PETT WOMEN’S INSTITUTE
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.
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|
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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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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. https://www.fernlulham.com/
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
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 (fernlulham.com) 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!
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
Pett Women’s Institute – May 2019
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.
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!
President, Pett WI
Pett Women’s Institute – January 2019
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!
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
You will need some red wool and a black button. For the best finish, knit with a Double Knit (DK yarn).
- 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
- 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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