MARKING 100 YEARS OF THE WI
Handover at Stoke Poges WI on way to the Royal Albert Hall
A SPECIAL baton that celebrates 100 years of the Women’s Institute went on a tour of Bucks this week.
The WI Centenary Baton started its travels around all 69 WI Federations in January 2014, at Llanfairpwll, in Wales – the village where the first British WI opened – and will finish at the Royal Albert Hall for the National Federation of Women’s Institutes annual meeting in June.
On Tuesday April 21 the baton was handed over from the Oxfordshire federation to the Buckinghamshire federation at an event in Henley-on-Thames.
It then went on a tour of Bucks and went to special events organised by WI groups in Aylesbury, Milton Keynes, Wendover, High Wycombe and Winslow. On Monday, the baton came to Stoke Poges and arrived at St Giles’ churchyard gate at 1.30pm.
After a tour of the Gray’s monument and the Memorial Gardens it was displayed on the font. It was then taken by a vintage Austin 7 car to the Village Hall in Rogers Lane before being taken by the vehicle to Ivinghoe ready for Tuesday’s event which saw the baton handed over to the Bedfordshire WI.
At Monday’s event, members of the Stoke Poges and Wexham WI offered free 15-minute guided tours of both the church and gardens and they also served afternoon tea in the village hall, which was attended by about 90 people.
All the county’s events were free and aimed to promote the WI.
Pat Poole, vicechairman of the Bucks federation, which is celebrating its 95th anniversary, said: “We were thrilled with the excellent turnout.
“What we didn’t anticipate was how many members wanted a picture with the baton, I think it was because of its meaning and its history and they’re proud to be part of an organisation that’s 100 years old.
“I think we definitely spread the message to the public of what the WI is about and that our ideals of fellowship, truth, justice and tolerance are just as strong today as they were 100 years ago.”
RELAY: The baton arrives in a Austin Seven 1936 with Harry and Vivien Barnard, and is handed to Jenny Street, following behind is a Austin Heavy 12 1928 driven by Bob Hughes
CELEBRATION: WI members with the baton