Next year will be the centenary year of the WI (Women’s Institute) in the UK so it was decided that a baton would travel the length and breadth of England and Wales (much like the Olympic Torch) to engage all WI Federations (counties) with the centenary celebrations.
Starting in January 2014 in llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Anglesey, which was the site of the first British WI back in 1915, it will travel for 18 months and end its journey at our national conference at the Albert Hall in London on 4th June, 2015.
Last week the baton made its way through Nottinghamshire. Inside the baton is a memory stick and 20 photos are added by each Federation as the journey progresses. These photos will be used to create a national centenary archive.
Bestwood Village WI had the honour of holding the WI Centenary Baton for a while on Sunday 15th June as it made its way around the UK. We took the opportunity to have a tea party in the grounds of the Winding Engine House in Bestwood Country Park.
This is a place we have strong connections with as the village was born out of the mining industry and our WI now help run the community café at weekends in the adjacent Dynamo House.
We took delivery of the baton from Leenside (Hucknall) WI who turned up dressed as bees. They had been celebrating their time with the baton in their bee garden in Titchfield Park.
Having enjoyed having the baton with us for about 30 minutes we set off to hand it on to Ravenshead WI at their village hall. Ravenshead WI then took the baton on to a party held in Newstead Abbey grounds on Sunday afternoon with their neighbours Abbey Gates WI and Newstead WI.
Founder member of BVWI, Carol Hart, said “We were very proud to do our bit as part of the national events celebrating 100 years of the WI.”
Kay Brown, Publicity Officer for BVWI, added: “The WI is the largest women’s movement in the UK and is currently growing at a rapid rate. In Nottinghamshire we are opening three new branches this summer alone: Linby & Papplewick (Lapwings WI), Wollaton Vale (Vale Inspirations WI) and one at Stapleford, who are yet to choose a name.”
The final handover from Nottinghamshire Federation to Derbyshire Federation will be at Creswell Crags on 18th June and is rumoured to involve Robin Hood and a bow and arrow.