WYRE FOREST FRIENDSHIP CENTRE: The next outing will be to Kew Gardens on July 5. A number of electric buggy's have been reserved for the benefit of those who find walking difficult. Gill White then gave us a most enthusiastic talk on Bess of Hardwick Hall. Bess it seems was a remarkably resourceful lady and rose from modest beginnings to a very powerful position thanks to some well chosen marriages. In all she married four times and on each occasion increased her influence at Court and in most cases her wealth. By the time her fourth husband had died she was one of the richest persons in the land and second in importance only to the queen. Her outstanding achievements were the refurbishment of the old Hardwick Hall and the construction of the magnificent new Hardwick Hall on the same site. Building of the new Hall started in 1590 it was completed in 1597. To mark her importance she had her initials ES, with a countess's crown above, set in the balustrades at the top of the towers.

At next months meeting on May 17, Alan Thornton will tell us about "The Cadbury Story". Meetings are held at the Lickhill Community Centre, Lickhill Road, starting at 10am.