London-Middlesex Branch News
Co- Presidents 2020-2022
Left: Sandy O’Brien
Right : Vera Rowland
Welcome to the London and Middlesex RWTO. We have a vibrant Branch of over 200 women teachers, with many activities and opportunities to volunteer, be social and make new friends or reconnect with old friends or former colleagues. We are committed to helping one another and our community.
Scroll through the sections or tabs and see what we are ABOUT, what we offer by way of EVENTS as well as the local CHARITIES we support. Our archived annual NEWSLETTERS will tell you a little more about us and since a picture is worth a thousand words, check out our GALLERY.
We look forward to getting to know you.
Sandra and Vera
Membership: Karen Tierney
Who To Contact?
We are always happy to talk with retired teachers from all aspects of the teaching profession, elementary, secondary, college, private schools. Contact Karen Tierney for membership information as listed above.
From September 2020 until May 2021 the co-presidents held monthly Zoom meetings for all members with speakers as well as giving business news and a little opportunity for socializing on Zoom. All the executive meetings were held via Zoom.
In September 2021, a luncheon meeting was held at the RiverBend Golf Community club house with about 75 people in attendance. Everyone attending had to show proof of double vaccination and ID as well as complete a pre-screening form on the internet before being admitted to the grounds and building as per provincial requirements for dining indoors.
This is a very popular group within the whole membership. The aim is to bring members together in smaller interest groups and do fun and friendly things such as our twice monthly breakfasts and hiking/walking.
We look forward to resuming such things as theatre outings, road trip luncheons, car rallying, crafts etc., when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.
Keeping in Touch & Courtesy/Goodwill
We like to keep in touch with “shut-ins” who are no longer able to attend meetings. In recent months, we have not been allowed to visit homes in person, so Front porch visits, phone calls and cards have been used to help us Keep in Touch.
Two separate small groups that would normally have monthly meetings after reading a mutually chosen book, now discuss the selection while distance meeting in back yards, large airy rooms, or via Zoom. New members are welcome. “If you are interested in joining a Zoom meeting to discuss books, contact Deb Kaiser at, email@example.com “.
This is a group of members who each phone a short list of other members to remind them of the upcoming luncheon, who is the Speaker/Topic of the month, the charity of the month and what to bring if members wish to support it.
Since our membership is always growing, additions to the group are welcome. It is a great way to connect with new people. Members may decline to be on the “call list” of course.
Our callers have been instrumental in helping us make our two “wellness checks” with our members during the Stay-at-Home period of recent months.
At each regular luncheon meeting members’ pre-owned books are contributed to the Book Sale table to be circulated, for a small cost to new owners. Four of our members organize the books on display, cull them as necessary, and pack them up in sturdy bags to be taken home by about twelve volunteers ready for the next meeting.
This is a very popular fund-raiser which sponsors Branch delegates attending the annual RWTO Convention.
A very talented group prepares centre-pieces for every table at our six luncheon meetings. They not only enhance our venue but sometimes go home with members, for a small charge, to continue the sharing.
Luncheon Meetings in 2021-22
Top Image: Co-presidents Sandy and Vera.
Bottom Left: Exterior of the newly renovated Grand Theatre
Bottom Right: Decoration made for each table
Top Left: 70 Members present -all double vaxxed and pre-screened for Covid 19.
Top Right: Speaker Deb Harvey
Bottom : Welcoming Our Newest Members
The May Gift Basket
Pictures from our 2020-21 Zoom meetings of the membership.
The draws for a gift basket were made for those members attending the Zoom meetings.
Winner of the Draw – Ruth Ann Lewis-Galloway
On the left: An artist’s impression of the new Children’s Museum being built, ready to open when restrictions are lifted.
On the right: Speaker Amanda Conlon, Director of the Museum
“At our November 26th All-members’ Zoom meeting, Alison O’Connor spoke about the Dreams Come True Music Studio, of which she is the creator and director for young people with different abilities to join together in music and song.
At our October 22nd General Members Zoom meeting, Glen Pearson spoke about the London Community support with food distribution and now hot meals to many agencies for people in need. Some of the participants in the Zoom meeting which lasted over an hour including updates and general chat.
The October Hike was on a beautiful Fall day in Sifton’s Bog.
Left Bottom: Walkers by a gnarly tree in Springbank Park
Right Bottom:A walk along the river by the historic Blackfriars bridge.
The group returns after enjoying a walk.
The executive continued throughout the late Spring and Summer of 2020 to plan a Luncheon Program and Friendship Activities for the 2020-21 year. In mid August some executive and committee members met to prepare the annual mailing to all Branch members.
OCTOBER 2019 LUNCHEON MEETING
Left: The Table Decoration Committee – they provide new decorations as table centrepieces for each Luncheon.
Right: Donations were collected for the Strathroy & Area Women’s Rural Resource Centre
Left: An October table centrepiece. They were available for sale after the meeting.
Right: Three new members were introduced and welcomed by Karen Tierney – Membership Chairperson.
Left: Insurance Broker Terry Kennedy spoke about the value of joining the RWTO Supplemental Health Plan.
Right: Jamie Lee Arsenau described the Youth Opportunities London program designed to help young people get training for jobs in a variety of areas.
- Co-Vice Presidents introduced the Provincial Convention for 2022 being held in our Area.
- The September ’19 table centrepiece
- The two Chairs of Convention ’22 are Provincial 2nd Vice-President, Nancy Bell and former Branch President, Cathy Harrison
- September 2019 – Guests take a break before the Program begins.
- September ‘19: Guest Speaker Dorothy Downs talked about the annual London Film Festival held in October, while nearby Branch Secretary Dianne takes notes. The Festival is increasing in size each year.
VOLUNTEERS At EACH LUNCHEON
They work in teams of two at alternate meetings.
Greeters at the Door welcome members & guests and check off names.
Bottom Left to Right:
- The Treasurer and her helper take cheques for membership & the next luncheons.
- Towards the end of the Program the 25/25 Draw winners are announced. In addition ticket holders have a chance to win a donated gift.
Left Top :
- The next stop is to check out donated books for sale – proceeds fund our members attending the annual Convention.
- The 50/25/25 Draw ticket sales also fund extra activities. Everyone hopes it is their lucky day!
Name Tags for Members and Guests worn during the meal and collected afterwards for the next meeting.
We are meeting once again in person at the RiverBend Golf Community clubhouse for our Luncheon and Speaker meetings.
In April, we had a presentation by Amanda Conlon on the new Children’s Museum being built ready to open hopefully by the end of this year. It will be of interest for adults and children.Volunteers will be welcome to apply and many of our Members expressed their eagerness to participate in this very modern version of “hands-on learning”.
Traditionally our May meeting, this year May 28, 2021, is our Annual Banquet. Our Co-Presidents, Sandy and Vera suggested that for this month’s virtual meeting, members attending dress up, perhaps wearing a hat? And have a beverage of choice in hand and maybe some dessert? As before the meeting will start just before 1 pm.
The speaker will be Gillian Tyler of World Tailors here in London. They have been producing a number of items that are useful in these COVID times. Their store is on Adelaide St. N. by Commissioners, if you wish to see in advance what products they have for sale.
All plans for Friendship Activities, Luncheons and the Walking Group have been suspended while Stay at Home restrictions are in place.
However, in 2021 Membership Meetings with Speakers have continued via Zoom
Our meetings are on the fourth Thursday of the month at 1:00pm. The Zoom link is sent out twice each month to all our members with an email address.
In January Mark Uhre spoke about his life as an Actor and drama teacher, before and during the Covid-19 year.
In February Lily Keightley gave us an update on the services offered by the London Public Library and how to access them in these times.
In March Chris Allum from the Ontario Securities Commission spoke about Fraud Prevention. More than ever before seniors are targeted by fraudsters and it is important to recognize the various approaches in order to reject becoming a victim.
As of February the Zoom attendees’ names were taken down by the Convenor of the meeting and a draw was made by for the winner of a gift basket that was delivered to the doorstep of the recipient.
Members are encouraged to make their individual donations to our usual charities and contact information was given in the Program mailed out to Members.
CORA BAILEY AWARD
This provincial Award recognizes members who have given excellent leadership and outstanding service to their local branch.
There have been 22 recipients to date in the London-Middlesex Branch since the Award was begun in 2006. Cora Bailey was the first Provincial Secretary-Treasurer and held office for several years and wrote a book about RWTO.
Mary Maxwell with Cathy Harrison presented the 2018 Cora Bailey Award to Nancy Bell at the October Luncheon. Nancy is our Past President, she has been very active with many of our activities including the Friendship Group and the Table Centre-piece making for each of our luncheons.
BARBARA BAIN AWARD
This Provincial Award is presented at the Annual Convention in July to Branches that have increased membership over the previous year. There are three tiers representing three different sizes of Branches. We have over 240 members which places us in the “large” tier.
In 2017-18 our Branch had top place with an increase of 22 members, Past President Nancy Bell accepted the Award and $300.00 for the Branch at the Convention in 2018.
Barbara Bain is a member of the London-Middlesex Branch and was present at the Convention in 2018.
SHINING STAR AWARD
This Award was established a few years ago by our Branch to recognize members for their long-term service, support of members, as well as community volunteer work.
In May 2019 at the Annual General Meeting Pat Savage presented Pat Malone with the Shining Star Award and Cathy Harrison presented Janet Wombwell with her Shining Star Award. Both Pat and Janet were given the award in recognition of their commitment to our Branch in carrying out the mandate of Caring and Sharing by supporting programs and members as well as being active volunteers in the community.
On the left: The Shining Star Award 2019, Pat Savage presented the Award to Pat Malone.
On the right: Cathy Harrison presented the Shining Star Award to Janet Wombwell in May 2019.
A great majority of our members are active in the London-Middlesex Community through their church or other agencies and organizations. From May Court Club, Sororities, Meals on Wheels, Cancer Clinic, Lioness, to Optimist Club, Grandmothers for Grandmothers Campaign… the list is long and varied… hundreds of hours each year are spent helping and serving others.
In addition to individual members’ activities, as a Branch we support different charities within our London-Middlesex region by collecting goods or monies each month we meet for a luncheon in 2018-19.
- September – Paper Goods for the Women’s Rural Resource Centre, Strathroy and Area
- October – ANOVA (London Women’s Shelter) support may be given through monetary donations, gift cards from grocery stores, Tim’s etc., and personal hygiene items”.
- November – Items for the women of London attending a Resource Centre called “My Sister’s Place”,and also the Branch makes a financial contribution to the Salvation Army Christmas drive in lieu of Christmas gifts for our members.
- March – Non-perishable items for the London Food Bank.
- April – monies are collected from members for Educational Awards given by the Kiwanis Music/Speech competitions and for the Children’s Aid Scholarship Fund and Merrymount Children’s Services.