Former leader of Norfolk WIs

A member of the Norfolk Federation of Women's Institutes for almost 70 years and a former county chairman, Joan Hood, has died, aged 87.She was a frequent judge of the Norfolk Best Kept Village competition, now the EDP Pride in the Norfolk Community Awards.

A member of the Norfolk Federation of Women's Institutes for almost 70 years and a former county chairman, Joan Hood, has died, aged 87.

She was a frequent judge of the Norfolk Best Kept Village competition, now the EDP Pride in the Norfolk Community Awards.

Mrs Hood had joined Sprowston institute - started by her mother - at 19 and was a founder-member of Woodbastwick WI in 1954. To her regret, it was dissolved some years ago. She became county chairman in March 1981 after two years as vice-chairman, standing down in 1985.

Mrs Hood enjoyed sport and keep-fit, particularly Medau movement, and was in demand to demonstrate country dancing at Norfolk WIs.


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She married Pat in 1943 while he was in the RAF, and after he returned from India he obtained a company tenancy on the Woodbastwick estate at Michaelmas 1946. Joan was the eldest of five daughters of agricultural adviser Frank Rayns, who supported Mr Hoodtenancy application to take Heath Farm. The coldest winter in living memory, in 1947, was followed by the worst drought for a century, which almost wrecked the couple's farming career; but they survived and Mr Hood became chairman of Norfolk National Farmers' Union in 1973.

Her award-winning recipe, Granny Hood's Christmas Pudding, was included in Mary Norwak's A Taste of Norfolk book to mark the 1989 British Food and Farming Year. Her husband died in 2004, and she leaves daughters, Jennifer and Susan and son James. Her eldest son, Charles, died last year.

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A service of thanksgiving will be held at St Helen's Church, Ranworth, on Monday, February 1; 2.30pm.

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