Our chairman Doreen Armstrong, welcomed 55 members to our May meeting.

She informed the members that our Christmas lunch had been provisionally booked at The Bridges.

She reported the visit to Chatsworth House for the Tulip and Flower Festival had been thoroughly enjoyed and that very good weather had helped to make the first stroll of the year to Lightswood Park very successful.

Helen Plowman carried out the monthly free raffle and prizes of toiletries were won by Doreen Smith, Beryl Rogers and Brenda Hackett.

The committee reports were given. Information on the next outing to the Red Kite Centre in July was given and the next strolling group will meet to walk around Haden Hill Park in June.

The charities were again well supported and Elsie Weatherhogg, our charities co-ordinator reported she had made a further delivery of knitted articles to the Premature Baby Unit at Russells Hall Hospital for which they were extremely grateful.

The West Midlands Federation Annual Lunch will be held at the Mill on July 26. Tickets have now been received for the HQ AGM in Birmingham on June 14.

The highlight of our meeting was the presence of our speaker Ken Allen, son of Dolly Allen and his wife Maureen, were visiting us for Ken to tell us all about his mother.

He held us enthralled as he related the story of Dolly from her birth in 1906 to her death in 1990.

She started entertaining at a very early age and did, in fact, win a talent contest at a local drill hall when she was eight. For this she won 6d and was presented with her prize by Wee George Wood.

Ken and his family have done a great deal of research into Dolly’s background and after her death he wrote and published a book called ‘hello my luvvers’ and many of our ladies took the opportunity to buy a signed copy.

Doreen Smith gave the vote of thanks. It was quite clear that although Dolly had been dead for 20 years, she certainly was not forgotten.

Our next meeting will be on June 23 at 10.30am. Our speaker will be Doug Parrish, who is a magistrate. Our meetings are held at the Moose Hall, Beeches Road, Blackheath.

Visitors are always welcome.