Our W.I. our local W.I. the one in our village is to close. I can’t believe it. It’s just not possible. I remember when we first came here. I knew no-one. I was stuck at home most of the time with an eighteen-month-old toddler. My husband took the car to go to work every day and I was left on my own in a little bungalow on a country lane half a mile from the village.
Soon I was walking to the village shop and post office. Then I saw poster advertising the next W.I. meeting. It was only a couple of days away. I turned up. I explained that I had been a W.I. member when we lived in Wales and asked if I could join. The ladies were surprised. I don’t think anyone had just turned up before. Most people were introduced by friends. I didn’t have any friends in the village – not then.
I soon settled in and felt at home. In the village, in the community, in the Women’s Institute. I’ve been on the committee; at different times I’ve been treasurer, president, secretary and press officer. The secretary’s job is definitely the hardest.
And now they are going to close. Lack of interest, they say. No young members. (By “young” they mean women in their forties with kids at school.) No one willing to be officers or committee members. It’s saddening. We had such fun. I got to know women I wouldn’t have met otherwise. I went to meetings, not just in our village, but further afield. I’ve been twice to Denman College, the W.I. residential courses centre near Oxford. But that’s another story – and a fascinating one.