Han­dover at Stoke Po­ges WI on way to the Royal Al­bert Hall

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by Camilla Good­man camilla.good­man@trin­i­tymir­

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.”

Pho­tos by Katie Lamb www.buyapho­ BE152556

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

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