Woolpit: Women’s Institute celebrates landmark 90 years
16:00 19 March 2014
Since Woolpit Women’s Institute first opened its doors to a group of local ladies in 1924, much has changed.
But the sense of fellowship and comradeship, which saw members produce thousands of jars of jam during the 1940s to support the war effort, is still as strong as ever.
The 57 current Woolpit WI members and their families came together to mark the anniversary last week with a celebratory dinner.
Ex-president Lynda Moore, who arranged the event, said it gave members a chance to reflect on the history of the past nine decades.
She said: “The core values of the WI remain the same but there is a lot less emphasis on making jam, singing Jerusalem and doing competitions.”
At the dinner, current president Ros Melvyn quoted from previous minutes, noting that the price to hire the meeting hall for the WI’s inaugural year was just a pound.
During 1941 alone, Woolpit WI members made 1,424 jars of jam which was sold to local grocery outlets with profits going to the war effort.
By 1970, the institute became more involved in public issues rather than concentrating on local interests, and by the 1980s, the members’ dramatic leanings came to the fore winning them most of the local federation drama competitions.
Over the years, members have enjoyed talks on a variety of topics ranging from war correspondence to palmistry.
Mrs Moore continued: “To celebrate the 90th anniversary, during the past year we have set ourselves various fundraising challenges including swimming 90 lengths of a pool, raising and selling 90 plants and knitting 90 squares, which by the end of the year became 343.
This equated to seven blankets which are being donated to Project Linus, the charity that gives blankets and quilts to critically ill children.”