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Entertaining Educational Luncheon 2016

North West Kent Federation had been asking for a national event to be held locally for some time and finally the day arrived. For me, the start was marked by me and my aunt being followed up the narrow drive by a coach full of East Kent ladies, with the driver (who I did not know) calling to me by name. The South East is my patch and I was looking forward to meeting friends old and new.

Historian Toni Mount, author of Medieval Medicine: Its Mysteries and Science (Amberley, £9.99), spoke about medieval medicine, focusing on the role of women. Hearing about the remedies and practices, it is amazing that anyone survived to their 60s (the average lifespan was about 45)! Many ingredients in the remedies are familiar today (though not pounded cobra flesh!) and the highly toxic nature of others was balanced by the inclusion of a herbal laxative to ensure rapid transit through the body.

Next came Jenna Richards from the Orchid Project talking about female genital cutting (FGM). Orchid works mainly overseas in conjunction with local partners to bring about the cultural change that is needed for cutting to end. Jenna’s words shocked many, especially when she stated that around 400 girls a month in the UK are cut. TG must speak out about this, however difficult it may seem.

After an excellent three-course lunch, we enjoyed entertainment from singer Maggie O’Hara, with a programme celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday the following day. Very soon we were singing along, clapping, glass tinkling, napkin waving and arm waving. Special mention must go to the ladies from Lewisham Guild, who threw themselves into audience participation with aplomb!

I really enjoyed my day, as did the more than 180 others who attended. Thank you to Freda and Jill Wright for all their local work.

Report by Penny Ryan, National Trustee

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