Parkham WI is a thriving and diverse group of approaching 40 members ranging in age from early 30s to over 90. Part of the Devon Federation of WIs, the rich and varied programme of speakers and events at Parkham provides a broad range of subjects to interest all. It’s an inclusive, friendly and sociable group and there is so much friendship and support for each other demonstrated whenever we meet. Plenty of opportunities to chat over tea and coffee with homemade cake and biscuits – always a lively and enjoyable time and there is an annual lunch where partners are also included.
Some notable meetings in recent times have included a highly interactive talk by Exmoor Zoo (all sorts of creatures came to visit!); croquet and cream tea at Tapeley Park; an Indian cookery demonstration and tasting; a talk about the work of the North Devon Air Ambulance; an insight into the work of the wonderful ChemoHero charity with a bring and buy sale afterwards to support the charity; walking tours of Bideford learning about the fascinating history of our town… there have been too many special evenings to list them all, but the forthcoming programme is looking great too.
A fortnightly gathering of singers has proved most popular and we look forward to this restarting soon. We have such fun singing together, laughing, drinking tea and chatting – we all agree that we leave feeling uplifted and happier. We also hope to start a regular dance evening, more information coming soon!
Due to holidays, sickness and recovery from illness, we were a smaller than usual group at the April WI, but those of us that were there were treated to a fascinating talk by Jonny May all about his career in the luxury yacht business.
Starting off fresh out of university painting yachts in the south of France, after 18 months Jonny was offered a job by the captain of a 67m superyacht. It was the start of an amazing life for him, travelling the world in unimaginable luxury and having experiences most people can only dream of. Being at the beck and call of multi-millionaire owners did have its challenges however, and not all were as kind and generous as others! One owner stood out as he wanted the crew to feel part of the family; they were treated very well indeed with many perks like free trips to Las Vegas and time off in some of the most spectacular parts of the world. Expectations were high however, and the needs and wants of the owners and their guests were not always easy to fulfil.
The yachts were sometimes chartered by other exceptionally rich people who then in turn invited guests to join them on their travels. Jonny shared photos of some of the celebrities he’d met over the years, many of whom were most familiar to us! Learning about the way the yachts operated and a typical sort of day when the owners and their guests were aboard was so interesting and pictures of some of the desert islands selected for lunch stops and dives were quite amazing. Lots of questions were asked – we could only dream! Jonny gave up the life to return to North Devon to start a family, and he’s now happily living and working here with two beautiful children. The superyacht lifestyle certainly wasn’t conducive to family life, but what an experience to share with his children as they grow up.
The competition was for Easter cupcakes, there was a wonderful range of entries for Jonny to judge, and Sue Martin was the worthy winner. The May meeting, to be held on May 14th at 7.30pm in the Allardice Hall will be our AGM and will have a floral theme. Members are encouraged to wear something floral, and to bring a posy to exchange with another member. There will be a bring and share supper. All welcome! Any WI-related questions should be direct to Nicky on 01409 240168.