Hastings Battleaxe steps down….

A quick post. Hastings Battleaxe steps down from what?  Being the President of Hastings Ore WI, which I have done for the last five years. Why? It has to be done, to allow the group to move forward and change. How does it feel – very strange.

Shiny WI President’s badge – gone.

Last Tuesday was our Annual General Meeting, so I gave up both the role as President, and my position on the Committee.  My friend Jan did the same- she was President before me – originally I took over from her because she was ill, but then carried on. Jan has been Treasurer for the last few years. She is also the last remaining founder member on the Committee, so change will be inevitable.

We warned the others on the Committee, and the rest of the membership, of our intention to do this at the 2018 AGM, and have kept on about it ever since, but it did not bring others rushing forward to take on the roles. We have got a replacement Treasurer, but the President’s job will now be a joint enterprise between two slightly reluctant colleagues who have only undertaken to do it for a further year.

I know from my job as an East  Sussex Trustee (which am keeping on) that the WI as an organisation sees WI groups fold because they can’t get people to take on the officers’ roles. Generally though, those are small village-type WIs where the members are often inhibited from taking on more by advancing age. Hastings Ore should be different – we are still growing, with 74 members, many of whom are well capable… so, we shall see. However, it does seem to be a worry right across society – too few people volunteering, too many jobs to do.

I was a very active, ‘hands-on’ President, and I sense that might have been off-putting – people thinking the job was too daunting. Hopefully, once people see that the job can change hands and be carried out successfuly, they will be more inclined to volunteer. Again, many WI groups find themselves with Presidents who have done the job for so long that it is impossible to imagine anyone else doing it… we don’t want that. Also, me and Jan had to leave the Comittee – our successors don’t want people sitting there saying ‘we tried that, but it didn’t work…’

All groups have to change and move forward…. so, lots of good reasons for making the change, but how does it feel?

At the moment, not very good. At the AGM, the change happens suddenly. You conduct half the meeting as President, but then the Committee for next year is elected, and it is time to elect a new President. The old one vacates the top table, takes off the badge, and sits with the rest of the membership. That’s it. Of course me and Jan had presents and things, but I felt a bit rootless and bereft…

Here is a post from a couple of years ago about being President...  As I said in that post, Battleaxe feels most comfortable when she is in charge.  She is going to have to adapt….

The effects were dulled because we had our Bazaar on Saturday, and I had undertaken to do large chunks of the organising, which I still carried on with. But now that’s over too… Here’s the last-ever photo of Battleaxe looking vaguely official – with James Bacon, the Deputy Mayor, at the Bazaar.

Still, it gives me some space to do new things….


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