Ottershaw W.I. 

Ottershaw WI welcomes women of all ages. We are a friendly group who meet at 1.45pm on the third Thursday of the month. Throughout the year we run Art & Craft groups, domestic and handicraft shows as well as Annual Fairs. Guests are always welcome at our meetings.

December 2019

We were unable to hold our meeting and Christmas Social as the Village Hall was otherwise occupied, however we enjoyed our Christmas Lunch later in the month at Silvermere By the Lake and kept our members up to date on what was current and future with information ready for our meeting in January which includes being entertained by the Surrey Fringe Chorus as we were able to move the entertainment planned for December.

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

21st November 2019 - Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting was very well attended, all enjoying delicious fish and chips. Members were pleased that Viv James accepted the unanimous vote to continue as President for another year. Over the year Linda, Joy and Viv were extremely grateful for the opportunity to delve into the Church archives and recreate a record of the history and development of our WI. The members were intrigued as they were presented with this information and soon began reminiscing about their own early days as members. We hope that the discussion continues and we can include some contemporary accounts, photographs and memories in an archive that can be safely stored with the Surrey History Centre and with the Surrey Federation of WI's archivist.

Our Christmas Fair was well attended considering that there were various similar events being held in the area and we were delighted that so many visitors were able to take advantage of the handicrafts, gifts, cakes, preserves and have fun with the tombola and lucky bag stalls. Our coffee shop gave people a chance to stop and have a chat and there was also an exhibition of pottery, art and handicrafts produced at our Arts & Crafts Club. Our charity stall supporting 'Your Sanctuary', a local women's refuge, ran a popular raffle.

17th October 2019 - Craft Show and Candle making

Mrs Susan Ross joined us to judge entries in our annual handicraft show. This year there were 44 entries and she admitted that her task had been made more difficult by the high standard of work across all classes. Bev Whitman gained first place in all classes in the knitting section and was therefore awarded not only the knitting cup but the cup for the highest individual score overall. The judges choice cup is literally just that and this year was awarded to Joyce Williams for her Christmas decorations. Joy Sitch was thrilled when the members voted that her picture of a colourful Christmas bauble be reproduced as a WI Christmas Card. 

During the afternoon we were introduced to Brian Graham who demonstrated candle making 

He was generous in sharing his knowledge and gave lots of advice for anyone wishing to experiment including some of his escapades while experimenting in his wife's kitchen. He now works in the garage!!

Coming Up: 21st November - Annual Meeting plus looking back over the history of Ottershaw WI. And Fish & Chips lunch.

Christmas Fair at Ottershaw Village Hall on Saturday 30th November 10-12.30. Handicrafts, homemade cakes and preserves, raffle and lots more. Also our Coffee Shop will be open so come and join us.

There will be no meeting on December 12th as the hall is being used for Poling.

19th September 2019 - Story of The Lumberjills

The stereotype image of a forestry worker is in stark contrast to the thousands of women reluctantly recruited by the government in WW11 to maintain the essential supply of timber for everything from aircraft and ship building to communications and coal mining. 

Joanne Foat came to introduce us to the amazing Women's Timber Corps - The Lumberjills - a largely forgotten army who in the midst of wartime, in all weathers lived and worked in the forests. These determined women exchanged employment as shop assistants, mill workers, hairdressers or seamstresses to take on the physical work of felling, hauling, rafting and stacking logs, working with and looking after working horses and hazardous heavy machinery. A short newsreel of the day showed girls wielding axes whilst the newsreader suggested 'they were more used to swinging handbags' !!! The ladies often experienced prejudice when seeking accommodation. Nevertheless these ladies have since stated that it was the best of time with previously unknown freedom, idyllic summers working out of doors making life long friendships. We learnt so much and discussed what we had heard while enjoying a cup of tea and a slice of bread pudding made by the committee in keeping with the era. 

18th July 2019 - 'Where are we going?'

Following last month's excellent speaker on the 'Who do you think you are?' television programme, the focus for the July meeting was very much on the future. Members sitting in groups were given a list of subjects relating to WI activities to discuss. This produced lively debate and their comments were shared, It was lovely to hear that in almost all areas the committee understand what members enjoy, that members feel welcome and their opinions valued. All comments are to be reviewed and taken into account when planning future activities and the results analysed and reported to the members at the September meeting. There was no meeting in August but we enjoyed a trip to the seaside and members and friends met for lunch at a restaurant in Virginia Water.

20th June 2019 - Baking & Floral Show and 'Who do you think you are?'

June is the time for our traditional WI 'Show' which includes a variety of classes requiring different baking skills plus a floral category. This year the challenges included Lemon Curd and Cornish Pasties. Janet Manning returned to judge the entries and was generous in her praise and shared advice. 

During the judging members were introduced to Pat Mitchinson from the BBC's popular programme, 'Who do you think you are?' Pat began by reminding us that everyone is unique with a story to tell. Getting the show off the ground presented a few challenges - not everyone approached was either free for filming or even interested. However, the programme now attracts some six million viewers and is in it's 16th series. Pat gave an interesting insight into the lives of the ancestors of some famous personalities, the hardships they endured, historical connections and occasional scandal. It was clear how much everyone enjoyed the talk as questions were asked and stories shared.

16th May 2019 - Resolutions, Recycling and Lunch

May is a busy month for the ladies of our WI. We got together for a sociable and relaxed Ploughman's lunch organised by the committee and were delighted to present The Orchard Dementia Centre with a cheque together with a large number of hats, scarves and mittens to keep the clients warm on their outings in the winter months. The meeting was temporarily interrupted when members surprised the President with a birthday cake, cards and gifts from them. The committee had also baked numerous Victoria Sponges - ofcourse, for all of the members to enjoy. During the afternoon members were invited to take part in a simple quiz to test their knowledge of what can and cannot be recycled in blue lidded bins. Jon Pierce from Runnymede Borough Council later joined us to explain what happens to recycled items in Surrey and the complicated process involved. He answered questions and provided solutions to the quiz, some of which were surprising. After a brief review of the two Resolutions, voting took place and WI business was completed.

18th April 2019 - Blessed are the Cheesemakers

Working for Marks & Spencer for over 30 years, John shared many of his experiences in this vast industry including the making of bread, wine and cheese, dealing with customer complaints, and how the dairy market has changed.

His talk included several tips on how to enjoy products at their very best and ended with an enlightening cheese-tasting session. Delicious.

21st March 2019 - 40 Years of Quilting

Gil Harris brought suitcases full of the most amazing quilts to our meeting this month to illustrate her 40 years of making quilts. As the wife of an RAF pilot, Gil travelled with her sewing machine making quilts out of her daughter's dresses and was soon addicted. 

With each exquisite example we learnt about the history and function of quilts and admired the skilful use of many different techniques. Gil now makes quilts for organisations such as Help for Heroes, The Royal Marsden and for children who are carers. Initially designed to brighten wards, these quilts, often made from old shirts, provide great comfort and are treasured by recipients.

21st February 2019 - Bagels and Bacon

At this meeting we invited Jeff Rozelaar for a nostalgic and entertaining talk on his early years growing up in the East End of London where he and his pals played on the streets and on the vacant bomb sites. His vivid and affectionate account entitled 'Bagels and Bacon' provided an insight into the life in the Jewish community at the time. Jeff's mainly humorous recollections of his school days, family and friends introduced a host of characters and included the occasional burst of song. He gently touched on the difficulties of living in a multicultural society - a subject which is only too pertinent today. 

17th January 2019  - Resolutions and Afternoon Tea

Happy New Year. At our first meeting of 2019 the members looked at the six Resolutions and with the help of a Power Point Presentation we discussed and selected the one we felt should go forward to the WI's Annual Meeting in June. Every resolution passed throughout the WI's history has stemmed from a concern put forward by members and reflect important issues facing us today. 

After all this deliberation we enjoyed afternoon tea, sandwiches and delicious cakes, supplied and served by the committee. An excellent start to what we hope will be another year where new friends are made and friendships of many years are enjoyed.

13th December - Christmas Social 

Our Christmas Fair was held on December 1st. The occasion was well attended and visitors. Look in 'Our News' for more about our Fair and also about our Christmas lunch.

Our final meeting of the year was a relaxed and friendly Christmas Social with entertainment from Billy Clayton whose music from then 60's and 70's inspired some dancing and reminiscence of a more energetic era. Refreshments were provided by the committee and the successful afternoon was enjoyed by all.

15th November 2018 - Annual Meeting

 At our Annual Meeting members enthusiastically voted for Vivienne James to be our President for the coming year supported by the hard working committee. Our WI has gained many new members this year and we have all benefited from the variety and scope of activities undertaken. After the business was completed we all thoroughly enjoyed a Fish & Chip lunch.

October 18th 2018 - Autumn Show & Scams and Frauds 

In October we held the annual show 'All Things Crafty'. We were pleased to welcome back Beryl Havers, WI County Judge, who examined all the exhibits and took time to offer praise, written comments and encouragement.

During the judging we met Steve Roberts, former Detective Inspector, who's talk 'Scams & Frauds' reminded us all to be vigilant both when using technology and in seemingly innocent dealings with fraudsters contacting individuals by telephone, email and on the doorstep.

The WI always welcomes visitors to meetings and in the last few months we have been delighted by the interest our group has generated. As a result, a special Tea Party was held to enable members to meet up with some of the newest members and enjoy a relaxed and sociable afternoon whilst raising some extra funds for our nominated charity The Orchard Dementia Centre in Chertsey

September 20th 2018 - Twelve months of colour

We welcomed John Negus to our September meeting for a month by month guide of how to ensure there is colour in the garden all year round. His expertise and horticultural experience was evident in the advice and light-hearted interaction with members who enjoyed the colourful slides and took away many ideas to help create all year interest in the garden.


July 19th 2018 - 50 Reasons not to be afraid of flying

Lorimer Burn joined us. His told us about his career as a former helicopter pilot with the Royal Navy, then flying helicopters out to oil rigs before joining British Midland, flying 737's and A320's all over Europe.With the aid of short videos he examined the different fears expressed by nervous passengers explaining that most were unfounded, illogical and unjustified. He gave advice regarding preparing for the journey: arrive early, be familiar with the check in process and wear comfortable clothes. He finished by saying that it was statistically far more dangerous traveling to the airport. 

We do not have a meeting in August however we will be visiting 'Teapot Island' where on the banks of the River Medway resides a family run business with the biggest collection of teapots in England. Also planned are visits to Mercedes World in Weybridge and The Mill at Elstead for lunch.

 June 21st - Bake Off & Floral Show

Every year we hold a traditional WI Show and members enter classes for baking, preserves and compete for a floral cup. Our WI trained judge, Janet Manning congratulated the committee on the organisation of the event and all the entrants for selection and variety of the entries particularly as many were from new WI members. Both the Produce Cup and the Floral Cup were won by Wendy Roberts and the Judge's choice awarded to Esther Wood. While the judging was going on our speaker was Carolann Martys, a professional actress who specialised in speech and drama. She told us about her experiences when she worked at Parkhurst Prison, setting up groups with play readings, poetry and also introducing performances by guest artists.


17th May 2018 - Resolution vote and Lunch

Our meeting started with a delicious Ploughmans lunch prepared and set up by the committee. Towards the end of the lunch we were given a talk by Lorna Mahoney and her friend regarding the training and education of Guide dogs for the blind. Lorna has promised to return next year when she will have her own dog with her, to talk to us again and also to tell us more about the history.

We were also joined by people from the Orchard Dementia Centre, our chosen charity, they gave us an update on how everything was going at the centre and we were very pleased to give them a cheque for monies raised over the past year.

The resolution - Mental Health Matters, was voted for unanimously and will go forward to the AGM in Cardiff on 6th June. Three members will be going to Cardiff as delegates for 4 other WI's each and will then give in a report on their return.

We discussed future outings to Teapot Island, Weald & Downland Museum and Sunbury Walled Garden. Our 85th Birthday Party will be on June 8th and we are all looking forward to that. We also welcomed 2 more new members to our group.


19th April 2018 - Flower Arranging

Jeanette Bell, florist extraordinaire and Chelsea medalist created six inspirational floral arrangements whilst talking about her interesting career. Watching an expert put together a dramatic and elegant arrangement incorporating Cherry blossom and contorted Hazel whilst listening to her exploits and experiences was totally absorbing. Jeanette also gave us some useful tips for our own floral section at our June show. She also kindly donated the arrangements to our raffle.

Once again we had first time visitors to our meeting and they joined in with us to thank Jeanette for a thoroughly enjoyable demonstration.


15th March 2018 - The Historic Knitter

Joyce Meader is an expert knitter with a huge collection of printed knitting patterns. We were astonished at the extreme simplicity of the instructions produced in 1817 when it was assumed the knitter would know how to turn a heel in accordance with their own family tradition.Joyce brought lots of examples including delicate french knickers and the dreaded knitted swimsuit. Joyce's patterns have been put to good use to recreate items for actors and museums and her entertaining talk certainly revived some memories and an appreciation of wool.


15th February 2018 - Teacher in an Arab School

Julie Bevan lived in Saudi Arabia and taught at a large and prestigious school. Covering the syllabus for Mathematics across the equivalent of both primary and secondary education up to 'A' level together with IT and music was an extraordinary challenge.Julie gave us a unique insight into the way of life for both herself and her pupils and the resulting contradictions and restrictions for a modern, western lady living independently in Arabia. Julie was a fascinating speaker and, wearing traditional dress, she brought the Middle East to Ottershaw.

It was lovely to see ten ladies who came as guests to our meeting with everyone introducing themselves to the new comers. There was plenty to talk about over tea and cake as we have outings to a garden centre, the theatre to see Thoroughly Modern Millie, the Walled Garden at Sunbury, a trip down the river and a visit to Teapot Island. We are looking forward to a very enjoyable year.

18th January 2018 - Resolutions Meeting and Afternoon Tea

We began the New Year with the sad news that our oldest member, Joan McPherson had passed away. Joan was an active member for many years and records show her entering and winning competitions 40 years ago. She was President at least twice and continued serving on the committee sharing her experience, wisdom and memories. She will be sorely missed.

At our meeting we sat in groups and discussed the five short listed Resolutions proposed for a countrywide campaign. We then voted on each Resolution. These totals will be submitted by our Secretary to National Federation. Following such serious discussions we cheered ourselves up by enjoying a cup of tea and some delicious cake.


Party Time - June 8th 2018

This year our annual Birthday Celebration was full of surprises Country Style! It started with a delicious meal prepared for us by Word of Mouth catering. Our Committee Members arose to the event by serving us wearing check shirts, jeans, and cowboy hats. Each table was named with a famous Country music singer.

We were then entertained by Anne Chance singing Country Music and playing her guitar.

As if that wasn't enough surprise surprise our President Vivienne James and other members demonstrated Line Dancing followed by her teaching us all how to do it! It was a very successful evening everybody had fun.

Ottershaw May Fair - May 7th 2018 

Ottershaw May Fair, we presented at this event held annually on bank holiday Monday on the Ottershaw Memorial Fields for the third year running, supporting the local community and letting people know what we do. Our members baked cakes and savouries to sell along with other produce. It is always a fun day out for the whole community. Our promotional table provides ladies with an insight to all our activities and how they can join.

Spring Fair - March 24th 2018

Springtime for Ottershaw WI is always a busy time, at our annual Fair we introduced a new stall selling sewing aids which included cottons, buttons, fabric, patterns etc. our ladies were there to advise if required. We had the usual attractions of home made cakes and preserves, the coffee shop, gardening, jewellery, gifts, raffle and tombola. Despite the difficulties created by problems with car parking on the day it was another huge success.


The W. I. Moodle

One of the many benefits of WI membership is access to the WI Moodle, an exciting online training environment offering support to WI members. It's a place where you view information,download documents and share forums with other members as well as learn new skills. You will need to register for a user name and password, and details on how to do to do this are included on the home page of the Moodle - just go to for details.

Denman College

Denman College is the WI's centre for learning - imparting knowledge and practical experience in the fields of cookery, art, craft, well-being and lifestyle.  The college, founded by the National Federation of Women's Institutes (NFWI) in 1948 offers a wealth of opportunities to learn new skills on day schools and short courses.  Everyone is welcome - men and women, members and non-members - we can even cater for groups of friends or hen parties who are looking for something a bit different. 

Just go to -  for more information.

Welcome to Ottershaw WI

Important Dates/notes for your Diary for 2020

March 16th -
Surrey Federation Spring Meeting at Dorking Halls

April 10th - Runnymede Group AGM, hosted by Chertsey WI at Lyne Village Hall

Bank Holiday Friday May 8th - Ottershaw May Fair at Ottershaw Memorial Fields.

June 4th   - NFWI Annual Meeting - Royal Albert Hall - London

October 5th -
Surrey Federation Autumn Meeting at Dorking Halls

December 9th  - Runnymede Group Autumn Meeting hosted by Bishopsgate/Englefield Green

November 21st  - 10.00 - 12.30 - Christmas Fair at Ottershaw Village Hall