Report of the February 2018 meeting of Wookey Hole WI

 

Jenny reported that the first meeting of the working party that is to make our banner has decided on a design, and that two members, Sue B. and Aileen will be sewing the vital pieces, the cave and the witch. The borders will incorporate the Suffragette colours of green and purple to commemorate the granting of limited voting rights to women in 1918. We plan to carry our banner in the Parade through Wells that is planned as part of the Somerset Federation of WIs Centenary celebrations. 

Vice President Sue Harding presided over the meeting, welcoming our speaker, Mr Alan Hale. He treated us to an entertaining account of his time, back in the last century, in the police force in Bristol. In the course of his career he encountered a wide variety of incidents and people, not to mention animals. Which included a goat that was tempted, with peppermints, into the back of the patrol car in order to pass the problem to the mounted section, which had suitable accommodation for it.

He started out as a cadet, in spite of failing the college exams that he was expected to pass. At that time patrols were on foot, and records of incidents and observations were kept in hand written books. Cadets were sometimes used as nuisance crowds, to train the horses of the mounted section.

He progressed through the bicycle without gears stage, to small panda cars, which were notoriously slow, to large and fast traffic patrol cars. Along the way were many training courses, including advanced motoring and horse riding. Although he managed the latter to the stage of jumping low obstacles without stirrups, saddle or reins, the theory was another matter. He didn’t ride for pleasure afterwards as his wife, being an A and E nurse, had seen too many results of riding accidents.

One of the most rewarding parts of his later career was liaison with schools, he once answered a 999 call, and found that the child who answered the door already knew him from his visit to her school, and was reassured by his presence.

Since his retirement he has been kept busy with council work and the Baptist Church magazine, which relieves him of the need to garden or do DIY. He was thanked by Elizabeth, who remembered the days when each district and each village had their own police officer.

 

 

Rose Docherty

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