The Vice-President, Helen Jamieson, welcomed members to the November meeting. She introduced a new member, Mrs Caroline Henderson who had recently moved to Portstewart and asked everyone to give Caroline a very warm welcome.
The Secretary read the minutes of the last meeting which were approved and signed. A letter of thanks had been received from Margery Thompson who chaired the AGM in October. The next event on the WI calendar is ‘Christmas Sparkle’ which will take place on Saturday, 19th November 2016 in Armagh City Hotel. Helen introduced the speaker for the evening Mr Len Quigg.
Mr Quigg gave a power point presentation and talk on his great uncle, Mr Robert Quigg, V.C. Robert had been brought up in Bushmills where his father was a farm labourer and part-time boatman at the Causeway. He was born on 12th March 1885 and attended the Causeway National School until he was 13 when he left and became a farm labourer like his father before him. He would have gained employment at Hiring Fairs on a six monthly term. He was eventually employed at Dundarave House and Estate, the home of the MacNaughton family, the landed gentry of the area where he was employed as a gardener. When war broke out in 1914 he enlisted in the 12th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles. Training was carried out in Bushmills, Bangor and in Sussex and he was posted to the trenches in France where the battle of the Somme took place. He was awarded the Victory Cross for saving the lives of seven of his comrades by venturing out into no man’s land under heavy enemy bombardment. He tried to rescue his commanding officer, Sir Harry MacNaughton but was unable to locate him and his body was never found. He was presented with the Victory Cross by King George V at Sandringham on 8th January 2017 and promoted to sergeant on 11th January 2017. His picture was used on recruiting posters for the army and he continued to serve in the army until May 1926. Robert died in May 1955 at the age of 70 and is buried at Billy Parish Church. Funds were raised by the Commemorative Society who commissioned a bronze statue of Robert which was erected in Bushmills and unveiled by her Majesty the Queen on 28th June 2016. Alison Lamont thanked Mr Quigg for a very informative and interesting talk and presented him with a gift.
The monthly competition for a ‘Walking Stick’ was won by Alison Lamont, 2nd Helen Jamieson, 3rd Maureen Garvin. Maureen also won the Margaret Pollock Trophy for ‘three scones’.