In recent years the Chairman of Suffolk East Federation of WIs has had the honour and privilege to award a WI member the Chairman’s Award.
Traditionally this has been the way the federation recognises the outstanding effort and achievement of one WI member. The cup is presented at the Annual meeting held in March of each year.
However as this last year has been far from normal, a decision was made to ask the members to nominate someone who they thought deserved such recognition. We received thirty plus nominations from all corners of the federation. To be given the opportunity to read them was an absolute delight and joy. I soon realised that this would be no easy task, re reading them all, did not make it any easier. The concurrent theme throughout was a willingness to keep members in touch in any way they could with good humour and “can do” caring attitude; indeed a group of inspiring women who deserve recognition.
Newsletters had been sent out via email or by hand, birthdays remembered, virtual meetings held, Meetings in a Bag, daily emails, a daily photo taken on the allowed exercise, just to give a picture of the wonderful support the WI gave. Volunteers working in the vaccine centres, cakes made and delivered to them and much more. In addition many of the nominees were fighting their own personal battles. The pandemic and lockdown with months of isolation and uncertainty did make life very difficult for many and even more so for a few.
With all this mind every nominee was given an award and Di Chilver of Kesgrave WI was the overall winner. It was with some trepidation I ventured into the wider world to enjoy the best part. It was an absolute delight going out to WIs to present the awards an meeting members.. For many it was the first face to face meeting in eighteen months, it was a great honour to join them and to hear the hum of voices and laughter, oh to see such happy faces meeting friends for the first time in a long time. At last wonderful positive happy moments, let us hope for many more.
Celia Davies SEFWI Chairman