The September meeting of East Markham WI began with members and visitors observing a minute’s silence in memory of Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty had a long association with the WI, joining Sandringham WI in 1943, where the Queen Mother and Queen Mary also had been members.
The speaker for the evening was Keith Hanson RVM, a former Beefeater and Chief Exhibitor at the Tower of London.
On a family visit to the Tower of London, his wife told him she would like to live there, little imagining that one day she would do so. Keith, who had served in the military for 30 years, applied to become a Yeoman Warder in 1997. After a period of training and learning all about the Tower and its history, proudly donned the familiar ‘Beefeater’ uniform: a blue outfit for regular working days and the beautiful red one for ceremonial events.
Keith served as a Yeoman Warder for three years before being appointed Chief Exhibitor. The history of the Tower was the focus of Keith’s illustrated talk, from when building started in 1087 and running through the many stories associated with it. ‘The Ceremony of the Keys’ is the oldest ceremony in the world and is carried out each night at 10.00pm when God Save the King is shouted, the Last Post played, and the Tower is locked for the night.
Keith gave this most interesting and informative talk with enthusiasm and humour and was rewarded with generous applause from all present. Afterwards he was very generous with his time answering questions and talking more about his time at the Tower.
Refreshments were served, the raffle drawn and WI business followed with notices of future events. On Tuesday 15th November Sue Burton’s talk is ‘Looking Good with Colour’, to which new members and visitors (for a fee of £4.00) are very welcome to join. For more Information ring 01777 871706 or 01777 871567.