Hi there. We are the Ripon Belles - part of the Women's Institute and very active in Ripon, North Yorkshire. We play a unique role in providing women with educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills, to take part in a wide variety of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to us and our community.
Last night a large meeting of members was treated to an enjoyable sugarcraft session led by Margaret Robson and her granddaughter Helen Ward. Under Margaret's expert eye we all had a go at making a festive cake decoration in sugar paste with templates and materials supplied by Margaret.
Our October meeting was well-attended and the talk was given by two ladies from the Bedale Community Bakery - Carol Clark and Lucy Williams.
Carol and Lucy told us the remarkable story of the development of the bakery project, which began as a group of friends baking ‘real’ bread together as a social and therapeutic activity, and then transformed into a successful community social enterprise.
Last night a full-throated collection of Belles was coaxed into tuneful life by our own choirmistress, Kate. Using her formidable teaching skills she managed to get reasonable four-part harmonies out of us, coaching us to sing with considerable gusto several gospel and rock and roll classics - the most ambitious of which was "At the Hop".
We all thoroughly enjoyed it, so thanks Kate. And maybe a few of us have been enthused enough to form our own Ripon Belles choir to enter the WI competition coming up in the next few months. Let's hope so.
Last night the Belles enjoyed a fabulous evening at Studley Royal competing for Olympic gold medals (well, chocolate in gold wrappers - even better!) in a fun medley of sports. In between we gathered around for a picnic and gossip (really doing what we do best!). Jenny (pictured here sporting FAB union jack earrings) deservedly took first prize for best outfit.
We were asked to contribute to a special Jubilee memorial edition of the Northern Echo by producing a "Diamond Decades" message to her Majesty recently. Thanks go to Sue Fairman for producing a wonderful acrostic poem that was included...
OUR DIAMOND QUEEN
A group of the Belles were helpers for a stunning "street party" held in the cathedral for a select number of guests and dignitaries on Tuesday, June 5th. We were happy to help serve soup, sandwiches, trifle, cake and tea (the children were asked to hand around the sandwiches, which was much appreciated!) and that was followed by a toast to the queen, songs and a quiz.
We enjoyed a fantastic cookery demo from Elizabeth Guy, author of Ramblers Rewards, at our April meeting. With something for everyone from smoked mackeral pate, chicken in orange and ginger sauce, Elizabethan lamb, lemon meringue pie and seasonal hot cross buns. We learnt some quick tips and several ladies were lucky to win one of the many dishes in the raffle. Yum Yum!!
On Wednesday 15th February a group from Ripon Belles visited the bell tower in Ripon Cathedral. We climbed the narrow flight of steps up to the southwest tower – there was quite a gap between one set of steps up to where the bell ringers ring the bells – but we managed to get across without incident.
The last meeting of Ripon Belles book group was slightly unusual - we were asked to bring a favourite book to show the group. The choices of books are interesting - a couple of classics, childrens books and recent female authors amongst other choices. They are published here for general interest and referral to see what us book group readers are fond of!
The Belles got in to the seasonal spirit with our annual Christmas party last night.
The evening kicked off with a mix-up quiz, moving team members from table to table after each round so that we all had a chance to chat to each other, and integrating members new and old. Several spot prizes were awarded to lucky winners. Questions ranged from the quirky to the impossible, '1 on a 1' being one wheel on a wheelbarrow, and the lyrics to Santa Baby foxing a lot of us!