The ladies at Eglinton WI are celebrating their Diamond Anniversary this year.
A highlight of the year will be their anniversary dinner on June 9 at the Whitehorse Hotel, when 43 members host a gala dinner, complete with anniversary cake. Among the guests will be past presidents, past members, guests from the ICAs in Donegal and WI groups in the district, as well as the ‘top brass’ from Belfast.
The celebration year began in September and a number of events have already taken place, including a visit to local businessman Colum Cooke’s garden and a cookery session with Ian Orr (from Brown’s) and workshop evenings.
Undeniably, though, will be the anniversary dinner next month. A big feature of the night will be the ladies’ impressive scrapbook collection, which charts the history of Eglinton MU from its inception to the present day.
The current scrapbook secretary is Teresa Feeney, who undertook the care of the books in 2010, and who has the unenviable task of making sure every activity, visit and ladies’ night is documented in print, photos and newspaper clippings.
“Its great because it is such a record of everything and we have great fun looking back at everything we have done,” said President Irene Boggs.
The ladies don’t just compete against each other for trophies and certificates, they are dedicated charity fundraisers and in particular are hard at work raising money for ACWW (Associated Countrywomen of the World), for the ‘Water for All’ campaign.
“There is a strong charitable influence to our work and the WI is a non-sectarian, non-political organisation,” said President Irene Boggs.
But their charitable work does not stop with international campaigns, locally they have brought some colour and life into Templemoyle Nursing Home making tea and staging a show, with their grandchildren also drafted in to sing for residents.
In the community the ladies are frequently found hands-on in kitchens producing teas and suppers, and the organisation, which once had dwindling numbers is now a flourishing organisation with almost 50 members, many of whom are younger women.
The organisation has come a long way from its formation in 1915, when the aim was to revitalise rural communities and encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War. Since then the organisation’s aims have broadened and the WI is now the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK, with a Mission Statement that encourages women to unite and promote their work for the betterment of their homes and the development and improvement of rural and urban life through social and educational activities.
In addition to celebrating their Diamond anniversary this year, the Eginton ladies can look forward next year to the WI’s Centenary celebrations across the UK.
Anyone who would like to find out more about the WI is welcome to contact Secretary Iris Burns on 07752103988.
Next Week: Don’t miss our special Sentinel Photo Feature.