90th Anniversary Celebration for Wickhambrook W.I.
by Val Orange
The ladies of the Wickhambrook W.I. don’t always need a reason to celebrate but on this occasion it was the remarkable milestone of 90 years since it’s foundation in December 1926, which prompted President Hilary Bradfield and her committee to organise a Thanksgiving service to be followed by Afternoon Tea, for members and invited guests firstly at the Wickhambrook Methodist Church and thereafter in the Institutes own Hall within the village.
Those assembled on Sunday 4th December at 2pm included Suffolk West Federation Chairman Elizabeth Lansman, W.I. Advisor Julie Higgins, past Presidents of the Institute and former members and invited guests, some of whom had travelled from afar to join the present President, committee and members to mark the occasion.
Mr Ivan Peacock, Steward of the Methodist Church led the service with his wife Beryl playing the organ for the hymns. The service commenced with the singing of Jerusalem as every meeting of the Institutes both local and national have always done. There were contributions from Joyce Draycott, Thelma Farrow, Dorothy Anderson on behalf of Ivy Haygreen and daughter Deirdre Smith They spoke about “My W.I.” what the organization and its members has meant to them over the years. The final contribution came from one of our institutes newest member, Wendy Mansfield who had penned a poem recording her ideas of what she thought W.I. was all about and how the reality had turned out to be different and Oh! so much more!!
The excellent and thought provoking address from President Hilary Bradfield paid tribute to the ladies who had started the Institute, given it it’s style, aims and traditions but she also highlighted the Institutes future direction, possible growth along with possible changes or adaptions that the organization and our Institute will have to face over the next years to keep the Institute viable while retaining its core values and still being a part of the life of the local community for hopefully another 90 years.
There were two readings which echoed these thoughts from Sue Burton-Griffiths and Gillian Cooper and an address from Ivan Peacock celebrating the work of the W.I. and its support of the village particularly its “stickability” over the years never giving up and being there in the best and more valuably the worst of times for the local community. The ladies of the W.I. are always willing to help he insisted, a reliable friend in a changing society and fast paced world.
The Haverhill Choral Society and their musical director Jane Wright were an excellent addition to the service contributing several individual pieces including adapting “We wish you a Merry Christmas” to “We wish you a Happy Birthday” much to the assembled amusement and were much enjoyed and warmly thanked by Hilary, a member of the group herself.
On the conclusion of the service the congregation walked the short distance from the church to the W.I. Hall behind the Institutes own banner, where a delicious Afternoon tea prepared by committee and members awaited. The cutting of the 90th birthday cake made and decorated by member Paulina Puxley was done jointly by Hilary and Elizabeth and passed out to all. There were many thanks to Hilary and her committee for such a lovely afternoon of celebration and fellowship, of reacquainting with old and meeting new friends accompanied by superb refreshments.
Here’s to the next 90 years whatever it might bring for Wickhambrook W.I. the ladies are ready for the continuing challenge that’s for sure!!