President Joy Bannister welcomed everyone to the April meeting. At the recent Cliffside group meeting, Tiz Bacon won the competition for a garden on a plate and had brought her exhibit for members to see.
Members will be visiting the trinity centre on April 29 to see the Gainsborough Musical Theatre’s production of Oklahoma.
There will be a litter pick on Monday, May 9, starting from the green at 7pm and will be followed by refreshments. Members of the parish council will be invited to join the WI for this occasion and other parishioners are welcome, too.
On Wednesday, May 11, there will be a visit to Kirton Lindsey Garden Centre for shopping and afternoon tea. The President then introduced Frank and Veronica Tett who spoke on hedgehog welfare.
As well as several household pets they also care for a large number of hedgehogs. Last year the Tetts took in 297 hedgehogs in ten months. Some of these were hoglets – motherless baby hedgehogs which had been found bandoned and had been brought in by the public. After a 30 day pregnancy the sow gives birth to between one to five hoglets which after eight weeks can fend for themselves.
Hedgehogs can live between six and seven years in the wild and nine to ten in captivity. Frank suggested that anyone who has a fence set in concrete might like to provide a four inch hole at the base to allow hedgehogs to pass between gardens as it is beneficial for them to travel around.
At a fund-raising event at Blenheim Palace their host, the Duke of Marlborough, took a great interest in the work the Tetts carry out and as they were, at the time, applying for charitable status he volunteered to be their patron. Star of the evening was Andrew, a three-year-old hedgehog who is blind, so cannot be released back into the wild which is the Tetts ultimate aim for all their patients, when possible.
Frank gave some tips on feeding hedgehogs – no bread and milk, please, as milk is harmful to their digestive systems. He also answered several questions and told members that charitable status had now been granted and the intention was to build a permanent facility which would be registered as ‘Andrew’s Hedgehog Hospital’. On behalf of the members Hilary Harris thanked Frank and Veronica for a most interesting, entertaining and educational evening.
The competition for a hedgehog made from a vegetable was won by Sue Robinson with Pauline Alder and Wendy Taylor in second and third places. The lucky draw was won by Anne Else and Lesley Bird, and the lottery by Shirley Bulmer.
Next month the Institute will be visiting Pattie Phillips’ organic farm at Snitterby. Members are advised to wear appropriate footwear for a tour of the farm. Will anyone wishing to attend please ensure they have registered their intention with a member of the Committee at least a week prior to the visit to assist with transport and catering arrangements.