Recent Speakers

Thank you to all our past speakers.

2023 Speakers


Lucy Thompson came to talk about the Nipple Innovation Project (NiP) the UK’s first mastectomy tattoo charity which was founded in 2018. Lucy was originally working as a traditional tattoo artist who had gained experience of tattooing on scars when she was asked to do a nipple tattoo. Recognising the significant psychological impact that the procedure the NHS offer was having, Lucy undertook further training and started to offer nipple tattoos for free. She set up NiP to provide education and funding for breast cancer survivors and to bring together a directory of tattoo artists with the skills needed to provide this service. She is working hard to raise awareness with both medical practitioners and breast cancer survivors of the consequences that having a semi-permanent tattoo can have, in order that people can make an informed choice and know that there is an alternative permanent option available and where to go should they decide that is what they want. As NiP is a charity there is a need to raise funds and awareness and Lucy showed us examples of T shirts they sell for £20.  


Our planned speaker on the topic if ADHD and autism didn’t arrive, and we will try and re-arrange a future date. However, all was not lost as one of our own members Alison Blake offered to do a talk about her life as a teacher in Essex and what prompted her to get into teaching in the first place. Totally unrehearsed Alison filled the slot with a passion that showed through even though she has recently retired from teaching and moved from Essex to Oldham. She started in general education and then went into an even more challenging area, teaching boys who had committed crimes.
We could well lose one of members to the professional speaker circuit. Very engaging and enlightening.

JULY 2023

John Bird RSPB Dovestone and Dave Speller from United Utilities came to talk about the RSPB/United Utilities conservation partnership which started in 2010 and is focused on restoring the water quality, the land and the natural balance of the habitat which have eroded over 200 years.
John and Dave gave a passionate insight into one of our much-loved local treasures and it is reassuring to know that it is being looked after so well for all to enjoy for the foreseeable future.

JUNE 2023

Members took part in a mock court trial, directed by two JPs from the Manchester circuit. This was a follow-on from a previous presentation explaining the role of JPs. Our budding actors played roles of defendant, complainant, witnesses, usher, legal advisers, prosecution and defence solicitors, bench judges. A brilliant performance!  Our members were the jury and had to decide the verdict. JPs discussed their verdict privately. Jury members found ‘not guilty’, apart from one person, and the JPs considered the defendant ‘guilty’. This highlights the difficult and responsible task of the voluntary role of JP, and those called up for jury service.

MAY 2023

Melanie Latham gave an amusing and informative demonstration of how she makes her delicious chutneys, with the opportunity to purchase some of her wares. 
This was followed by cheese and biscuits for tasting the chutneys and a royal toast to our new King.

APRIL 2023

For our April meeting we welcomed Dean Whiteside from the newly refurbished Manchester Museum. Since it reopened after 5 years of renovation it has been attracting 1,000 visitors per day.  Dean explained about the different rooms that are used to display some of the 4.5 million objects they hold. These include the Exhibition Hall for touring exhibitions, The Golden Mummies of Egypt, The China Culture Gallery and the South Asia Galley. Their oldest exhibit is a bacterium that is 4.6 billion years old and is in their Fossil Gallery.  A visit to the museum is highly recommended, but don’t expect one trip to be enough.


Magistrates in the Community Hillary Clayton JP and Nick Sheardown JP spoke about their role, duties, eligibility, and training, Including the prominence of female magistrates, particularly in family courts. There are always 3 Magistrates to ensure a majority decision and are supported by a legal advisor. Tasks undertaken include hearing cases in criminal and family court, applications for search warrants and bail hearings. Their decisions include community orders, community payback, a fine, conditional, or absolute discharge and custodial sentences up to 1 year. Cases are progressed to the Crown Court when the appropriate sentence is greater than 12 months.


Reverend David Ireland, CEO of Francis House Children’s Hospice and a local Dobcross resident. David’s talk took us on a journey from the inception of the Hospice in 1990 utilising a converted Convent, to the present day where they have purpose-built premises to care for both children and teenagers/young adults. He provided incredible insight into how the approach to everything they do to support children and young people with life-limiting and life-threatening illness is tailored to individual care needs, abilities and desires to enable them to live as full a life as possible. From small beginnings, the Hospice currently serves the whole of the northwest supporting 650 families and has gained international recognition as a centre of excellence. David spoke about the heavy reliance on donations to cover the running costs which are over 4 million pounds a year, but it was very clear from the breadth of services provided and the innovative approach to care and the use of equipment and technology, that all the funding provided makes such a huge difference.

2022 Speakers


Rebecca O’Donnell and her colleagues from O’Donnell Solicitors. They spoke about a number of subjects on which they advise including wills, lasting power of attorney, wealth protection, pre and post nuptial agreements, post-divorce financial implications, living together agreements and gifts to offspring versus money and/or items given on a loan basis. The talk ended with a quiz which as well as being fun, helped to clarify and embed the information provided.  


Father Sumner spoke about references from various scriptures which described differences in people and cultures as a good thing and the direction given to us to embrace those differences. He talked about activities his church organises such as choirs held monthly with choir singers from various faiths with some singing in different languages. He also spoke about the work he has done for several years in collaboration with other faith leaders to bring people together, create greater understanding of and to celebrate the differences in one another’s identity.


Babs Bray spoke about Decluttering and brought copies of her book – The A-Z of Declutter. The members enjoyed Babs’ quiz and the video of her daughter’s charity to which she donates all money from her book .


Baerbel Grayson spoke about growing up in West Germany when the Berlin Wall separated the West and East regions of the City and her adult life as a German Teacher at Bluecoat School. Her memories of the inhumane treatment the then Soviet communist leadership levied against their own people and her experiences as a teacher taking Oldham pupils to visit Berlin were fascinating and balanced well with a sprinkle of humour.

JULY 2022

Sarah Kelly spoke about her role as a Press Officer for GMP during the Shipman Investigation. Sarah did a fantastic job of covering various aspects of the investigation from different perspectives and was very engaging.

After the break Sarah Higgins gave an informative talk about the menopause and other pelvic health issues. It was evident that Sarah has a lot of expertise in this area and she left a flyer for the physiotherapy treatment she provides to share with all the members.

JUNE 2022

Saddleworth WI started the Jubilee Weekend off with a good old fashioned knees up. We started the night off with a toast to the Queen, we sang, played games and enjoyed a “Royal Quiz”. Our members threw themselves into the theme of the night by dressing to impress. We had prizes for the “Best Dressed”, won by our President, Pam Armstrong and “Best Hat”, won by Anne Marie Perkins. We played “Guess the Colour of the Queen’s Outfit” and “Pin the Crown on the Queen” – great fun. At the end of the evening we had a ”Sing-a-long” with plenty of flag waving and cheers. Thank you to the members that attended, a very good turnout.

MAY 2022

We had a treat at May meeting when Misba Khan came to speak to us about her trip to the North Pole with an All-Female expedition. The training and the hardship she endured was amazing, but she returned filled with enthusiasm to do more – Everest base camp last week! What an awesome, inspirational lady, and such a nice person. We had heard her speak on Zoom during lockdown but to meet her in person was a delight. A film of the expedition should be released in the Autumn and we can’t wait to see it, but no-one was volunteering to copy her journey!

APRIL 2022

Local Olympian Brogan Crowley, the daughter of one of our members, gave an insight into the hard work and dedication behind the successes of team GB. To get to the standard of being chosen to be part of the Beijing 2022 team takes commitment above and beyond and Brogan has just what it takes. To be in the presence of an Olympian is a special moment, especially for a very proud mum in our audience. Thank you Brogan for letting us in to your world and good luck for the future.


Our speakers Mick Sheehan and Liam Mallinson of Home Instead tackled the very difficult subject of Dementia. Mick explained how to recognise the early signs and understand how to handle a loved one with this very common condition. We all came away from this meeting better informed and able to deal, in a caring way, with this illness if it ever happened in our own families. A very good, informed speaker.


Because of the COVID figures, the decision was made not to hold the meeting at Boarshurst Band Club. The members were informed of the cancellation of Ex-Mayor of Oldham, Ginny Alexander, as our speaker for the evening. Instead our speaker on Zoom was Sarah Slater, Guide Lecturer, Hampton Court Palace who gave us a talk on “Secrets, Scandal and Salacious Gossip of the Royal Court 1660 – 1830″. What a fantastic, knowledgeable, entertaining and interesting speaker.

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