Recent Speakers

Thank you to all our past speakers.

2021 Speakers


Once again we had a brilliant speaker at our monthly meeting. Ann King spoke about the history of herbal medicine, folklore and general overview of commonly used herbs and weeds available this time of year. We had a super turnout for this speaker and each member walked away with a free sample from Ann.

Our original speaker for this month, Penny Dean, tested positive for Covid so Ann stepped in at the last minute.


October’s guest speaker was Greenfield resident Phaedra Patrick, an internationally bestselling author who has been published in over 20 countries around the world. She gave a fascinating talk about how she became an author and read a passage from her book ‘The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper’.


We were delighted to welcome Debbie Abrahams MP to our monthly meeting. She was certainly a popular speaker judging by the number of members and visitors that joined us. She gave us an insight into her work as a constituency MP and the achievements and setbacks she experiences daily. Of increasing concern, especially for women MPs, is the rise in on-line abuse and developing a thick skin is essential.


It was a tale of two meetings for Saddleworth WI this month. We are so pleased that we took the plunge and had our meeting at The White Hart, it was a very rewarding night full of friends chatting and catching up with each other. We would like to thank all our members for supporting us at either of the meetings but especially those of you that came to The White Hart, it was nice to see a crowded room. Let’s hope this is the beginning of getting back to normal. We also had a Zoom speaker for our members not yet ready to venture out into crowded areas.

Two meetings at the same time!

AUGUST 2021 via ZOOM

August Zoom speaker was Jane Barnes, the wife of a 3rd generation dairy farmer. As it was a beautiful evening she first showed us around her farm, the cows, Norman her horse and we even saw a new born calf, only a few hours old. Jane gave a fascinating talk. She told us about her life and that of her family, about her cows, the milk they produce and the stilton cheese made from it. Jane is passionate about dairy farming and that came across during her talk. Later it was suggested that we arrange a WI trip to her farm and that is something that we are looking into.

AUGUST 2021 at the White Hart

For our first “Face to Face” meeting in almost 18 months we welcomed Anne Bromley and her guide dog, Turner, from The Guide Dogs’ Association. Anne gave us an entertaining and informative talk on how to become a dog trainer and the exceptional lengths the dogs and trainers go to in order to make the grade. Some of the members took the opportunity to spoil Turner with a hug. We also heard stories of how a guide dog can change the life of the person lucky enough to be given a guide dog, it’s a very worthy cause. She sent the lovely message below:

“It was a delight to do the talk last night. My daughter remarked on how nice your ladies were and Turner had so much attention and cuddling he has slept all day today. I did get the feeling that people were interested and appreciative… we were looked after beautifully. I hope that last night was the beginning of something like normality for both our organisations.”

JULY 2021 via ZOOM

Former CSI Hayley Scott of The Forensic Experience gave us a fascinating talk about the scope of the work of forensic scientists and their importance in helping to convict perpetrators of crimes. She related stories of cases she had been involved with and how forensic findings had influenced the result. She said “Silent Witness” was the closest TV depiction of their job. She is now speaking to schools and colleges and running workshops.

Here is the Fingerprint activity sheet . You can use ink pads, artistic paints or a felt tip pen to take the fingerprints with and then do the coding.

JUNE 2021 via ZOOM

Stephen Wells told us The Story of Butlin’s Holiday Camps and how he went from being a Butlin’s Redcoat to being Entertainment Executive responsible for putting on the biggest names in show business. Many of us holidayed at ‘Butlin’s’ in our childhood and this brought back some memories.

MAY 2021 via ZOOM

Penny Simmonds, Reflexologist, has run her own therapy business since she qualified as a Reflexologist in 1992. She told us about the origins of reflexology and the different parts of the body that are reflected in our hands. While watching mini videos, we practised on our own hands.

Click on the links below for the charts Penny showed us.
Footmap – lateral
Footmap – plantar
Hand Reflexology Chart

APRIL 2021 via ZOOM

Liza Jones talked to us about Knickers! The history of underwear, with examples from her collection. Many members remembered their own experiences of first bras, liberty bodices and stockings.


Chris Duffin recounted some of the many stories and incidents from her 20 year career as a Prison Governor in the UK Prison Service. More of these feature in her book ‘Jail Tales’.


Sam Durrani, a professional stuntman, gave us a fascinating insight into the world of stuntmen and women.

2020 Speakers


Lynn Barrow from “Quirky Bird Watercolours” gave us a painting demonstration and, following her brilliant demo, we created Christmas card designs. A fun evening, even just to watch.


David Allen welcomed us to the extraordinary world of Victorian etiquette! The Do’s and Don’ts of the Victorian Upper Class. What to wear, what to say, how to find a suitor, the mysterious calling cards, dinner party etiquette, and the language of the fan. A fun meeting!   


Frances Carlaw ‘The Pearl Lady’ gave us a lively and entertaining talk about the history and science of the world’s most secretive and only living gemstone, the pearl.
Visit her website: The Pearl Lady


Andrew Nelson gave us a brilliant talk on “Women in Art”. He looked in detail at four paintings from different centuries and revealed fascinating secrets about them.

AUGUST 2020 via ZOOM

Misba Khan gave us a fascinating insight into her part in an “All-Woman expedition to the North Pole”.

JULY 2020 via ZOOM

Sally Mabey gave an interesting talk “From Eggheads to Mastermind” about the Glamorgan Poppies WI team’s winning appearance on Eggheads and her own appearances on Mastermind.

JULY 2020 via ZOOM

Alison Marsden from Gardening by Design in Kent gave a talk on “Right plant, right place: understanding what will thrive”.

JUNE 2020 via ZOOM

Beth Butcher from Finchley WI spoke about her job working with deaf teenagers and gave us a taster of British Sign Language.


Judith Barker, television and theatre actor, pictured here with her grandaughter and Cath Fletcher, Saddleworth WI member


Michelle Nye, owner of Chocolates and Truffles of Skipton, pictured here with Pam Armstrong, President of Saddleworth WI

2019 Speakers


Robert Ellams, close-up magician


Glenn Clarke of Oldham Foodbank, pictured here with Pam Armstrong, President of Saddleworth WI and donations from SWI members which filled 25 shopping bags


Miriam and Dawn from Transport for Greater Manchester


Alan Redfern and Tony Plant of Blood Bikes, Manchester


Pam Jones of Saddleworth Cookery School


Darcy Browne, Graduate of Newcastle University and member of Team Kenya

JULY 2019

George Pilkington of Nurturing Nature

JULY 2019

A special event – Afternoon tea with Edwina Currie – former Member of Parliament, novelist, radio and tv presenter and reality tv star

JUNE 2019

Carol Talbot, Oldham based author of Working Class Suffragette, The Life of Annie Kenney, pictured with Saddleworth WI member Sue Greenhalgh


Suzanne Thorpe, Owner of the Frostery, Uppermill and specialist cake maker with appearances on channel 4’s Extreme Cake Maker

MAY 2019

PC Lee Cullen
GMP’s Saddleworth South Neighbourhood Beat Officer


Sara Rowbotham (pictured with SWI President Pam Armstrong) Councillor and Deputy Leader of Rochdale B.C.
Leader of NHS Crisis Team that exposed the Rochdale child sex abuse scandal