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Annual Meeting, new President and plenty of Henderson’s Relish

I wanted to start this month’s blog with saying one final thank you and farewell to our founding President and Secretary – Lindsay Garfitt and Kim Whelan. Without them, I probably would’t be a member of a WI today and I wouldn’t have made the friendships I have made. The success of Seven Hills WI is a testament to the hard work they have put into the group since 2009. So thank you so much.

From left to right: Kirsty, Lindsay, Kim and Laura

Since we waved goodbye to Lindsay and Kim last month, we’ve had the excitement of our SHWI getaway, our successful Christmas market plus Laura, Vicky and I appeared on Sheffield Live TV. It’s been a jam-packed start to my term as President! November soon came round and it was time for our meeting. Part of being in the committee is to organise our meetings and Lindsay and Kim have always been a huge part of making them run smoothly. That means getting to Electric Works before our members, making sure the tables and chairs are all out and ready, teas and coffees are prepared and any activities set up. It was somewhat daunting to realise that this was down to Laura and I now. I got to Electric Works ridiculously early and was soon met by Laura Bainbridge, our new Secretary. We looked at each other and laughed – our faces both said ‘so what are we supposed to do now?’.

Of course we knew. Laura has been a member of Seven Hills WI from the very start. She lives and breathes WI – baking for our food festival, attending federations events and always first to help with our campaigns and activities. Well-respected by other local WI’s, Laura will make a fab secretary – she has the pencil skirt and sexy specs down.

Sam Foster, our new meeting attendance secretary, Treasurer Vicky P-M and Vice Treasurer Leanne Sunter had a busy night. It was the last chance for our current members to have their membership guaranteed for 2015 so we had a good turn out of familiar faces wanting to get their place for next year.

It was also our annual meeting – a chance for us to review the highlights of the last year. Laura had spent hours putting together a brilliant presentation running through everything SHWI had done since October last year – that’s a lot of stuff! It included our food festival fundraising, the start of SHWI Mad Skillz, ceilidh dancing and our Christmas party. Vicky P-M also gave us a run though of finances where everything is ship shape and shiny. Then we had our yearly rousing rendition of Jerusalem (one member did ask me if we would be singing every meeting from now on but unfortunately I don’t think we would be able to fit it in every week!).

Laura’s presentation for our annual meeting

Our guest speaker was Jim Connolly, illustrator and artist. Jim grew up in Sheffield but has moved to Manchester now and works freelance at home. He showed us some of his illustrations, prints and commissions which was great to see. I particularly enjoyed seeing the designs he has done for Kelham Island brewery‘s beer pump clips.

Jim Connolly and one of his most iconic pieces

As Jim has been inspired by Sheffield’s favourite condiment, Henderson’s Relish in his artwork, we asked him to be a judge for our Hendo’s bake-off. Aided by condiment expert, Anna P, Jim got to taste some fantastic bakes including two sets of muffins – one with chedder and the other wensleydale as well as spicy sausage rolls which went down a treat. It was a close competition and Karin Safwenberg was runner-up with her incredible pork pie with cheese centre and hendo’s jelly. But the winner once again was Sam Foster with her homemade blinis topped with mozarella, tomato, basil and Henderson’s Relish caviar. That’s right – CAVIAR. I think we might have to ban her from the next competition, she is just too good. A big thanks to Paul Cocker for donating the prize – a copy of the new Henderson’s Relish cook book. It was soon time to end the meeting and our members did a fab job of clearing away tea cups, tables and chairs. We were out of the door in record time so thanks very much ladies!

Hope to see lots of you at our Christmas Party on the 4th December at Haggler’s Corner. If not, see you next month for Secret Santa, Christmas food and our annual quiz!

Kirsty Bowen President


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