Meet The Operations Team for Selby Swans W.I.

Our committee is made up of women of various ages and backgrounds with everyone bringing different experience to the table to ensure we have a vibrant programme of events and activities.

Susie Brown – President

Hi, I’m Susie and I’m proud to be the current President of our lovely W.I. I joined to make friends in Selby and I can honestly say I have met dozens of great people and got involved in all sorts of things as a result. Joining the committee was a natural step and I enjoy making a contribution to the smooth and enjoyable running of our W.I. alongside the other enthusiastic committee volunteers.

I’m married to Gordon Brown (not that one!) and have three grown up daughters, one grown up son and three grandsons. I work in Leeds, managing a charity called Zest and its social enterprise: Leeds Cookery School. I love the great outdoors and enjoy walking, camping, cycling and kayaking – preferably on flat water! I’m passionate about history and love travelling and learning. Since joining the Selby Swans I’ve learnt how to make jam and chutney, to knit and crochet, and visited some lovely places. I had a reduce my work hours to make space for it all! What on earth did I do before I joined the Selby Swans?

Jennie Marshall – Vice President and Membership Secretary

Hi everyone!  I’m usually the one welcoming people to the meeting,  popping up at the meetings to ask ladies to get involved with a new charity initiative with the radio, wreaking havoc on the craft demos, or bombarding inboxes with the newsletter. I’m a Leeds girl born and bred and moved to Selby 8 years ago (as the houses were cheaper and commuting was easier!) and I have to say we love living here with everything on our doorstep. I live with my husband Andrew, our dog Izzy (who’s a black Labrador) and our 2 rabbits Belle and Jasper. I don’t have children (the animals are my children) and I’m from a fairly small family (I’m an only child).

Work wise, I’m the Learning Programme Director for a predominantly UK based learning company. In simple terms I look after large scale corporate learning programmes and if I’m not doing that I’m talking at training sessions or seminars. The best thing about my job is the people I get to meet and the confidence it has given me over the years to stand up and talk in front of people.

When I moved to Selby I left behind my close friends who live over in Haworth, so for the first few years I kept busy with work and my other passion – baking. Despite being in a job where I meet a lot of people I started to feel quite isolated and missed my friends terribly. So I decided it would be good to meet some like-minded women near me who like to bake and make jam so I looked up the local WI. Luckily for me, the new WI was in the pipeline so I attended the interest meetings and despite swearing I wouldn’t get involved in the committee (as my job is a busy one that takes me all over the country), before I knew it my hand was in the air volunteering for the committee! The good thing is as Membership and Communications Secretary, I can still contribute whilst working away – nights in hotels give me the perfect chance to write the newsletters! Since joining, I’ve found a whole new group of friends and I can’t imagine life now without my committee WhatsApp notification bonging at least once a day!

Glynis Rushby – Secretary

Hi I’m Glynis. I came to live in Selby from my home town Leeds after marrying Phil in the late 1970s. Our two sons Tom and Ed are married and we have two wonderful grandsons and another grandchild on the way. I gained an English Literature and Women’s Studies degree in my late thirties and went on to work for eighteen years in Higher Education as a careers advisor until July 2016. I loved working at the university and miss being part of the student / staff community. Phil and I have been avid motorhomers for several years and enjoy travelling around and visiting new places. Grandson James is getting used to coming along with us; we’re looking forward to his younger brother William joining us next year.

After leaving work I was keen to utilise my skills and experience so in April this year I became a volunteer at Selby Library where I enjoy doing my weekly afternoon shift. I am also a volunteer befriender with the mental health charity MIND.

So why did I join the WI? I felt that through working outside Selby for years I didn’t know many people. Joining the WI was a way of connecting with other women in the area and hopefully establishing new relationships. Being a member of Selby Swans has more than met my expectations! I am proud to be a member of the committee and feel that I am now part of a community again. I enjoy photography and am an avid reader. Recently I have learned to crochet, with tuition from a fellow Selby Swan, and enjoy going to a weekly crochet and chat group.

Hilary Shepherd – Treasurer

Hi, I’m Hilary and a Selby girl born and bred. I can trace my ancestors in Selby back to the 184O’s but that’s not to say I haven’t lived elsewhere in the country. It was whilst I was living in north Wales in the 1980’s that I first joined the WI. So I suppose what I bring to the committee is experience but I tend to let the younger generation take the lead. The WI hasn’t changed that much over the years – its core values are still the same as they were when I joined all those years ago.

I’m a mother of two grown up children and ‘Nana’ to one wonderful granddaughter. Both my children live away, unfortunately, so I don’t see that much of them but it’s great when we do have chance to get together. For many years I was a Civil Servant but for the last 10 years before I retired I worked for Aviva in York as a Business Analyst. I did take a break when my kids where younger to gain a degree from York University. I wanted to prove I could do it, I was lucky and only had a small student loan to pay off!

Until last year I volunteered as a Governor of one of the local schools but now I’m a National Trust volunteer working every Thursday morning at the Treasurer’s House in York. I’m secretary of the History Research Group there too. Apart from that I enjoy gardening, cooking (I’m a founder member of the Jammie Dodgers!) and reading as well as any craft but primarily knitting and crochet.

Sue Moxon – Trips Coordinator and Team Member

Hi! I’m mother to 2 and a Wah -Wah (grandma) to 4. I enjoy travelling and local trips sightseeing. Our last outing was to follow Hadrian’s Wall west to east – a lovey day out!

I took early retirement from Coca-Cola where I investigated complaints – a very interesting and very varied job which took me all over England.

I borrow my family’s dogs so I can walk the Barff without looking out of place! I have being involved with so many different types of people over my life so far but I found that I was missing people in my retirement. So I decided to join the WI and other like-minded ladies who craft, chat and enjoy going on trips out. I am also learning new skills and sharing my skills as a crocheter.

Debby Foulkes – Assistant Programme Secretary and Team Member

I’m Debby and I’m a librarian, writer and mum to Shannon. I’ve lived in Selby most of my life apart from a small stint in London. I’m very proud of my Welsh heritage, (my father is Welsh) as well as my Yorkshire side!

I am obsessed with Harry Potter and Game of Thrones and when I can you will more than likely find me looking at old castles and monasteries, which is another passion.

Astrid Carlile – Team Member and Raffle Coordinator

I’m really enjoying being part of Selby Swans WI. I think we have a great group! I only knew Debby to start with but I have made some good friends.

Myself and Mike have 2 young sons (Henry our eldest is very cheeky). I also have three step children who stay with us regularly so we have a nice and busy home!

I work part time now but I’m still self employed as a beauty therapist. I have a little beauty room based at Community House in Selby called Cape Beauty. I chose the name as I’m originally from near Cape Town in South Africa.

I am very lucky to have travelled a lot including Iceland, St Tropez, Monaco, Santorini to name a few. Myself and Debby aka Maud and Mildred had a great time in Santorini!

I’m learning to crochet (slowly) and enjoy reading crime novels and any books by our own Deborah C Foulkes. I also face paint at events.

Debbie Penny – Minutes Secretary and Team Member

Hi! I’m the other Debbie. I am married to Andrew and have two children. We moved to the rural village of Birkin in 2009 from Mirfield in West Yorkshire, although I am a Leeds lass originally.

I worked in Sales Management within the transport and logistics industry for twenty-five years, taking a career break when we moved to Birkin. Somehow, I ended up becoming the Treasurer for Birkin Church Council and then a Churchwarden. Over the last five years, this has led me into many different areas including project managing a restoration programme for the church, fundraising and lots of networking! I am also a Director along with my husband in our family business which keeps us very busy.

We are keen boaters and spend as much time as possible in Hull where our boat, Mutiny is moored and have many adventures on the water. I also love to bake cakes and curl up with a good book – time permitting.

Why did I join the WI? I always had a hankering after joining the WI but work commitments never allowed for it in the past. Quite by chance I saw that the Selby Swans were setting up and I dragged my two friends along with me. I love how there is something for everyone and there is a great feeling of camaraderie between the ladies. I am also a member of the Jammie Dodgers, Jams, Chutneys and Preserves group which is another of my bucket list items ticked off! I now want to learn to knit and crochet.

Lisa Williams – Supper Club Organiser and Team Member

I’m a born and bred Yorkshire lass (born in York) who moved to Wetherby aged 13 where I then lived until I was 19. I went to Jacob Kramer College where I studied pattern cutting and textiles. I moved to North Duffield at 19. I am a mother to 2 children and 2 step children and wife to Paul. I am a self-employed seamstress and have been from leaving college all those years ago.

I joined the WI a year ago as I thought it was about time I joined in something having spent a lot of years with just my own company and it was a very good decision as they are a great bunch of girlies.

Nikki Balfour – Competition Organiser and Team Member

I was born in Bristol but raised in a small village in Somerset, which is now famous as it’s the real location of the family church in Poldark. I moved to Bournemouth as a young woman, where I later met my second husband Gordon, and have since moved firstly to Lincoln and then Selby. Whilst I stayed at home to raise my two boys, I took an Open University degree in English Language and Literature and followed it with a PGCE. I gave teaching a go for a few years before escaping to become a Case Manager and Mortgage Adviser.

I left teaching as it was effecting my mental health and I promised myself I would start doing things for me. Hence I joined the WI! As a result of that I have also joined the craft group on a Tuesday evening and go to the Dining group dinners and theatre trips when I can. I have recently started Hula Hoop lessons, love cycling on my electric bike, walking my rescue rotweiller and exploring in our campervan.

Jocelyn Nelson – Assistant Trips Coordinator and Team Member

I decided to join the WI for the classic reason of making new friends and trying new things. Also, because being a member of the WI is such a quintessentially British thing to do. My favourite experiences so far are the annual trip to Yarndale and making jam with the Jammie Dodgers group.

Originally I’m from California, but I’ve lived in the UK most of my adult life. I was studying at Durham university when I met my now husband and I guess he’s too much of a Yorkshireman to move abroad, so here we are 15 years later. I’ve grown to love all things British, including the WI, and now can’t tolerate weather above 25 C.

I have three young children and spend a lot of time driving them to and fro, but in my spare time I love to craft. Crochet, knitting, sewing clothes, quilting, embroidery, cross stitch: I love it all! Luckily, I’ve met so many like minded, crafty Swans. I also really enjoy 20th century history and modern social history. On holiday last year, Ian and I took the children to visit Ypres and some of the battlefields of WWI and it seems like my eldest might also have a penchant for history.

I’m pleased to be on the committee this year and I’m looking forward to more jam, more crafty days out, and getting to know my fellow members better.

Kerry Barber – Team Member

Originally from Barnsley I now live in Whitley with my husband and two teenage daughters.  I’ve been a member of Selby Swans W.I. from the very beginning and am very proud to be a member of the Ops Team.

I’m a qualified librarian but currently am a stay at home mum.  I enjoy being a member of the Jammie Dodgers which I joined in order to get free jam.  I also enjoy walking, reading and I am a keen family historian.