Centenary celebrations of Valley WIs

Gisburn WI centenary celebrations. (s)
Gisburn WI centenary celebrations. (s)
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Ribble Valley branches of the Women’s Institute celebrated the centenary of their organisation in style at their September meetings.

Pendleton members and guests enjoyed entertainment provided by local band Grooves, with Mark, Annie and Ben playing hits from the 50s and 60s which had everyone singing along. Their longest standing member Mrs Jean Bristol gave a humorous account of her time with the branch and recounted her many happy memories.

Members then enjoyed a Jacob’s Join supper and the centenary was toasted with a glass of fizz and a special slice of WI cake baked by Mrs Gill Hacking.

President Gill Broom ended the evening talking about what it really means to be part of such a special organisation and included a look forward to future campaigns, causes, camaraderie and companionship.

Grindleton WI were blessed with a glorious evening and stunning views when they marked the centenary with a ramble through the Millennium Wood, followed by a delicious hog roast and puddings at The Pavilion.

Villagers were invited to this special occasion, which not only celebrated the WI’s 100th birthday, but also remembered Ruth Cann, who was a much-loved and vital member of Grindleton WI and the community, along with past

members of the Institute.

Branch president Kay Hopkinson welcomed everyone on arrival back at The Pavilion, which was decorated with green, white and purple balloons and bunting, the WI Centenary colours. There were photographic displays of the Grindleton branch through the decades and the progress of the Centenary Baton, from Llanfairpwll, Anglesey (where the first WI in the UK was established in 1915) in January 2014, via Pendle Hill to the Centenary Annual Meeting in the Royal Albert Hall in June 2015, where Her Majesty the Queen was waiting to receive it.

This event was celebrated in The Pavilion with a live screening from the Royal Albert Hall, hats, pearls and posh picnics, together with members of other local WIs.

Photographson display also depicted Ruth Cann’s life in Grindleton WI. She received her 50 years’ membership certificate from federation chairman Shirley Thornton in November last year. Throughout the evening, there was on-screen coverage with music, of all the events for the branch in this special year.

Gisburn Women’s Institute chose to celebrate the centenary with a delicious afternoon tea at the Spread Eagle, Sawley on Wednesday, September 16th.

After supper, everyone was in stitches listening to brilliant jokes sourced from the last night’s entertainment on the Lancashire Federation Trip to Denman College, the WI’s own college in Oxfordshire. A happy end to a happy


There has been much media coverage of the Women’s Institutes centenary celebrations, from a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace to the AGM at the Royal Albert Hall. The WI continues to gather women together, encouraging them to acquire new skills and achieve new goals. Today membership stands at 212,000 with more than 6,000 institutes.