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Take your partners - Feb 2018

Posted by [email protected] on February 21, 2018 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (0)

The Barlaston Herons had an energetic meeting on Tuesday 20th February with some fun country folk dancing with Geoff Payne and his wife guiding the ladies through their moves. The ladies had a full hour of dancing to a traditional vibe, learning four dances. Some of the dances were as a whole group and some in small groups. The ladies regularly exchanged partners and enjoyed a little gossip when they could! Everyone really enjoyed the evening and thoroughly threw themselves into it.

There was also an extra celebration as the Barlaston Herons WI celebrated their 5th birthday! Sue, one of our members, baked a fabulous fruit cake and the ladies sang a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday.

Fun and Games - Jan 2018

Posted by [email protected] on January 17, 2018 at 4:20 AM Comments comments (0)

What a start to 2018! The Barlaston Herons WI met on the 16th January and had a very entertaining evening playing a range of games. The ladies started on a few rounds of snowman drive, a winters twist on beetle drive, with the winners and losers moving tables after each round so everyone got chance to have a chat and catch up with each other. Some members then got out their favourite games to share including dominoes and triominoes to really get the competitive juices flowing!

The evening was completed with wonderful homemade cakes and a lovely cup of tea or coffee. The business part of the meeting was certainly busy with a raft of events heading the way of the ladies. Theatre trips, quizzes, camping, the County Show, walking and even a canal barge holiday are on the horizon for any member to get involved with.

Christmas Party - December 2017

Posted by [email protected] on December 19, 2017 at 2:30 AM Comments comments (0)

The ladies of Barlaston Herons enjoyed a busy Christmas Party at their December meeting. With the sock swap, handmade hamper swap, bring and share buffet and the reveal for next year's programme. We are all looking forward to another year of friendship and fun, do pop along and visit us if you might be interested in joining. Merry Christmas!

Christmas Crafts - November 2017

Posted by [email protected] on November 22, 2017 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

It is that time of year again when we all start to feel a little festive and look forward to Christmas. The ladies at Barlaston Herons WI certainly got in the festive mood for their November meeting as we were making Christmas crafts. The members had done their bit for the environment and had saved all their plastic milk bottle tops. These were then used to create a range of Christmas cards, wreaths and hangings. The evening was well organised and it was fantastic to learn a new skill together. We followed the clear instructions and supported each other along the way. Many of the members took their crafts home to complete so the crafting fun can continue! It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening with crafts, friends and (of course) the homemade cakes and refreshments.

Crystal Energies - October 2017

Posted by [email protected] on October 17, 2017 at 11:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Penny Rowley was the interesting speaker for October and the evening just flew by. She was very informative and explained all about crystals and what they can offer.

Crystals and minerals are found within the crust of the earth and are naturally occurring. There are over 250,000 crystals and minerals and many offer a range of benefits. A couple of examples include Lapis Lazuli that many believe brings wisdom, Carnelian can aid stamina and confidence. Penny explained that all crystals can help to remove negativity. She went on to highlight where you can purchase crystals and how you can energise them and look after them. A thoroughly fascinating evening!

Wooden House craft Workshop

Posted by [email protected] on October 7, 2017 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)

A wonderful morning was had by ten of the Barlaston Herons and their families on the 7th October at Barlaston Village Hall. Sam, the President, ran a seaside cottage craft workshop and had the ladies sanding, staining, painting, hammering and drilling. The result was some fantastic little cottages that everyone was proud of! It was a lovely social event and everyone chatted whilst they worked. There was, of course, the usual homemade refreshments to enjoy.

Trent & Mersey Canal - Sept 2017

Posted by [email protected] on September 23, 2017 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)

A fascinating evening was had by the lovely ladies of Barlaston Herons WI on Tuesday 19th September. Steve Wood came and gave the ladies a wonderful walk through the history of the Trent and Mersey Canal. He illustrated the historic points with the aid of photographs and documents from 1577 onwards! He discussed the use of the canal through the industrial start to modern day leisure facilities. He highlighted a couple of projects are are currently being discussed and the future of our local canals including the Burslem Port Project and the Cheshire Locks Project.


Steve was at pains to thank any groups that volunteer on the canals as many stretches are made to look loved and cared for by such generous people. There are numerous opportunities to get involved and to embrace the history of canals through organisation such as the Canal and River Trust. It certainly made you feel proud of the industrial heritage of Stoke-on-Trent and the fact that we are all close to a canal.


There are lots of fun activities ahead for Barlaston Herons WI including craft workshops, Christmas handmade gift exchange and a Christmas party! The next meeting is the 17th October and is on crystal energies, new members always welcome.

Narrowboat floral art - August 2017

Posted by [email protected] on August 18, 2017 at 6:15 AM Comments comments (0)

The Barlaston Herons enjoyed a relaxing evening on Tuesday as they held their annual August craft meeting where they decorated wooden spoons, Maria told the ladies a little history of the narrowboat painters, boat owners would leave an item to be painted, a note of what they wanted and payment at the door of the painter and would collect the finished item a few weeks later as they chugged by. Maria then took the ladies step by step through painting their own narrowboat floral art on a wooden spoon.

Summer is the time that members are asked to submit ideas to the National Federation of Women’s Institutes for resolutions that the WI might campaign for next year. Herons President Sam Taylor put forward details of a resolution to ban single use plastic and the members agreed to submit the resolution in a vote. We all throw plastic away, but there is no ‘AWAY’, everything has to go somewhere, the increasing volume of single use plastic that we all consume in our plastic bottles, wrapped sandwiches and biscuits etc. is polluting our countryside and oceans, we must all consider alternatives to buying items wrapped in throw away plastic.


Whistle Wizards - July 2017

Posted by [email protected] on July 22, 2017 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

A lively and entertaining evening took place on Tuesday 18th July for the Pirehill 100 annual meeting. It was the turn of Barlaston Herons WI to host the event for the 5 different local WIs in the group. A warm welcome was extended and the ladies from the Herons did the WI proud with their gorgeous range of homemade cakes for the visitors.

The speaker woke everyone up as he was the 'Whistle Wizard' from Acme Whistles in Birmingham. Simon Topham kept the attention of the ladies with interesting facts and many wonderful sounds from the range of whistles. He told the history of the acme whistle from the start in the 1880s to today. The story began with Joseph Hudson making his first whistle for the police in 1883, followed by how he then successfully targeted other professions including referees, tram conductors and teachers. Simon beautifully demonstrated the range of bird call whistles such as the nightingale call and cuckoo call. Amusing stories around the whistles were told in an engaging way and staggering facts shared. Acme have worked with many organisations including Kellogg's, BT and the Loch Ness monster! Six million whistles are made by Acme Whistles every year and the company employs over 70 people. What was really heartwarming was the fact that the company still hold the family values that Joseph Hudson started at the heart of the way they work today.

Fantasywire - June 2017

Posted by [email protected] on June 22, 2017 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

If you have ever visited Trentham Gardens and seen the amazing wire fairies you must have wondered how they were made and who was behind it. Well, Barlaston Herons WI had all their questions answered as they spent a fascinating evening with Robin Wight from Fantasy Wire, the man behind those thought provoking designs.

Robin took the ladies through a journey of the fairies from beginnings to a glimpse of the future! Robin started his career as a maintenance fitter and moved onto software manufacturing but all through his life had been creative with various materials. On family holidays with his kids he would spend hours making sand sculptures. His inspiration for the fairies came when the family moved into the countryside and were surrounded by beautiful nature. Robin was mending a fence when the thought of sculpting with it emerged. This started a journey of many adaptations till Robin was satisfied with the material, proportions, gravity and density. Robin spoke with fondness of each fairy and showed breath-taking images. Even the names were inspiration including Watcher, Tree Hugger and Balance.

The fairies are stunning and are placed all around the world now. Robin has worked with a range of organisations from the Wildlife Trust, RSPB, Gardeners World and, of course, Trentham Gardens. Many people have enjoyed the challenge of a ‘fairy trail’. Robin admitted that social media has given him an opportunity to share his work with the wider world.

In recent years Robin has introduced the intricate wire dandelions and has combined these with his fairies and the result is just spectacular! His goal is to have the fairy named ‘Dancing with Dandelions’ made as large as the Angel of the North and the Barlaston Herons WI will be waiting to see such a special event!

More information can be found at

The meeting ended with the usual homemade cakes and refreshments whilst the business was discussed. A report was delivered by Marianne from the WI Annual Conference that was held in Liverpool and included ways forward for the WI and debates on how the WI can impact on the environment and social elements of life such as loneliness.