Determined resident Lizzie sets up new women’s institute for Birchington – The Isle Of Thanet News
A new Birchington Women’s Institute will hold its first meeting this month after determined resident Lizzy Davidson decided to revive the group.
While the band won’t be an “official” WI until early next year, Lizzie has decided to put the show on the road with meetings booked at Church House this month and next.
The 52-year-old gut wellness coach says the movie Calendar Girls – based on the true story of WI members donning voluptuous buns and Cherry Bakewell for a nude charity calendar – made her think a WI would be amusing.
She said, âNot long after losing my father a few years ago, I asked my mother, ‘Why don’t you join the WI? Sounds like a lot of fun! “. And I also remember thinking to myself that when I was older, I would join inâ¦ because yeah, that sounded like a lot of fun!
âAfter 10 years, I made my first request to join Birchington WI, but alas, it was no longerâ¦ I missed the boat.
Birchington actually had two WIs. Birchington WI, formed in 1968, used to meet in the afternoon, but numbers started to drop and it closed a few years ago. There was also the Grenham Bay WI – later taking the name Birchington – which met in the evenings but, with a limited number of members, it ran its course after 50 years and also closed.
Lizzie, who also works at Mandy’s Deli in the village, was not to be upset and decided it was time for Birchington to have another institute for women.
She said, âI had a brain wave, why don’t I resuscitate the WI? I inquired about the creation of a new group and the WI organization gave me the green light.
âI created a Facebook group for those who are interested in staying on top of the plans put in place, and this is where it blew me awayâ¦ in just a few days we have gained almost 300 members, I don’t literally couldn’t keep up with the join requests.
“I couldn’t believe it, and I still can’t, one minute I was joiningâ¦ the next minute I was organizing it.”
âThere is still a bit of work to be done before we officially start as a WI group, and the responses from the amazing ladies at Birchington with such appreciation and support have been heartwarming. We may not be officially settled until the New Year, but that won’t stop us.
âI want the ladies to look forward to Christmas and step into the New Year knowing that they have a community of like-minded women, that they are making new friends and that they have something positive to look forward to there. ‘next yearâ¦ and I love every minute of it. “
Meetings will be held at Church House in Kent Gardens on November 23 and December 21 at 7:30 p.m. Then they will take place every first Tuesday of the month.
Lizzie, who lives in the village with her boyfriend Mark and Cocker Spaniel Sampson, 6, is now hoping that many more women will want to join us.
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A glimpse into the history of the Women’s Institute
In 1915, the WI was formed in the United Kingdom. It was originally created to revitalize rural communities and encourage women to become more involved in food production during World War I. Since then, the goals of the organization have broadened and WI is now the largest voluntary women’s organization in the UK.
1924 marks the year that the members of WI sang âJerusalemâ for the very first time. It was specially composed for the WI and adopted because of its connection to the suffrage movement – hence the Wis saying about Jerusalem and jam (making).
During World War II, the WI played a vital role in the cultivation and preservation of food and in the care of evacuees.
In the 1950s, after passing a resolution to launch a national anti-waste campaign, the WI and 25 other UK organizations formed the Keep Britain Tidy group.
The WI was in the spotlight in 2003 with the release of Calendar Girls, starring Helen Mirren.
In 2012, the first WI inside a women’s prison was formed
Over the decades, the WI has campaigned on everything from HIV awareness to demanding equal pay.