Memories of WI Life by the late Ivy Haygreen
Wickhambrook WI years ago was rather different to what it is now. Mrs Helen Medcalf remembers when it was held on Wednesday afternoons . Of course, mothers were at home in the daytime, so that made sense. Helen made the tea for around 61 years. She worked at the Manor for Lady Briggs (Gill Hanbury’s mother) who was President at the time . Lady Briggs was President for 21 years.
The highlight of the year was the meeting held at the Manor. There were Jumble Sales, and Whist Drives every Wednesday evening. Letters were sent from an overseas pen friend and Elsie Scott, Ivy Hicks’ sister , wrote back and the letters were read out at the meetings, what a lovely idea! Home- made cake was always served with tea till it got too competitive!
We had good parties, a chance to wear our evening dresses and take a friend along.
The speakers were varied, we never knew what we might get and one from Long Melford was drunk which made us laugh.
The President was always addressed as Madam President and the ladies were called by their surnames, very formal.
There seem to be a few mothers and daughters now which is nice. My daughter Deirdre joined as I needed a member for the Darts team and had been an active member for years. When she got married the WI bought them some garden chairs and Mrs Abrey said ‘I hope it will be all right, we have never had any one get married before’.
I think I paid about 5 shillings a year to be a member which was a lot of money then.
We always had a draw to make a bit of extra money.
I remember a garden party at the manor where we sat in deckchairs and when we stood for ‘The Queen’ at the end, I fell back and had to wait till the singing finished to get up. Everyone was in fits of laughter, especially when someone at the back asked, ‘What are you doing down there?’
Happy Days with the WI.