(Last updated 13th January 2018)
Guarlford Women’s Institute is a happy and friendly group. Meetings are usually held on the second Tuesday of the month in Guarlford Village Hall at 7.30 pm, and visitors are always welcome. Village and community life is important to us, so we enjoy fundraising for local concerns and having fun at the same time. (Details can be seen on the 'WI News' page.)
We have a varied programme of meetings, and sometimes after hearing talks at the monthly meetings members have taken up new pastimes or joined classes such as Tai Chi, Belly Dancing and Pilates. There is also a WI Library of books, which is much used by members, and we are always open to suggestions from members for ‘extra’ activities.
Our Craft Group meets on most Monday afternoons. In recent years we have tackled various crafts, when members have learned something new or returned to old favourites. We created some display banners for the Village Hall with samples of patchwork, as well as supporting charities such as knitting 'Teddies for Tragedy' and outfits for premature babies, making Tactile Books for Clearvision and, of course, every year filling a fundraising Craft stall at the annual Christmas Bazaar in aid of the Village Hall where we meet and St Mary's, the parish Church. In 2010 we made 'Comfort' quilts for the Project Linus charity; in 2011 we learned how to crochet, and we knitted - and knitted! Charities we supported with our knitting that year included, once again 'Teddies for Charity', as well as chicks to hold Cadbury Crème eggs to be sold in aid of the Breast Cancer Unit at Worcester Royal Hospital, hats, mittens and scarves for the Mission to Seafarers, and teacosies which were used for fundraising for the Avoncroft Museum of Buildings, a competition in which one of our members won a Third Prize. In 2012 we sewed little dresses for “Dress A Girl Around The World”, via the Sew Scrumptious website, and in 2013 we combined with our parish school to supply boxes and items for the Christmas Child shoebox appeal.
Our project for 2014 was to provide cushions for the Village Hall chairs, prompting a request from St Mary's Church for cushions to be used in the pews (duly made), and in 2015 we joined forces with some of the ladies of St Gabriel's WI, Hanley Swan, to make cushions with a very different purpose. These cushions, and bags to hold drainage equipment, were made for patients who had had breast cancer operations; together we made over 100 items - appropriate in the centenary year. In 2016 we knitted again, this time blankets for premature babies via the ProjectLinus charity; we distributed knitting patterns to our members with four designs from which to choose for one of the Classes at our biennial Produce & Craft Show. Then in 2017 our charity project was to knit Twiddle Muffs and sew patchwork 'Fidget' lap quilts for dementia patients. You can see photos on other webpages of all we have created over the years. This year, 2018, there will be a class for a charity knit at the Produce and Handicraft Show in September: we are again asking people to knit simple hats for the Mission to Seamen charity, pattern provided (and even yarn and needles to members if necessary). Non members are invited to take part in the Show too, and visitors are always welcome in the evening to view the talents shown in many classes: Preserves, Produce, Baking (four given recipes), Floral Art, Plants and all kinds of Crafts.
In past years we have often entered the Creative Activities section of the Annual County WI Rally, which takes place at the Three Counties Showground, Malvern (see Photos and News webpages).
Our Institute belongs to the Severn Group, which has Group meetings plus a Carol Service, and we are part of the Worcestershire Federation of WIs, which organises all kinds of classes, trips and events, in which members often participate.
The County Federation has its own website www.worcswi.moonfruit.com Our Skittles team plays in the Federation League, and we enjoy entering and organising quizzes. Our own biennial fundraising Quiz Evening is very popular, not least because of the food provided.
The National Federation of WI s brings all WI s together and the website is very informative. The annual subscription is currently £41. The subscription includes payment for copies of the WI magazine 'WI Life', which are posted direct to each WI member in the country.
If you would like more information about Guarlford WI please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Do come along and meet us - a warm welcome awaits you!
Short history of our W I
Guarlford Women's Institute was formed on May 13th 1941 in part of the stables at Guarlford Rectory, once the 'Rectory Room', known in wartime as 'The Point' (because the room became a First Aid Point and meeting point for the ARP Wardens). Before that time women from Guarlford had been members of Madresfield WI, which, at its inception in 1917, was one of the earliest WIs in the country - known as 'Madresfield, Newland & Guarlford Women's Institute'. So, Guarlford is a 'daughter' Institute of Madresfield, which, sadly, closed in 1993.
The earliest Meeting Minute Books provide interesting glimpses of life on the Home Front in World War Two. For example, in May 1943, after Mrs Roberts had given a demonstration on 'Making Eiderdowns and Italian Quilting', and Mrs Pagett had performed some humorous recitations for the Social Half-hour, a collection was made for the 'Wings For Victory' Fund, amounting to £1 and 5 shillings. The Minutes of June 6th 1944 describe how a Garden Party at Dripshill House ended with the singing of 'God Save the King', because of the news about D-Day.
More about the history of Guarlford Women's Institute can be found on pages 185 to 191 of 'The Guarlford Story'. Please see the GHG web pages for details of how to purchase a copy. For the History of the WI nationally, see the National Federation of WIs website. Once there, click 'About Us' and then 'WI History Archive'.