Bibury with Barnsley WI

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The WI is 100 years old in 2015

Norma Webb receives the baton

As part of the Centenary celebrations a specially designed centenary baton travelled around the country. The baton started its journey in Anglesey where the first WI meeting was held in the UK in 1915 and then travelled throughout the 69 Federations in England and Wales to celebrate the links of friendship and community developed through the WI. The baton finished its journey at the Annual Meeting in June 2015 at the Royal Albert Hall.

The arrival of the baton in each Federation was the signal for a number of celebratory events designed to involve as many WI members as possible. The events organised as the baton travelled through the country were as varied as the members themselves. Some took the baton through town centres on open-top buses, others used speed boats, vintage cars or just walked with it.

The baton arrived in Gloucestershire on the 17th of March. At the Group Annual Meeting on the 18th of March attended by representatives from all Gloucestershire WI's (Liz Franklin was the Bibury with Barnsley WI representative) the baton was passed from person to person.

Chedworth WI travelled by vintage car to deliver the baton to Bibury with Barnsley WI on the 23rd of March. The following day the baton was taken by Charabanc to Ampney Crucis WI and then onto Fairford, the last WI stop in Gloucestershire where lunch was served in the Palmer Hall. Following lunch the baton travelled to Lechlade where it was taken by boat across the river and handed over to representatives of Wiltshire WI's.

“Not just Jam and Jerusalem” Centenary Exhibition at Bibury

Bibury with Barnsley WI celebrated 100 years of the WI in style over the early May Bank holiday weekend 2015 with a wonderful Exhibition in Bibury village Hall. Liz Franklin and Jill Skarda organised the event with the support of WI members who made delicious cakes and biscuits to be served with tea or coffee throughout the day. The Village Hall was transformed with displays which showed the history of the WI together with Centenary National events, the role and activities of GFWI and the amazing Centenary bunting which was greatly admired by all who visited. WI members were able to demonstrate their talents and skills through exhibiting paintings, drawings and pottery as well as all forms of needlework including the extraordinary embroidery of Dr Kim Elliott. There were delightful floral arrangements and a display of the Institute’s archives including scrapbooks and minute books. A patchwork quilt made by members before the Second World War was also on display. The NFWI Campaigns and Resolutions was highlighted with a display about the plight of the honey bees and a plant stall encouraged visitors to plant bee friendly plants in their gardens.

The NFWI (National Federation of Women’s Institutes) is the largest women’s organisation with around 212,000 members in 6,600 WI’s across the UK. It all started in 1915 in North Wales on Anglesey just after the beginning of the First World War. The exhibition revealed how it all began and how 100 years later it has become an organisation that aims to make a difference in the world through its successful campaigns that highlight issues needing action to the Government. The exhibition explained how the WI alerted the nation and the Government to the plight of our honey bees in 2009 and what steps have been taken since to try and address the issue.

The GFWI (Gloucestershire Federation of Women’s Institutes) organises activities and events for local WI’s such as ours to enjoy and learn new skills. Exhibits gave details of the opportunities available for learning, recreation and socialising when you become a member of the WI. Denman College in Oxfordshire is the WI’s training college with a wide range of courses and activities to suit all interests. First class residential accommodation too in beautiful peaceful surroundings!

Our members here in Bibury want to celebrate our WI in this special Centenary year so we put together an exhibition to show the wide range of handicrafts and skills that we have. From embroidery to dressmaking, knitting, crochet, tapestry, flower arranging, baking, painting and drawing, there is someone in our WI who can excel and often share knowledge and experience with the rest of us.

WI members had a very busy but enjoyable three days and our local and visiting community discovered that the WI is about much more than just “Jam and Jerusalem!”

Liz Franklin, President Bibury with Barnsley WI.

Bibury with Barnsley WI Centenary