Hoghton WI celebrates its 90th anniversary
Jam and Jerusalem still play a massive part in Hoghton WI as members '¨celebrate its 90th year.
The women’s institute began in 1928 at the pavilion in Hoghton, before moving to the village hall in the 1970s.
Membership was limited, with people having to wait before being accepted. Now the group has more than 100 women.
By the early 1970s, members felt the need for a bigger venue, so residents and users of the pavilion began to hold fund- raising events to raise the necessary money for this.
By the mid 1970s the hall was completed and remains home to the WI and a lot of other societies.
Carol McKenna, 74, has been a member for 10 years.
The grandmother-of-16 says: “We have grown steadily and now have more than 100 members and are as active as ever.
“Initially, you had to be invited – I remember that when I joined.
“I had been a member of the WI for many years but sadly the foundation I belonged to had closed.
“When a friend came and introduced me to Hoghton WI, I was delighted and have never looked back.
“I had a big change in my lifestyle when I got divorced but I met so many new friends.
“It is very convenient for those ladies on their own.
“Our committee, led by our President Anita Pugh, is well organised and presents us with some very good speakers and demonstrations.
“We like to entertain and take part in pantomimes held the hall and help out with refreshments for the Hoghton Players drama group.
“We have a lunch club, a book club, a craft club and theatre group, which enables us to have nights out at a show or to the cinema.
“Just recently we have started a Scrabble day once a month at each other’s homes. For me, it is an evening well spent with a group of people who care about local community spirit and the environment and help raise money for local charities.
“If I ever wanted to go somewhere, there was always somewhere to go.”
Carol adds there are new groups of women’s institutes popping up everywhere, created with a more modern outlook, but insists Hoghton WI is sticking to its traditions.
She says: “WIs were originally known for Jam and Jerusalem but that is changing. We start with Jerusalem and end with the Queen.
“A lot of the new WIs have dispensed with that now.”
Joan Houghton, of Whittle-le-Woods, joined in 1973, as her mum, Margaret Garth, was a member.
She says: “We have a lot of varied speakers on very interesting topics, which attracts people.
“We cover all sorts, from cookery and jewellery making to plants, history lessons and people talking about their travels abroad.
“It is all very inspiring and encourages us to take part in these activities. Now my family has grown up I can do more with the WI and go on more outings.
“I have met a lot of interesting people – the comradeship and friendships we make is what being part of the WI is all about.”
Members love to celebrate their existence and friendship.
They made a tapestry to mark the Millennium, which is now housed in a cabinet at Hoghton Village Hall.
Their most recent celebration was, of course, their 90th anniversary. Members enjoyed an afternoon tea at Hoghton Tower and were given a tour of the historic site.
Hoghton WI meets on the second Thursday of each month at 7.30pm at Hoghton Village Hall.