End of road for WI group

A RURAL Women's Institute branch is folding after 60 years because membership has reached an all-time low.Brome and Oakley WI was founded in 1946 and enjoyed a membership of more than 30 for many years.

A RURAL Women's Institute branch is folding after 60 years because membership has reached an all-time low.

Brome and Oakley WI was founded in 1946 and enjoyed a membership of more than 30 for many years.

However, the number of members has now slumped to just seven and a decision has been taken to fold.

It is the second WI branch in the Eye area to fold within the past few weeks.


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The Denham and Hoxne branch was wound up because members were disgusted with “edicts” from the national federation, including a decision to increase the annual subscription to take into account the cost of a new magazine.

The Denham and Hoxne members are to continue meeting as a new independent group but there are no such plans for Brome and Oakley.

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The branch president, Wendy Dyde, said yesterday that the decision to fold had been taken with great reluctance but numbers had dropped to an unsustainable level.

“I was secretary for 20 years and president for four years and membership was about 28 when I joined.

“I was brought kicking and screaming to my first WI meeting when I first came to the village but I have enjoyed it so much,” she said.

The remaining membership was fairly elderly and there seemed little hope of attracting young mothers who all seemed to be so busy these days, Mrs Dyde said

As with the Denham and Hoxne branch, members had not liked being told what to do by the national federation, but this was not the reason for folding, she added.

The Brome and Oakley WI is depositing the branch's possessions, including three competition cups and a tablecloth embroidered with members' names, with the County WI Federation in Ipswich - in case the branch is reconstituted in future.

When commenting on the Denham and Hoxne decision, the National Federation of WIs denied being undemocratic and claimed the vast majority of members in its many branches were content with the new arrangements.

The Federation also pointed out that the trustees who made decisions were elected by the general membership.

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