Report of the April 2018 meeting of Wookey Hole WI
President Jill Deane welcomed members and our speaker to the April meeting, which saw the unveiling of our newly completed banner. The design incorporates not only the famous cave and witch, and the date of the founding of Wookey Hole WI seventy one years ago, but also the colours of the suffragist movement which resulted in the granting of the vote to some women for the first time a hundred years ago. Jill thanked the members of the working party who had worked very hard to a tight time schedule to have the banner ready for us to carry it in the Somerset Federation Centenary Parade through Wells on 28 April this year. She also presented each of them with a souvenir mug featuring a photo of the banner.
Our speaker Miss Angela Pitt told us how she had volunteered to work at a Giant Panda rescue centre in China. While she was there she fed and cleaned up after a number of the bears, and took many candid photographs of their rather lazy life. Interestingly, the panda, as well as five fingers, has an extra thumb to help in grasping the stems of bamboo. She admitted that she once made what could have been a very dangerous mistake, in trying to hand feed one bear with an apple, she was bitten on the hand. Luckily there was an ambulance nearby and she was treated very quickly. Pandas have enormous appetites for their almost exclusively bamboo diet, each eating in a day as much as a man can carry. The rescue centre needs its own plantation of bamboo just to keep pace and cater to just six adult bears and a baby. The Chinese people value the panda very highly, to the point of obsession, some even dye the coats of their dogs to match the markings. Souvenir toys are available everywhere, and we remember that the panda was the mascot of the Beijing Olympics a few years ago.
She was thanked enthusiastically by Anne, who confessed to being a lifelong collector of panda related items since her first childhood soft toy.