Kibworth and Smeeton WI

Our last two meetings before the August break were on Zoom, with the hope that we would soon resume our face-to-face meetings.

Crime in the Second World War

Penny Legg told us some fascinating stories about the folklore of Hampshire. She followed this by “Crime in the Second World War: Spivs, Scoundrels, Rogues and Worse!” Undoubtedly the population in general pulled together for the common good during the dark days of war. However, her talk delved into the murky depths of that time. The Blackout, air raids and sirens made crime easier.

For example, people returning home from air raid shelters would find belongings had been stolen, and damaged buildings were looted. Many police forces were understaffed and it was difficult to prevent and detect crime. The Black Market proliferated, with rogues up to all kinds of tricks, such as syphoning off petrol to sell it on. The murder rate increased between 1941-45, blackouts and raids providing cover for murder and disposal of bodies.

A famous case was that of serial killer Gordon Frederick Cummins, a married airman nicknamed “The Blackout Ripper” because of the gruesome nature of the murders he committed. Executed in 1942, it was believed that war caused him to snap.

Gordon Cummins - The Blackout Ripper
Gordon Cummins – The Blackout Ripper

Kibworth Hall

On a much happier note, our members were very pleased to have their first opportunity to meet since March 2020. On 20 August an outing to Kibworth Hall was arranged for 35 of us to visit the house and gardens and enjoy a cream tea.

Kibworth Hall
Kibworth Hall

The Hall has been a school, a hospital and, over time, a family home. On arrival we were welcomed by our host, David, who took us to the South Terrace. We could sit here and admire its amazing panoramic views of this corner of Leicestershire.

Beautifully decorated with bunting

He had gone to a lot of trouble for us, putting up colourful bunting and a portrait of The Queen. Our host treated us to a refreshing glass of sparkling wine. We then enjoyed delicious scones with cream and strawberries organised by our committee.

A lovely cream tea
A lovely cream tea

Afterwards we were split into groups and taken on a tour of the Hall. The rooms were beautifully restored in keeping with the building. There were gorgeous flowers everywhere, even in the huge kitchen. One of the walls, covered in antique blue plates, was particularly eye-catching. One of the groups gave a rousing rendition of “Jerusalem” for David. Before we left, our charming host thanked us and we in turn thanked him for his kindness and hospitality. We gave a donation for MacMillan Nurses.

Kibworth Bowling Club

On Wednesday 25 August we had another social event, this time an enjoyable afternoon at Kibworth Bowling Club. Three groups of ladies played, with varying degrees of skill! Other members went along as spectators, chatting and catching up with each other as they sat outside the clubhouse. Members of the club made us very welcome, offering us tea, coffee and biscuits during the interval. Thanking the club for their hospitality, we gave them a donation for Admiral Nurses.

We are very much looking forward to resuming our normal meetings and having a full programme through to Christmas. Our first, on 9 September, is “Smile Please, Say Cheese” and takes place before this Chronicle’s distribution. We’re delighted to have increased our membership despite the lockdowns and restrictions. We are always pleased to welcome visitors who can sample our meetings, which are held on the second Thursday of the month.

At our next meeting we will be entertained by “The Pumpkin Man”, Russell Atwood, on Thursday, 14 October at 7.30 in the Kibworth Grammar School Hall.

Pat Sharman