Chester Moor WI: Elsie Haddick opened the meeting by wishing everyone a happy new year. She welcomed the guest speaker Joan Evans.

Mrs Evans gave a lively and entertaining account of her lifelong involvement in amateur dramatics. She was warmly thanked by Flo Leggett.

A letter was received from Mary Lynn, who thanked members for the card and flowers sent in celebration of her 90th birthday. After a short business meeting, members were invited to enjoy a faith tea.

Members were also asked for suggestions for days out.

The competition for a hand knitted scarf was won by Rita Tweddle, the door prize by Jean Stout.

Members meet on Tuesday, February 4, in the United Reformed Church Hall, Low Chare when Mrs B Reay will demonstrate making cards. The competition will be for a card made at the meeting.

Chester-le-Street TG

Chairman Doreen Yeates opened the first meeting in January and welcomed all members and visitors, with a special welcome for Eve Porter and Edith Dent.

The speaker gave a talk on the work of the Samaritans. Members gained an insight into the valuable work of this organisation. It was started more than 50-years ago and has been giving help to those in need ever since. Edna Stokes gave the vote of thanks.

Secretary Dorothy Lowery and treasurer Joyce Gordon gave their reports. Other business was discussed, including forthcoming outings. The competition for a Christmas decoration was won by Bessie Parker with Olive Cowen and Anne Lambert runners up. The door prize was won by Bessie Johnson.

Brenda Whitelock gave an enjoyable talk at the second January meeting. This was on the subject of cookery competitions. After the refreshment break a session of stand-up bingo was enjoyed.

Belmont WI

AT the January meeting, president Marjorie Oates opened the meeting and wished everyone a happy New Year. Secretary Jean Morgan read the minutes of the last meeting. After tea and biscuits the speaker for the evening was Tony Elliott, who gave an informative talk and slide show on the history of Durham Cathedral. Jean Morgan gave the vote of thanks

Following the speaker members had a short Millionaire quiz. The competition, a cross and chain, was won by Ann Bowman, Elizabeth Anderson was second and joint third were Vera Holloway and Elsie Lofthouse.

The birthday girl for January was Sally Carr. Eileen Cairns, Hilda Cadwell and Irene Ledger won raffle prizes. Marjorie reminded members of our forthcoming outing to see Peter Pan at the Gala Theatre. The date of the next meeting is February 7 at 6.45pm in Belmont Comprehensive School gym.

Belmont TG

THE group held its first meeting of 2003 in Belmont Comprehensive School.

ChairmanParker, opened the meeting, Mrs Harrison read the minutes of the previous meeting and Mrs Stobart gave the financial report.

After the business of the evening the speaker was Janet Thackray, who gave a very interesting slide show entitled Durham Old and New. The competition for a pretty shell was won by Mrs V Dixon, with Mrs B Bowman second, and Mrs E Scott third. Raffle prize was won by Irene Ruddick.

Esh Leaves WI

PRESIDENT Sylvia Green welcomed members to the meeting on January 13, and introduced new member Tina Naples.

Formal business was dealt with by secretary Sheila Vear before a discussion about the branch's financial position. In order to raise funds the president had put together a cryptic quiz, with a £1 entry fee, which members were asked to distribute among friends .

Another fundraising event will be held in March when Gillian Wesson will host a book sale and gift stall evening at her home.

Guest speaker Norman Kelly, always a firm favourite with members, gave an entertaining and informative talk entitled Paint your house with powdered milk and was thanked by the vice-president.

Gillian Wesson won the powder compact competition, which was judged by Mr Kelly. Doreen Densham and Edna Lucas were second and third. The monthly raffle was won by Sheila Vear.

As the traditional Christmas dinner evening out in December was cancelled, members decided to dine out in February instead so there will be no meeting that month. The next meeting will be held on March 10 at 7.30pm in the Church of England School in Esh. Visitors very welcome.

Gilesgate Evening TG

THE guild held its meeting on Monday, January 6, at 7pm in the St John Ambulance Hall. Before business began members enjoyed pie and pies.

Chairman Jennie O'Hare welcomed all and wished everyone a very happy and healthy New Year.

The minutes were read by secretary Jean Tilly. The Federation Carol Service on December 7 at Hartlepool had been very enjoyable. The Salvation Army Songsters were wonderful. The guild Christmas dinner on December 9 at the Gretna Green Inn at Aycliffe had been enjoyed by all.

The financial report was given by the treasurer Sandra Mitchelson. Further business was discussed then Mrs O'Hare introduced member Shirley Whiteley, who organised a quiz about Durham. It proved very interesting and informative. The winner was Pat Doublett who also gave the vote of thanks to Shirley. The £2 surprise parcel draw was then done.

The competition, a bookmark, which was judged by Shirley, was won by Jean Tilly. The snowy and icy road conditions had prevented several members from attending the meeting. The next one will be on Monday, February 3. The speaker is to be Linda McDonna on make-up and body lotions.

Merry Oaks WI

MARGARET Thornhill, president, opened the meeting and welcomed members. She then introduced the speaker for the evening David Butler, who entertained us with several spine-shilling tales of the Ghosts of Durham.

The business followed where the use of a new microphone proved an asset. Nominations were requested for next year's committee. A coffee morning during the last year had raised an appreciable amount for favourite charities and will continue. A quiz ended the meeting.

The raffle winner was Irene Pollard, the competition winners Eira Evans and Edith Smith.

Next month is the AGM with a faith supper and a paperback book stall. The talk will be on wildlife.

Witton Gilbert WI

A VERY jovial and busy January meeting was attended by 45 members and guests. Rosemary Biddlecomb from Durham Portage Service introduced members to Storysacks and their benefits to young special needs children. Several members showed interest in assisting the project.

Members then enjoyed a supper of home-made soup, the sale of which raised £24 towards St Cuthbert's Hospice.

The Rev Paul Wood was the speaker for the evening giving a light-hearted illustrated account which covered his careers through catering, teaching and into the Methodist ministry. The competition for the largest button was won by Sheila Browbank.

The February meeting will be on Monday, February 11, at 7pm in the Cooper Hall when the speaker will be local businessman Norman Kelly. Visitors and prospective members are most welcome