Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Old Buckenham Women's Institute

March meeting report 

At the March meeting of Old Buckenham Women’s Institute, members were treated to the fascinating story of Laura Eke and the Fisherman who painted in wool, John Craske. Christine Humphries, a distant descendant of Laura, told the story. Laura was born in Dereham in 1882, the daughter of a railway worker. After school she worked as a nanny in London and on her weekends off would return home and always visit Dereham market where she took a liking to a tall handsome young man singing with the Salvation Army – John Craske. John was born in Sheringham in 1881 to a family of deep sea fishermen who moved to Dereham to run a wet fish shop. John and Laura were married in 1908 and John worked on a fish round. In 1917 at the third attempt John joined the army but collapsed with the flu which left him with an abscess on the brain and diabetes. For the next 25 years Laura nursed him through poor health, often in and out of comas, while also running the shop. With periods in Dereham and various places near the sea where his health improved, John took up painting. All of his pictures were of the sea and ships. While living at Hemsby he made model boats which sold well and which led to his paintings being recognised and displayed in a London gallery. As his health and eyesight deteriorated he took up needlework, creating amazing depictions of his favourite themes. His artworks can be seen in Aldeburgh, Norwich and Sheringham museums and a nine foot long tapestry of the north Norfolk coast is on display in Glandford Shell Museum. John died in 1943 and Laura died 14 years later from “hard work”. 
After a break for refreshments President Kate Lloyd gave a report on the Norfolk Federation of WIs’ Centenary Annual Meeting at the Theatre Royal which was enjoyed immensely by the members who attended. Apart from the business of the meeting the main speakers were Peter Wilson, former Chief Executive of the Theatre Royal and Pam Ayres who had the audience laughing uproariously.
The next meeting is on Thursday 25 April when Simon White will be talking about Peter Beales and the romance of the rose. Then on Thursday 23 May  members will discuss and vote on the Resolutions for campaigning on this year.

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