PRESIDENT Doreen Procter welcomed everyone to the meeting on August 12 in the newly-decorated parish hall.

Eileen Griffith had brought yellow begonias which added another cheerful note.

Doreen thanked her and gave members good news about the very successful garden party in July.

Secretary Jean Riley announced the WI walk on August 27 and Irene Bromilow appealed for more recruits for the Newchurch Christmas choir.

Paddy Poulter reminded everyone of the November photo competition and Doreen reported on her recent visit to Olive Lee, a much-loved member confined to hospital just now.

The September meeting is to be a centennial celebration supper with entertainment and will start at 7pm.

The speaker, Neil Smith, was a delightful surprise with his talk ‘Have Guitar: Will Travel’. He has actually got seven guitars and he treated members to some wonderful tunes from his wide repertoire – jazz, rock, classical, country and western.

He did not turn professional until 1968, when he gave up his day job as an engineer with the MoD.

He had already played in clubs and dance venues in the North West and narrowly missed going to Hamburg with the Merseybeats and the Beatles.

As a full-time musician he travelled throughout Britain and in the USA and many parts of Europe, including Greece and the former Soviet Union.

He met lots of interesting people, including Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and his own Greek bodyguard, an ex-partisan.

Many of his experiences were pleasant, such as playing for the Queen Mother at Glamis Castle.

He was not always lucky, however, as he had a narrow escape in Belfast during the Troubles and there was a worse incident when a murderer on the run crashed into his car.

In fact Neil recalled at least nine serious crashes in his touring years.

Paddy Poulter gave the vote of thanks and after tea served by Anne Wharton and Beryl McGuire, Neil chose the August competition winners – Leslie Lloyd coming first, followed by Irene Bromilow and Sylvia Brown.

A quiz closed the evening and members got a last reminder of September's early start.