Stukeley’s Women’s Institute getting ready to celebrate milestone 100th anniversary

PUBLISHED: 10:04 02 February 2018 | UPDATED: 10:04 02 February 2018

Great Stukeley Village Hall. Picture: GOOGLE

Great Stukeley Village Hall. Picture: GOOGLE

Archant

Members of Stukeleys Women’s Institute are gearing themselves up to mark the centenary of their foundation, the first group in the Huntingdon and Peterborough federation to reach the milestone.

They are celebrating the anniversary with a tea, coffee and cupcakes session at Great Stukeley Village Hall on February 7.

Visitors to the event, which runs from 2pm to 5pm, will be able to find out about the group’s activities over the last 100 years and the WI movement.

Jan Sly, from the group, said: “We are quite proud of being first.”

She said Great Stukeley WI became the first in the federation on February 7, 1918, when Mrs Howard Coote, of Stukeley Hall, arranged a 
meeting at her home where 11 women enrolled.

Mrs Coote later agreed to provide a piece of land and £100 to start a fund to provide a hall. After a short while a disused army building, known as the Green hut, was bought and was sited on what is now the village hall car park.

Mrs Sly said the group, which became known as The Stukeleys WI after adding Little Stukeley, had archives going back to 1925 which gave an insight into what the group was like in very different times.

She said that in 1927 the hut was let to a boys’ club twice a week at 2/6d a night, in 1950 members enjoyed a talk on 
“Pig Curing” and in 1971, 200 members from local WIs turned out for the guest speaker, horoscope writer Leon Petulengro.

“Over the years we have raised funds for various community projects which include new gates for the village fields, which commemorate our 70th anniversary and were opened by our then oldest member May Curtis who was an 11-year-old schoolgirl when her mother attended the very first meeting,” Mrs Sly said.

“A seat by the bus stop was for our 80th and we have just finished fundraising for a commemorative seat to be placed in the centre of the village for our 100th anniversary.”

Ramsey WI, the second group to be formed in the old Huntingdonshire, marks its centenary on February 12 when a wall hanging, made by members, will be unveiled at Ramsey Community Centre where it will go on permanent display as a gift to the town.

Joyce Langley, immediate past national WI chairman, will be present, along with mayor, Councillor Doug McIlwain and WI representatives.

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