hire of the hall so their financial affairs weren’t affecting their use of it. As owners of the hall my institute bore the brunt and the responsibility was unbearable.

But, what to do about the hall itself? The deeds were prohibitive in that we had never been able to hire out the hall to any association that wasn’t WI, cub scouts or girl brownies. You see the limitations! If we had been able to we could have hired out the hall and made a profit. Oh well, these things happen, or perhaps I should say ‘don’t happen’.

The hall being on church ground, it seemed to us that the logical conclusion would be to ask the church if they wanted it. We put it to the vicar and church trustees – who were most definitely interested. However, they needed to consult solicitors before they could agree to taking it on. The wait for news seemed interminable yet it was only a couple of months. Three of us, who had been acting trustees of our hall (on the grounds that no-one else would do it) went by appointment to receive the news.

It was good news, the church would take it on, pay all bills, and allow our neighbouring institutes to continue holding meetings. We agreed a date and that was that. Without further ado, my colleagues planned when to sort all the paperwork for archiving, a big job and one I never expected to do. That in itself will bring back huge memories of times gone by as records go back quite a number of years, with photographs to prove it. The hall has been in existence, or rather it was presented to my WI in 1932 and I don’t think anything has ever been thrown away.

In the meantime, a number of us joined the morning institute and were welcomed with open arms – literally. They are feeling relief at having acquired more members since their membership had fallen and they were on the verge of thinking they would have to close.

So it's off with the old and on with the new. One thing is certain, I will never join another committee or take on any official jobs. My colleagues are younger than me by many years so it will be my pleasure to leave it all to them. 

18 comments:

Jenny Woolf said...

The end of an era is always sad but I am glad you have found another group to join and it might end up being more enjoyable now you no longer have the worries.

Might I say that I think anyone who joins a committee in the UK needs to check whether their committee is incorporated or unincorporated. If it is unincorporated you can get into all kinds of trouble, and you should investigate taking out insurance about it. I've had experience of this twice now and so I'm warning anyone who mentions being on a commitee now!

Valerie said...

Hi Jenny, you are absolutely right and WI is well aware of the dangers of not being properly insured.

Ron said...

Valerie, in as much as we all know that things come to a close, there is always the feeling of sadness, isn't there? It's kind of bittersweet. I know that I've certainly gone through that several times in my life when things have ended. You're glad, but also melancholy.

Happy to hear things went smoothly and that the church took on the hall and that it will still be available for meetings.

"...a number of us joined the morning institute and were welcomed with open arms – literally. They are feeling relief at having acquired more members since their membership had fallen and they were on the verge of thinking they would have to close."

That's AWESOME!

Hope you're having a lovely Sunday, my friend! I have off today, so I'm going to spend the day outside enjoying this Spring-like weather :)

X


Valerie said...

Ron, even with lots of winding down to do I felt a huge relief that it was moving on time. No more responsibility is a good feeling.

You have spring-like weather? Wow, I'll catch the next plane... smiles. I guess there will be pictures to prove it, you lucky man.

Katie Eggeman said...

How nice that the change went so easily, if not without worries and relief.

S. J. Qualls said...

Not sure if there is anything here to compare with your WI. I imagine you really are relieved that your responsibility is over.

kden said...

I hope you find a group or two to fill your time but not necessarily any obligations.

Carole said...

Turning lemons into lemonade! Changes are so hard sometimes, especially when it is near and dear to the heart. It sounds like all's well that ends well!

Dan the Mountain Man said...

It is sad to see group like WI going under. They do a lot of good for the community, but younger people either do not have the time or are not interested in joining.

Geraldine said...

Sounds like a good transition and new beginning. Hope it all goes well Val.😂 I love a happy ending.e

Valerie said...

Katie, most of us don't like change but in this case it was a relief to make one.

Valerie said...

SJQ, yes I we are happy to let someone else do all the work. Now we can sit back and enjoy what's on offer.

Valerie said...

kden, we have found a group- just hoping they don't get made redundant. Fortunately I belong to another organisation - Townswomen's Guild - where I can sit back and let others do all the work.

Valerie said...

Carole, I like that expression, turning lemons into lemonade. Must remember it for future use.

Valerie said...

Dan, you are right about younger people - they all work these days. My WI was set up for mothers with young children but we've aged and there are no youngsters to take it on.

Valerie said...

Geraldine, I too hope all goes well. As for the happy ending, we wait and see.

Denise inVA said...

"My colleagues are younger than me by many years so it will be my pleasure to leave it all to them." Good for your Valerie. I was going to ask if there was another you could join and you answered my question. Bittersweet I'm sure but so many good memories.

Valerie said...

Hi Denise, your final sentence is lovely... and so true. I have been sorting stuff out to put into archives and the process has taken me back so many years. Good times were had then.