This weekend sees the centenary of the founding of the Wye Women’s Institute. It was recorded in the Parish Magazine of July 1917, one year from the end of WW I. The magazine did not look forward in anticipation to the end of the war but the embryonic WI drew attention to the need for mutual help and sympathy in those “times of sorrow and anxiety”.
Today the WI still plays a part, not only in our rural communities but in our towns too. Many of us have have good cause to celebrate their hundredth birthday and give thanks to the women of our country who served so well on the home front during two world wars. No doubt they will also be ready to shoulder the burden should terrible times descend on us again.
A meeting was held in the College Gymnasium on Monday evening, June 18th, at eight o’clock, when it was decided to establish a Women’s Institute in Wye. Mrs. Dunstan was in the chair, and introduced the subject in a few helpful and explanatory words, showing how, by banding together women of all classes and denominations for mutual help and sympathy, many lives in the rural districts might be made brighter and happier, especially during these times of sorrow and anxiety throughout the world.
Mrs. Geoffrey Hooper followed with an interesting account of the success of one of these Institutes started at Pershore, in Worcestershire, and then Mrs. Watt, from the Agricultural Organisation Society, gave an enthusiastic and delightful address, explaining in detail the nature and working of Women’s institutes generally, both in England and Canada, exhorting us most earnestly to join bands with our sisters overseas, and so help to establish a firm foundation of true friendship and unity throughout the British Empire, showing that Women can do their part to lighten the daily burden of life, and prove worthy of the brave, true men who are fighting and dying for their homes and country.
About fifty of the company present entered their names as members of the ” Wye Women’s Institute,” and it is hoped many more will join, and all help by any way in their power to make the monthly social gatherings successful and happy. E. M. HEMPSON, Hon. Sec
Miss Hempson was the Church Organist; Mrs Dunstan the wife of the Principal of Wye College and the exhibition records one of her poems:
So, in 2017, the WI of Wye rally to the call: