Hellesdon WI still going strong

When Hellesdon Women s Institute (WI) treasurer Valerie Quick got in touch with Just Hellesdon to ask for our help in dispelling a rumour that the group has closed, we were only too happy to help.

There has been a WI group in Hellesdon for 92 years, but at the end of last year its members were shocked to be faced with possible closure.

At the January meeting, a representative from the Norfolk Federation delivered the news that the Hellesdon committee had decided to retire, and that a new one would have to be formed straight away if the group was to continue.

They asked if anyone would be interested in forming a committee, but everyone was stunned and only a couple put their hands up, said Valerie, who has been a member for three years.

It was left until the December meeting, when the news had sunk in and a new committee was formed with Valerie as treasurer, Wendy Thorogood as president, Barbara Andrews as secretary, and Silvia Bacon, Sheila Skews, Valerie Watson and Wendy Dent as committee members.

After the possible closure news at the November meeting and a mix up over the room booking at Hellesdon Community Centre as the hand-over took place, Valerie has discovered that many people think the group has stopped.

There s a rumour going around that Hellesdon WI has finished, and it s simply not true, said Valerie. We ve got 18 members joined now, which fortunately is enough to meet the federation s rule of a minimum of 12.

The committee have had to hit the ground running and have worked hard to put together a good programme for the coming months, including a talk about Chatterbox, Norwich s talking newspaper, a cooking demonstration and some trips.

Valerie has been going through the groups collection of documents, which include minutes from the very first meeting, lots of pictures and awards.

I brought them home with me and lost a whole weekend looking through them, said Valerie. It seems like the WI likes to party!

The very first meeting was on Tuesday, January 22, 1924, and it was to discuss the possibility of forming a WI in Hellesdon.

It was decided that a monthly meeting would be held on the second Wednesday of each month and it still is to this day.

Talks in those early days included home nursing, thrift dressmaking and upholstery, rug making, chair caning, skin curing and umbrella covering.

Over the years there has also been a successful drama group and a tennis group, however, the ageing membership means that it s now a theatre group which attends shows rather produces them, and tennis has been replaced with table tennis.

With so much history, it s not surprising that Valerie and the rest of the new committee were so keen to keep it going.

It seemed such a shame that the group might close when it wasn t too far off its 100th anniversary, said Valerie.

We ve enjoyed the meetings so far and we ve made a good start. We re really upbeat that people will come back to the group and maybe some new people.

If you would like to find out more you can pop along to a meeting, which take place on the second Wednesday of each month, 1.45-3.45pm at Hellesdon Community Centre. Alternatively, call Valerie on 07756 022062.

Hellesdon WI Still Going Strong

Pictured are new treasurer Valerie Quick (right) and secretary Barbara Andrews with some photos taken during the group s 92-year history.” width=”250″ height=”166″ />

OPEN AS USUAL: Hellesdon WI wants to make people aware that it is still going, despite rumours to the contrary.

Pictured are new treasurer Valerie Quick (right) and secretary Barbara Andrews with some photos taken during the group s 92-year history.

PICTURES: JULIA HOLLAND WWW.ALL-ABOUT-IMAGE.CO.UK

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View article: Hellesdon WI still going strong

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