Pett WI meets on the third Wednesday of the month at Pett Village Hall, next to the Two Sawyers pub, from 7.30pm – 9.30pm. We enjoy interesting speakers, fundraising activities, theatre outings, and the objectives of the WI, which is NOT just about Jam and Jerusalem! Visitors welcome.

For more information, contact 

Secretary: Amanda Leeson –

Treasurer: Jane Sweaney –

Pett WI News from Belinda Wood, President – July Update 2022

What a wonderful event our Jubilee Party was!  80 guests enjoyed an afternoon tea with prosecco, sandwiches, homemade scones and jam, and a huge array of tempting cakes!  We were entertained by local singer Sammy Lou who soon encouraged guests to singalong and also get on the dance floor.  We were particularly proud to have been featured on the main national ITV news that evening!

We would like to thank Heringtons Solicitors for their kind support as well as Concepts of Rye, Tic Tocory and Johnsons Fruiterers. This event could not have happened without the fabulous organisation of Pett WI committee members Amanda Leeson, Tracy Hedley, Jane Murray and Trish Walker and to so many of our members (and families) who helped by making scones/cakes/jam, organising flowers, helping in the kitchen, lending china, making bunting, buying/selling raffle tickets and so much more! Special thanks to Pam Burgess and Lin Jessop for picking and arranging garden flowers which helped make the tables look so pretty.  Also to Philippa Strickland for much cooking of jam, making of bunting and helping in the kitchen, Clare Walker for helping with the raffle and Sharon Sellens for leading us in Jerusalem and for helping with so many things on the day!

Back in May members enjoyed a varied, lively, interesting, thought-provoking and entertaining meeting which covered items that included the current campaign to ”See the Signs”  to raise awareness of the subtle signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer to help ensure that more women are diagnosed earlier as well as an explanation of an upcoming resolution women and girls with ASD & ADHD – under-identified, under-diagnosed, misdiagnosed, under-supported.   Our main speaker was the charismatic Chantal Palmer from Charles Palmer Vineyards who gave an entertaining talk about life at the vineyard and the processes involved in making wine as well as telling us more about The Cellar Door which encompasses their wine tasting room. Members are looking forward to a social event at the Cellar Door in August.

Other events in May included a visit by members of Pett WICAID (Pett WI Community Aid) team to the MacDonald Ward of the Conquest Hospital where they were welcomed by ward matron Mark Chamberlain. The main aim of the visit was to present a cheque for £2,327.71 which represents funds raised via our recent Spring Fair and community donations including a fabulous £500 from Kit and Janet Mclean in respect of the gate takings at their popular Elm Tree boot fair events.  Mark showed us around the courtyard garden which is the centrepoint for our fundraising as we assist with the renovation of the garden.  Mark thanked Pett WI for their continuing support of not just this project but other initiatives over the years. The MacDonald Ward is one of 21 courtyard gardens at the Conquest Hospital which due to funding constraints has seen the once immaculate courtyards become in serious need of renovation. The hope for the MacDonald ward courtyard is to restore it to its original purpose to provide a tranquil and beautiful space for patients and visitors to enjoy.

Pictured from left to right – Mark Chamberlain, Hilary Dymott (WICAID Coordinator), Sally Watson and Wendy Burgess.

Pictured from left to right – Mark Chamberlain, Hilary Dymott (WICAID Coordinator), Sally Watson and Wendy Burgess.

Members of the theatre club also enjoyed the Battle Theatrical Society’s production of The Calendar Girls the Musical.

As always it’s all going on at Pett WI!

Belinda Wood

(President, Pett WI)

Pett WI News from Belinda Wood, President – June Update

Our speaker in April was James Bridger of Coastal Cocoa, Hastings.  James gave an informative talk about the history of chocolate and how he left a career in IT behind and trained as a chocolatier setting up his business in 2019 first from home and then in 2020 moving to the Queens Arcade in Hastings.  James now offers chocolate workshops at the arcade.  One of our members left a review saying “Absolutely loved the sea salt bar of chocolate. Great as gifts and for keeping. The best chocolate I have had for ages and will definitely be buying more. Thank you!”

Members got together in early May for a trip to see the Battle Theatrical Society’s production of Calendar Girls the Musical which all agreed was a terrific interpretation of the musical which many of us had already seen in the West End and at a touring version at the Marlowe Theatre Canterbury a few years ago.

We are still taking donations for Rye Foodbank.  Sadly in these worrying economic times the need foodbanks is greater than ever. If you’d like to contribute – we’re collecting non-perishable, in-date food (tins, packets, cartons), toiletries, sanitary and household products.

Pett WI Collection Points:

  • Pett Village Hall (Lobby)
  • The Old Butcher’s Shop, Pett
  • 1 Arthur’s Close, Pett Road, Pett
  • Pett Methodist Chapel
  • “Nanini Tal”, Cliff End Lane, Pett Level
  • The New Beach Club, Pett Level
  • Fairlight Post Office & Stores
  • Wakehams Farm Shop, Fairlight
  • The Barn, Shepherd’s Way, Fairlight
  • Midway, Commanders Walk, Fairlight

Alternatively, our team will be happy to shop for items if you prefer to contribute money rather than goods.  Donations can either be made by cheque (made payable to Pett WI) and sent to Jane Sweaney at “Oakhurst”, Pett Road, Pett, TN35 4HG or made directly into the Pett WI Bank Account – Lloyds Bank – Sort Code: 30-98-97 – Account No: 70587368 – with the reference for both as “Food Bank” please.  For more information, or if you experience any difficulties, please contact Campaign Co-ordinator, Hilary Dymott on 07768 323131.  Thank you!

We have been so pleased with the take-up of tickets for our Jubilee Afternoon Tea on Saturday 4 June at Pett Village Hall and very quickly sold out!  Huge thanks to the planning committee including Amanda Deller, Tracy Hedley, Jane Murray and Trish Walker for having worked so hard to put this event together.  I look forward to seeing many of you there!

Belinda Wood
(President, Pett WI)

Pett WI News from Belinda Wood, President

Thank you to everyone who came along to our Spring Fair last month on a thankfully beautiful spring day (just after the Friday it snowed!) It was a fantastic event and on the day we raised almost £1,400 for the Conquest Hospital Macdonald Ward’s Courtyard Renovation Appeal. Following the event we were absolutely delighted to learn that Janet and Kit McLean were also donating a further £500 to aid our appeal with monies raised as a result of the very popular Elm Tree boot sales in Icklesham.  I will be covering more about this donation in my next news but for now we give grateful thanks to Janet and Kit for recognising our appeal in this way!

We are also so very grateful to the following for donating raffle prizes – Beauty by Susannah, Paul & Christine Fountain, Garden Gems, Saran Upton, The Old Butcher’s Shop and Wendy Burgess.  Also thank you to our sponsors Just Property (estate agent sign boards) and Impact Design & Print, St Leonards (A3 posters)

Stallholders were delighted with the success of this event so much so that many have already booked for our Winter Fair planned for Saturday 19 November at Pett Village Hall.  If you’d like more details about this event and to prebook please email  Huge thanks to Hilary Dymott, Trish Walker, Wendy Burgess, Sandra Clark and Jane Murray for superb coordination throughout and to many of our members who gave so generously of their time.

We are now busy with plans for our next major event which is our Jubilee Vintage Afternoon Tea Party to be held on Saturday 4 June at Pett Village Hall (see separate notice).   Email us at to reserve your tickets which are £12.50 each (£7.50 for 12s and under).  Ticket prize includes a delicious afternoon tea including The Pett WI Royal Cake Stand, a small bottle of prosecco, bottomless tea/coffee and soft drinks and live 1950s-era entertainment from popular local songstress Sammy-Lou.

In March we welcomed Ian James from the Water Lane Walled Garden in Hawkhurst. Water Lane’s ethos is “Food – Flowers – Friends” and we can’t wait to make several return visits in the months ahead!

Our support of Rye FoodBank continues and we are also assisting Safehaven Women with donations of sanitary products due a shortage and rising costs and therefore demand.

Members of our Munch Club had a month off during April but our Theatre Club is currently very busy with three shows being planned.

Our new membership year began in April and we were able to offer new membership to many on our waiting list.  As such we are full again but please do email if you’d like to be included on our waiting list for the next time we have a vacancy.

Belinda Wood

(President, Pett WI)

Pett WI News from Belinda Wood, President – February Update

So Omicron-worries in December meant we had to quickly turn our monthly meeting into a Zoom one – but what a great virtual party we had with a fantastic interactive quiz organised and presented brilliantly by latest committee member Tracy Headly, with cocktails (and cups of tea), food, news, laughter and much singing throughout the evening!

We have organised as much as possible for our 2022 programme although always wary that we may have to tweak things at the last minute.  We have a great selection of speakers already in place and some fun outings planned too.  The Ladies that Munch Club are already looking forward to a variety of different dining experiences with a suggestion this year that some of the monthly get togethers will have a pertinent theme such as a hoped for Burns Night event!

As already reported last month, in December members teamed up with our friends from Hastings & Ore WI for a “Reindeer Walk” around Alexandra Park.  Pett WI raised £590 through sponsorship, and together with the sponsorship by HOWI and further monies donated on the day a splendid total of £1,130 was raised for our joint current appeals to assist the Conquest Hospital’s Macdonald Ward Courtyard Renovation!  Thank you so much to everyone who took part or donated or did both!

Our community fundraising continues and members of the WICAID team continue to make deliveries to Rye Food Bank. Thank you to Sarah Upton from The Old Butcher’s Shop Pett for donating Christmas raffle monies of £76.44 to our appeal for the food bank.

This year we are proud and excited to be taking over the organisation of the popular craft fair events previously organised so fabulously by Carole Pecorini on behalf of the Pett Village Hall Committee.  The first one, which of course will have a lovely Easter/Spring theme, will be held on Saturday 2 April with funds being raised for the Macdonald Ward’s Courtyard Renovation.  Please contact us via our Facebook page or at if you are interested in having a table.

Our biggest organisational feat of the year though is to be something fit for a Queen as we start planning a special themed event to take place at Pett Village Hall the afternoon of Saturday 4 June to celebrate HM’s Platinum Jubilee.  We would ask all our members if they would please prioritise this date to help in whatever way they can to ensure this is a great success.  More details soon!

Our new membership year starts in April and although we are currently full please email to go on our waiting list, which we hope to be in a position to review by April, or contact via our Facebook page where you can keep up to date with all our events.

Pett WI News from Belinda Wood, President – January Update 2022

A very Happy New Year!

I’m delighted that as a result of our Annual Meeting in November we welcomed two new members to our committee, Tracy Hedley from Pett and Jane Murray from Icklesham.  Jane Sweaney carries on her duties as Treasurer and Amanda Dellar and Trish Walker kindly agreed to continue as Secretary and Membership Secretary respectively.  Sally Watson is my Vice-President.  I am proud to be in a strong and dedicated committee as we go into the new year.  We thanked outgoing committee member Sara Dann for all her hard work during her tenure and are grateful that Sara will continue to support our events.

Before the business of our November meeting we heard from Rye Nationwide Branch Manager, Adam Millicent who gave us an informative talk about the latest scams to look out for.

Members of our lunch club had a daytrip to London in November and enjoyed the festive surroundings of the west end and a visit to the iconic and original The Ivy restaurant in the heart of theatreland.

We also joined our friends at Hastings & Ore WI who organised a Reindeer Walk at Alexandra Park in aid of the Conquest Hospital’s Macdonald’s Ward who we are helping raise monies towards their courtyard renovation appeal.

2022 January News photo 1

(Photo Gerald Dymott)

Members of our Pett WICAID (Pett Women’s Institute Community Aid) team delivered a huge supply of both new and used clothing including warm winter wear to both the Seaview Centre and Safehaven for Women in Hastings before Christmas.  As well as this they worked hard to deliver dozens of items to Rye Food Bank towards their Christmas appeal.  We also helped member Sally Watson raise over £1,000 for East Sussex Hearing at a coffee morning event, followed by organising the refreshments at the Pett Church Christmas Fair with more money raised for the food bank and then finally members could be found in the kitchen again at the Pett Village Hall’s Christmas Craft Fair event which raised over £700 again for the food bank.  I’m so very proud of the dedication and support our members bring to our local community activities and thank them all especially our WICAID team very ably coordinated by Hilary Dymott.

The Christmas holidays provide us with a little R&R after such a busy time but we are not resting on our laurels as we prepare for an exciting year ahead which includes more fundraising for the Conquest Hospital Macdonald Ward courtyard renovation appeal as well as plenty of interesting, diverse and exciting speakers and social events.

Our membership is currently full but email to go on our waiting list or via our Facebook page where you can keep up to date with all our events.

Pett Women’s Institute News from Belinda Wood, President -December 2021 Update

Although I sadly never had the pleasure of meeting Evelyn Darnell I was made aware of her and her husband’s contribution to the village and also her dedication and time as not just a Pett WI member but a committee member too.  Local resident and continuing Pett WI member Jocelyn Coby remembered her kindness when she first joined the WI 17 years ago and was warmly welcomed by Eve.  All at Pett WI as well as the many groups and individuals who use our fabulous village hall hold her and her husband in our debt as we continue our meetings and social events there.

Back at our October meeting we welcomed local Colour me Beautiful Stylist Sarah Sallows to our meeting who talked to us, as well as demonstrating on several of our members, how wearing the right colour palette can make a difference to how we feel and are seen by others!  Many of us rushed home to look out our scarves and accessories that would give us just that bit of colour pop that can really lift our outfits and confidence! To find out more visit Sarah’s website

Members of our Ladies that Munch Club were fortunate to have their lunch-date on such a lovely autumnal day at September’s venue “Water Lane” in Hawkhurst – an idyllic walled garden with a vinery and a stunning collection of Victorian glasshouses.  Whilst work continues on a new indoors restaurant members were able to use the outdoors pop-up “sailed” dining room were also able to walk around the gardens.  Water Lane had thoughtfully provided cosy blankets on each of our chairs but as the weather was so lovely they weren’t needed! To find out more about Water Lane visit The owners will be coming to our March 2022 meeting to tell us more about their work and their vision for the business.

Our Pett WICAID (Pett Women’s Institute Community Aid) team are currently planning what we hope is going to prove a popular fundraising event on Saturday 12 February from 9.30am-3pm at Pett Village Hall when we bring you “Courtyard Capers” – to assist the Conquest Hospital Macdonald Ward Courtyard Makeover appeal. We will have a variety of fitness, wellness, fashion and beauty opportunities for you to partake in and some rather fabulous refreshments and a special raffle too.  More details will be advertised on our Facebook page and in your next news.

We are thrilled to have received another fantastic £500 donation for our appeal on behalf of Rye Food Bank from Kit and Janet McLean representing entrance monies raised at the Elm Tree boot sales which they then donate to charities.  With the knock-on effects of Covid and heading now into the difficult winter period, their extremely generous donation gives us an enormous boost and will be so very much appreciated by everyone at Rye Food Bank. Thank you! Please see details of our Christmas appeal for the food bank in this newsletter.

Our membership is currently full but email to go on our waiting list or via our Facebook page where you can keep up to date with all our events.

A very Happy Christmas and New Year from all at Pett Women’s Institute!

Pett Women’s Institute  September Update – Belinda Wood, President

September 2021 update Rye Nature reserve evening walkWe were all so excited to be meeting in person again in July when members gathered at the recently opened Rye Harbour Discovery Centre who had kindly agreed to give us a private tour of this beautiful new facility followed by a guided evening walk on the nature reserve. Our visit coincided on the warmest July day but there was nowhere nicer to be as the sun began to set. We finished back at the William Conqueror where many of us socialised over a very nice supper.  There was a lot of catching-up to do and it was good to hear the laughter again! Thank you to Barry Yates and Lucy Bower of the Sussex Wildlife Trust for organising the evening and also to Maria and the team at the William the Conqueror for looking after us.

A couple of weeks later many members helped at the Pett Flower Show and Fayre by serving copious amounts of tea and delicious cakes from the village hall kitchen.  Thanks to all members who helped by making cakes, donating time to set up in the morning, serving, fetching and carrying, and washing and drying up what seemed like, and probably was, hundreds of cups and mugs!  Particular thanks to committee member Sara Dann for overseeing the organisation

September 2021 update Phillipa Strickland

of the WI-run kitchen for this event and working so hard to ensure that everything ran so efficiently.  We also would like to acknowledge another member, Philippa Strickland, for her hard work, devotion and dedication that she gives every year in organising this very popular village event.

Our membership is now full until April 2022 but email to go on our waiting

list and please follow our Facebook page to keep up to date with all our events including our continuing support of Rye Foodbank and the Macdonald Ward Courtyard Makeover appeal and social events too.  A reminder to members we meet back at the Hall on Wednesday 15th September at 7.30pm.

Pett Women’s Institute – May 2021 Update

WI visit to see Cherry Tree dedicated to past president Muriel Turner

Sadly the frosty, windy spring meant that our rented cherry tree was showing some slight damage when six of us visited it for the first time at Cooks Farm cherry orchard back in late April.  Pett WI have rented the tree in honour of past president, the late Muriel Turner.  It was so lovely though to get out and be with members again after such a long time.  We still hope to have a good harvest and look forward to organising events when we can turn the produce into something we can all enjoy at a special event in the future.

Back in April our speaker was Mig Kimpton who has spent over thirty years working in theatre as a producer at places such as the Royal Albert Hall and the Old Vic Theatre.  Mig also has a lifelong passion and career with flowers: he has won many awards, including twelve prestigious medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Moving away from theatre in 2014, he is now concentrating on his floral life based in Deal Kent. He is currently horticultural advisor and Flower Show Creative Manager for Aztec Flower Shows, that includes the annual Blenheim Palace Flower Show and National Flower Show at Hylands House, Chelmsford.  We’re very much hoping to entice him to be a guest judge at a future Pett Flower Show!  Mig’s talk to us was entitled Creatively Conscious during which he put together a fabulous – and easy to replicate – spring flower arrangement.

We have had so many fantastic speakers presenting to us and we look forward to more this year but from July we hope to be meeting in person again!  Before then our June speaker is worth publicising now just as a reminder to members – to be held on Wednesday 16th June at 7.30pm – Kirsty Murphy, comes highly recommended by WIs and other organisations. Kirsty will talk about her experiences as the RAF’s first ever female Red Arrows pilot.   She  now works for the UK Space Station and also flies for The Blades in her “spare” time!

We have expanded our WI community appeal to include support to the Conquest Hospital’s MacDonald Ward in respect of their current Courtyard Makeover appeal.  More information about this next month but if you have or have had close links to this ward and would be interested in donating or supporting them you can find out more on their Facebook page, links for which you can find on our own page or email me via and I can send you details.

We continue to collect and deliver donations to Rye Foodbank but now on a fortnightly basis.  Alternatively, financial donations can either be made by cheque (made payable to Pett WI) and sent to Jane Sweaney at “Oakhurst”, Pett Road, Pett, TN35 4HG or made directly into the Pett WI Bank Account – Lloyds Bank – Sort Code: 30-98-97 – Account No: 70587368 – with the reference for both as “Food Bank” please.

Belinda Wood – President

Pett Women’s Institute – December 2020 Update

When we started our Pett WI Community Appeal (WICAID) last summer, to show our support for Rye Food Bank, we didn’t necessarily think that we would be continuing it into 2021.  Sadly though, numbers needing assistance from the nation’s food banks are increasing as people through no fault of themselves, have fallen on hard times through unemployment or sickness.  At our December general meeting held on Zoom, Rye Food Bank team member Mags Ivatts explained about the individuals and families who were being assisted by the Food Bank.  Whilst obviously keeping details strictly anonymous members were shocked to hear about the plight of some people in what appears to many of us do be an affluent area of the country to live in.

As at 9 December 2020 we had donated on behalf of our members and our close village neighbours some 2,000 items!  Thank you to all who have helped contribute by donating items/money/time – you are fantastic and all at Rye Food Bank are so grateful and touched by all our efforts!  We are very thankful for the hard work every week of Pett WI’s Communty Aid Coordinator Hilary Dymott and her team including Wendy Burgess, Sharon Sellens, Trish Walker and Sally Watson.  

So as we now go through the hardest months of the year, especially after the additional expenditure of the festive period, we are continuing our support.

Our efforts would not be possible without the support of those that have provided donation points for us and as a reminder these are currently (as of 13/12) at:-

  • Pett Village Hall (Lobby)
  • The Old Butcher’s Shop, Pett Road, Guestling
  • 1 Arthur’s Close, Pett Road, Pett
  • Nanini Tal, Cliff End Lane, Pett Level
  • Fairlight Post Office & Stores
  • The Barn, Shepherd’s Way, Fairlight
  • The Firehills Cottage, Channel Way, Fairlight
  • Wakehams Farm Shop, Pett Level Road, Fairlight
  • Tea Beside the Orchard, Icklesham

If you’d like to contribute we’re collecting non-perishable, in-date food (tins, packets, cartons), toiletries, sanitary and household products but we post every week on our Facebook page particular requirements for the upcoming week.

Financial donations: the WICAID team are happy to shop for items if you prefer to contribute money rather than goods.  Donations can either be made by cheque (made payable to Pett WI) and sent to Jane Sweaney at “Oakhurst”, Pett Road, Pett, TN35 4HG or made directly into the Pett WI Bank Account – Lloyds Bank – Sort Code: 30-98-97 – Account No: 70587368 – with the reference for both as “Food Bank” please.

A reminder, if anyone needs assistance from the Food Bank to please make contact with Rother District Citizens Advice & Representation Centre (HARC) on 0333 3440681 or email and they will be happy to help.

Although we are currently only able to hold our monthly meetings virtually – and we are thrilled to see that many members are quickly adding new techno-matters to their personal skill banks enabling them to join in our varied speakers programmes with contributors from all around the country and even in Europe – This coming year we are hopeful that we will be able to reschedule many of the events we had lined up for 2020 including a fundraising Fashion Show called Fashion Frolics the date of which is currently set for Friday 15th October at Pett Village Hall with guest super-models and fashion from The Funky Hen Boutique of Icklesham!

Email us on if you would like a membership pack to join us this year.  From 1 April the annual subscription is £44.  We usually meet the third Wednesday of the month at 7.30pm but if you wish to get in before then and join us this month the full cost will be £10.75 until 31 March 2021.  In January only we hold our meeting on a Saturday morning and this month it is scheduled virtually via Zoom for the 23rd at 11am; you can then be in time for our February meeting where our Zoom guest speaker will be artist Jackie Sumerfield who in addition to talking and showing us her beautiful artwork will also be encouraging and teaching us how to take part in creative journaling.  We would love to have you join us – our current membership incudes ladies from Pett, Pett Level, Fairlight, Guestling, Icklesham, Rye, Brede, Hastings and St Leonards.  Search for us on our social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and for more details about the WI visit

Belinda Wood

President, Pett WI

Pett Women’s Institute – November 2020 Update

Our latest appeal to aid Rye Food Bank goes from strength to strength under the very capable, extremely efficient, positively positiveand entirely joyous coordination of our Hilary Dymott and her equally fabulous and dedicated team including Sally, Sharon, Trish and Wendy.  Thank you to all who have been donating items/money/time – you are fantastic and all at Rye Food bank are so grateful and touched by all our efforts!

We are excited that our neighbours in Fairlight, Guestling and Icklesham are supporting us too and we have added more collection points which are included here:-

  • Pett Village Hall (Lobby)
  • The Old Butcher’s Shop, Pett Road, Guestling *NEW
  • 1 Arthur’s Close, Pett Road, Pett
  • Nanini Tal, Cliff End Lane, Pett Level
  • Fairlight Post Office & Stores
  • The Barn, Shepherd’s Way, Fairlight
  • The Firehills Cottage, Channel Way, Fairlight *NEW
  • Tea Beside the Orchard, Icklesham

*Thanks so much to Sarah at the butchers and Jane and Steve at The Firehills Cottage, Channel Way for your support – we are so grateful!

If you’d like to contribute we’re collecting non-perishable, in-date food (tins, packets, cartons), toiletries, sanitary and household products but we post every week on our Facebook page particular requirements for the upcoming week.

Financial donations: the WICAID team will be happy to shop for items if you prefer to contribute money rather than goods.  Donations can either be made by cheque (made payable to Pett WI) and sent to Jane Sweaney at “Oakhurst”, Pett Road, Pett, TN35 4HG or made directly into the Pett WI Bank Account – Lloyds Bank – Sort Code: 30-98-97 – Account No: 70587368 – with the reference for both as “Food Bank” please.

A reminder, if anyone needs assistance from the Food Bank to please make contact with Rother District Citizens Advice & Representation Centre (HARC) on 0333 3440681 or email and they will be happy to help.

After seeing Ally at Tic Toc’s appeal for Dom’s Food Mission we were keen to show our support too and last month made a delivery of products to the mission in Ore.  More about Dom’s Food Mission is here –

We continue to remain in contact with Save Haven for Women, the organisation we, as Pett WISPA (Sanitary Protection Appeal) have helped over the last few years.  And we also were able to drop off some bedrunners for the MacDonald Ward at the Conquest.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my committee friends, Amanda Leeson, Jane Sweaney, Sally Watson, Sara Dann and Trish Walker who have all done so much to keep us going this year in unprecedented times.  Whilst the personal face-to-face connections have been sorely missed this year at our monthly meetings and social and fundraising events, we have done our very best to keep in touch with our membership with our social welfare team being kept very busy delivering birthday cards, get well wishes, helping with shopping and giving assistance wherever we could.

We have been heartened to have several new members join our WI this year even though we are unable to meet as usual!  I’m pleased to say through our Zoom coffee mornings and general monthly meetings, our social welfare and especially with our Pett WICAID Rye Food Bank appeal we feel we have kept the spirit of the WI ever present.  It is the friendships and camaraderie that still makes the Women’s Institute the largest and most successful women’s organisation and we look forward to welcoming more members this coming year!  Do take advantage of the special Taster Membership available for just £10.79 which will give you membership until 31 March 2021 (available to any new member who has not been a WI member for the past ten years).    Email us on if you would like a membership pack.

Happy Christmas and a very healthy, happy and better 2021!

Belinda Wood

President, Pett WI

Pett Women’s Institute -October 2020 Update

We had some very positive feedback from members following our first online general meeting in September the speaker of which was West End musical star Sophie Louise Dann who managed to regale us with tales from her interesting career whilst whipping up a rather fabulous lemon drizzle cake at the same time!  Just a reminder that although we are unable to meet personally at this time there is still time to take advantage of a taster membership for just £10.75 (runs from 1 October 2020 to 31 March 2021) – you too can then enjoy our upcoming online events, choose to get behind community projects as well as being part of a support and friendship network.  For more details please email us at
With the generosity of people from Pett, Pett Level, Guestling, Icklesham, Fairlight and beyond, the Pett WICAID team have been able to make weekly deliveries to Rye Food Bank throughout September and October.  As winter approaches – and with the Covid-19 crisis still very much looming over us – we plan to continue our Appeal over the coming months so would very much appreciate any ongoing support.

As reported in the Rye News website during September, Rye Food Bank noticed a significant increase in the number of children needing their help. “A more usual situation had been the number of children being half the number of adults.  They now see equal numbers, and this seems common across the Bexhill food bank network which covers our local area. They think it must be related to school meal vouchers no longer being available now youngsters are back at school.   Donating to the Food Bank is one of the most important ways you can help your community at this time.  They need to ensure they have adequate stocks of food to meet the demand, especially when furlough ends.”

Many thanks to Cllr Issy Horsley for her help in securing a second collection point in Fairlight and for putting us in touch with Graeme and Leonie Gambrell at Fairlight Post Office & Stores who have so kindly agreed to have a donation basket for us.

If you’d like to contribute, Pett WI now has collection points at:

·      Pett Village Hall (Lobby)
·      1 Arthur’s Close, Pett Road, Pett
·      “Nanini Tal”, Cliff End Lane, Pett Level
·      Fairlight Post Office & Stores
·      The Barn, Shepherd’s Way, Fairlight
·      “Tea Beside the Orchard”, Icklesham

We are so grateful to Hilary Dymott and the WICAID team and everyone who continues to support our latest community appeal – thank you!
Finally this month I would like to thank committee member Sally Watson from Fairlight who over the last few months has taken on the unofficial title of “Sunshine Secretary” delivering greeting cards to members, usually in person – socially distanced naturally.  Members tell me they have been delighted to have this contact and it proves that sometimes it’s just the smallest of things that can make the difference to people.   Thank you Sally!   And of course thank you to all our committee members and others in our membership who continue to provide such support to Pett WI and the community even when we are unable to meet.
Belinda Wood
(President, Pett WI)

Pett Women’s Institute – September 2020 Update

At the time of going to press we were just about to have our first online meeting with our inaugural  speaker being West End musical star and local friend to Pett WI – Sophie-Louise Dann, who starred in the Calendar Girls musical which many of us saw at the Phoenix Theatre a few years.   We have a variety of entertaining speakers lined up for more online meetings and hope that the majority of our members will be supportive of them during this time when we of course are unable to meet personally.

We would like to thank members of the community for their generosity so far with our latest appeal – Pett WI Community Aid (WICAID) in support of the Rye Food Bank.  As reported last month the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the fact that people can find themselves in crisis at any time.  Illness, disability, family breakdown or the loss of a job can happen to any of us.

It may be a shock to learn that 40% of children in Rye live in households below the poverty line –

within the 20% most deprived wards in England. (Source: Sussex Community Foundation.)

If you’d like to contribute – we’re collecting non-perishable, in-date food (tins, packets, cartons), toiletries, sanitary and household products.


We are so pleased to now have collection points in Pett, Fairlight (with many thanks to Mandy and Tim Day for coming to our aid) and Icklesham.  These can be found at:-

Pett – Lobby, Pett Village Hall

Fairlight – The Barn, Shepherds Way, Fairlight

Icklesham – Tea Beside the Orchard, Main Road, Icklesham

Thank you to campaign co-ordinator Hilary Dymott and her team including Trish Walker, Wendy Burgess and Sally Watson who have been helping transport donations to the Rye Foodbank on a weekly basis as well as a bank of Pett WI members willing to help at all times and who continue to donate items generously themselves. Our green-fingered friends at The Pett Allotments Association came to our aid with donations of their seasonal gluts!  We’d also like to sincerely thank Cllr Nick Warren for his help and suggestions when researching Icklesham donation options and for putting us in touch with the lovely Jan at the Tea Beside the Orchard on the Main Road who so kindly agreed to have a donation basket.  As you may well know, Nick Warren is also Centre Manager for Hastings & St Leonards CAP Debt Help and more information on the services they are able to offer are available on their website or call for free on 0800 328 0006.   If you or anyone you know may be in need of assistance from the Rye Foodbank contact Rother District Citizens Advice Bureau on 0800 02904 3948, email: , or the Hastings Advice & Representation Centre (HARC) on 0333 344 0681, email: .

Finally, although we are unable to meet personally at this time please consider taking advantage of a taster membership of six months for just £10.75 and you too can enjoy our upcoming online events! For more details please email us at

We’d love to welcome you virtually for now and then in person when we get a chance to meet again!

NB this offer is not valid for anyone who has been a former WI member within the last ten years.

Belinda Wood

President, Pett WI

Pett Women’s Institute – August 2020 Update

Every experience, no matter how bad, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.

It was reported in July that Sophie, The Countess of Wessex, ventured to her local pub and was able to meet up with a few members of her local Bagshot WI.  I’m pleased to report that Pett WI’s committee, which currently numbers six, were also able to have their first proper face-to-face meeting too since lockdown, in the lovely surroundings of Jane and Sara’s garden.  Since breaking my ankle back in April this was my first journey out, apart from visits to Eastbourne hospital; and we were all thrilled to be able to meet up again and I was made to feel like royalty by Jane and Sa’s fabulous hospitality and by the kindness of Sally, Amanda and Trish.  Sadly though at this time of writing of course, that is the maximum number that can meet as an organised social group, unless a special event such as a wedding when up to 30 people are able to congregate, therefore with a present membership of 50 we are unable to resume our monthly meetings and social events.

However, we have been keeping in touch with our members over the last four months either by telephone/email conversation, by old fashioned snail mail, as well as actual safe-distanced encounters, or through our social media channels and via our newsletters.

Many of us have faced varying levels of personal trauma and tribulations this year and our mental and physical wellbeing has at times been severely tested.   We have all done what we can in line with government guidelines to ensure our safety but with so many missing the physical contact of our loved ones it has been a challenge.  Many though have made the most of this time in positive ways with many a new garden/decorating project being undertaken, the sewing machines and knitting/crochet needles clicking feverishly away and of course many lending a helping hand to WI members in need (and thanks to so many who have assisted me personally!), as well as our neighbours, friends and families.

It saddened me to have to cancel the two theatre trips I had personally arranged to see Come From Away in the West End in March and Six the Musical at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury booked for May!  But more importantly to see the annual meeting and fundraising programme we put together fall to pieces literally overnight was particularly disheartening! I don’t know when we will be able to physically meet again, or enjoy a live theatrical experience and I know so many of you have had to cancel many similar social events including long awaited and planned for holidays too.  It is great to see that our Book Club is still going though and I do urge members to contact me if any of you have an idea for a similar “club” type activity, particularly one that would lend itself to an online platform.

It is quite a challenge but we are currently asking some of our booked speakers if they can transform their talks into a video presentation that can be shared either live or  online, or by being sent on a link following the event.  This we know is a very poor second best to actually meeting and does not satisfy the very important social interaction we have enjoyed in the past that is going to elude us for a while longer.

Early on in the initial lockdown period Pett WI committee urged members who were keen to show their support in some practical and physical way to lend their assistance to the newly formed Rye Mutual Aid group.  Others within our group kept themselves fully occupied in positive ways with many a new garden/decorating project being undertaken, the sewing machines and knitting/crochet needles clicking feverishly away and of course many lending a helping hand to their WI members in need, neighbours, friends and families.  Longstanding member Wendy Burgess, who is known for her fabulous handicrafts, has been making masks for members and friends in exchange for a packet of sanitary towels – these towels are then being donated to local charities in need.  Wendy has already at the point of writing in early July made 150 masks which were sent to Rye Mutual Aid.

We are working on widening the remit of our local community initiative currently entitled Pett WISPA, (Pett WI Sanitary Protection Appeal) to encompass the sadly increasing food poverty issue that is pertinent to the Rye and District areas particularly in view of the fallout from the Covid-19 crisis.  More news of which next month but keep an eye out on our Facebook page for more updates – huge thanks to Hilary Dymott, Wendy Burgess, Lin Benn and Pam Burgess for their continuing enthusiasm and support of this project.

Committee member Trish Walker recently had a two-hour online meeting with our East Sussex Federation of Women’s Institute Advisers covering a wide range of topics to see what support they could provide local WIs such as ours. It became apparent during the course of the meeting that Pett WI are coping well with our monthly committee meetings, monthly newsletter, WhatsApp group and work with WISPA.  Many WIs were reporting complete apathy and total disengagement from members but we are so pleased that this has not been the case with the majority of our own membership.

We may number 50 in members but we are just six on the committee.  Nonetheless we are keen to keep the goodwill and spirt of the WI going for as long as we can.  We are grateful to our membership for their support and encouragement throughout this time – it means the world to us.

Finally, I leave you with a recipe from our own Trish!

Trish’s Teatime Tasty Treat Edit DraftChocolate Truffle Torte

Reply Actions Slideshow

Tricia Walker
To Amanda Leeson

This is one of my favourites and so simple:

2 tablespoons Amaretto

1 pint double cream (room temp)

450g plain chocolate

75g Amaretti biscuits crushed finely

9 inch loose bottomed cake tin lined with a circle of grease proof paper

Sprinkle crushed biscuits all over base of cake tin.

Put chocolate and Amaretto in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until smooth and melted. Stir and remove from heat until just warm about 5 mins.

In a separate bowl beat cream until slightly thickened. Fold half into chocolate mixture then fold that into rest of cream. When smoothly blended, spoon into prepared tin. Cover and chill overnight.

Just before serving run a knife around edge and turn out onto serving plate. Dust surface with sifted cocoa powder. Serve with pouring cream if you must!

Belinda Wood

President, Pett WI

Pett Women’s Institute – May 2020 Update

Sorry for the lack of a report from me last month but sadly at the time of publication deadline I was preparing for surgery following a very untimely accident which culminated in breaking my ankle in three places and being admitted to Conquest Surgery where I spent three nights before being transferred home to await day surgery which eventually took place at Eastbourne Hospital.  It was surreal to actually clap the NHS from a ward bed at the Conquest Hospital at 8pm one Thursday evening but also quite poignant.

Whilst we are unable to put on our monthly meetings and events we urge our members to explore their exclusive member platform on the WI website and find everything they need to get the most out of their membership – from essential information to the latest campaigning news, updates from the NFWI and, of course, an extensive and regularly updated range of craft projects and recipes to try.

For our own group though we have a vibrant WhatsApp group which has proved a great way for members to keep in touch, share photos and what they have been up to.  This is in addition of course to our own Pett WI and members only Facebook page/group and a new newsletter and by simply picking up the telephone to talk to people too. The power of technology has really been all our friends at this time!

Along with many other local groups and individuals it is so heartening to see/hear of many examples of our members supporting each other and their communities at this time.  Many are putting their crafting skills to good use by crocheting/knitting and sewing for various organisations.  Others are shopping and doing other errands as well as ensuring to keep in touch with each other.

VE Day also coincided with member Gillian Quick’s 80th birthday celebrations – with a visit from Secretary/Treasurer Jane Sweaney and committee members Sara Dann and Trish Walker – who brought homemade goodies and greetings from us all.

During the day members took part in various socially distanced VE celebrations throughout the villages where they live including of course Pett, Icklesham, Fairlight, Guestling and Rye.  There were definitely many a WI-favourite Victoria sponge baked that day for sure!

Finally, thank you to Sharon Sellens for one of her go-to cake recipes that she said was passed to her by Pett WI member Jane Austen from Icklesham.

Lemon yoghurt cake

Your measure is a 150g yogurt pot, obviously this can be sized up by keeping the same ratio of ingredients.

1 x pot natural yogurt
1 x pot veg oil
2 x pots gran sugar
3 x pots SR flour (it works with half & half wholemeal & regular and also works with GF flour)
3 x large eggs
2 x lemons zested

In a bowl mix the lemon zest with everything else, give it a quick bash in the mixer.

Pop it in 2 x 1lb or a 1 x 2lb lined loaf tins
Bake in a preheated oven @ 150°C (Mk3) for 50mins – 1hr until well risen & golden.
While it’s cooking, mix together the juice from the lemons with 1oz/25g of the sugar (I heat it to dissolve the sugar)  Spoon the liquid on top of the fresh out of the oven cakes and leave to cool in the tin.  (Freezes well.)

Like most recipes I’ve tweaked this to suit my own taste by adding a little vanilla extract, half a teaspoon of salt and using Greek yoghurt.  One way to freeze it is to cut it into individual slices as that way you can take out just the odd piece when you fancy a piece!  Thanks Sharon/Jane!

Belinda Wood

President, Pett WI

Pett Women’s Institute – January 2020 Update

We continue into 2020 with a varied collection of speakers mixed with information, hands-on opportunities and fun events, outings and fundraising initiatives including the continuance of our Pett WISPA (Pett WI Sanitary Protection Action) and supporting other local fundraising initiatives – about which more information soon!

Highlights of this year’s programme include various craft sampling opportunities, chocolate making, colour therapy and style, music therapy, themed food presentations and historical fashion.  We also tackle some serious subjects too and during our January meeting were voting on this year’s national proposed resolutions which include subjects such as ending modern slavery and a call to increase potential stem cell donors.

Our membership is made up of about 50 members of a variety of ages and backgrounds – many from Pett and the nearby villages of course but others from Rye, Hastings & St Leonards. We always strive to inform, educate, inspire and keep our membership entertained but we focus very much on developing friendships and this year have launched a Saturday Social What’s App Club for those wanting to keep in touch with each other in between our monthly meeting.  West End, local theatre/concert trips, BBC radio recordings, lunches/teas, shopping trips and places of interest are all in the pipeline!

Please email us at   to register your interest in joining us.  Membership is just £43 this year (pro rata basis) about £3.58 a month – bargain considering what a posh cup of coffee costs these days!

Belinda Wood

President, Pett WI

A very happy new year from all at Pett WI. 

Our AGM took place in November but before the official business we were entertained by Ben Walgate from Tillingham Wines of Peasmarsh who spoke with passion about his career in wine production culminating with this local initiative which now employs 15 people.  Ben’s presentation included a tasting session of his delicious wines. We were excited to learn more about the business which includes a cafe/restaurant, guest rooms and courses including yoga and sourdough making too!  We then had a thoroughly interesting and interactive report of our review of the year (and what a lot we got up to!) and presentation of our healthy looking accounts thanks to our wonderful Jane Sweaney who holds the position of Secretary and Treasurer!  The new committee was elected with Jane Sweaney, Sara Dann, Sally Watson and myself standing again with two additional members Amanda Leeson and Trish Walker who we warmly welcomed to the team.

Our Fitness Frolics health and wellbeing day back at the end of November was a terrific success!  The event – to highlight Pett WI’s campaign to support local community dementia initiatives – raised a fantastic £1,000 for the Rye & District Dementia Action Alliance to help towards improving the environment for people living with various forms of dementia and their carers.  Huge thanks to everyone who came along to participate or sponsor participants, and members who also came to help with refreshments and raffle sales etc. – and for making it such a great success!

For so very generously giving us their time and making it all possible, special thanks must go to Instructors – Mandy Hogarth (Tomboogie), Celia King (Pilates) and Ann Simpson (Tai Chi) and Therapists – Natalie Dodd (Naturally Beautiful Massage Hastings), Rei Kinsella and Dawn Turner.

Thanks also to all members who helped with the organisation of the event especially Hilary Dymott, Sara Dann and Sally Watson and on the day to Trish Walker who stepped into my shoes when I was laid up with the winter lurgy!

We decided to spice up our December get together with a “Christmas Chilli and Cheer Party” with not a sausage roll or mince pie in sight!  Thanks to all my fellow committee members – Trish and Sally for creating two tasty chillis,  Amanda for lots of shopping and doing such a great job as bartender and fizz dispenser and more during the course of the evening, Sara Dann (and Sharon Sellens) for the singing, and Jane Sweaney for creating a brilliant pictorial quiz which had us moving around the tables and spending time with people we don’t usually manage to chat to.

We open up our doors to current and new members at our New Year’s Bucks Fizz Brunch meeting to be held on Saturday 18th January at 11am for membership renewals – with brunch served from 11.30am.  Over brunch we will be revealing some of the highlights of our 2020 programme, local fundraising ideas and voting on next year’s national campaigning initiatives.   If you are not already a member but would like to join us in January please reserve your place in advance if possible by emailing our secretary Jane on    (We usually meet at the Pett Village Hall on the third Wednesday of the month at 7.30pm until 9.30pm but like to offer a daytime weekend date in January as many of us would prefer to not venture too far on a cold and possibly frosty evening in the bleak midwinter!)   Remember you do not need to live in Pett to join our WI.

Belinda Wood

President, Pett WI

Pett Women’s Institute – November 2019

What a busy year it’s been again – our speakers included Emma Bell, who told us about the work of Safehaven Women in Hastings, which is one of the charities we support via our Pett WISPA (Pett Women’s Institute Sanitary Protection Appeal) campaign. In March we welcomed Alison Mathias of AlisonWonderland Photography who explained and demonstrated how she creates her digital artistry as well as giving us top tips on taking photos and treated us to a pop-up photo studio!  In May local cake maker and decorator extraordinaire Trudy Smith from the Chain Lane Bakery Co. in Battle explained how her interest in all things cake expanded into a full time successful and gold-award winning home business with members learning some icing techniques.  Members received information and awareness from our own Sharon Sellens representing Rye & District Dementia Action Alliance and also committee member Sally Watson who gave a personal account of what is like to live with hearing loss.  In June we we decided to make the most of the summer months and had a visit to one of the gardens in Pett – beautiful Breanross – who open up in support of St Michael’s Hospice –  where we were kindly given a private tour.  Then in July another change of venue as we met at Pett Beach Club and set off with the ever-popular Andy Dinsdale who led us on a beachcombing and cleaning exhibition returning back to the club for a bit of business and food and drink.  Our August social this year was courtesy of our committee members Jane Sweaney and Sara Dann who generously opened up their lovely home and garden to us for a super summer social event with everyone bringing a plate of food along to help with the refreshments – making this the most deliciously-catered event of all year!

In September we had a very motivational and inspirational speaker Fern Lulham (together with guide dog Nancy) as our guests.  Fern spoke about how she manages to lead a full and active life with severe sight impairment.  In October we thanked Clare Calcott-James for an interesting account into East Sussex’s rich local bonfire history and her own work with Renegade Pyrotechnics.  Clare came along in full Hastings Bonfire Society costume and entertained us with a rowsing bonfire chant.  She then went on to talk about a recent traumatic road accident and how it had impacted on her own mental health and the practical things she did to help herself to aid her recovery.  Mental health has been one of this year’s national WI resolutions.

Outings this year included a trip to stunning Leonardslee and also Fairlight Hall house and gardens which was kindly opened up to the East Sussex Federation of WI’s to mark their centenary by way of an afternoon tea and entertainment.

Our fundraising continued with another Big Village Lunch where we were entertained by popular local singer and X-Factor boot camp finalist Sammy-Lou Hallam raising funds for local organisations and our first ever Fitness Frolics event which raised funds for Rye & District Dementia Action Alliance.

Outside of our usual meetings we saw the creation of a new and now very popular Book Club instigated by Dawn Osborne meeting at the Two Sawyers on a bi-monthly basis.  A reminder for Book Club members the Christmas meeting including supper, takes place on Monday 9th December at The Two Sawyers.

Going forward Jane Sweaney has started a Crafty Crochet Corner (possibly including other portable crafts including knitting, tapestry, needlework etc.) on the first Wednesday of the month (10-12) as part of the Coffee Morning events held at Pett Hall.  And bearing in mind that many of our members work either full or part time throughout the week we have ideas for a new once a month Saturday Social Club for 2020 with members being offered a variety of ways to remain connected outside our monthly meetings – ideas so far include brunch/lunch/afternoon teas, cinema, theatre and live music gigs – plus museum-mooching and more!

At the time of writing this report our Annual General Meeting was to take place at which we will have voted in the next committee who will begin planning next year’s events and good causes.  We were also looking forward to a wine tasting from Peasmarsh-based biodynamic vineyard “Tillingham”.

In December we will be getting  together on Wednesday 11th for a Christmas Chilli and Cheer Party!  We have again been invited to provide refreshments for the popular Pett Christmas Pudding Dash in the form of bacon/sausage rolls and hot drinks at this annual run.  This will take place on Saturday 21st December (9am to 1pm) and is based at the village hall.  It’s a fun event and if you attend please be sure to come and say hello to the ladies with the WI aprons on!

Thanks to all the hard working committee members and our general membership for their support throughout 2019.   If you like the sound of what we are about we may have a few vacancies for new members going into 2020 so please do come along to our New Year’s Bucks Fizz Brunch membership join-up/renewal meeting on Saturday 18th January at 11am for brunch time treats and a fantastic warm welcome.  For details in advance please keep a look out on our Facebook page or email us at mailto:

A very Happy Christmas from all at Pett Women’s Institute!

Belinda Wood


Pett Women’s Institute – October 2019

The word “inspirational” can sometimes be used far too freely when describing some public speakers but in September we really were treated to not only an inspirational talk but a motivational one too from Fern Lulham.  Fern talked about her experiences of being blind and the link between her disability and her mental health but delivered with such great engaging charm and humour.  Fern is local to Hastings but travels extensively delivering her speeches far and wide accompanied by her guide dog Nancy.  She certainly gave members lots to think about and how we can face our own challenges.

After Fern’s talk we wished one of our fabulous members Marjorie Atherden a very happy special birthday with a rousing rendition of her favourite Jerusalem as well of course as Happy Birthday!  Marjorie was presented with a very tasty cake made by Sally Watson and a special card from members showing photos of Marjorie at various past WI events – she also received a voucher for afternoon tea for two at the Tic Toc.  Marjorie later described her birthday surprises as “wonderful!” remarking that she had such an emotional evening and gave thanks to everyone.
We are now able to give more information about our major fundraising event on Saturday 30 November at Pett Village Hall.   You will see the accompanying poster in this month’s news and can see that the event has now been called “Fitness Frolics!”  Members are being urged to participate and encourage family and friends to come along also – it’s going to be fantastic with a chance to partake in many different fitness and well being activities.  We’d love to see support from the community too as all profits will go to the local Rye & District Dementia Action Alliance.
Our membership is currently full but we may have some vacancies from January 2020 when on Saturday 18 January we will be opening our doors again between 11am and 2pm for our popular New Year’s Membership Renewal and Bucks Fizz Brunch event.   In order for us to keep in contact with you please put your name on our waiting list via our Secretary Jane at or contact us on our Facebook or Twitter pages.
Belinda Wood 
President, Pett WI

Pett Women’s Institute – September 2019

Instead of a meeting in August we usually hold a social event and this year it was kindly hosted by committee members Jane and Sara.  The weather was exceedingly kind to us and so we were able to explore their beautiful garden and views whilst nipping back inside their welcoming home to take advantage of the fantastic WI buffet that members had all contributed to.  Goodness when Pett WI party they do it so well!   What a wonderful evening it was – thanks to all who came along and especially to Jane and Sara for their warm hospitality.  Many friendships are being forged this year which gives me such personal satisfaction as the main reason I joined the WI three years ago was to make new friends and that has certainly happened as a result of my membership.  We are so pleased to have a lovely contingent of Icklesham ladies with us, many of whom knew each other before they came along but some who have made new friends in the village as a result. Other members come from Guestling, Fairlight, Hastings/St Leonards and Rye.

Some of our members meet up in between our monthly meetings including our Book Club who get together at the Two Sawyers.  This is a friendly, informal group set up by our fabulous Dawn Osborne who is keen to welcome new members to the clan!  We are always pleased to hear from members as to any other sub-groups that they would be interested in setting up – be it craft or purely social – theatre/cinema/supper etc. – you name it we can do it but we need members help please so don’t be shy in suggesting ideas but please be ready to help organise it.

As a new (and very small) committee  we strive to make our group as inclusive and interesting for everyone – not always the easiest task trying to keep everyone happy but we really try to do our best and are always keen to have feedback from members as to ideas for speakers/topics covered.

For the crafty members amongst us just a note that East Sussex Federation’s Patchwork Christmas Decorations Workshop will take place at Pett Village Hall on Saturday 16 November.  On the same day at Hailsham HQ there will be a Christmas cookie/biscuit workshop!  Federation are also organising a “Christmas at Hever Castle” outing to include Christmas lunch on Tuesday 17 December.  More details in this month’s newsletter and on ESFW’s website.

Closer to home our next fundraising event will take place on Saturday 30 November at Pett Village Hall organised by our EAT (Events Action Team) who are currently busy putting plans in place for a fun health and well being day.   Funds raised will go to the Rye & District Dementia Action Alliance which falls in line with this year’s national WI’s resolution to support and provide awareness of mental health.  So far classes will include belly dancing, Tai Chi, Tomboogie, dancing, pilates with taster sessions of Reiki and Indian head massage. I’m sorry to report there are no plans for a sitting down and just eating cake class but actually we might be able to organise something like that in between classes!    More details nearer the time but we do hope to see you there for what promises to be a great day and something to help us unwind as we prepare ourselves for the busy Christmas period!

Want to join us? We are expecting three new members by the time this newsletter is published and so if that is the case we will have started a waiting list.  We may be able to welcome new members as of January 2020 so please contact us if you would like us to keep in touch with you at

Belinda Wood

President, Pett WI

Pett WI usually meet the third Wednesday of the month at 7.30pm at Pett Village Hall.   Follow us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

Pett Women’s Institute – August 2019

Thanks to Pett News for making us cover girls last month!  OK albeit back-cover and it wasn’t actually any of us in the flesh so to speak (!) but we were nonetheless absolutely delighted to see our Dawn Timmins’ splendid Pett WI icon painting recreated there!

Our July meeting saw us gathering away from the Village Hall for a change and took us instead to the New Beach Club at Pett Level where we met up with local marine environmentalist Andy Dinsdale (founder of the Strandliners Community Interest Company).  Andy led almost 40 of us on a mini-beachcombing/cleaning session.  Andy explained about the marine debris some of which travels thousands of miles across our oceans and talked about the litter, searches for nurdles and biobeads among the microplastic and all the strange things that can be found on our strandlines.  After this we returned to the Beach Club for some tasty refreshments during which we had a bit of business and time for a social too.  Grateful thanks to Natalie and all at the club for making us so welcome!

Thanks so much to all members who helped at/attended this year’s Pett Flower Show and Fayre.  It was heartening to see it supported by so many stalwart locals and visitors despite the dismal weather.  Well done to our own Philippa Strickland and her team for working so hard to put on this popular community event.

A few years ago we were involved with a community project to aid the dementia patients of the MacDonald Ward at the Conquest Hospital when members helped produce “Twiddle Muffs”.  We were delighted to have been contacted by the ward matron again to see if we could help them with a new appeal to make bed runners by way of knitting/crocheting etc.  MacDonald ward is a frailty ward and many of the patients are 75 years and over.  Within this group of patients many suffer with a cognitive impairment and so help with orientation, and to make the ward look less medical and to reduce patient falls the idea is to make patients bed spaces as individual as possible for them.  Bed runners (also called bed scarves) can be draped over the end of the beds so that the bed spaces become more familiar.  The patient would then take these home with them.  We are hoping to encourage local individuals and community groups to take part as well of course as our own members.  If you are interested in knowing more about how to get involved please Hilary Dymott at who is helping to coordinate this project and she will be happy to tell you more about what’s needed.

As mentioned last month members of our EAT (Events Action Team) are currently busy putting together our next major event which is a health and well being day to be held on Saturday 30 November.   Funds raised will go to the Rye & District Dementia Action Alliance.  So far classes will include belly dancing, Tai Chi, Tomboogie, dancing, pilates with taster sessions of Reiki and Indian head massage.   More details nearer the time but we do hope to see you there for what promises to be a great day and something to help us unwind as we prepare ourselves for the busy Christmas period!  (Yikes I said the word sorry!!)

Our recently established Book Club continues to thrive under the guidance of member Dawn Osborne.  If other members wish to start off any club events themselves be it a supper, theatre/cinema or a particular craft remember like Dawn you don’t need to be a committee member to do this – just enthusiastic and happy to organise and coordinate outside of our regular monthly meetings.  Contact myself or Jane if you think you’d like to propose something.  Cake Club anyone?!

Finally for our next meeting, which starts at 7.30pm on Wednesday 18 September, we have secured a very popular on the WI-circuit speaker (she’s even won awards for it) by the name of Fern Lulham ( who lives close by in Hastings.  Prepare to get motivated and also fall in love with her guide dog, Nancy.  A perfect opportunity for you meet us, receive a warm welcome and join our friendly group – we’ll be cracking open the fizz too to mark a special event – and there will be cake (of course!!)   Contact us at or our social media pages or just come along – we’d absolutely love to have you join our local WI!

Belinda Wood

President, Pett WI

Pett WI usually meet the third Wednesday of the month at 7.30pm at Pett Village Hall.   

Pett Women’s Institute – July 2019

For our June meeting we had the pleasure of a visit to Breanross, the home of Libby and Tim Rothwell in advance of them opening their garden as part of the Pett Village Open Garden scheme for St Michael’s Hospice.  Libby and Tim kindly allowed us a preview of the garden and invited members to look around and ask questions about the plants.  Libby also showed us photographs of how the garden has developed over the years.   Afterwards we returned to the Hall for refreshments which were kindly provided by members Lisa Fisher, Ashleigh Fraser and Lisa Kerry.  These fabulous ladies were in charge of assembling the Pimm’s and also provided us with the most delicious homemade sausage rolls and strawberry and chocolate cake!  Members were also able to purchase raffle tickets for a bottle of champagne with the proceeds going to St. Michael’s Hospice.

Our East Sussex umbrella federation of WIs celebrate their centenary this year and gave a splendid garden party for an estimated 400 East Sussex WI members on Saturday 6 July at the equally splendid Fairlight Hall with house and garden tours, entertainment and refreshments.  Special thanks to Pett WI members who helped with the baking and volunteered to help on the tours and with refreshments etc.  notably Wendy Burgess, Heather Godwin, Wendy Hysted, Sharon Sellens, Phillipa Strickland and Sally Watson.  I would also like to thank Stephanie Gaunt, President of Hastings & Ore WI and her team for the work they did in organising the whole event.

As part of the centenary celebrations all East Sussex WIs (and there are over 100 of us) were invited to provide a suitably decorated material square to depict our WI on a Centenary Banner which will eventually be on permanent display at the East Sussex WI headquarters in Hailsham.  We are fortunate indeed that one of our members, Dawn Timmins, is a local artist and kindly agreed/had her arm twisted to do this.  We are thrilled with what she came up with and feel that when people come to look at the banner ours will stand out fabulously!

I’ll report on our July meeting next month but members are looking forward to another “out of the hall” experience to The New Beach Club, Pett Level with the ever-popular Andy Dinsdale leading us on a beach combing and cleaning expedition – and then coming back to the club for a bit of a social!

We have no formal meeting in August but a reminder to members there will be a social at Jane and Sara’s on Wednesday 21st August with plenty of food, drink and fun being planned!  Lifts are advisable!

The next WI craft workshop at Pett Village Hall will be Christmas Flowers and Wreaths on Saturday 5th October from 10am to 4pm at a cost of £33 to members including all tools and materials. This workshop involves learning how to make beautiful flowers from sheets of foam and then using them to make a spray or wreath.  Booking in advance is essential and this one will go fast so be sure to book soonest.

Another date for the diary is Saturday 30 November when we will be having a fundraising event for our cause of the year Dementia Awareness.  More details on that soon but all sorts of activities are currently being planned including belly dancing, pilates, Tomboogie, dancing for fitness, crafts and massage!  (I’m hoping there might also be a well-woman cake eating session being planned too!)

Contact us at pett or our social media pages to find out more about being a member of our vibrant and active group!

Pett Women’s Institute – June 2019

Our 8th Pett Big Village Lunch on Sunday 2nd June gave us the opportunity to get together with friends old and new over our community lunch and very popular feast of puddings table!  Although not as well attended as previous years attendees all seemed to have a good time.  The icing on the cake this year was the performance by Sammy-Lou (Samantha Hallam) who had put together for us a perfectly-pitched and suitable set-list which she delighted us with.  Her naturally warm bubbly personality put everyone at ease.  If you are interested in engaging Sammy-Lou for your own event she comes thoroughly recommended and can be contacted via her Facebook (where you can see her sing too) or by email at     As a result of this community event we raised over £400 and I’ll report back next month how we plan to share this amongst local organisations.
Putting these events on takes a lot of planning and effort and although it’s always dangerous to name names for fear of missing people out but I must give my sincerest thanks to my fellow committee members and in particular Sara Dann and Jane Sweaney, together with helpers Pam Burgess, Wendy Burgess, Phillipa Strickland, Lin Benn, Betty Harknett, Trish Walker, Sharon Sellens, Marjorie Atherden, Amanda Dellar.  Also I must not forget to thank the hubsters Gordon, Ray and Dave who helped with the hall preparation and did things with stepladders and bunting that made me feel quite dizzy!  And all those that pitched in and helped clear away on the day too!   Warmest thanks to members who kindly made the delicious puds!  We are very grateful to Heringtons Solicitors, The Royal Oak Pett, Tic Toc Hairdressers, Northiam Dental Practice, Concepts of Rye, Paiwa Loves Nails, Alison’s Aloe, Phil and Eve Button and many WI members kindly giving us prizes and cash donations.  Thanks also to Pett Butchers and the Tic Tocery for helping us with advance ticket sales.
Last month’s meeting speaker was Trudy Smith of the Chain Lane Cake Company in Battle. Trudy spoke to us about her passion for cake decorating and how she turned this into a business.  She also showed an incredible range of the cakes she has made for family, clients and competitions. We then split into two groups so that Trudy could demonstrate some decorating techniques to half of the company while the other half enjoyed refreshments including the entries in the apple pie making competition.  The two groups changed places later in the evening.  Increasingly we are finding members appreciate the opportunity to move around during our two hour monthly meetings and have the opportunity to get to know each other better.   To me this is one of the best things about being involved with the WI – as well as the chance to learn and better understand wider issues, be inspired to try new things and help with community-led projects – plus the cake (and wine) of course!
So much going at the moment! I attended the National WI Annual Meeting held in Bournemouth in May as a link delegate representing not just Pett, but also Brede, Westfield and Ore/Hastings WIs too.  It was my first experience at this annual meeting at which 4,000 WI members were present at the vast Bournemouth International Centre.  The meeting consisted of a mix of general AGM-type business, informative speakers, and also gave us the opportunity to listen to the resolutions that we were being asked to vote on namely the decline in the local bus service and ways to turnaround the fall in women taking up the chance to attend their cervical screening appointments.  As you might imagine there were many strong and emotive opinions shared.  Both resolutions were passed and so the WI will now look at how these two new mandates can be worked on nationally.
At the time of going to press for the Parish News our June meeting has not taken place and so anyone reading this via Pett on the Net if you are interested in becoming a member of your local WI come along on Wednesday 19th to Pett Village Hall between 7 and 7.30pm where we will then be walking the short distance to friendly neighbours at Breanross for a visit of their beautiful garden.  After this we will return to the Hall for Pimm’s and other refreshments and finish with the regular part of our meeting.
On Saturday 6th July some Pett WI members, together with those from many of the other 100 WIs in East Sussex, will come together at a very special garden party to be held at Fairlight Hall.  The occasion is to mark our East Sussex Federation’s centenary year.  Pett WI are helping provide cakes for the event and some of us have volunteered to help too.  Members can expect house and garden tours, live entertainment, Pimm’s & bar tent, some interesting trader stalls for a little optional shopping, and hands-on craft opportunities too.  Let’s just hope for the sunshine now!
A Kirigami workshop due to take place at Pett Village Hall on Saturday 13th July is currently under-subscribed and will not go ahead unless more people sign up for it – so if you have been meaning to book please get in touch with either Secretary Jane or myself and we will email you an application form for you to send off to our local federation who are organising this event for us.  Kirigami is the Japanese art of cutting and folding paper. This workshop is for all levels of expertise. Ben Courtney will help you make up to five projects to take home.  This event is open to all by the way –  WI members pay £25 and non-members £30.
We look forward to a meeting with a difference on Wednesday 17th July as we converge at the New Beach Club (watch out Beach Club members we’re coming and may even entertain you with a rousing rendition of Jerusalem!) enabling us to incorporate a beach clean overseen by Pett WI friend and previous meeting speaker Andy Dinsdale. We then return to the club for due refreshment and socialising.
On Saturday 27th July many of us will be participating/attending at the Pett Flower Show – so if you see any of the stallholders or tea tent ladies sporting a sunflower, WI badge or apron do say hello!  And please show your support for this annual summer time special event!
We have no formal meeting in August but we are planning a get-together nonetheless and more next month on that.
Contact us at or our social media pages to find out about being a part of our WI.  Also as we start to consider our Annual Programme for 2020 please contact us if you have an interest/skill that you think would make a worthy talk for one of our meetings.  We’d love to hear from you!
Belinda Wood
President, Pett WI

Pett Women’s Institute – May 2019

As the actual printed version of the magazine arrives in your hands there may still be a chance to get a ticket to our Jun8th Pett Big Village Lunch on Sunday 2 June at the village hall.   Depending on what the next committee decide this may be the last of the Big Village Lunches going forward so we are hoping to ensure that if that is the case it is a befitting swansong! We are confident it will be with the return of our very popular “Feast of Puddings” serving table groaning under the weight of the delights upon it and also with the vocal talent of Sammy-Lou providing the entertainment.  Tickets are £10 each and can be obtained via email to and from Pett Butchers and the Tic Tocery.  You just need to bring with you your plate, cutlery, glass, drink and main meal.  Bring some money for the raffle too of course! This event is not just open to our WI members but the whole communities around and about – it’s a great opportunity have an early summer get together with family, friends and neighbours and an easy way to entertain without having to clean your own home beforehand and after!
Both Sharon Sellens and Sally Watson delivered two emotive talks back in April when they spoke about subjects close to their hearts namely dementia awareness and deaf awareness.  This month we were inspired by Trudy Smith from the Chain Lane Cake Company in Battle who talked about how from simple beginnings – creating her children’s birthday cakes – her passion for cake decorating grew into a successful home business and winner of many national awards with her amazing designs.  After her talk she then demonstrated a couple of sugarcraft techniques which members were able to have a go at themselves.  Trudy did us the honour of judging our apple pie competition – well done to Pam Poling who won but as she is unable to recreate her winning pie for the East Sussex Federation of Women’s Institute’s centenary garden party event this July the runner-up Wendy Hysted will be doing us the honour instead.
During the May meeting members also considered presentations outlining the two resolutions that are to be debated and voted on at our National Federation of WI’s Annual meeting in Bournemouth on June 5th.  They were “A call against the decline in local bus services” and “Don’t fear the Smear” I’ll report back next month on what is chosen as our next national campaign.
Outside of our monthly meetings Dawn Osborne has started the new Pett WI Book Club.  Members will meet at the Two Sawyers every six weeks to choose what they are going to read and then discuss afterwards.  Dawn told us that they didn’t talk just books during the first meeting which of course is turning into a great way to socialise and get to know each other.  If other members wish to do so they are more than welcome to put forward for consideration their own interest groups – cake club and supper club are two ideas that came up for suggestion last year for example, but the committee would expect members to then organise these sub-groups themselves as Dawn has done.
Some of us enjoyed a visit on Saturday 11 May to the stunning Leonardslee Gardens near Horsham.  These Grade I Listed gardens on a 240 acre estate feature outstanding scenery especially this time of the year when the landscape is splashed with colour from the many azaleas and rhododendrons in flower and of a carpet of bluebells throughout the woodland.  We saw a rare colony of wallabies in the new Australia gardens and when the weather become a little unpredictable we were mesmerised as by an extensive dolls house collection depicting the Edwardian estate and neighbouring villages at 1/12th scale, with landscapes and characters acting out day-to-day activities. Exquisite in detail and accuracy, a six-foot-tall person is recreated as six inches in height!  That alone was worth the entry fee we thought!  Some of us are planning a return this autumn.
More social events are currently being planned including at least one other garden visit, trips to the cinema and to local arts festivals plus a hoped-for West End musical too!
I would like to thank my fellow committee members Jane Sweaney, Sara Dann and Sally Watson for all the hard work and dedication they give to our WI and to everyone who helps us out at meetings and events.  You’re simply the best!
Contact us at or our social media pages to find out more about getting a ticket to the BVL, donating a raffle prize or becoming a member. Also please contact us if you have an interest/skill that you think would make a worthy talk for one of our meetings.  We’d love to hear from you!
Belinda Wood
President, Pett WI

Pett Women’s Institute – April 2019

And still our membership grows – so much now that as of early April we were only able to take two more to our group which means a waiting list will soon come into operation!   Thank you to everyone who continues to support our vibrant and friendly group.

At our March meeting Alison Mathias from Alison Wonderland Photography gave us an interesting insight into how she became passionate about digital photography and shared many tips with us as well as putting on pop-up photo studio which proved very entertaining!

At the time of writing this report we were looking forward to hearing from members Sharon Sellens, supporter of Rye & District Dementia Action Alliance and fellow committee member Sally Watson talking about deaf awareness.  At our next meeting on Wednesday 15th May we welcome Trudy Smith from the Chain Lane Bakery Company who will be giving us a cake decorating masterclass.  The keen bakers amongst us are being asked to bring along their own homemade apple pies for judging by Trudy (and then sampling by the membership massive!)  We will then be asking the winner to kindly bake the same recipe again but this time for the East Sussex Federation of Women’s Institute’s centenary garden party event this July at Fairlight Hall when county-wide WIs will be meeting and during which the ultimate Apple Pie contest will be judged!  Come on Pett we can do this!

Our events team now are focusing on plans for our biggest event of the year the 8th Pett Big Village Lunch to be held at Pett Village Hall on Sunday 2 June.  Tickets will be on sale via our Secretary/Treasurer Jane Sweaney as of 1st May and also from our fab friends at The Butcher Shop and Tic Toc Hairdressers.  Entry is £10,   Your ticket price includes entertainment from the very talented local singer Sammy-Lou (who also made the final 100 of the X-Factor!) and helping yourself to our now famous Pett Women’s Institute Feast of Puddings! You just need to bring with you your plate, cutlery, glass, drink and main meal. We will also provide the welcome, camaraderie and fun that we are known for and a grand raffle too – and if there are any individuals or companies who would like to donate a prize we would love to hear from you.  Proceeds of the event including the raffle go to local good causes and our WI funds too! A reminder that this event is not just open to our WI members but the whole communities around and about.  But please be quick – with just 90 tickets available and nearly 50 in our membership alone these are going to be the hottest tickets in town (or rather the village!!)

Contact us at  or our social media pages to find out more about getting a ticket to the BVL, donating a raffle prize or becoming a member. Also please contact us if you have an interest/skill that you think would make a worthy talk for one of our meetings.  We’d love to hear from you!

Belinda Wood, President, Pett WI

Pett Women’s Institute – March 2019

So lovely to welcome yet more new members since my last report!  Please note our monthly meetings will now start at 7.30pm instead of 7pm. This may vary once or twice during the year but if that happens all members will have plenty of advance warning and details will also be on our social media pages etc.

If anyone has found one of our suitably decorated pebbles/rocks which have been left out and about by members during our February meeting please post to our Facebook or Twitter pages! We had a lot of fun doing this activity, which is officially called “Rocking” by the way, and it gave members the opportunity to get to know each other too.  The activity was to mark the Climate Coalition’s #showthelove campaign highlighting climate change.

Members were also impressed with the latest report presented to us by Emma Bell from the Hastings charity SafeHaven Women which is one of the charities we support locally through our Pett WISPA campaign (Pett Women’s Institute Sanitary Protection Appeal). SafeHaven Women offers a cosy, comfortable space to relax with food, tea and coffee, nail bar, craft sessions and a clothes bank. This safe place is a chance for women to come together and hang out, to chat and to be listened to over a cup of tea and a piece of cake.

Thanks to everyone who has donated clothes and other products to this charity which meets at the Holy Trinity Church in Hastings, together of course to our other supporting charity Seaview.  The charities are always in need of sanitary towels (not tampons), underwear (new not secondhand), toiletries and warm clothes. So if you have any unwanted Christmas gifts, are having a spring clear out of your sock drawer, or you just pop an extra tube of toothpaste in your trolley at the supermarket, please bring any items along to our meetings.  You can do this at any time during the year and Hilary, or one of the WISPA team, will make sure the items are passed on to where they are needed.  Alternatively you can drop some change in the donation tin when you come to the meeting and the team will do the shopping for you!

Our EAT (Events Action Team) and ACT (Appeals Co-ordination Team) met recently and have started planning an exciting mixture of social and fundraising activities for the coming year which will be publicised as we go along.  Our first main focus is this year’s very popular Pett Big Village Lunch event which will take place on Sunday 2 June at the Pett Village Hall. Full details of this event will appear soon but please get the date on your calendar now.  This is open to not just WI members but the whole communities around and about too – although Pett villagers and subscribers to the Parish News etc. are hearing about it here first of course!

Our April meeting is on Wednesday 17th when members Sharon Sellens, supporter of Rye & District Dementia Action Alliance will explain more about dementia and committee member Sally Watson will talk about deaf awareness. There are also plans for a couple of Easter related events too.

Contact me at or our social media pages to find out more about becoming a member or pop along to our next meeting.

Belinda Wood 

President, Pett WI 

Pett Women’s Institute – February 2019

We were blown away by the fantastic response to our meeting back in January – as a result of which we welcomed 11 new members on the day with several others contacting us to say they wished to join too!   Thanks to all who helped on the day and especially to Sara Dann for organising us so beautifully – and the fabulous Pauline Gibb for helping cook and serve up such a delicious brunch!  The Catharine Hollman room was filled with laughter and fun that day as some of the details of our annual programme were announced and new friendships were made.

Our membership now consists of a variety of ages, backgrounds and interests with many working either part or full time and coming from not just the surrounding villages but Hastings & St Leonards and Rye too!

To celebrate February’s #showthelove campaign to highlight climate change be sure to keep an eye out for suitably decorated pebbles by our members around the villages!  If you find one please post to our Facebook page @pettWI or Twitter @WI_Pett

At our March meeting on Wednesday 20th at 7pm we will be welcoming Alison Mathias of AlisonWonderland Photography who will be giving a lively presentation  “Behind the Click” – and don’t worry there isn’t any talk of a repeat of “The Calendar Girls” (at this time!)  Outside of our regular monthly meetings our Events Action Team (EAT) are currently working on ideas for trips out, new social and fundraising events, with the emphasis on fun, that will benefit not just Pett village, but hopefully all our membership’s localities too.  As well as our own Pett WISPA campaign (Pett Women’s Institute Sanitary Protection Appeal) we get involved in WI campaigns at a national level with a wide range of social and environmental issues.

Contact me at to find out more about becoming a member or pop along to our next meeting – you can be absolutely assured of a very warm welcome – with tea and real coffee (forget the instant!) and usually a bottle (or three!) of something cold and refreshing being uncorked too!  Ladies – welcome to the WI!

NB Be quick – we are very close now to capping our membership and starting a waiting list – how exciting!

Belinda Wood

President, Pett WI

Pett Women’s Institute – January 2019

Thanks to everyone who helped with preparing, cooking and serving the refreshments at the Christmas Pudding Dash at the Hall on 22 December where we served up a considerable amount of bacon rolls with head of our Events & Activities (EAT) Group, Sara Dann, ensuring everyone knew what they were doing and when!
Belated thanks too to all at the Two Sawyers who as usual gave us great hospitality when we held our Christmas Supper there on Wednesday 12 December!

At the time of going to press we have not held our first meeting of the year which was planned for Saturday 19 January when we were welcoming existing and new members along to our new year’s brunch kick off meeting.  However from the interest received by people looking to join us at the end of last year we are expecting a buzzy membership this year!

In January members were asked to consider the National Federations suggested campaigns for 2019.  The WI’s democratic model means that every member has a say over our national campaigns and every resolution stems directly from members’ concerns.  Every member is asked to consider six resolutions and select the one they would most like to go forward for further discussion and voting at the Annual Meeting in June 2019.  This year they include improving plant biosecurity in the UK, trees – improving the natural landscape, pelvic floor education, suffering in silence – why we need to end the taboo around menstrual health, a call against the decline in local bus services and don’t fear the smear.
Due to our February meeting speaker having to rearrange for later this year we will be welcoming a mystery speaker along on Wednesday 20 February at 7pm.  In March we look forward to what has been promised to be an interesting, informative and fun presentation called “Beyond the Click” by Alison Mathias of Alison in Wonderland Photography (Wednesday 20 March at 7pm).  If you have a profession/interest or subject that you think would engage our members please email for my attention to
Keep up to date with us on our Facebook page @pettWI
Belinda Wood
President, Pett WI

Pett Women’s Institute – December 2018

It gives me great pleasure in wishing everyone a very Happy New Year and to thank Heather Godwin for all she has done during her time steering Pett WI so brilliantly over the past six years. I am excited and honoured to be taking on the responsibility of President with the support of a fabulous committee and a growing and diverse membership.

This month’s meeting is slightly different to our regular ones, which are usually held on the third Wednesday of the month at 7pm at Pett Village Hall.

This month we will meet at the hall on Saturday 19 January at 11.30am when we look forward to welcoming existing and new members – and anyone interested in joining part of the UK’s largest and most successful women’s group (nationally over 210,000 members!) – at this special get-together where we will be hearing more about this year’s annual programme and collecting annual subscriptions which this year is £42 (just £3.50 a month!)

If you think the WI couldn’t possibly be of interest to you can I mention that if you aren’t into cooking/baking, cocktail masterclasses, creative digital photography, crafting, friendly debating, theatre/cinema and other outings, local fundraising, fun and friendship, (did I mention cocktails?) then yes, it really isn’t for you! However, for those whose interest we may have piqued please do join us on the 19th for a Bucks Fizz New Year Brunch meeting (mmn, you can see we’ve ditched the “jam” – although some of us do make a mighty fine one I have to say!) You do not need to live in the village to be a member and you will receive the warmest of welcomes!

NB Due to the space of our meeting room at the Hall if our membership reaches capacity we may need to start a waiting list and therefore we may be unable to open our meetings to guests; so please if you have been meaning to join for a while take advantage this month to do so! Look out for us on Facebook for more info.

(Our February meeting will take place on Wednesday 20th at 7pm when our guest speaker/demonstrator will be baker/decorator extraordinaire Trudy Smith from The Chain Lane Cake Company, Battle.)

Belinda Wood, President Pett WI

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Pett Women’s Institute – November 2018 – A personal contribution from Heather Godwin

Well!   Little did I know, a year ago, that a sketch on a piece of scrap paper would translate itself into the wonderful display of poppies on all three churches in Pett and Pett Level which have been admired all over the world.

Pett WI would like to thank everyone involved in producing the 10,000 poppies on show: villagers, villagers’ friends and relatives, people from far and near, who knitted, sewed, and crocheted until those 65 metres of camouflage netting were full.

Particular mention must go to Wendy Burgess, Pam Burgess and Lin Benn who transformed my vision into the stunning displays you saw, and Hilary Dymott, my right hand woman, and to several husbands – they know who they are. They not only lived with camouflage netting, wool, material and endless discussions about the project for over a year, but were also pummelled into submission to help with the fixings and engineering!

Thank you to everyone who came along to the Fundraiser on the Saturday. At the time of going to print the amount raised for Help For Heroes and The Royal British Legion, including donations from the envelopes placed in the churches, is amounting to over £1,600, but we are still counting.  A final figure will be given in the January edition of the Village News and this page on Pett on the Net.

I was honoured to lay a wreath, so beautifully made by Jenny Grist, on behalf of Pett WI at the Remembrance Day Service where it was great to see so many local people..Project Remember certainly made the memorial a thing of beauty again.

Now to ‘business’:  this is my last contribution to the newsletter as I stood down as President at the Annual General Meeting last month. It’s been a pleasure to be on the Committee for seven years, six as President. In those seven years we have moved from afternoon to evening meetings, doubled the membership, created the annual Big Village Lunch, celebrated the Centenary of the WI, celebrated Pett WI’s own Centenary and now commemorated the Centenary of the end of the First World War in style.

I am handing the baton of President over to the capable hands of Belinda Wood. Belinda is Client Services Manager at Heringtons Solicitors and has been a member of Pett WI for two years.  Supporting Belinda on the new committee are Sarah Dann, Hilary Dymott, Jane Sweaney, Jan Tomalin and Sally Watson.

Members will be celebrating the end of this busy year with Christmas Supper at The Sawyers on December 14th. Details of the programme for next year will be available in the January edition of the Village News an on this page.

Photos and videos from the Poppies for Pett Remembrance and Fund Raiser held on Saturday 10 November can be seen here

Click  here to download the Poppies For Pett Leaflet above

Latest News

October 2018

We had a fantastic meeting in October with the wonderful Gary Enstone, General Manager of Bateman’s National Trust property. He was making a welcome return visit, and educating us with tales of Rudyard Kipling, the First World War and the tragic death of Kipling’s son, Jack, who was killed in September 1915 at the Battle of Loos, while serving with the British Army nearly six weeks after his eighteenth birthday.

It was a fitting talk as we are leading up to the culmination of a year-long project within the village – Poppies for Pett – creating 10,000 poppies for yarn-bombing the two village churches.  We have been overwhelmed with the support from villagers, and friends and relatives far and near. From the 1st November you will be able to view the results of our hard work at the Parish Church and the little Pett Level Church of St Nicholas.  Flyers are being distributed around the village to explain the project.  Do pick one up and invite family and friends to see the display.

Pett WI will also be holding a fund-raising event in the Village Hall on Saturday November 10th from 10 ‘til 2. There will be delicious refreshments, a raffle, the opportunity to sponsor a poppy and tie it on part of the Church display, write in a Book of Remembrance and support the two charities: The Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes.

We are also offering a beautiful stained glass poppy (pictured) which has been donated to us for a silent auction. It measures 29 cm x 9cm. If you would like to own this, please send a bid to   or drop in a bid to 2 Brambletye, Pett Road, by the end of Friday 9th November. The winner will be the highest bid and will be announced during the fundraising event on the Saturday.

PLEASE support this project – hours of work have gone into it and it would be wonderful if we could raise a lot of money to say thank you for the sacrifices made in the past by servicemen and women.

Our next meeting will be the Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 21st November at 7pm. A new committee will be formed, a new President voted in, as Heather Godwin is standing down after five years, and there will be the opportunity to decorate the paste poppies made at the October meeting.

September 2018

Our meeting in September was a ‘crafty’ one – ceramics artist Nicola Waters, who has a studio in Rye, gave us a brilliant hands-on demonstration of pinch-pots and we all had a go at making our own and some poppies. This was very appropriate as we are now approaching a figure of nearly 8,000 poppies for the yarn-bombing of St Mary and St Peter’s Church and St Nicholas’ Church in November.

The final date for accepting poppies will be Tuesday 16th October, so please make sure you deliver any you have made to either Phil at The Butcher’s Shop or to 2 Brambletye, Pett Road, or the Village Hall on Tuesdays between 9.30 and 11.30, where they are being assembled. If you have any problems with delivery please phone 01424 251849 and we will arrange to collect from you.

Several local organisations are coming together to commemorate the Centenary of the Armistice, and full details will be available in the November issue of the newsletter – just make sure you keep the weekend of the 9th/10th/11th November free to participate in the events – and keep an eye on the churches from 1st November!

Our speaker at the meeting in October will be the wonderful Gary Enstone from Bateman’s – the National Trust house which belonged to Rudyard Kipling. We enjoyed his talk so much last year he was invited back again with alacrity. Do come along on Wednesday 17th October at 7pm – you will be made most welcome.

August 2018

Last month’s speaker was Annie Whelan, the inspiring Chief Officer of Seaview in Hastings –an organisation with which Pett WI is very much involved. We were pleased to present Annie with a cheque for £200 – from fundraising for WISPA – to be used specifically for women’s projects.

Our promotional appearance at Fairfest was ‘rained off’ but we took the opportunity of glorious weather the following Saturday and had a stall at the Icklesham Fete – where many women expressed an interest in the free prosecco and cakes – and WI membership, of course!

The Poppy Coffee Morning at the beginning of August was a great success – thank you to all who supported us and bought the delicious cakes, scones and biscuits. Over £200 surplus was made which will be used to fund our yarn-bombing project in November and to the Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes.

Talking of the poppy yarn-bombing, with kind permission of Popps, every Tuesday morning throughout September and October several WI members will be found in the Catherine Hollman Room, tying on the 7,000 or more poppies which have been made by those in the village and beyond.  There will be more exciting news about the Poppy yarn-bombing in the October issue but, in the meantime, put the weekend of November 10th/11th in your diaries – and keep free!

By the time you read this our August meeting will have come and gone – accompanied by castanets and flamenco – as we had a Tapas Social evening which was a great success. Our meeting on Wednesday September 19th is entitled ‘Curious about Crafts?’ and welcomes Nicola Waters, a local mixed media artist who has a studio in Rye.  Nicola will introduce members to ceramics with a chance for members to get their hands on some clay and make a simple punch pot.  We hope to see you there at 7pm at Pett Village Hall.

June/July 2018

Well!  What a blast was had at The 7th Big Village Lunch on the second Sunday in June!  100 villagers’ – families and friends – ranging from 92 years old to 5 years old enjoyed a communal lunch and an Amazing Feast of Puddings accompanied by the wonderful sound of the band ‘Lipstick and Beatnicks’.

The theme was the celebration of 100 years of Women’s Suffrage – so the colour theme was green, white, and purple bunting, napkins and rosettes, and many of the ticket holders turned up in the same colours.  We were also honoured with Clare Calcott-James dressed in a real Edwardian Suffragette dress  – she won the prize for the best costume, naturally, which was presented by our very own celebrity Sophie-Louise Dann – West End star of the musicals Calendar Girls and Made in Dagenham – which appropriately both celebrated the Power of Women.

The members of Pett WI worked so hard to make this a success and over £400 was raised to be shared amongst local organisations. Thank you to all who supported the day with donations of puddings, raffle prizes, and to those who bought tickets, danced, sang, and generally had a great time.

Our June meeting was one of socialising – we have several new members to get to know – and of poppy-making for the November Yarn Bombing of Pett Church. We are getting closer and closer to the 5,000 total! We enjoyed a questionnaire on what members would like to see in the programme next year.

In July we welcome Annie Whelan the Chief Officer of Seaview – the wellbeing centre in St Leonards that offers help and inspiration for people living on society’s margins. Seaview is a project very close to Pett WI’s heart.  This is the third year of our supporting the organisation with donations from our WISPA project, and donations of clothes, too. The title of Annie’s talk is ‘Reaching the Furthest First’.  To listen to this inspirational woman please do come along on Wednesday July 18th at 7pm at Pett Village Hall.

Later on in the month on 29th July Pett WI will be having a stall at Fairfest in Fairlight , and another note for your diary – Pett WI, for one month only, is taking over the monthly Coffee Morning at Anne & Tim’s request (they get very busy down on the farm at this time of year). So we hope to see the regulars on Wednesday 1st August for scrumptious coffee, scone and cakes – see you there!

Patterns for Poppy Yarn-Bombing

Knitted Poppies

For the best finish, knit with a Double Knit (DK yarn). The size of needle you choose will determine how big the poppy will be, but we recommend 3.5mm or 3.75mm (UK9). If you have different yarn left in your stash, just use that and the appropriate needle size.

Easy ribbed poppy pattern – use size UK9 (3.5 or 3.75 mm) needles

Colour A: 1 ball red yarn (this will make a lot of poppies)

Colour B: Scrap of black yarn or black button

Body of Poppy:

Using Colour A Cast on 60 stitches

Rows 1 –10: K2, P2 across whole row (for a slightly smaller poppy do 8 rows of rib).

Row 11:  Knit 2 stitches together across the row (30 stitches).

Row 12:  Slip 1 stitch, Knit 2 stitches together then pass the slip stitch over… repeat across the whole row (10 stitches).

Break off yarn with very long tail and thread back through remaining stitches and pull tight and secure, leaving long thread for securing onto railings etc. Sew up side of poppy.

Centre of Poppy:

Using B, cast on 16 sts. Cast off. Coil into a tight spiral and sew base to the centre or use a black button and sew to centre of poppy.

Crocheted Poppies:

You will need some red wool and a black button. For the best finish, knit with a Double Knit (DK yarn).


  1. Three petal crochet poppy

with 4.5mm hook Ch 3, join with slst to form circle.

Ch 3, work 9 dc into the centre of the circle and join with slst.

Work the three petals separately.

Petal 1. Ch 3, work 1st dc into same st, work 2 dc into each of the next 3 sts. ch 1 work 2 sc into each st, tie off.

Petal 2. Work 2 dc into last dc of previous petal, work 2 dc into each of the next 3 sts. ch 1 work 2 sc into each st, tie off.

Work petal 3 as 2. Sew all ends in and attach button in the centre. Add pin

  1. Two petal crochet poppy

Rnd 1: With 3mm hook and wool, ch2. Make 10dc in 2nd ch from hook. Join with a slst in 1st dc. (10sts)

Rnd 2: *ch1 dc ch1 2tr in next st, 3tr in next st, 2tr ch1 dc in next st, slst in next 2sts. rep from * once again.

Rnd 3: *ch1 3dc in next 2 sts, 2dc in next 5sts, 3dc in next 2 sts, slst in next 2sts. rep from * once again.

Fasten off. Attach button in the centre. Add pin.

Stitch explanation:    st(s) = stitch (es)     ch = chain rep=repeat     dc = double crochet

 rnd=round     htr = half treble crochet    slst = slip stitch    r = row    tr = treble crochet

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