Women's Club News Archive 2000-2013

Charades At The Christmas Party - 19 December 2013

Sue Lidgely organised charades
Sue Lidgley organised the charades

The Women's Club Christmas party was really well attended and with lots of food, probably too much, but as they say...it is Christmas, the diet will always start in the New Year!!!

The entertainment was meant to be a Race Night but unfortunately technical problems ie the table was too long put pay to that, so Mrs Lidgely decided on sharades which as you can see, provided great hilarity amongst the members.

January's meeting will be looking at quilting with Val from Nimble Thimble in Buckingham and members are asked to bring their quilts to share their stories.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all in Helmdon!

Denise Green

Wine Tasting Evening On Wednesday 20 November - posted 19 November 2013

How good are your taste buds!!

Find out all there is to know about wine tasting with Alex Corrin at the Reading Room.

Please come and join us, bring a friend. All Welcome Visitors : £2.00

A Cookery Demonstration For The September Meeting - posted 24 September 2011

cooking demonstration
A creative cook

At the Women's Club meeting on Wednesday, 21st September, the speaker was Alli Templeton, or should I say cook. As she said we may not be vegetarians ourselves, but most of us know somebody who is. She cooked three dishes, two main course and one sweet. We were all able to have a tasting, and they were delicious. She showed us that vegetarian meals can be imaginative, full of flavour and far from boring.

She will be doing a demonstration at Sulgrave Manor for their 'apple' celebration for those who are interested.

The next meeting of the Women's Club will be the AGM, held in the Reading Room on Wednesday October 19th.

Judy Porter

The Story Of The Enigma Codebreakers - posted 19 May 2011

The Women's Club speaker on Wednesday 20 April was from Bletchley Park. We thought this might prove interesting to a larger audience so we made it an open meeting and over 50 people came along.

The audience heard a fascinating presentation about the famous communications centre, including how it was instrumental in bringing World War II to a swifter conclusion than otherwise may have been the case.

A proposed trip to Bletchley Park itself in June sadly had to be cancelled but it is hoped a group may visit in the future.

Women's Club 40th Anniversary Celebration - posted 4 December 2010

The Reading room on 9th October looked wonderful. The team worked very hard on the morning of the event adorning the hall with garlands of greenery and festive lighting all under the strict supervision of our estimable Sue Lidge. The tables looked beautiful decorated with flowers and col our co-ordinated tablecloths and napkins.

On entering the hall in the evening our guests were delighted with the festive look of the hall and soon got down to the important job of having a drink, served to them by Cec and Robert, and meeting old and new friends. Many of our members had come from afar to join in with our anniversary dinner.

We were able to employ caterers, so the committee and helpers were able to enjoy the evening without thinking about the cooking or the washing up afterwards. Quite a treat!!

Kate, our Chairman, gave a very witty speech (off the cuff) to welcome our guests and sat down to loud applause.

Many photographs were taken of the event and demonstrate what a fabulous evening it was.

Women's Club 40th anniversary dinner was a complete success.

Thank you to all who helped and, of course, to all those who attended. Here's to the next one!!???

Lee Alfandary

click to anniversary photo gallery

Barbecue At The Bell - posted 22 June 2010


Fron left to right: Helen Thomas, Lesley Kinghorne, Jan Harrold,
Pam Short
and, Lee Alfandary

The Women's Club had decided that their June meeting would be a BBQ. Last year had been a great success so we repeated the formula with another meeting at the Bell Inn. The evening was a resounding success, the BBQ food was superb, and luckily the weather stayed fine if a little chilly. About 25 of us then had to squeeze into the snooker room of the Bell to warm ourselves. A good evening was had by all.

The next meeting of the Woman's Club will be held at the Reading Room on July 16th with a talk on pilates - all are welcome.

Judy Porter

Notice of Greek Evening - posted 24 September 2009

click here

Members Go "Arty" - posted 20 June 2009

Artist Michael Peachey, and Sue Lidgley "having a go".

At the Women's Club meeting on Wednesday, 17th June, we were given a painting demonstration and talk by Michael Peachey, an artist from Wellingborough. I don't think any of us stopped laughing from the time he started to the finish. He is not only a marvellous raconteur, but an extremely gifted artist as well.

Pauline Butler and her husband Vic are celebrating their Golden wedding anniversary and Judy Cairns, on behalf of the club, presented Pauline with a bouquet of flowers.

A really enjoyable evening was had by all.

Judy Porter

Appeal For New Members From Autumn Talkabout - posted 11th November 2008

We have a goodly number of members at present but would really like to see more of you youngsters joining in.

As I am sure you know, Helm don Young husbands (HYHO) was started by the husbands of Helmdon Young Wives Club. Young husbands have gone from strength to strength and have been able to attract the younger men in the village who have now taken up the baton and hold such great events as the Ball and the Barn Dance

So how about it ladies? Let the men do the baby-sitting and you come down and see if you like to join our club.

A relaxing evening (Jan Harrold in foreground)

An Evening At Upper Tysoe - posted 23rd June 2008

The blustery weather did not deter our members from enjoying a June evening with Christine Duke (who used to live in Helmdon) in her garden at Upper Tysoe. We were able to appreciate her hard work and creativity to produce a beautiful garden. She has transformed a basic lawned plot into an area that holds the visitors' interest at every turn.

An evening at Banbury Catering College - 5th June 2008

From left to right: Hilary Winwright, Vanessa Vicars, Judy Porter, Pam Short, Julie Evans, Adele Brazier, Jean Simmonds, Lee Alfandary and Margaret Bennett.

For our meeting on May 23rd, twenty members had a really enjoyable evening at Banbury Catering College.

Three courses in, and a fantastic sorbet was served, what a wonderful meal we all thought. Another three courses later we were struggling to get up. Several members were lucky enough to win raffle prizes on offer.

I think we were all agreed a good evening was had by all.

Kinky Boots - psted 17th March 2008

A red Kinky Boot!!!

On 5th March Helmdon Women's Club and Helmdon Presents were treated to a very entertaining and interesting evening by Steve Pateman, the original of the hero Charlie in the iconic film "Kinky Boots", recently shown both at Helmdon Film Club and Women's Club.

Steve, over 6 feet tall, talked for two hours dressed in high-heeled leopard skin thigh boots, and seemed perfectly comfortable in them. The film tells the story of a Northampton shoe factory that can no longer sell its men's brogues, and turns to producing strong but very fancy footwear for transvestites, including some amazing kinky thigh boots. Steve told the story of how the film came to be made after his struggling family firm took this action, with him in charge. It first came to public notice when the TV documentary series about failing firms, "Trouble at the Top", was made about it and was a runaway success. He took us through all theups and downs that preceded the story being adapted into a feature film by Disney, with plenty of humorous anecdotes. The film, of course, is a highly fanciful version of the truth with lots of music and dancing. Unfortunately, the firm had eventually to close down as foreign producers took over the idea and undercut them. Steve is now a fireman but still runs a mail order company.

After the talk the audience was able to examine some of the amazing stiletto-heeled samples that Steve brought with him.

Internet and Railways For Tsunami - posted 20th February 2005

Chris Bazeley gave a wonderful slide show.
Chris Bazeley gave a wonderful slide show
with old photos of Helmdon's railway past.

Helmdon Women's Club have been active in raising funds for the Asian Tsunami disaster appeal. In January and February they threw their regular meetings open to the public and held raffles and cake stalls to raise a total of £315.00.

The January meeting, on Wednesday 19th, was a talk by Danny Moody about the Internet, e-mail and the world wide web. Even the totally uninitiated in the audience were able to follow Danny's clear and simple explanations and everyone learned a bit about what the net is and how it works. Danny also gave some useful and practical tips on how to stay safe and secure online and avoid viruses and other nasties that, unfortunately, come along with Internet surfing.

On Wednesday 16th February Chris Bazeley, an ex-Helmdon resident, came along to talk about the history of the Great Central railway. It was a fascinating journey from the London terminus in Marylebone up to the great hub at Woodford Halse. Chris is extremely knowledgeable and had a wealth of interesting stories and facts to convey. His natural enthusiasm for the GCR, and especially Helmdon, made the talk all the more vivid and he had a wonderful collection of slides to show. Chris dedicated his talk to the men and women who worked on the railways of Helmdon, of whom the surviving number is now very small. The talk was followed by a raffle, drinks and cake and much lively chat.

The Women's Club are glad to have contributed in some small way to help the people affected by the Asian tsunami, whilst having enjoyable and informative evenings to boot.

Whatever Happened To Historic Banbury? - 15th January 2003

Brian Little
Brian Little

Local history is always a popular subject in Helmdon, so the Women's Club were very pleased to have famed local historian Mr. Brian Little along to the Reading Room on 15th january 2003 to give a talk entitled "Whatever happened to historic Banbury?"

Banbury is a real historic market town in the heart of England, adjacent to the M40 motorway, midway between London and Birmingham.

Banbury's roots stretch back thousands of years, but Brian's talk concentrated on the last 200 years - particularly focusing on the old shops and traders and, of course, the livestock market which, until its closure in 1998, was the largest livestock market in Europe.

Brian conjoured up an evocative image of Times Past, and stirred many memories for the elder members of the audience. Brian's engaging and animated style held everyone spellbound as they journeyed down memory lane to hear about the old shops of Parsons Street, Cornhill and Market Place.

Brian writes frequently for the Banbury Guardian and has covered Helmdon several times in the past. His articles "Health In Helmdon" and "History of Helmdon Lay Hidden in Farmer's Home" are both available on this web site.

If anyone is interested to learn more about Banbury, Brian is running a course starting on Wednesday 22nd January 2003 at 2:30 - 4;30 p.m. at the North Oxfordshire College in Banbury. Telephone 01295 252221 ext. 286 for further details.

Silly Sports - 18th July 2002

Siily Sports on a summer evening
Silly Sports on
a summer evening

The Women's Club gathered at Harrold's Paddock in Bell Close for an evening of silly sports with a Jubilee theme.

Four teams - the hearts, diamonds, spades and clubs - competed for a coveted trophy (well, chocolate bars anyway) with the hearts team coming out top trumps.

The silly sports included the "Orb and Spoon race" and the "Royal Relay Race".

It was a wonderful fun evening and we were lucky to hold it on one of the few warm evenings of the 2002 summer!

The Women's Club meets on the third Wednesday of the month (except August) and is open to all women in the village.

Iris - By Judy Cairns
Iris - By Judy Cairns

Watercolour Painting - 20th June 2001

At our June Meeting one of our members, Linda Aird, who is an art teacher at Roade School, showed us how to paint flowers in watercolour. She brought along several different sorts of flowers, including irises and sunflowers and demonstrated how to paint with a very wet brush so that the colours ran together somewhat and were translucent. Then members tried their hands at painting an individual flower and were agreeably surprised at the results. Some were so pleased with their suddenly discovered talent that they planned to buy their own equipment and try painting at home.

At the end of the evening Linda was presented with an hydrangea to thank her for giving us such an enjoyable evening.

Judy Cairns, Secretary

Line Dancing - 16th May 2001

Yeee ha!.

Members needed some lively exercise as we had to lose some weight to make room for the French menu at Banbury Tech's Cotswold Restaurant where 21 of us were going to dinner the following evening. Brian and Diane Ballard, our very tolerant teachers, certainly kept us going for over an hour nearly non-stop, giving us clear instructions and never losing their cool if one or two of us got in a muddle.

Apart from the exercise, the whole purpose was having fun and we certainly enjoyed ourselves. Our thanks to Brian and Diane for giving us such a wonderful evening.

Judy Cairns, Secretary

Memories of Helmdon - 18th April 2001

from left to right, Maud Peart, Vera
From left to right, Maud Peart, Vera McHardy
and Mary Turnham.

Women's Club members spent a fascinating evening enjoying cheese and wine and listening to Maude Peart, Vera McCardy and Mary Turnham reminiscing about the old days in the Helmdon area, when there was no electricity and no running water. Maude Peart came from London aged 9 in 1916 and her family had to walk from Helmdon Station to Weston with all their luggage and the baby to carry. She remembers grass growing down the centre of the roads and being terrified when a cow mooed over a hedge, thinking it was a wild animal. Mary had a bag full of old photos showing places, family and school friends. She and Vera were both born in Helmdon and Vera moved into her present house, which dates from 1200, when she married in 1959. At one time the house was the family home of the Shortlands and included her neighbour's house as one large property. The guests remembered the old stations - the "top station" especially busy, with several local trains and long distance expresses and farmers bringing in their milk churns. Children who went to school in Brackley used the train. Those who did not go to the grammar schools stayed on at Helmdon School until the leaving age. Members learned a great deal about life in Helmdon between and after the two World Wars and thoroughly enjoyed the anecdotes.

Judy Cairns, Secretary

Webmaster's tip: For more reminiscences from Mary Turnham & others visit the "Reminiscences" section.

Margaret Reardon demonstrates chocolate making
Margaret Reardon demonstrates chocolate making

Chocolate Making - 21st March 2001

Members who attended our March meeting risked putting on weight as Margaret Reardon, who was demonstrating how to make chocolates, sent several samples round for us to try and Sue Lidgley, who has given up chocolates for Lent, was probably the only person to resist the temptation.

The meeting was held in the Reading Room kitchen so that Margaret could use the cooker to melt the covering chocolate. She began by showing us her collection of pretty boxes which she uses when she makes presents of her chocolates to friends, who give them back when they have eaten the contents. She then showed us how to make the basic mixes for milk and dark chocolates (see recipe below) and emphasised that good quality chocolate must be used, not cooking chocolate. The mixes were then rolled into "2 bite-size" balls and various toppings were added. These would then have to be refrigerated overnight to allow them to harden, so Margaret had brought along some chocolates she had made the previous day to demonstrate how to coat them in melted chocolate, using two forks, and trim them when set. Her pièce de résistance, again sampled by members, were dried apricot halves double-coated in white chocolate. Mmm! Raffle prizes were .. boxes of chocolates!

The raffle prizes
The raffle prizes were...
boxes of chocolates!

Members thought they would try their hands at making chocs at home but Margaret made it look so easy (though very time consuming). We thought we would probably get into a chocolatey mess, and we were told not to lick our fingers! Very many thanks to Margaret for giving us such an entertaining and delicious evening.

Judy Cairns, Secretary.



· Place butter and chocolate in a basin over a pan of hot water
auntil the chocolate has melted.
· Stir in the slightly beaten egg yolks.
· Mix well - add the icing sugar and leave to firm. · Divide mixture.
· Mix one part with half a large jar of Nutella Chocolate Spread
ato make dark chocolates and the remaining part is used to make
amilk chocolates.

Some toppings: ginger, chopped hazel nuts, glacé cherries, chocolate strands, coconut, almonds, pecan nuts, half walnut.

Chilli & Quiz Evening - 28th February 2001

The venue this month was the Bell Inn in Helmdon where we held a Chilli and Quiz evening, which was very well attended. After warming our brains with the Bell's delicious chilli and rice we divided into teams with names such as the Bluebell Girls, the Brainboxes, Bell Bottoms, Strongest Link and Top Totty and spent a very enjoyable time answering questions set by Lynn Gartside, with Jane Sleath assisting her by collecting the answer sheets and adding up the totals. It all came to a very exciting end with Brainboxes and Strongest Link both totalling 100 points. The first tiebreaker was answered simultaneously, but Sally Waring won for her team by knowing the answer to the second tiebreaker - "Who were the England soccer team playing that evening?" Answer - Spain. Those in the winning team were Sally Waring, Margaret Reardon, Joan Morris and Kate Eddington.

Our thanks to Richard and Sally for their hospitality and apologies to those in the other bar who were trying to listen to the commentary on the match above the row all we women were making.

At our next meeting, on 21st March, Margaret Reardon will be showing us how to make chocolates.

Turning Japanese! - 17th January 2001

The ancient and customary dress in Japan

The members of the Women's Club welcomed Jo morris on Wednesday 17th January.

Jo worked in Japan for a time after she left university and she gave a fascinating talk on Japanese Culture and Folklore.

She talked about religious festivals and customs, teaching members how to bow in the accepted fashion. She brought various artefacts for the group to look at, and three members were taught how to wear kimonos.

Christmas Party - 25th November 2000

About 50 senior citizens attended the 29th Women's Club Christmas Party for the Over-sixties in the Reading Room on Saturday 25 November. The decorations were brilliant, excellent fare was provided, and the wine flowed! The entertainment, by Vince and Rita Star was outstanding. The programme of was a "millennium special", a nostalgic look through music, song and over the last one hundred years.

Everyone was thoroughly entertained
(Jack Ayres enjoys the nostalgia with Rita)

Judy Cairns, Chairman, thanked the rest of her committee for all the hard work that had gone into the evening. She said that this would probably be the last party the Women's Club would host for the senior citizens, in that guiding spirit Sue Lidgley and many of her helpers were finding it too much for them to do. However, she hoped that the company agreed with her that these Christmas parties for Over-sixties, which had been running many years, had finished on a high.

An appreciative audiance look on
By the amount of clapping and "hear hear's" from the audience you could see that they heartily agreed with her, although there was disappointment that this was the last Women's Club "do".

Women's Club 30th Anniversary Dinner-14th October 2000

The 30th Anniversary Dinner
On Saturday, 14th October 2000 Helmdon Women's Club, previously Young Wives Club, celebrated its 30th Anniversary with a dinner in the Reading Room, which members had decorated with greenery and plants for the occasion. The caterer was The Red Lion, Brackley, who provided an excellent choice of dishes.

There was no need for extra entertainment as 60 past and present members chatted and reminisced and caught up on each other's news. Many of the early members are now grandmothers. Some had come from quite long distances to join in and messages were read out from members who could not make it, including one from America. Everyone agreed it was a very enjoyable occasion and looked forward to the Club's 40th Anniversary.

For a full list of those attending the dinner click here. For a gallery of pictures from the night click here.