Each WI is run by a committee which is elected at each Annual Meeting, which for us is in May. Meet our committee members for 2017-18:
Emma Watson, President
Originally from Melbourne, Australia, I moved to London for work as an architect in 2005, and since 2010 have been enjoying life in lovely Crouch End. I had always wanted to be involved in an organisation like the WI, inspired by my grandmother, who was an active member of and leader within the Country Women’s Association in Australia for many years, as well as a knitter and baker.
I’m proud to be President and am enjoying working with everyone to create a stimulating and fun programme of events!
Ching Smith, Treasurer
I came to the UK from Malaysia to study Accountancy at Newport, Gwent in 1975. I qualified, married and have three children. I now work part-time in my own practice.
I love craft and creative activities. With more time now, I can pursue my passions: I sew, knit, crochet and enjoy tatting and embroidery and am currently attending bobbin lace classes in Watford. Two years ago, by chance, I saw the WI stall at the Crouch End Festival. I made enquiries as I wanted to meet local like minded people and decided to join The Alexandra WI. I have been a member since October 2013 and enjoy the interaction.
Nina Jewell, Secretary
I am a qualified Local Government accountant with 25 years’ experience at both Hammersmith and Haringey Councils. I am also the Treasurer for my local Neighbourhood Watch.As I start to think about retirement, I am volunteering more and more as I find it rewarding and a great way to meet like-minded people. I have rediscovered knitting through the WI group and enjoy cooking for the summer fair. My other interests are collecting art by West Country artists and I am passionate about pottery from the Leach Pottery in St Ives. You will often find me browsing the shops of Muswell Hill or the Antique fairs at Alexandra Palace in search of a bargain!
I grew up in South Africa and came to London following university to have a gap year travelling and I am still here. My family and I have lived in the Crouch End/Muswell Hill area for the past forty years and it is very much my home. I worked in Children’s Social Care, mainly in fostering and adoption, for most of my professional life.
My first experience of the WI was when I was eight and I was sent to live with my aunt while my parents were abroad. I refused to go to school, so my aunt, who was very involved in the local and national WI, had to take me with her to her WI meetings which I found fascinating.
I joined The Alexandra WI at its inception and have found it is a great opportunity to meet new people and share experiences and share my hobbies of sewing, knitting and crocheting.
I trained as a Home Economics teacher and taught in a school in West London for several years before becoming involved in prison education in both male and female establishments. Following retirement from full time employment I have continued to teach part time. I was very encouraged to read of a WI being set up in a women’s prison and hope other prisons will welcome this initiative. I was delighted to find The Alexandra WI soon after I retired as I wanted to join a branch near where I live. I am pleased to have more time to enjoy hobbies, gardening, cooking especially making preserves, baking, knitting, cross stitch and tapestry. It is great being able to meet other women, who also have similar interests and are interested in discussing topics of a mutual interest.
I have lived and worked in London for over 40 years, 35 of those in Crouch End. I have worked as a practitioner and later as a teacher/trainer in health and social care before retiring. Women’s issues have always been important to me and over the years I have been a member of several campaigning groups. I love the WI and believe that it gives women of any background a voice and opportunities to reach their potential. I have really enjoyed my time as secretary so I am very familiar with the workings of a WI and I continue as a committee member and as a WI Adviser. Meeting up with the women of The Alexandra WI on a monthly basis is an important part of my life – and I couldn’t live without cake!