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GNOSALL PARISH NEWS
Produced by publishers of The Popular Village Monthly
Whilst the coronavirus pandemic still has us in its grip,
I feel thankful that as well as the wonderful acts of kindness that continue throughout the village, we live in such a beautiful area. I have been out walking exploring new footpaths and familiar routes through the village with my chocolate Labrador, Cocoa, and it has been lovely to have conversations from a social distance with village people I already knew and those I didn’t. However, I’m also conscious that there are members of the community who will be experiencing loneliness because they are unable to leave their house – so a wave and smile from any one of us passing by or a telephone call to an isolated individual could really make a difference to their day.
Many people are drawing similarities between the present crisis and the challenges faced in two World Wars and I hope many of you will have seen the two W.I. planters, which are either side of entry of the Old Vicarage, which were decorated to celebrate the 75th anniversary of V.E. Day and which included a rainbow as a sign of positivity, hope and togetherness during this crisis. In our recent W.I. Life magazine, tribute was paid to the W.I.’s wartime experiences and I’m going to share some of those experiences with you now.
The W.I. helped keep the nation supplied with food during both World Wars. Of course, that is the source of our famous jam-making reputation – during the Second World War special W.I. canning and bottling centres were set up under Government supervision for the preservation of fruit and vegetables.But there was much more to our war effort than that. Our then National Chairman, Lady Denman, masterminded the Land Girls initiative and helped organise the evacuation of children, involving W.I. members from all over the country to help co-ordinate both these efforts. Looking back on past records, W.I. members were organising allotments, knitting warm clothing to send to the troops and volunteering in all sorts of ways: fire watching, working in canteens, farms and factories, driving ambulances and generally ‘keeping the home fire burning’. Being at war did not stop our predecessors from working on issues that were important to them. During the early 1940s W.I. resolutions included equal pay for men and women; help for dairy farmers and fighting the closure of rural post offices. And these resolutions continue to be relevant in today’s world, as do many of our resolutions, and at least one new resolutionis agreed nationally by our members every year.
I’m proud to be a W.I. member and I know that in true W.I. fashion our members will all continue to help each other, support our key workers, practise social distancing, donate to food banks and resist the urge to panic buy - although I cannot promise that for flour for baking, which has become like gold dust!