Meet The Committee

Meet the Committee

Our committee maintains the WI’s core values and shapes the organisation for generations of women to come.

Around 16 people are currently working for the Wellington WI.

Caroline Swan

Caroline Swan

Treasurer

I have been the Treasurer of Wellington WI and a member of the committee since being invited by Karen, our President, when she decided to start up Wellington WI nearly 6 years ago. I am also one of the Walking Netball hosts and help run our twice-monthly sessions.

I have lived and worked in Wellington since 2000 and now my son is at University have more time to be involved with everything the WI offers. In my spare time I enjoy cycling and running; amongst my achievements was cycling from Lands End to JOG in 2014 and running the London Marathon in 2012.

Karen Brooks

Karen Brooks

Committee Member

Karen moved to Somerset in 2012. Not knowing anyone locally, Karen was looking for opportunities to meet people and create new friendships. A work colleague told her about a newly forming WI in Wellington and after attending the first meeting, she found herself volunteering to join the committee.

Karen later became secretary for 2 years before work commitments forced her to step down from the role.

Still a committee member, Karen enjoys the many friendships made and regularly takes part in many of the interest groups Wellington WI offers.

Lynda Wilkinson

Lynda Wilkinson

Programme Organiser

I have been with the WI since the beginning and have joined the committee just this year. My role is Programme Organiser. I am enjoying being part of the Creative Writing group, Craft group, Supper club, Walking Netball when I’m able, Photography group and have also enjoyed Cinema and Theatre visits.

I am now retired but my background is in Training, specifically within the care sector with responsibility for all staff Training requirements. I am originally from Scotland but have lived in Somerset since 1974. I am married with four grandchildren, three are old enough now not to want to spend too much time with fuddy old grandparents but the youngest at 10 years old is still very much part of our lives and together she and I are learning to play the ukulele. I feel very blessed to be part of this WI which has given me the opportunity to enjoy various different activities and make so many new friends.

Judith Smith

Judith Smith

Committee Member

I’m a northerner from Yorkshire who has lived in Wellington longer than I lived ‘up north’, but I still can’t get used to how much it rains here by comparison!

I worked in the NHS until I retired, in a range of managerial roles in Somerset’s mental health services, and latterly across community health services as well. Despite feeling that I never wanted to sit through another committee meeting of any sort once I retired, I am now on four committees, including that of the WI. The other ones reflect my continuing interest in mental health, but also in adult literacy, and domestic abuse.

In the WI I host the Craft Group, and enjoy seeing what other crafters are making – I’m a knitter, though my last attempt to knit something for me was not entirely successful (one sleeve longer than the other…..). All abilities are welcome in Craft Group!

I really enjoy being in the WI – learning a lot from speakers, having fun in the group activities, and making some lovely friends. I hope that all our members will benefit in the same way.

Karen Janas

Karen Janas

President

‘I decided to launch the Wellington WI, back in December 2012, on the back of a conversation with my mother, who ran a local WI.  We were discussing how to encourage younger women to join the WI and felt strongly that there was potential for a great group here.  I work for myself, so don’t have work colleagues, and wanted to widen my social circle and meet like-minded women.  We launched officially in January 2013 and it has been a rollercoaster of fun and friendship since then.  I love being involved with such a dynamic, enthusiastic and empowering group of amazing women.’

Maria Dorpman

Maria Dorpman

MCS Rep

I moved to Wellington in September 2016 from Southport in Merseyside when my first grandchild was born. The WI has been really good for me as a way to meet new people, learn new skills and join in new groups.

As well as looking after grandchildren, I have also become skilled at herding sheep along narrow bendy lanes, putting up electric fences and rolling a fleece from a newly-shorn sheep. I have recently taken on the role of Community Liaison in the Wellington WI, which enables me to put something back to the organisation.

Linda Holden

Linda Holden

Secretary

I joined the WI in 2018, and for the first year or so, while I was still working, I only managed to regularly attend the Club Nights at the Beambridge Inn, Wellington.  Everyone I met was very friendly, and I was amazed at the range of speakers we had, as well as the number of regular and occasional clubs and events which are organised for us.

I’m a regular member of the Walking Netball group – we have such good fun – and enjoy any of the Welly Rambles I can manage. Helping with the Repair Café and the Poppy Group are also two activities I enjoy, and it is very satisfying to be part of two such vibrant community activities. Coming along to these smaller events is such a good way to get to know members a bit better, and many are now good friends.

My highlights from our last full year of activities in 2019 include our first WI netball tournament in Paignton, a trip to the Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton to see Twelfth Night by Shakespeare Globe on Tour and the summer circular Welly Ramble, on Exmoor, in beautiful sunshine, skirting the rim of the stunning Punchbowl and finishing with a well-deserved cream team at Dulverton.

When I’m not busy with the WI, my husband and I enjoy travelling, gardening and spending time with our family and friends. We particularly love France and look forward to travelling again when we can.

Linda Forsyth

Linda Forsyth

Committee Member

I was exported from Scotland in 2012 and joined in about 2014 in an attempt to meet like-minded people and have fun. I enjoy travel, walking, crafty stuff, quizzing, books and general getting involved with anything that looks fun. Two dogs, one husband, no kids.

Rachel Ellins

Rachel Ellins

Vice President

I have lived in Wellington since 1994 and in Rockwell Green since 1999. I have worked for Somerset County Council, in Finance and HR, since I was 16 (a very long time). I have 3 children and 1 grandchild (born January 2019).

I have been a member of Wellington WI since very shortly after it was formed, Secretary for 2 years and Vice President for 1.

I joined because I have very fond memories of going to WI with my grandmother, as a child between the ages of 7 and 14, when I stayed with her in the school holidays. We used to make cakes to take with us and I am very pleased that cake continues to be a part of the WI still!

Our WI has given me a whole new group of friends that I would not have met if I had not joined. I love that I can go to the meetings and sign up for any of our many organised events without worrying whether there will be a friendly face there, whilst also giving me the opportunity to go to places and hear about organisations, crafts and people, that I probably would never have seen, done or learnt about without this great organisation.

Linda Waring

Linda Waring

Minutes Secretary

Full time Medical PA in the Paediatric Department at Musgrove Park Hospital. I love WI for the diversity of speakers, friends and activities. My favourite pastimes are spending time with my family, travelling to new places far and wide, reading and taking part in as much as I can fit in around all of that!

Bridget Hodges

Bridget Hodges

Committee Member

I am a retired teacher of English and Creative Writing – but have in the past been a publican and hotelier, a playgroup leader, a school cook and a volunteer. I now help my husband run his business. I have two amazing children, a son and a daughter, and two gorgeous granddaughters.

I love my Romy rescue dog, Daisy. I enjoy writing, drawing, reading, cinema, photography, theatre, gardening, walking and music, from Mozart to Pink Floyd – and now, thanks to the WI, walking netball! I’m passionate about reducing the use of single-use plastics and most proud of the fact that I no longer use any cling film and that I eco brick all my non-recyclable plastic.

I’ve been a member of Wellington WI from its beginning. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and the opportunities it’s given me to pursue my interests and to get to know some amazing women.

“Monumental, amazing women meeting for friendship, fun, education and cake!”

The Wellington WI is here to inspire you

The Women’s Institute inspires women through experiences, knowledge and skills. These are passed down through generations and continually updated to reflect the lives of women today.

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