The speaker for our July meeting was Diane Campbell, who talked about her 26 years as a magistrate. Earlier in her career she had worked as a researcher for the BBC. She was tasked to visit a women’s prison in Essex; at the time this was the only Borstal for young girls in the country. She was able to move freely talking to the prisoners, the only restriction was, and she was not allowed to ask the reason for their imprisonment. She was approached by several girls who wanted to tell their story, revealing the circumstances of their crime. Recalling this visit some time later, Diane was concerned that offenders should be able to tell their story which could influence their sentences. Spurred on Diane decided to become a Magistrate. 18 months of training she was appointed to a court in Smethwick. Diane then recounted various cases she had dealt with over the years, all of course anonymously. She described to us the variety of Courts in operation, The Crown Court being the senior court dealing with serious cases. She recounted the humorous times, once being thanked by a repeated offender for sending him back to prison saying "it got him away from his nagging wife". As in all areas of society things are changing. Diane noted that 20 years ago she seldom dealt with a case involving drugs – now over 75% of cases are drug related in some way. The most pleasing cases Diane hears are those involved in adoption – it is such a delight to see a child moved to a home with loving parents – often the case concluded with the Magistrate giving the parents a bouquet of flowers on this happy occasion . Diane was thanked, and answered questions from members.
After refreshments, the president reminded members to take a look at the rose tree planted last September marking the 100years of the WI in England which was flourishing in the garden of the Village Hall.
The secretary reminded member there was not a meeting in the month of August, as members will be visiting Harvington Hall.
Cookhill WI meets the second Wednesday of each month 7.30pm at Cookhill Village Hall, providing a variety of speakers to suit all tastes together with opportunities to participate in classes and enjoy trips out to interesting venues. New members very welcome.