DEWI People

DEWI is run by a committee which meets monthly to plan meetings and events.  

Committee for 2019 are:
  Anne van Vliet, President, joined DEWI in 1976 as a new mother with a need to get out of the house.  She soon found a wonderful community within DEWI and made enduring friendships.  One of the first things that struck her about DEWI was the way it spanned the generations - everyone is welcome.  she has hopped on and off the committee in a number of roles.  She co-ordinates the Walkie-Talkies during the summer and manages the DEWI website.  She is delighted the way the WI has moved with the times, whilst retaining its traditional character.  She likes making jam and knows the words of Jerusalem.  Since retiring, Anne has enjoyed having the time to spend with her four grandsons, cooks for Meals on Wheels, edits the Village Voice, volunteers at the Food Bank, and manages the Parish Room.


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  Marlene Hughes, Correspondence Secretary and Vice President, returned in 2002 from 22 years of living and working in California where she ran a pre-school and children's centre for 12 years, and then worked in an inner city high school, helping administer and early education programme for newly-arrived refugees from war-torn Somalia, as well as being attendance and truancy officer.  Once back in the UK and newly retired, Marlene joined DEWI in an effort to integrate into her new community and to make new friends.  She was elected onto the committee and later sereved as Joint President for two years.  Through DEWI, she is involved with walking, mah-jong, reading, looking after the memorial flower bed and assisting with the Dormansland Carnival.  She became involved with local volunteering opportunities and cooks for Meals on Wheels.  She was secretary of CARE in East Grinstead and Lingfield, and is a Trustee of the Cavendish House Trust, which provides homes for life for young adults with learning difficulties and epilepsy.  She is Clerk to the Trustees of the Lingfield United Charities.  She is married with three grown stepsons, and enjoys reading, walking, and especially gardening.
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Joy Greasley, Minute Secretary and Vice President, has been a Denman College tutor, trainer of Trustees, WI Advisers and individual members, and WI Adviser for Surrey Federation.  Until 2009, Joy was Vice Chair of the National Federation of Women's Institutes.  She has been a member of Dormans Evening since 1985, and in the early days as Secretary, Press Secretary and President.  In Surrey Federation she sat on sub committees, chaired the Organisation Sub Committee, was Denman Representative, Vice Chairman and Chairman.   Co-opted onto the NFWI Board in 2004, she was Chair of the Training Committee and Vice Chair of NFWI until 2009.  At Denman College she was a Tutor for the public speaking course "Can you hear me at the back?" whilst her outside interests are gardening, jigsaws and people-watching.  After retiring from the National Federation Board, Joy returned to the DEWI committee, holding the role of President for three years.

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Barbara Davis, Refreshments Hostess, moved to Dormansland in 2014 to be closer to her two daughters.  Karen lives in the village and Meryl lives in Edenbridge.  Shortly after moving, she joined DEWI as a first-time member.






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Christine Perkins, Outings Organiser,
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Denise Plummer, Treasurer, joined Redstone WI in 2006 and was Treasurer for several years, and has remained a dual member since joining DEWI in 2014.  She joined the DEWI committee in 2017 as Programme Planner, and also organises the Glow Worms book club.  Her main interests are cooking, reading and walking - oh, and looking after the grandchildren!  In a previous life she was a chartered tax adviser.




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All DEWI members play a role in the running of the WI, such as working on sub-committees which organise social events, fund-raising and programme planning.  Everyone takes a turn to help with the refreshments at meetings.  There is always a member to welcome visitors, write the press report and thank the speaker, and every month a different volunteer makes posies for those members who have a birthday.
  Maureen Abbott moved to Dormansland in 2009 to live near her son and his wife and two boys.  She has been involved with Cavendish House Trust, their charity shop, and Surestart Nursery where she loves seeing all the babies.  She has also helped at the Parkinsons Group at Queen Victoria Hospital, and belongs to the Horticultural Society.  Maureen says, "We love this area for the beautiful countryside, and the friendliness and kindness of the people we have met
   Jackie Atwell has been Vice President of DEWI.  She lives in Felbridge with her husband Spencer, has two daughters and two grand-daughters.  She wanted to join DEWI after hearing all about the fun to be had in this lively WI from her many friends in the village.  In a former life she was a primary school teacher.  She spent some time living in Algeria and Morocco where her husband was working.  Curently she is duty office manager for CARE in East Grinstead and Lingfield.  She enjoys the WI book club and walking group, NADFAS, and spending time with her family - especially the grandchildren who, of course, are absolutely wonderful!




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  Margaret Blake joined DEWI after she  moved to Dormansland from Croydon to find friends and new interests.  She enjoys being part of the community and meeting people.  She enjoys sewing, tapestry and caravanning, and has also joined NADFAS.  She has two daughters, one in New Zealand, each with a little boy, and enjoys spending time with her family, both here and abroad.




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  Gudrun Cundey was born in Stockholm, Sweden. She met her English husband in Paris and they settled down in Lingfield in 1968, and had two children - Simon and Sarah - and they now have four lovely grandchildren. Gudrun has lived in the area for over forty years, divided between the villages of Lingfield and Dormansland. In Lingfield she was involved in St Bernard's Playschool and ran two keep fit classes for adult education over many years in Smallfield and Lingfield during the 1970s. Since moving to Dormansland in the 1980s, Gudrun has enjoyed the local Horticultural Society and the WI, which has provided her with friendship, fun and forward thinking. Gudrun is also a volunteer at the local Red Cross shop and is a room guide at Standen, a National Trust property near East Grinstead.

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  Dawn Downs' mum was a member of Lincolnshire WI for many years and had often tried to persuade her to join, but Dawn always thought it was too old-fashioned for her.  She finally joined DEWI in 2001, having recently retired from work and she wanted to meet new people in the community.  She was quickly elected onto the committee, serving in several roles, including several years as treasurer.

She is an outdoor girl, who enjoys gardening and walking, is quite good at cake-making, but not so hot on
jam-making!  She is married with two children of her own and three step-children, who have all produced a total of twelve grandchildren for her.  She was born in Lincolnshire and has lived in all corners of England plus a three-year stint in Edinburgh.  She is now very happily
settled in Lingfield with no plans to move anywhere soon.

Prior to joining WI, Dawn did a fair bit of research and visited several local WIs.  She says "I decided DEWI was the one for me, and how right I was!  I love the vibrancy of the meetings.  There is always lots of lively banter."
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  Anna Ecclestone has lived in Dormansland for over 40 years and as a new mum with young children joined the WI on the recommendation of her Mum.  They were both president of their respective institutes in the same year, which gave rise to some interesting conversations.  She re-joined DEWI after a gap of about 30 years.  Now retired she has time for the activities and has enjoyed walking and talking with the Walkie-Talkies as well as reading with the book club.  She has four grandchildren and enjoys spending time with them.




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  Christine Gatland wanted to join a WI when her son "flew the nest" hoping to find friendship and a variety of activities, and DEWI certainly did that.  She lived with her husband Keith in East Grinstead and worked at the Queen Victoria Hospital until retiring..  One highlight of membership of DEWI was appearing on the synchronised swimming carnival float when amazed work colleagues could not resist coming along to witness the event and thought they had arrived in Midsomer!  She likes crafts but has at last realised that she is not particularly good at anything because she likes having a go at something and then moving on to the next novelty idea that comes along.  She is not keen on keep fit but loved the Walkie Talkies.  Christine doesn't make jam or eat jam but seems to be getting away with it in the modern WI.

Christine moved to Lincolnshire in 2015, and quickly started a new WI as their founder president.  She is missed in DEWI, but Bourne Worth It WI has gained a treasure! 
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  Vivien Hepworth was Programme Planner for 2013 and 2014. 

She joined the WI in 2012, shortly after she retired.  Her working life spanned journalism, working (briefly) for the NFWI as press and publicity officer, the NHS and business.  "When I retired I wanted to make new friends and, if I could, learn something new.  Where better than Dormans Evening WI which combines such a friendly membership with an interesting programme of talks and activities."  Vivien lives in Lingfield, is married to husband Ian and has two grown-up sons.

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  Carol Hunt Back in December 1999 Carol was looking to join a local WI to make friends and to be involved within a community.  Having found Dormans Evening WI, she joined on her own and was made to feel very welcome and quickly found that WI was a place where friendship spanned the generations. She was later to be known as "Young Carol a breath of fresh air" or some would say "Bossy Boots".  Carol enrolled on the committee as Treasurer for two years and gladly got involved in organising the annual floats and other subcommittee events, which she found great fun.  She met her husband in South Croydon in 1978 and has been married for 29 years and has two lovely sons, Greg and Paul.  She started her life as a baby in Blindley Heath.... years ago, lived and travelled all over the South East and ended up back in Horne (they say life is a circle).  Carol started a local keep fit class in the local hall for all ages where she was given the nickname of "Hitler".  But to her surprise the ladies kept coming back, so the class went on for a few years until she had to stop to have her first child.  She has worked in the travel industry and Human Resources.  Her interests are walking, cycling, gym, water colour painting and travel.
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  Shirley Hunt joined DEWI in 2001, inroduced by Joy Greasley.  She was new to the area but soon made many friends.  She joined the Walkie-Talkies, and the Glow Worms evening book club and The Flashers photography group.  She has been Joint President, Secretary and Speaker Finder.  After a gap of a few years she re-joined the committee as outings organiser, and became President in 2015.

She is also a member of Tangent, an organisation for the wives of ex Round Tablers.  She has a son and daughter who have given her six grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.  These plus her lively cocker spaniel keep her busy.  Other interests are gardening, theatre, yoga, travel and visiting restaurants.  She has also been known to make the occasional celebration cake.
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  Pauline Kerr joined DEWI in 2014.  She plays scrabble with DEWI members and enjoys cooking, particularly baking.  Having been born and bred in the Dormansland/Lingfield area she is keen on local history and attends the RH7 History Society meetings.  In 2015 she joined CARE as a Duty Office Manager and really enjoys it.  She has two daughters and three grandchildren whom she loves to see as often as possible.
  Enid Marten joined Dormans Evening WI in 1966 to make friends when she was a newcomer to Dormansland. She was soon on the WI committee, first as Secretary, then as President. She was co-opted on to the Surrey Federation Organisation Committee and appointed a Voluntary County Organiser in 1974, where she was responsible for the formation of new WIs in the county. She was Surrey's Denman College Representative and also Surrey Press Officer. She was co-opted on to the National Federation Organisation in 1977 and on to the teaching panel at Denman College, which involved training of VCOs and helping with committee work and public speaking. She retired as a VCO in 1987 but went on to become a Justice of the Peace in 1988, sitting at Redhill, Dorking, Guildford, Epsom, and Staines Magistrates Courts. She found adjudicating on family matters particularly rewarding, where she felt she could really make a difference in children's lives. She is married with two grown-up children. She loves reading, walking, cooking and talking. She is a Governor of Dormansland Primary School, helps with Meals on Wheels, The League of Friends of St John's Church, is Joint Editor of The Village Voice parish magazine, and is a Trustee of Lingfield United Charities.
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  Sue Millidge joined WI as soon as she moved to Dormansland in 2013.  She was interested in becoming a WI member once her husband Alan had decided where to live after their retirement, and when the estate agent mentioned a hriving WI round the corner, it clinched the deal for her.  She says "I haven't been disappointed.  I now indulge my pleasures in walking and talking with the Walkie-Talkies, reading books with the Glow Worms that I wouldn't have considered, and enjoying lunch in good company after snapping with The Flashers.  If there is any time to spare I also enjoy cooking, ennis, walking and helping out with our grandchildren".

After working in banking, Sue retrained in her forties to become a Hearing Therapist in an NHS Audiology Department.  She has three children and two aforementioned grandchildren, who she says are, of course, amazing!
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   Grace Porter has  lived in Dormansland since 1981. She is married with two grown-up children and two grandchildren.  She joined DEWI in 2012, shortly after retiring, When a neighbour suggested that she joined the WI, she did not think it was for her! However, at her first meeting any pre-conceived ideas about the WI were instantly dispelled.  Grace was impressed by the friendliness and vibrancy of the group. She was very pleased to re-kindle old friendships from the days when her children were at Dormansland school.  Grace enjoys the walking with the Walkie-Talkie group, discussing books  at the Glow-worm book club, the interesting speakers and outings. She is a keen member of the Ashdown Ramblersand often leads full-day walks for the club.  She also co-ordinates distribution of the Lingfield Community News magazine.  Her other interests include jogging (she is frequently seen pounding the pavements in her yellow fluorescent jacket), travel and most important of all - her grandchildren!
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  Lesley Robinson joined the WI in 2012, shortly before retiring from work.  Her mother was a very active member for many years and Lesley knew that the WI is a really active and positive organisation.  Hearing about DEWI's programme and variety of events from a friend who had recently joined, she came to a meeting, and was hooked.

Lesley joined the Citizens' Advice Bureau in 1986 as a volunteer adviser, later becoming a bureau manager.  She has lived in East Grinstead for over 30 years and has two adult sons.  When they were small she volunteered with several charities - helping with local Save the Children events and with the founding of the East Grinstead Toy Library.  She was a member of Blackwell Schools Parent Association.  She enjoyed sewing - soft toys and dressmaking - went to tailoring classes, tried her hand at various crafts and pottery (but produced only misshapen pots), and took up yoga.  Another interest was the National Women's Register - a lively discussion group.  She has been a member of the East Grinstead Meridian Rotary Club for several years, and was their first woman President in 2007 (quite daunting!)  She is a presenter on the club's weekly programme on local Meridian FM Radio, and a volunteer steward at Chartwell.  Her favourite leisure activities now include reading, sukodu puzzles, dog-walking her son's dog and papercraft (mainly making greetings cards) - and the DEWI mah-jong and Bookworms groups.
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  Joan Schnierer has lived in East Grinstead for the past 35 years, although she has had the pleasure of living overseas as a result of her husband's job, including the USA and Brussels.  Her hobbies include gardening, interior design, watercolour painting and tapestry.  She used to do upholstry and antique furniture restoration.