BLAKEDOWN WI: The president welcomed visitors Mavis and Jean (1) and Jean (2), and thanked Lorraine for the pot of roses. She asked for members’ approval to topping up a donation in memory of Pippa, and the Pennies for Friendship fund.

Orders for calendars and diaries for 2017 are now requested. Final payments for the birthday supper are also needed tonight. And a warning that subs, due in January, have increased again - to £39.

June gave advance notice that last year’s very popular trip to the Bath Christmas markets will be repeated, as will the Christmas lunch at the Granary. She will give dates and details next month.

The WI is now re-grouped with Broome, Clent, Hagley, Kinver, Stourton and Wychbold - so what a great chance to meet new people with common interests.

There is an opportunity for members to help pick grapes for the WI wine - no treading the grapes though so bunions will not be affected. Diane bravely volunteered - so we hope she has fun and brings a bottle back to sample!

WI local events are listed in the WI News, but Sandra also drew attention to a Bristol shopping trip on November 17, a Murder Mystery afternoon on December 3, and a number of courses to make us better people.

The president then introduced the speaker Deborah Overton, who gave an extremely interesting talk on mills, moats and fishponds - all centred around Worcestershire, and including some that are very local to Blakedown. Many of us had not realised what an important part our predecessors had played in the industrial growth as many tools and weapons were forged virtually within our village. What a strong heritage to be proud of!

The evening finished with June reading a report which had been written by WI members in 1988, praising our village, its history, amenities and people. The most notable things were today’s loss of shops and such amenities - but also the strengths of the village’s people - meaning us, among others.