Pakenham WI News - January 2021

Pakenham WI

Pakenham WI celebrates its 100th birthday this month, a truly auspicious occasion for this thriving and modern thinking rural institute.

Founded in 1921, all meetings were held in the member’s homes until it became officially recorded in 1938. It then took up residence in the village hall and monthly meetings began.

During World War 2 the ladies supported the village and its residents in many ways, including growing vegetables and fruit for preserves and food. Amazingly these intrepid women formed night time shooting parties, hunting for rabbits and other wild fowl to provide much needed food. The animal skins were made into hats and clothing for the boys fighting on the battle front.

The ensuing years after the war were devoted to supporting all the village and local activities and fetes with delicious food and handicrafts.

I have been the president for 17 years, and it has truly been a great pleasure to be involved with such a fabulous group of friendly and talented girls. Gone are the days of Jam and Jerusalem and our aim has been to sample every aspect of modern life, visiting factories, wildlife locations, theatre land and indulging in retail therapy at every opportunity. All our speakers and guests have been wonderful local people dedicated to their chosen professions and hobbies.

My personal highlights have been our trip to Texas to serve and bake a typically English tea for the citizens of Fort Worth, which then led to an invitation to star in the BBC 2 documentary The Marvellous Mrs Beeton with Sophie Dahl. We were delighted to accept lunch invitations from Yorkshire Tea and Tiptree Jams to thank us for taking their products to the USA.  The most recent fun and financially rewarding achievement has been the regular on stage appearances of The Bassey Girls who have raised a substantial amount for Macmillan and given us a taste of stardom from a different world.

All our birthday celebrations are on hold until we can be with our friends again, we can be with our families again and we can meet again.

20100417 - 'Texas Here We Come!' 20161217 - The BasseyGirls The World's Biggest Coffee Morning 20180929 (photo courtesy the Bury Free Press)

Mary S Kirby