Centenary Celebration Year for the WI

The Women’s Institute has had a busy time of late, as this is the Centenary Year of the Women’s Institute in this country. The idea for the WI came from Canada in 1915 and Littleport Women’s Institute started in 1922, writes Pat Ollive

To mark the centenary we held a garden party with members of other Institutes in the Ely Federation invited; and it was a lovely day with beautiful weather.
We held an exhibition in the Adams Heritage Centre, with artefacts from both past and present, made or collected by our members, some items from our archives and many current, made, or collected by our members, some items from our archives and many photos all these and much more were on display along with panels ‘Celebrating Women’s lives in the Fens’.

The panels ‘Celebrating Women’s lives in the Fens’ was a project supported and financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Many members contributed to this project with a working party from each WI trawling through years of committee meeting minutes as well as minutes from the regular meetings to glean any useful or unusual facts. Members also visited some older members of the community to record their memories. All this along with photos were collated and miraculously turned into 12 very interesting panels. The result of three years work but well worth it. We do hope you managed to see them. These Panels had an official launch in April at Prickwillow. The launch was performed by Dame Stella Rimmington with guests from the Heritage Lottery Fund and many other county dignitaries.

Early June saw us at the Fun Fair held at the Littleport Leisure Centre in our usual role of serving tea and homemade cakes. Again this was a good day, the weather was favourable and there were lots of customers.

Also in June we held a garden party in a member’s garden as part of the 100 years of WI celebrations, with lovely weather and good company making it a really great day.
Our monthly meetings continued as usual. Back in march, Ruth Sindall showed us how to ice an Easter Cake giving us some very useful tips.
In April, Paul Cannan from Aspel nursery made ‘Hanging baskets for the Garden’ – very informative, again with useful tips, and some lovely baskets and plants to buy.
May saw us making ‘Sun Catchers’ with beads; this proved to be very entertaining with beads falling off the wires and some of us with not so nimble fingers trying to replace them.

Ms Rispen from Sandringham WI came to talk to us in June taking the role of ‘Mrs Ware’ of the 1920’s dressed in that style. Mrs Ware met Queen Mary who was interested in the WI and wanted to start one at Sandringham, and we were taken through the starting up of Sandringham WI where Queen Mary became President. This is a tradition which still stands today as the Queen is in the same role today, this along with her description of being entertained by royalty etc, was very, very interesting and entertaining.
At the Ely Federation group meeting we were presented with the trophy for coming 2nd in the competition with cup cakes made by Diana Tooke and Rosemary Coleman. We look forward to the coming months knowing that we have a varied programme planned.

In July, we held the exhibition to celebrate our centenary, with memorabilia, crafts, articles and the Panels all previously mentioned which was well supported and comments have been very encouraging. This also became a platform that encouraged some of the women visitors to become members; all in all a very successful month.

Details of our meetings can be obtained from the President Ms June Bird – 01353 863823 or the Secretary, Ms Monica Dennis – 01353 861298 or come to our meetings that begin at 7.15pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Littleport Village Hall.

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