MEMBERS of Holmer WI decided to raise funds by having a Name the Gardener competition using a donated knitted gardener.

President, Jenny Hare, sealed his name in an envelope prior to the meeting and members were invited to have a guess for 25p.

The lucky winner was Sue Patmore who correctly identified him as Alan, after a very famous gardener of the same name!

At the March meeting, Colin Bates told members about his work at Cadbury. His family was one of the first to benefit from the Bournville Trust homes, with Colin later being apprenticed to Cadbury, which was the start of a way of life not just a job. He quickly progressed to become a mechanical engineer with the appropriate qualifications being gained.

He explained that methods of chocolate production have changed dramatically over the last 50 years. A workforce of 8,000/9,000 has been streamlined to just 1,000 now, with automation being responsible for that reduction. The new processes are highly technical and continue to produce the same delectable results nevertheless.

Where previously, humans packed the sweet treats by hand, making up any deficit in weight by the addition of small sweets, now robots ensure a swift, exact operation. Colin described the processes which the raw materials pass through to produce the end product. A fascinating story, culminating in the distribution of samples for all present.

A vote of thanks was given by Gwyneth James and a grateful round of applause by members.

Holmer WI next meets on April 4 at 7.30pm in St Mary's Church, Grandstand Road. The subject of the talk will be Bhutan and Kenya, and will be led by Mark Helme. Members and newcomers are sure to have have an entertaining evening out.