FOR the April meeting Phoenix Harvington Ladies invited the gentleman of the village to join them for a highly entertaining talk from the former HM Customs and the Serious Crime Agency Officer, Cameron Addicott. The larger than usual group heard Cameron speaking about his experiences from 20 years working as a Criminal Investigator and Undercover Agent. He compared the techniques of Elizabeth I’s 16th Century spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, in uncovering plots to bring down the then Queen Elizabeth, with today’s covert intelligence techniques in the world of top criminals: their methods and motivations. Drawing similarities between the methods of intelligence gathering of the two Elizabethan eras - surveillance, interception and human source, whilst obviously updated to the 21st Century by technology and procedure, the talk was full of amusing and interesting anecdotes about the world of international crime, whilst being insightful about the future of organised crime.

The final figure of £100 raised and donated to the Vale Wildlife Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre, as last year’s charity, had been formally handed over and a letter of thanks received. The chosen charity for this year is to be Alcester Dementia Café. As the winter gives way to spring the news and notices given to the Group were focused on the plans for the summer events and activities. The first trip out will be to Morton Hall Gardens, Redditch, in June, then a summer party at the village’s own Ellendon Farm Kitchen Café in July and then another trip to Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, in August. However, before that, given within next month’s meeting will be a talk by Paul Harding entitled ‘Make do and mend’ on the first Wednesday (May 2) at 7.45pm. All ladies, as members or visitors, are very welcome and for more information please contact Barbara (870791) or Ali (870179).