Sunday, 26 April 2015

Old Buckenham Women's Institute presents...

Recent history on show in village hall
What connects the radio-controlled clock in the village hall, the tables in Old Buckenham mill, a seat on the Green and the village sign? If you had come along to the event in the village hall yesterday evening, you would have realised that they were all provided by courtesy of Old Buckenham Women's Institute.
The first WI in the UK met in September 1915 at Llanfair PG, Anglesey, North Wales. The movement was founded in 1897 by Adelaide Hoodless from Stoney Creek, Ontario.
The formation of WIs in villages in the UK went from strength to strength and at the first conference in October 1917 60 delegates came from 127 institutes. A constitution was adopted by the newly formed National Federation and from that time there have existed three main aspects of the organisation; the village WI, on which the whole movement rest; the County Federations, who foster their own WIs; and the National Federation, whose duty it is to provide guidance and a united structure, to which all WIs and County Federations would become affiliated.
The Norfolk Federation was formed in March 1918 and there are several WIs in this county who will also celebrate their centenary within the next 2 to 3 years.
The present Old Buckenham WI was formed in 1967, although there had been a much earlier WI in this village which probably closed in the 1950s. Reading the minutes of the monthly meetings make interesting reading – they are certainly a social history of our time. All their meetings were held in the old village hall (situated on Attleborough Road) until the new hall was built in 1979.
In November 1977 Jean Wade was elected as President and two months later the decision was taken to raise money for a village sign and a ballot was taken in June 1978 on the final choice of design. The new village hall was opened on 31st May 1979 followed one month later by the unveiling of the village sign.  Always trying to maintain their involvement with the village they have provided story sacks for the Primary School, tables for the windmill and have always been in evidence at the village fetes and organise the Open Produce and Handicraft Show each September.

Last night's event was organised to celebrate the national Women's Institute centenary and to also showcase much of what the Old Buckenham members have done for the village and for the wider community.

After everyone had taken the chance to look around the displays and reminisce, Susan Hunter gave a short explanation of what the evening was all about and then introduced Rachael Duffield who described the 'Seven Ages of Woman' in both song and verse. Rachel soon had everyone enthralled with her performance and had the audience of some seventy people singing along with her.
Finally it was time to cut the celebratory cake and wash it down with a glass of wine as well as enjoying those refreshments that the WI do so well.
Lots of effort went into producing this evening and it probably opened many people's eyes to the contribution Old Buckenham WI makes to life in Old Buckenham.


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