More than 100 WAY members braved the snow and ice to head up to WAY's Annual General Meeting and 21st birthday celebration in Newcastle in March for a burst of warmth and laughter that was enough to melt away the winter blues.
We were treated to a side-splitting hour with X-rated widowed comedienne Robyn Perkins, showstopping tricks from a talented magician, photo booth antics and breathtaking views across the River Tyne at the Hilton Hotel Newcastle Gateshead before dancing the night away with old friends and new.
Here are some photos to give you a flavour of the weekend...
There were tears too as we bid farewell to our outgoing Chairman Georgia Elms, who received a standing ovation from members for her tireless work leading the charity over the past eight years. We also said goodbye to our Treasurer Debbie Knivett, who has looked after WAY’s finances for seven years.
There were other changes at the top, with several trustees standing down to make way for new members: Ed Spooner, Martin Eggleston and Jane Bayliss were warmly thanked for their fantastic contribution to WAY’s board.
WAY members also extended a warm welcome to our new trustees, who were officially appointed during the business part of the meeting on Saturday – joining existing board members Stuart Scarbrough and Bill James.
Our four new board members are:
- Frank Warn – widowed in 1982 at the age of 34, Frank is a qualified accountant.
- Lorraine McGinlay – widowed in 2016, Lorraine is a qualified psychotherapist.
- Graham Briscoe – a chartered engineer and a certified management consultant.
- Chris Lima – a former Managing Director with a 13-year army career under his belt.
Chris and Graham are the first non-WAY members to be appointed to WAY’s trustee board and bring with them an enormous wealth of expertise.
We were also pleased to announce the winners of two very special WAY awards at this weekend's AGM:
First, Berkshire Area Contact Norman Smart was named as our 2018 Mandy Burrows Award recipient – an award that recognises the achievements of WAY volunteers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty over the past 12 months. Norman was recognised for his commitment to WAY as an Area Contact, for his active role in WAY Wocs and for his admirable baking skills!
We also gave out our second Helen Bailey Blog Award in honour of the late writer Helen Bailey who inspired so many people through her blog Planet Grief and book, When Bad Things Happen in Good Bikinis.
We are delighted to announce that WAY members chose Jessisca Haslem-Bantoft for her heartbreaking blog about being a twice-widowed mum of three: To Widowhood And Beyond, Adventures From The Rainbow.
Here are some photos by picturesbybish to give you a flavour of the weekend...