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Crossgar Women's Institute

Diary Page

Welcome to the diary page. This page provides information on events and important dates for Crossgar members diaries including monthly meetings other competitions etc.  A short report on the event will be added to the Diary page when a press notice is issued. 

Please remember to check your Ulster Countrywoman for confirmation of dates of Federation events and venues as well as events and dates not finalised.  
Details of Federation Events can be obtained by clicking here.
This page will be updated periodically so check back regularly! 

(Click here to see 2016 Dairy)
(click the month below to go to the report for the relevant month or scroll down)
January February March April May
June September October November December

Date Event & Competition
9 January
Annual Dinner - Burrendale Hotel, Newcastle
Competition: A candle

President Sheila McMurray welcomed 40 members and friends to the Annual dinner in the Burrendale Hotel. She then extended sympathy to the family of Florrie Maude, one of our honorary members who sadly died on Christmas Day. Florrie had been a member of our institute for over 50 years and will be sadly missed. She had served on committee numerous times and participated enthusiastically in many WI events. On one notable occasion she was the winner of the Good Handwriting competition. A minute’s silence was observed in her memory.

Sheila also extended sympathy to Secretary Nora Lennon on the recent death of her brother and thanked Nora, in her absence, for organising the evening’s meal and entertainment. Grace was said by Rhona.

A delicious meal was followed by some thoroughly enjoyable music by the very talented Andrew, Daniel and Emily. These three young people entertained with a mixture of country and spiritual singing with some light-hearted banter in between!

All present then received a gift from the ‘bran tub’ before Sheila thanked everyone for coming, thanked the staff of the Burrendale for their wonderful food and service, and wished everyone a safe journey home.

The competition for “A candle” was won by Georgie Simpson. Ann Patterson then thanked Sheila for all her hard work also in organising the dinner. January’s birthday girl will be drawn in February.
21 January
Crossgar WI Table Quiz

Crossgar WI held a very successful table quiz in January at the Lakeside Inn outside Downpatrick. There were 13 tables with 72 people taking part. The quizmaster was Arthur Gibson ably assisted by his wife Anne who is a member of Spa WI. At half time delicious sandwiches provided by the Crossgar committee were served. Following the quiz a ballot was held for some beautiful prizes provided by members.

The quiz was won by Debbie Smyth’s team, and Marian Hamilton’s team were the runners-up.

Money raised on the night will go to WI charities, including ACWW projects.

President Sheila McMurray thanked Arthur and Anne for all their hard work organising the quiz and for marking answer sheets, and they were presented with small gifts as a token of appreciation. She also thanked hosts Margaret and Geoffrey for the use of their premises and for help in organising tables, the committee for providing sandwiches and prizes, and members for bringing prizes. She also thanked everyone for participating and making the evening such a success.
13 February

Ulster Baking

Competition: Cooking tip

13 March

Members Night
(Members Table)
Competition:  Photograph — ’Signs of spring’ 

10 April

Craft Night
Competition: An egg cup

8 May

Health Talk
Competition:  Healthy recipe


21 May 

Annual Outing

11 September
Annual General Meeting
Competition:  Largest cooking apple
9 October

Road Policing
Competition:  Road safety tip

13 November

Hair Care
Competition:  hair accessory

11 December

Glass Painting
Competition:  The jam jar you have painted


(click the month below to go to the report for the relevant month or scroll down)
January February March April May
June September October November December

Date Event & Competition
11 January
Annual Dinner - Ivanhoe Hotel
Competition: A Christmas Joke


A delightful evening was enjoyed at Crossgar WI’s Annual Dinner which took place at the Ivanhoe Hotel Carryduff. Paula and her staff pulled out all the stops to make 42 members and friends very welcome and served us with a most enjoyable meal.

Barbra Jeffers, our after dinner guest, regaled us with many monologs making us laugh and reflect on past and present experiences.

Birthday girl was Mabel Baird and Competition winners were 1st Eileen Smyth 2nd Bertha Polly and 3rd Sheila McMurray.

Members and friends went home with a ‘Santa’ gift after enjoying a marvellous evening.
8 February
Scams & Cons
Competition: A security tip

President Sheila McMurray welcomed a good turnout of members to the February meeting before introducing the speaker for the evening, Norman Gibson.

Norman give us a very comprehensive talk and presentation on 'Scams and Cons' passing on many security tips to help keep us safe in the home and online. He highlighted a large number of simple things we can do in the home and on the computer to help keep ourselves safe. His presentation was warmly received and provided members with a good deal to think about. The vote of thanks was given by Lorna Stevenson.

Our entertainment was entitled 'Romantic Couples', very relevant for St Valentines Day, and was provided by Dorothy Friars and Madge Andrews.

Best wishes was extended to Ann Patterson, Julie Bell and Dorothy Friars who will be representing Crossgar at the forthcoming Area Quiz

The competition winners for a security tip were 1st Georgia Simpson, 2nd Rhona Niblock and 3rd Eileen Smyth. The birthday girl was Debbie Smyth and the ballot was won by Erin McCormick

An enjoyable evening concluded with the usual singing of ‘A Country Woman’s Song’.

14 March
Birr Castle
(Members table)
Competition: A spring posy

President Sheila McMurray welcomed a large turn-out of members to the March meeting and introduced the speaker for the evening, Ann Fitzsimons.

Ann delivered a very knowledgeable illustrated presentation on the history of Birr Castle in Co. Offaly. The castle has been the ancestral home of the Parsons family since 1620 and stands in a 1200 acre walled estate and is presently occupied by the 7th Earl and Countess of Rosse.

The demesne includes impressive plant collections of many rare species from around the world with formal gardens and water features. Birr Castle is also famous for the Great Telescope which was completed in 1845 and was the largest telescope in the world at the time and has been restored in late 1990. The walled garden also features 300 year old box hedges which, according to the Guinness Book of Records, are the tallest in the world. Hilary Brooks proposed the vote of thanks

After supper we held a Members Table and a wide variety of items were auctioned to the highest bidder and, as usual, this created a very jovial atmosphere.

The ballot winner was Dorothy Friars, the birthday girl Ann Mateer and the competition winners were Andrea McCormick , Eileen Smyth and Deirdre Kennedy.

A very enjoyable evening ended with the singing of ‘A Countrywoman’s Song’.
11 April
Betty's Travels
Competition: A holiday postcard

The speaker at our April meeting was Betty Little, a W.I. member for over 59 years. Betty has been, and still is, greatly involved in the work of A.C.W.W. and has attended many of the world conferences. She gave a very interesting illustrated presentation on the vast number of countries she had visited and kept us all enthralled with her many related stories. The vote of thanks was proposed by Julie Bell who highlighted how enjoyable the evening had been.

The entertainment provided by Dorothy Friars and Madge Andrews requiring members to recognise various to Country flags and Capital Cities which was very much in keeping with the theme of Betty’s talk.

The competition for a holiday postcard was won by 1st Ethne Douglas, 2nd Lily Gabbie and 3rd Eileen Smyth. The birthday girl was Marlene McMillan and the ballot winner was Margaret Fry. Betty kindly donated three prizes (gifts from India) for extra ballots and the winners were Elaine Pentland, Eileen Smyth and Joan Morrow.

There was a lot of business to discuss, including details on Crossgar hosting the forthcoming Area Meeting and finalising details for our Summer Outing. While a little later than normal we concluded the evening as usual by the singing of 'A Countrywoman's Song’.
7 May 
Annual Outing
To Kildare Outlet Village & the National Stud
9 May
Fish cookery
Competition: Something 'fishy'

Our President Sheila McMurray welcomed a large turnout of members to our May meeting.

Our speakers for the evening were Northern Ireland Women in Fisheries founded over a decade ago. A group of women hailing from Northern Ireland fishing communities who are passionate about the seafood industry. They demonstrated how easy it is to prepare and cook fish. They also related their experiences as the wives of fishermen. All enjoyed the samples of fish they cooked for us. The vote of thanks was given by Lorna Stevenson.

Competition winners for ‘Something Fishy’ were 1st Joan Morrow, 2nd Margaret Eynon and 3rd Debbie Smyth. The ballot was won by Oriel Nesbitt and the Birthday Girl was Lorna Stevenson. The evening concluded with the singing of ‘the Country Women’s Song’.
12 September
Annual General Meeting
Competition: A WI limerick
10 October
Holywood Fashion
Competition: A handbag

President Sheila McMurray welcomed a good turnout of members to the meeting. Sheila announced the newly elected Office Bearers and committee members following last month’s AGM.
New members were: Sonia Boyd, proposed by Ann Patterson and seconded by Elaine Pentland and Anita Carville, proposed by Heather Lennon and seconded by Ellen McKee.

There was some official business to discuss including planning for the visitors evening which Crossgar WI will be hosting on November 14th.

Sheila introduced the speaker for the evening who was Shakila Simpson of online fashion accessories store www.calitaaandco.com. Shakila sells a large range of accessories online including handbags, scarves, jewellery and gifts. She also has a pop up shop on Fridays and Saturdays in Bloomfield Shopping Centre. Shakila talked us through her extensive range of scarves and we learnt new ways of wearing and tying scarves. Members then had a chance to browse and purchase the beautiful accessories that Shakila had brought along. Olga Cairns proposed the vote of thanks.

The competition for a handbag was won by: 1st Ethne Douglas, 2nd Marlene McMillan and 3rd Margaret Eynon. The ballot winner was Deirdre Kennedy and the birthday girl was Eileen Smyth.  Dorothy Friars had devised a fun quiz on fashion over the years and the winner was Lorna Stevenson.

The evening finished with the singing of "A Countrywoman’s Song".
14 November
Visitors Evening
Competition: My ideal man (max 10 words)

Sheila McMurray welcomed members and visitors from many other institutes to the Crossgar Visitors Night held in Lissara Presbyterian Church Hall.

Sheila introduced the evening’s speaker who was local business woman Josephine Brennan of Irish dancing school which has recently moved to new premises at the refurbished Northern Bank building in the square in Crossgar. Members and guests were thrilled by an amazing display of Irish dancing by pupils aged 4-15.

Josephine then told us her fascinating story of how after an initial career as an English and Theatre Studies teacher she came to join Michael Flatley’s show “Lord of the Dance”. During her seven years touring worldwide with the show she rose through the ranks becoming dance captain and eventually principal dancer. Missing home she decided to come back to Crossgar and started her business which now not only teaches local dancers but sells her products worldwide. Sheila proposed the vote of thanks.

Members and visitors enjoyed a delicious supper of homemade sandwiches and traybakes before a ballot where many prizes were won by both visitors and Crossgar members – Gillian Foster, Deirdre Kennedy, Ann Patterson, Liz Cleland, Rhona Niblock and Elizabeth Hutchinson. The birthday girls were: Visitor – Cherie Shanks and from Crossgar – Sandra Phillips.

Members were reminded that the annual dinner will be in the Burrendale Hotel, Newcastle on 9th January 2017. Cost is £19 each to be paid at the December meeting.

Executive Member Edwina Marr, who was a visitor on the night, gave a vote of thanks to Crossgar W.I. and informed everyone that the Federation is producing a new booklet style cookbook in March – anyone wishing to contribute a recipe can do so online or contact Edwina for a form.

Crossgar member Ann Patterson entertained us with a comic poem called “Toms Tree” about her son in law which she had written herself and performed at the Festival of the Spoken Word. Josephine Brennan judged the competition which was a description of “My Ideal Man” in 10 words or less - 1st Lorna Stevenson, 2nd Georgina Simpson, 3rdEthne Douglas.

Our president Sheila closed the proceedings by thanking everyone for their W.I. Friendship and for coming and also thanked the Reverend Abraham for the use of the hall and the facilities. The evening ended with the singing of ‘a Countrywoman’s Song’.
12 December
Anna's Art
Competition: A single flower photo


President Sheila McMurray welcomed everyone to the December meeting with a warming drink of mulled wine. She thanked the committee for organising the very successful visitors night in November and told everyone that many letters of thanks from the visiting Institutes had been received.

Sheila said that she knew all our thoughts at this time of year would be with members who are ill and those who have been recently bereaved. There was good news that Betty Jennings had gone through her operation successfully. Lily Gabbie told us that she had visited Ethel McMurray, Eileen McGowan, Jean Robinson and Florrie Maude.

Former Crossgar member Jenny Young had been in touch with Sheila to say she was thinking of us all and wished us a Happy Christmas. We were pleased to hear Jenny has joined her local WI in Wales. Our loss is their gain.

There was some official business including a reminder that fees were due by Thursday 15th December: £18 for annual membership and £10 for the Ulster Countrywoman magazine. The cost of the annual dinner in the Burrendale on Monday 9th of January is £18. Please meet at the Burrendale at 7.15pm and contact Sheila or Nora if you need a lift. Please bring a gift of £2-3 in value and wrapped in tinfoil. The January competition will be a candle.

Secretary Nora Lennon read the minutes of November’s meeting. Assistant Secretary Julie Bell has set up a Facebook page for Crossgar W.I. and gave a brief talk on how to access it and what kind of information it would contain. Please tell family and friends to give it a “like”. Please refer to your magazine for details of the competitions.

Several members attended a quiz organised by Downpatrick WI in the Lakeside Inn, Downpatrick and on the 21st January 2017 Crossgar WI is holding a fundraising quiz in the same venue. Please invite friends and family.

Sheila welcomed the speaker Anna Kelly from Spa WI and her friend Freda. Anna told us how she had originally trained as a hairdresser but then married and raised her family. She joined the WI where she was encouraged to take up art and attended a class. Anna shared her techniques and tips for watercolour painting and showed us examples of her beautiful work – she loves to paint birds and flowers from her garden. Anna gets her paintings scanned by a local printers and then gets them made into cards which she then sells. Anna is definitely a talented lady as she told us about her other hobbies of beading, needlework, flower arranging and baking and has won many trophies in WI competitions. Ann Patterson proposed the vote of thanks.

After a delicious supper of homemade sandwiches, shortbread and mince pies there was a quiz and the following members were selected for the team for the Quoile Area quiz in February: Dorothy Friars, Lorna Stevenson, Ann Patterson and reserve Sonia Boyd. Lorna will also represent Crossgar in the bowls competition the same night.

It was proposed that we organise a trip to see the musical “Evita” which is being put on by St. Patrick's Choral Society in Downpatrick in March. Those interested can give their names at the February meeting.

The birthday girl was Margaret Clements. Andrea McCormick won the ballot for a beautiful painting of a robin kindly donated by Anna Kelly. Elizabeth Hutchinson won the other ballot prize. Competition winners of “A single flower photo” were 1st Lorna Stevenson, 2nd Lily Gabbie and 3rdGeorgina Simpson.

Sheila wished everyone a Happy Christmas and New Year and the meeting ended with the singing of “Away in a Manger” led by Margaret Eynon and Debbie Smyth.


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Last modified 20/05/2017 01:40