Fotherby WI marks its 100th anniversary

Members of Fotherby WI celebrated its 100th birthday last Tuesday, (Nov 6).  Photo: Chloe West.
Members of Fotherby WI celebrated its 100th birthday last Tuesday, (Nov 6). Photo: Chloe West.

The ladies of Fotherby WI celebrated their milestone 100th anniversary last week and wanted to go out on a high as the organisation will sadly be folding in December.

To mark the special occasion, the ladies began their meeting in the traditional WI way and sang hymn ‘Jerusalem’.

Fotherby WI membersJennifer Leeman, Sheila Fiddling, (who made the special anniversary cake), and Chris Waltham. Photo: Chloe West.

Fotherby WI membersJennifer Leeman, Sheila Fiddling, (who made the special anniversary cake), and Chris Waltham. Photo: Chloe West.

They then enjoyed some comedy sketch entertainment, provided by WI members, Chris Waltham, Sheila Fiddling, Audrey Skeath and Joan Smith.

They also had a special guest for the afternoon, County Chair of Lincs North WI, Christine Morgan.

The ladies ended the afternoon with a vast spread of afternoon tea delights as well as enjoying a piece of cake, specially made by Sheila Fiddling.

Due to a lack of members, the organisation is stopping after their final December meeting, but Fotherby WI Presidents Judy Gilliatt, who has been a member for 24 years, said the ladies were glad to have reached the 100th year milestone before doing so.

She said: “It is very sad our WI group is closing as the group does a lot of good work.

“But we are all really happy to be leaving on a high - our aim was to get to the 100th anniversary, and we’ve done that.”

Mrs Gilliatt added that she would like to say a massive thank you to all the members and everyone who has supported Fotherby WI over the years.

WI member Jennifer Leeman has been part of Fotherby WI for 22 years, and her grandmother, Ada Holmes was a founder member.

She said that in 1918, a speaker came down specially from London to speak to ladies living in Fotherby, Little Grimsby and Brackenborough to talk about the WI.

Then on that same evening, 42 members enrolled and the history of Fotherby WI began.

Their first WI secretary, was none other than politician Margaret Wintringham, and was said to have attended as many of the WI meetings as she could in between her parliamentary duties.

Mrs Leeman still has the initial Fotherby WI brooch that her grandmother wore.

Back then, the local WI group was part of a wider federation of WI organisations, called Lindsey Federation.

But it has since been renamed as the Lincs North Federation when the boundary areas changed.

Mrs Leeman added that Fotherby WI was a very influential group within the Lindsey Federation and said it was amazing what the group did in its early days.

She added: “It sad we’re closing down, but instead of struggle, we wanted to go out on a happy note. But WI groups are becoming popular with younger people, which is great. It is just what is needed.”