Playden WI celebrates centenary


Playden Women’s Institute (WI) celebrated its 100th birthday with a special meeting last Monday February 12. Organisers had invited Gill Nokes, chairman of East Sussex Federation of Women’s Institutes, members from Beckley, Landgate and Northiam branches and former members and friends.
A minute’s silence was held in memory of late member Jean Holland. This was followed by an enthusiastic rendering of Jerusalem. A centenary tablecloth was on display, with more than 1,000 buttons sewn round the border designed by Joy Pope, and embroidered with the names of members.
The speaker for the afternoon was Ray Sparkes who gave a talk about the history of Punch and Judy complete with presentation of the cast of Punch and Judy puppets, the booth and a display of memorabilia.. The afternoon concluded with the serving of tea and a centenary birthday cake made by Shirley Gibson.
According to the national WI website, the  movement started in Canada in 1897, and was introduced into Britain in 1915, with the aim of revitalising rural communities and encouraging women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War. Since then the organisation’s aims have broadened and the WI is now the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK. The WI celebrated its centenary in 2015 and currently has almost 220,000 members in approximately 6,300 WIs.

Photo: Helen Hovenden

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