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International Women's Day Luncheon 2016

Dianne Mannering spoke about her experience in the 1960s. Having failed her 11-plus, her parents sent her to a private school where her teacher told her she would make money whatever she chose to do. She married at 19 and had two children, while also working in the car insurance business with her husband.

However, he was an alcoholic and the business was in danger of going under. Her parents helped them save it and, after divorcing her husband, Dianne ran the business herself, proving that not only was she capable of
running a business, but she could make a great success of it.

‘Tubab’ is what Gambian people call white visitors, and our second speaker, Lynda Thompson, told us about going to the Gambia in 1995. She stayed with a family, but had her own very basic room – the bed boards had termites in them and were sometimes eaten through. The men had several wives and they all lived together, but it was hard work for the women, who got up at 5.30am to collect water. People’s homes were made of wood and corrugated sheets, with an outside toilet housing cockroaches and maggots. But the locals made Lynda feel so welcome and it was a wonderful experience.

After lunch we were entertained by John Thompson, guardian of a knight’s armour, accompanied by his daughter-in-law, who acted as his squire. Bit by bit, he dressed in armour worn in medieval times, explaining what each piece was and how they fitted together.

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