Village WI marking its centenary

Women’s Institute members are celebrating the group’s centenary and have erected signs around a village to mark the occasion.

Marion Inman, Pauline Rice and Dawn Bradley, from Hartlebury Womens Institute celebrating their centenary by placing signs around Hartlebury
Marion Inman, Pauline Rice and Dawn Bradley, from Hartlebury Womens Institute celebrating their centenary by placing signs around Hartlebury

The signs have been erected at the gateways to Hartlebury and although the members have been unable to attend monthly meetings they were determined to ensure the remarkable milestone was marked.

Marion Inman, president, said: “It is 100 years since the Hartlebury WI was inaugurated by the Gibbon sisters and Lady Mary Pakington who held the first meeting at the The Pleck in the village.

“These women were well known to the local community and had organised a hospital for wounded soldiers in their home and at Hartlebury Castle during the First World War.

“Many of the local women who joined those early meetings were the wives of farmers.

“Meetings were a lot more formal in the early days and the archives describe one meeting with a topic of how to skin a rabbit and make a pair of gloves from the skins.”

The WI now boasts more than 40 members and a competition was held to determine the best design for the signs which was won by secretary Pauline Rice.

Social secretary Dawn Bradley worked with local printers to produce the eye-catching signs.

Marion said: “Members have always played an integral part in village and over the last hundred years many of them have been involved in all aspects of the community. This includes the local school, the Parish Council and the Parish Hall.”

For the first time in its history meetings have been suspended because of the pandemic restrictions.

However, a newsletter has been circulated regularly.

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