Each year the Woodley Town Council hold a Christmas Extravaganza and the Woodley WI girls have a stand where we sell donated items. This year’s Extravaganza was held on Sunday 1st of December, and our stand was well positioned under the shelter just in front of the Oxfam Music and Books shop, so it was close to the Christmas Tree and Santa.

A whole lot of preparations were necessary to make this a successful day and a group of volunteers banded together to get it all ready. Jams, marmalades & chutneys were preserved, donations were collected, gifts were sorted, sweets bagged, items were wrapped and boxed up in groups of similar things. It is no mean feat to get ready for something like this and the volunteers did a great job.

It was a very early start on the morning of the big day, 5 of the volunteers took all the boxes of goodies to the site and set up the tables. Visitors were arriving from 10am and by then our new Woodley WI banners were on display, and the tables were loaded up with items for sale. Woodley WI like to recycle so we used some sunflower table cloths which had been used for our Calendars Girl float in the Woodley Carnival last June to add a bit of colour.

It was a nice winter day but it gets very cold standing around for any length of time so everyone was glad one of the girls had brought along some old pieces of carpet to stand on! Note to self….do that again next year!

There was a steady stream of customers and extra volunteers arriving throughout the day. Some volunteers came with hot drinks and cakes whilst others just brought an extra pair of hands so that everyone could take a much welcomed break and a have a chance to walk around the other stalls.

When the Extravaganza was over the volunteers boxed up any leftover items, gave a few to the Charity Shop and then packed away the tables leaving it all neat and tidy. It really was a fun day, with everyone on the team making jokes, lending a hand and getting involved. We made quite a bit of money and this will go into our coffers to help pay for future events and speakers, however the main objective was to get our name out there as we are a fairly new group. I am happy to say I think we did that admirably. Well done everyone.

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Woodley WI Carnival Float – A Tribute to the Calendar Girls

It’s been 20 years since the Ladies of the Rylstone and District WI stirred up a storm with their saucy calendar which was launched on 12 April 1999.

When the Woodley Carnival Committee announced the theme for the 2019 Carnival was ‘At the Movies’ it seemed the obvious choice for the ladies of Woodley WI to pay tribute to the Calendar Girls film by creating a Calendar Girls float.

A sub-committee of volunteers was set up and the team worked hard to develop a plan on how the float should look. We devised a plan to create a central ‘pod’ painted with bright yellow sunflowers for 6 ‘calendar girls’ to sit inside. We each wore skin coloured strapless camisoles and rested an arm on the outside edge of the ‘pod’ giving the illusion that we were naked as only bare shoulders were visible to the spectators below! Genius!

To complete the picture 6 other ladies dressed up in black dresses and wore sunflowers just like the real calendar girls when they were photographed in the news reports. Naturally there were cakes on stands and a huge blow up prosecco bottle too. With one final lady posing as the photographer/director the picture was complete!

The float was decorated with a myriad of sunflowers, labelled with Woodley WI banners and the 12 months of the years painted by two of our artistic WI members.

The main purpose of entering a float was to advertise the Woodley WI and to ‘get our name out there’ so some of our members volunteered to be ‘walkers’ with buckets and wearing Woodley WI T Shirts to collect donations and distribute leaflets along the way.

It was an amazing day, and the sub-committee are all now firm friends as well as Woodley WI Members. The Float was judged to be Runner Up in the category of ‘Schools and Charities’ and we are now the proud owners of a trophy and a certificate of appreciation.

The whole process was fun and turned out to be a really good team building exercise. Needless to say we are now thinking about entering another Woodley WI float next year, we are just waiting for the theme to be announced so watch this space!

The pod was so marvellous with its hand painted sunflowers we couldn’t just throw it away, so we donated it to Woodley Baptist Church Pre School, for the children to play in!

Emily's Week with Woodley WI

Emily the Centenary doll was delivered to us at our monthly meeting on Thursday 13th June 2019 and we entertained her by taking her to the Guildhall in London, various places in Woodley town centre including Library, a music shop and a coffee shop, one of our members took her to their allotment and the Hexagon in Reading. She went to work and did some glass recycling too! It was a fun week!

Click on this link to read her blog and see her pictures.  Emily's Diary