WELLS ANGELS WI COMMITTEE MEMBERS WHO ARE RUNNING TO STAY ON THE COMMITTEE
Nine of our eleven Wells Angels WI committee members have thrown their hat in the ring to stay on board for another year. They are listed below in alphabetical order and each of them shares why they'd like to continue serving our group on the committee.
I grew up in Tunny Wells but moved back just before I had my eldest daughter and despite still having loads of connections in the town, I was still commuting to London both for work (I’m the Lifestyle Editor at Heat Magazine) and weirdly for friends too. When I heard about Wells Angels it seemed like the answer to my socially stunted prayers – but I had no idea quite how much this incredible group of women was about to change my life.
My husband had said to me before I left for my first meeting, “If you want to get involved, get properly involved.” And when I tentatively put my hand up to join the committee during the very first meeting it was the best thing I’d volunteered for since a karaoke sing-off at Buffalo Bills, which was as epic as it sounds.
My role on the team is Deputy Secretary and I regularly have the honour of stepping into the HUGE shoes of our main secretary when her health issues take her out of the game. I put together our meeting agendas, take minutes, I’m also our Resolutions Rep helping to navigate the red tape to (hopefully) explain what is required of us to vote for the annual WI Resolution. But it’s so much more than that too. I’m often on the front line of booking speakers (and my work email address is frequently very handy for ensuring we get a response!), I’ve chaired meetings on subjects such as Women in the Media, and Women in the Workplace. I’ve adored helping to shape the way the WI works from those boring but necessary admin tasks which keep us ticking over to helping to brainstorm a kick ass program of events which will keep us all hooked.
The Committee was my lifeline when I was feeling a bit lost and useless after having my second child and now I’m so proud to be part of an inspiring, energetic and diverse team. I would be truly honoured to have the opportunity to continue my role on the Committee. I really believe we’re offering something a bit different to the traditional WI experience at Wells Angels and it’s something which delivers so much to so many women. To be charged with being a guardian of that isn’t a role I take lightly but it’s one I absolutely treasure.
Hi, I’m Sarah Bridger, currently your Secretary on committee. I’ve been part of Wells Angels since we started, way back in 2015. My role as Secretary is to do all the very unglamorous paperwork for our little gang. You wouldn’t believe how much is required by the National WI (they love a form, and a report). I also liaise with other District Secretary’s and WIs in general. It’s important to keep everyone up to speed with how flippin active our group is, or maybe I just enjoy shouting about our achievements?! Actually, I enjoy challenging the myth that the WI is for dusty old ladies that just make jam and sing Jerusalem. I'd love to stay on committee for another year.
When I’m not doing Wells Angels related stuff, honestly you’ll often find me resting, as I’m currently waiting for a double lung transplant (I have cystic fibrosis). I live on my own in St James. I'm from TW, but lived in London etc, before settling back in Sunny Tunny. I love gardening, cooking, and keeping up on all good podcasts, books and TV. My current fave subgroup is book club.
I’ve been on the Wells Angels WI Committee since it started. It’s a commitment but I love doing it!
I’ve lived in Tunbridge Wells for 10 years. I’m an Antenatal Teacher for the NCT & I teach Hypnobirthing too. I volunteer for The Positive Birth Movement, providing free antenatal gatherings, support and education for pregnant mums, and I run a postnatal group on a voluntary basis too.
So, I’m very involved already in supporting local women and I know that something magical happens when we come together to share, support, learn and laugh and Wells Angels does that for local women every month. The current Committee are totally invested in the bigger group, everyone is devoted to ensuring that Wells Angels thrives with engaging content at the monthly meetings, a nurturing community on and off line, opportunities to meet others and all the things I’ve mentioned above – sharing, supporting, learning and laughing.
At 48 I’ve been around the block a few times and have experienced female groups/gatherings in all forms – Wells Angels is pretty unique in my opinion and I’d like to continue contributing to that.
I’m enthusiastic, a good team member, AND I organise the ‘legendary’ annual Carol Singing event! If you haven’t experienced it, come and ask me about it – it basically involves me plying you with mulled wine & nibbles at my house and then marching to the train station in high spirits to welcome commuters with cheery, festive carols to raise a shed load of cash for The Tunbridge Wells Winter Shelter.
To be clear, if I don’t get voted back on to The Committee I’ll still host the Carol Singing because I love it!
Hello– Officially I am events rep but really, I am one of the quieter members who will do anything to help and muck in. I have arranged events - a Suffragette city of London walk, local pub crawl and last year’s Xmas party among others but I am also the one often opening and setting up the hall for meetings and recently you’ll have seen my face welcoming you at the front desk too. I am also about to be trained in all things to do with the official membership gubbins, not a small task.
I moved here with my young daughter after getting divorced about 3 years ago and knew no one! I had just missed the first meeting, went on the waiting list, finally got in and then stepped up and joined the committee in 2016. I didn’t go to school or grow up here so if it wasn’t for the group I wouldn’t know anyone! I love the fact I can now be wandering in town and know someone to stop for a chat or say hi. My tiny human and I now live in High Brooms and I work for Demelza Children’s Hospice as a professional beggar (fundraiser). I eat way too much chocolate, I love being outside, eating and browsing furniture I can’t afford.
I’d like you to vote to keep me on the committee as I bring passion, commitment and a reliable can-do attitude, which every group needs. If something needs doing, I will always pitch in and crack on - this includes buying wine (very important), rushing back home to get an extension lead for the projector, finding an emergency venue if needed or arranging speakers, our fitness and domestic violence talks among them.
I am really proud to be part of Wells Angels, a diverse group who foster a safe space, in meetings and online, who support each other whatever their age or issue and give them an outlet (wine club, the allotment or just a place to ask or share) and we respond with laughter and kindness.
I look forward to (hopefully!) serving you members for the next year with the same gusto, organisation and enthusiasm.
I work in advertising as a creative and I also take an awful lot of photographs. I'm single, child-free and live with my dog Betty Twiglet near Grove Park. Silly-passionate about streetart, crumpets, Bloody Marys, cheese and ampersands.
As an old next door neighbour to Hanna, I was one third of the threesome that started Wells Angels back in 2015. I've been Vice Prez since then and my particular responsibilities are basically anything that needs a loud voice- yelling out the raffle numbers, getting people's attention, wrangling group discussions and hosting the yearly quiz. I also run the group Instagram account.
I think I've got another year left in me of being on the committee so if you'll still have me, I'd love to stay on!
I am 60 this year (physically not mentally!) I grew up in Hildenborough and have lived in Hawkenbury for 25 years. I have one son of 24. My husband and I own a busy garage just off St Johns Road and I am a Bookeeper for 6 local businesses, although I have recently decided to slow down a little, so shortly, my work will reduce by a half and I shall use the time to do some voluntary work.
I love motorsport. My son was a part time racing driver so the last few years we have spent all our spare time (and money) at race circuits all over the UK and Europe. I knit a lot (mainly for charity), love cooking and checking out antique shops. I have four great uncles who died in WW1 and have spent many hours researching their stories and this year we are doing several trips to Belgium and northern France to find their graves and visit the museums where they fell.
I joined Wells Angels right at the beginning and volunteered to be the Treasurer. Initially it was quite daunting and frustrating. We were all new to the WI and there were lots of rules to follow. Financially it was a nightmare – setting up the bank account and every transaction was cash or cheque with hand written receipts (not a small task with 100 members). I figured that online banking was the way forward with dual authorisation for all outgoing payments and subs payments in by Bacs. This year the subs collections was a breeze with everyone paying by Bacs and receipts acknowledged by email.
The role of the Treasurer is to pay expenses (Hall, speakers etc.) collect subs and other income (raffle, drinks etc.) and keep an accurate set of accounts. At the year end the accounts are audited by an independent examiner. A financial report is then given at the AGM.
I’d love to stay on the Committee for a further year. My intention is to train someone else to take over the Treasurer role. There is a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes and I love being part of it.
Way back in 2015, I had the profound honour of joining forces with our president, Hanna, and other VP, Jules, to help found this amazing group. When we were setting up our first Facebook event to gauge interest in starting a WI, we crossed our fingers and hoped we could get 40 women along to join us. When the meeting hall filled past capacity, we were truly in shock and now, three years later, I still feel like what we've built within this group is magic.
Since the start, I've been serving as one of our group's two vice presidents. In addition to helping to organise meetings, I also help to manage our group's membership information, send out our monthly email, and do what I can to keep things running smoothly.
Outside official committee duties, I love attending sub groups and am especially keen on our book/podcast club as well as wine club, though I'm rarely fast enough to get a ticket.
As an American lady who had absolutely no friends in this town six years ago and didn't even know what a WI was, I feel so blessed to be a part of this amazing group of inspiring, funny, whip-smart, creative, and supportive women and I would love to continue to serve the group as a committee member for another year.
Hello, I'm the current president of Wells Angels. Way back in 2014 I moved to Tunbridge Wells from that London, where I'd been a member of an awesome WI group. Being new to town, and knowing not a soul, I took it upon myself to join the local WI. It wasn't quite the girl gang I was used to though, so after a little while, and having managed to befriend and rope in Kate and Jules, I decided it was time to bring a modern WI to TW, and Wells Angels was born!
In the years since, I've loved seeing the group grow and become so much more than the sum of its parts. I am so proud to have been the one to start this gang, but it's the each and every one of the members that make it what it is.
My job as president has two sides to it: I have to know all. the. rules. and make sure we follow them, liaise with the local and national federations and keep things official. I also help to steer the ship in the direction that the members want it to go in, making sure that we're providing the best speakers, the funnest activities and the inclusive environment that makes our group so damn awesome.
I'd love to stay on the committee for another year, and would be honoured to continue in my role as El Prez for one more year, if you'll have me.
I’m originally from northern France and moved to the UK back in 2007, and Tunbridge Wells in 2010. I currently work freelance in digital content & marketing, and am ⅓ of wine reviewers / podcasters The Bottle Bitches. When I’m not drinking or talking about wine,... oh no, hang on, that never happens. Start again: I love traveling, crafting, cuddling with my cats, and devour the creations of friends with great cooking skills (my part is to bring wines that will get your tastebuds singing).
I’ve been part of this committee since its very first and slightly awkward gathering, where all of us were looking at each other thinking “oh dear, how is this going to work…”. Over the years, the committee and Wells Angels have evolved into a group of precious friendships & support, a mega Girl Gang offering a safe space to chat, debate, laugh, learn, and just be ourselves, giving us a chance to get to know incredible individuals we might not have met otherwise.
My role within the committee is to oversee subgroups, and to produce awesome merch that we’re all proud of and that generate a small profit enabling us to put together super fun meetings such as our annual Christmas crafts or our fish & chips quiz. Oh, and I’m happy to do that for another year.
WELLS ANGELS RUNNING TO JOIN THE COMMITTEE FOR THE FIRST TIME
These four members have put themselves forward to be voted onto the committee. They are listed here in alphabetical order and each of them has shared why they want to join the Wells Angels WI committee.
I moved to Tunbridge Wells at the beginning of 2016 and put myself on the Wells Angels waiting list because I wanted to meet some like-minded women (and the Angels sounded right up my street!). I was super excited when I got the email about spaces opening up, and don’t think I’ve ever typed faster than I did to bag my spot! I’ve been to a few of the subgroups and love the diversity of interests in the group.
I’ve recently moved to Grove Hill Road and love this part of town. I can see Calverley Park out of one side of my flat and the Grove from the other (dreamy), and it’s great being so close to the station because I commute up to London every day.
I work at CARE International, an international development charity that particularly focuses on helping women and girls lift themselves out of poverty and play an active role in society. I’m a passionate feminist and love that my day-to-day job contributes to promoting gender equality! My role is in Digital, covering social media, website, content, video production and design, so I’d be very happy to support Wells Angels with these skills (or in any other way needed).
I love drawing, making stuff, reading, cooking, eating, films and travel. If I won the lottery, I’d go and see more of the world and set up an organisation supporting girls and young women in the UK and abroad - I think experiences are infinitely more meaningful than having loads of stuff!
I want to join the committee because I love coming along to meetings and would love to play a more active role. It’s obvious how much hard work goes into planning and running meetings and I think joining the committee is a great way of giving back. I’d also really like to get to know more Angels better, and this is a great opportunity! I think I’d bring enthusiasm, art/video/digital skills (I know existing committee members are a creative bunch, but I don’t think you can ever have too much creativity!), a healthy passion for women’s rights, equality and general do-goodery, plus snacks (did I mention I love eating!?). As I mentioned, I’d be happy to support in whatever way is needed most.
I’m originally from up North (but born in Surrey, so I either say “bath” or “barth” depending on my mood). I studied English Literature at Nottingham a terrifying number of years ago. After graduating, I decided that I wanted to become an actor so I moved to London and did that for a decade. It was a lot of fun, and I got to travel a lot and speak some excellent words, but I also spent a lot of time resting (NOT RESTFUL) so I got a sideline as an office manager in a media company in Farringdon. Around the same time I became a blogger, but decided that I’d blog in the persona of a (male) assistant manager of a wine merchant. It was a strange time. After meeting my now-husband in an alleyway in Chalk Farm (super romantic!) I decided that I wanted a change of lifestyle – i.e. one that meant I actually got to see him – so I retrained as a primary school teacher. Then came marriage, two kids and a move to Crowborough to be somewhere with green fields, fresh air and fewer stabbings. I’m now working part time, managing the nursery that my son attends, and slowly making new friends.
I want to join the committee because I want to get more involved in our fantastic WI, and also because I feel like I want (need?) more challenge in my life. I believe I would be a positive addition to the team, in that I enjoy working collaboratively – I believe in “yes, and...” rather than “no, but...”. I love planning (my to-do lists are a thing of beauty) and I’m extremely organised. Also, as I work part-time, I would also be able to devote time to my role to ensure that I was carrying it out all my duties fully.
I am 37, an assistant headteacher in a secondary school having switched careers and have never regretted it. This is despite the odd pang for my company credit card and client lunches rather than inhaling a sandwich while simultaneously reprimanding 15 year olds. I am happily single with a plan to start a family in the near future the unconventional way (the cat is getting lonely). Terrible genetic habit of buying homes that need gutting. Just finished my latest project and determined to stay put for a good few years.
It is not an exaggeration to say that joining Wells Angels right at the beginning has been one of the best things to have happened to me. It is incredibly easy to become insular and quite work obsessed when working in such a vocational sector. The Angels have not just ensured that I have kept (and discovered new) interests but have also allowed me to meet so many new and interesting people who I would never have met otherwise and many are now close friends.
Without Hanna, Kate and the rest of the committee deciding that they would take time in their lives to form this collective of awesome women I would not have had this opportunity and I want to be part of ensuring other women get the same chance. One of the highlights of Christmas for me is the carol singing, joyously spearheaded by Lou (and now totally legal) and doing something that is such fun but raises money for a cause that we all believe in is something I think we all value doing... ditto the incredible gift drive for the refuge and raising money to donate a screening of Embrace for other local women.
Gender equality is everywhere in the news at the moment and it is easy to either believe we already have it or that it is further away than ever but actually, it is the grassroots support of women supporting other women that really make sure we can achieve whatever we set our minds to and our gang lift each other higher at every opportunity.
I have lived in Tunbridge Wells for three years after having moved around a lot for work. I settled here after meeting my partner (now husband) and we live in Rusthall with two adorable kittens( i'm a crazy cat lady in training) and a gecko called Yazmin. I am a buyer for Closs & Hamblin (formerly C&H fabrics) which can be quite demanding but I enjoy crafting, in particular dress making and knitting so the staff discount is very useful! I am also part of an amateur dramatics group called the Pembury Players which is a lot of fun - a good way to escape a stressful day too sometimes! we're currently rehearsing a mystery/farce called 'According to Rumour' which we are performing in May. (Also I seem to be a little obsessed with brackets which I'd never realised before writing this!)
I have been a member of Wells Angels since August (I think!) last year and even though ive only been involved a short time ive really enjoyed it. I originally joined as a way to meet people and make friends in the area but I have also got a lot more out of it as well. I have found all the meetings relevant and useful and enjoyed attending the book club too. I would like to be involved as part of the committee as a way to be more involved with something I see as a real asset to local women and the local community, I would say I am a passionate feminist and I would like to represent an organisation that supports women. In terms of what I feel I could bring to the committee, I would say a desire for our WI to flourish, ability to public speak if this were ever necessary, general willingness to help out where I can and a good organiser - can't beat a good list! Therefore I hope you will consider me for the committee.