Please note there may be some changes to future dates due to the Covid-19 restrictions.
With the forthcoming commemoration of the 75th anniversary of VE Day looming in May, Shireoaks and District WI have had their own 75th anniversary celebrations to organise. By the time this has gone to print they will have had their own indoor 1945-style street party, with authentic food from the times, dressing up as land army girls and singing along to songs from that era.
It was 15th March 1945 that the first meeting was held in the public hall in Shireoaks (now a private dwelling) and 26 local ladies went along to see what the WI could offer them. One of the first items on the agenda was passing a motion to allow 14-year-old girls to join the WI and one of the first campaigns they were involved with was knitting garments to be sent to the liberated people of Europe. Another request at a monthly meeting in 1945 was to collect rose hips to make cough syrup and members responded by collecting 20lbs and taking them to the following month’s meeting.
It is interesting looking back through the group’s archives at just how many WIs there were in the area that are no longer running — Osberton, Clumber and Welbeck Colliery to name just a few — and also how many day trips they organised, considering that most women in those days didn’t own a car let alone know how to drive one! Also a sign of the times that right up until the 70s and 80s members were referred to in the minutes as Mrs Smith or Mrs Jones — never Hilda or Joan!
What does the WI offer today’s women in the 2020s? They like to think that they are an inclusive friendly organisation that can open people’s minds to the possibility of being anything they want to be. You can go to the monthly meeting for a couple of hours and meet new people and learn new hobbies or interests, enjoy the evening but then go home and forget about the WI until next month. Or you can take a more active role in the WI and get involved in the local group of WIs or further afield at county level or even nationally in campaigns which improve the lives of women not just here in the UK but across the world, it is entirely your choice.
The group meet in Shireoaks Village Hall on the third Thursday of every month at 7.00pm until 9.00pm and visitors are always welcome. For more information visit their Facebook page or contact Dawn Short directly on 07817 681778.