You will all have all heard of ‘ladies who lunch’ but at the February meeting of the Old Buckenham WI they learnt about ladies who drive tractors, fundraising for Breast Cancer Research. This innovative way of collecting money for charity was the brainchild of Annie Chapman who has organised the ‘Ladies Tractor Run’ in and around Harleston for the last ten years. Donations so far have exceeded £300,000. As vintage tractor enthusiasts, Annie and her husband decided that it would be a novel way of fund-raising. During the first year, 50 tractors and their lady drivers, dressed in pink, ambled through the Norfolk and Suffolk countryside. Spurred on by its success, Annie has organised the event every summer since. In 2013, 160 tractors took part, all outrageously embellished in pink.
In 2012, Annie was recognised as a tireless fund-raiser and invited to be one of the torchbearers prior to the London Olympic Games. Annie came to the WI meeting resplendent in her Olympic tracksuit and brought her torch with her. She captured the admiration of all those at the meeting and is an inspiration to charity fund-raising.
Members also had brief reports from two Old Buckenham members who had attended courses at the WI’s own Denman college in Oxfordshire. Alison Frank spoke about the treasures of the Oxford colleges and museums while Betty Stacey had studied the 21st century skill of buying and selling on eBay. They reminded everyone that the college is a remarkable and valuable resource for WI members and friends.