Barking First Ladies celebrate 100 years of the WI

Members and supporters of the Women's Institute (WI) pose for a photo with the WI flag before the fl

Members and supporters of the Women's Institute (WI) pose for a photo with the WI flag before the flag-raising takes place - Credit: Vickie Flores/Archant

A modern design graced a flag to celebrate a hundred years of a beloved institution.

Around forty members of the First Ladies – Barking’s five-year-old WI branch – hoisted their own flag at the Town Hall in respect of the national centenary.

“We thought it would be nice to have our celebration tie in with 50 years of the borough,” explained president Eirlys Gilbert.

The flag-raising on Friday was accompanied by speeches from WI Essex Federation chair, Pat Pratley, and council leader Darren Rodwell.

Members also enjoyed tea and home-made cakes in the council chamber, showing that staple activity of the WI, baking, is still a hit.


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The young branch may be “traditional”, says Eirlys, but is always open to trying new things.

“We’ve done jiving, Bollywood dancing –we do whatever the members want to do,” said Eirlys, adding that friendship and education was at their core.

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The occasion finished with a rousing performance of the WI’s anthem, Jeusalem, by the Ladies’ choir.

First Ladies meet on the first Wednesday of each month at Eastbury Manor House. Find out more at firstladieswi.blogspot.co.uk

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