More than ‘Jam and Jerusalem’

Pam Smith, Ros Langford and Anne Clews at Eccleshall Street Market
Pam Smith, Ros Langford and Anne Clews at Eccleshall Street Market

True, some of us do make jam, and we do sing ‘Jerusalem’ on special occasions, but there is a lot more going on in the WI. When it was decided to have a stall in the Eccleshall Street Market on 21st June with a ‘Queen of Hearts’ theme, members of Broughton WI got to work in earnest and crafted many wonderfully attractive ‘hearty’ items for sale. There were aprons, shopping bags, peg bags, coathangers with lavender bags, draught excluders, notice boards, scented candles and doorstops, to name but a few.

Other items included strings of bunting, pressed flower pictures, cakes, jam tarts, and heart-shaped shortbread. Most of the crafts were produced by Broughton’s Craft Club members, who meet regularly to be creative and sociable at the same time – a multi-talented bunch! The stallholders were appropriately attired as queens of hearts and were awarded a Highly Commended certificate for their efforts. With lots of customers and hot sunny weather, a good day was had by all.

Not long afterwards, on Monday, 30th June, Broughton took part in another special event. To celebrate the Centenary next year of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes a special Centenary Baton is travelling to all the groups in the country, having set off from Anglesey where the first institute was formed and ending up at the AGM in the Albert Hall in June 2015.

On Monday, 30th June it was the turn of the Rosamund Harrison Group to receive the Baton at Maer Church. This was the chosen venue, as Maer Hall was Rosamond Harrison’s home, and the church at Maer was where Emma Wedgwood, also of Maer Hall, had married Charles Darwin in1839. Emma and Charles (aka WI Adviser, Sue Dixon and her husband, Peter) were at the church door to receive the Baton, then Sheila Mannion of Maer & District WI gave everyone a talk about the church and about Charles and Emma, whose actual marriage certificate was displayed on the altar.

The congregation then walked down to Maer village hall for tea and cakes and to view displays set up by institutes in the group, which, as well as Broughton and the newly formed Offley Hay All Stars, includes Maer and District, Ashley, Hales, Mucklestone, Aston and Willoughbridge, and Westlands. It was a good opportunity to learn more about the other institutes, and the many photographs taken of members holding the Centenary Baton will be a permanent local record of this important landmark in the history of the WI.