At our June meeting our speaker Chris Edwards of the RSPB gave a fascinating talk on the Middleton Lakes Nature Reserve in the Tame Valley, south of Tamworth, and the extraordinary variety of birds and wildlife now thriving there. He showed a video of how the site, previously old sand and gravel workings, had been developed since it was opened as a reserve in May 2011. It was landscaped, creating different habitats and nesting areas for numerous animal and bird species, including bitterns whose numbers at the site have risen from around a dozen to over 150. The reserve is also home to hares, otters, grass snakes avocets, godwits, stilts, screech owls, Pacific golden plovers, reed warblers, cuckoos and herons. On one day last year 104 different types of birds were spotted.

The site is popular with families and school groups, enjoying the chance to run wild in the Play Meadow and enjoy pond-dipping, bird-watching, picnics and rambles.

On October 3rd, the Warwickshire Federation of WIs is organising a group walk at the Nature Reserve and this is already attracting a lot of interest 

Alison Wilks, the delegate for our group of WIs to the National Federation’s annual meeting at Cardiff gave a report on the proceedings. The national chairman Lynne Stubbings from Wishaw recalled the suffragettes of 100 years ago, the successful campaign to win the vote for women and the improved quality of life over the period for women in rural areas. A short film looked at the WI’s development over the century and its early campaigning work, initially to improve social housing. Delegates voted on this year’s resolution, “Mental Health Matters” on the need to urge the government to establish parity between mental and physical health and to provide greater funding and more services to treat those affected by mental illness. With an increase in the number of suicides and psychiatric services stretched perilously thin, this once-taboo subject is now seen as high priority and the resolution was carried almost unanimously with 98% in favour.

Nine of our members attended an afternoon tea-party at Packington Hall, hosted by Packington and Maxstoke WI, to celebrate the centenary of the WI in Warwickshire with a slap-up cream tea. Our Social Time entertainment was a flower-themed quiz,

Our speaker judged the competition for a Posy from your Garden, placing Gill Tyers the winner with Jane Hewitt second and Jane Mills and Maureen Lindsay joint-third were.

On October 13th we are staging a fund-raising coffee morning in the Town Hall for the Air Ambulance.

Our next meeting is in the Town Hall at 7.30pm on July 10th with a talk on “The Magic of Morocco.” The competition is for a colourful holiday photograph. Visitors welcome as always – just turn up and join us.

WI Posy2 June18

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