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'The history is inspiring' - centenary celebrated as WI mark Norfolk Day

PUBLISHED: 17:01 27 July 2019 | UPDATED: 18:48 27 July 2019

Maggie Gallop, Margaret Collingwood and Vicki Reynolds at theNorfolk Day 2019 WI garden party in Norwich

Maggie Gallop, Margaret Collingwood and Vicki Reynolds at theNorfolk Day 2019 WI garden party in Norwich

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From mouth-watering baking to colourful crafts, members of one of the county's most-loved organisations honoured their centenary year as they gathered to celebrate Norfolk Day.

Margaret Collingwood in the WI spoon garden at their Norfolk Day 2019 garden party in NorwichMargaret Collingwood in the WI spoon garden at their Norfolk Day 2019 garden party in Norwich

The Norfolk Federation of Women's Institutes (WI) held an open garden party at their Norwich headquarters to mark the county's second ever Norfolk Day today (Saturday, July 27).

Speaking at Evelyn Suffield House, on All Saints Green, chairman Margaret Collingwood, praised the efforts of WIs across Norfolk, and said: "What has been important is as the WI we have all come together to celebrate.

"Today with the open house we have had many members of the WI coming in to enjoy the garden party and enjoy the house - which belongs to the members."

She added: "We're celebrating 100 years of the WI in Norfolk this year, which is all about what women can do working together.

Hazel Jones, Mary Dorrell, Maggie Gallop, Margaret Collingwood (chairman), Vicki Reynolds, Coral Batchelor, Evelyn Ninham and Liz Barker at the Norfolk Day 2019 WI garden party in NorwichHazel Jones, Mary Dorrell, Maggie Gallop, Margaret Collingwood (chairman), Vicki Reynolds, Coral Batchelor, Evelyn Ninham and Liz Barker at the Norfolk Day 2019 WI garden party in Norwich

"You're not here in a professional capacity, you're not here as someone's mother or as someone's wife.

"You're here to be yourself. The WI is everything you want it to be and everything you make of it.

"We have high hopes for the next 100 years. The WI member is not put into any category, of age or skill - we're open to all women."

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New member Amy Downes, from Lingwood, recently joined the Golden Triangle WI, and said: "It's the sense of community in the WI and the important issues they try to raise awareness of."

The 30-year-old lecturer added: "There are lots of issues where you want to do something about but on your own it's difficult.

"The history of the WI is an inspiring group to be a part of.

"I do crafting and dress-making but it's about having a purpose."

The spoon garden at their Norfolk Day 2019 WI garden party in NorwichThe spoon garden at their Norfolk Day 2019 WI garden party in Norwich

And WI spokesperson Mary Dorrell added: "Our garden is a haven in the middle of the city.

"We have nearly 5,000 members in Norfolk and 155 WIs but new ones start all the time."

Members celebrated Norfolk Day in different ways, from taking part in the WIs 100 Ways With Cake effort, to bell-ringing, or creating the garden of painted wooden spoons, or honey bee friendly 'bug hotel's at the event.

The open house saw teas, coffees, and cake on offer, with BBC Radio Norfolk recording The Garden Party programme live.

The spoon garden at their Norfolk Day 2019 WI garden party in NorwichThe spoon garden at their Norfolk Day 2019 WI garden party in Norwich

For more information, visit: www.thewi.org.uk/become-a-member/structure-of-the-wi/england/norfolk/welcome-to-norfolk

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