Leonard Stanley WI with June Dolphin from Operation Christmas Child and Neighbourhood Warden, Andy Beamish

BEFORE Christmas our members, with the help of other local friends, were able to send 64 boxes filled with goodies for distribution by Operation Christmas Child.

(We subsequently heard that this year our gifts went to Bulgaria).

So it was very apt that our speaker for the first meeting of 2018 was June Dolphin who has been a tireless worker for the organisation for many years.

She had been to Zambia in a group of 12 (self-funded) supporters to help distribute the gifts and she was able to share with us in the most vivid way her experiences there.

In a country of 600,000 orphans there is much poverty, and it was very moving to hear about the children's reactions on receiving their boxes.

June spoke from the heart and we all felt warmed to have contributed a little to a child's otherwise rather cheerless Christmas.

After welcome cups of tea we were happy to meet our Neighbourhood Warden, Andy Beamish.

Having established that he was not from Neighbourhood Watch we realised that we knew all too little about the work of the wardens and were surprised at the range of Andy's activities.

He was able to give us useful advice on home security, avoiding scams and making sure that our contactless cards were not being misused.

Several members were glad to take up the offer of a home security check and now that we know his phone number we shall doubtless be happy to contact him on matters of local concern.

Before our next meeting on February 12, when Ann Taylor from Stroud Museum will bring along her memory box to share with us, we shall have had an afternoon of Scrabble and Whist and a belated Christmas lunch at the Beacon, so we shall not lack entertainment.