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New town sign reflects WI branch's pride in town

Officers and members of Wells-next-the-Sea Women’s Institute together with the chairman of the Norwich Federation of Women’s Institutes, Lady Leicester and  members of Wells-next-the-Sea Town Council, at the unveiling of the new town sign. Picture: SUPPLIED BY PAMELA UNDERWOOD

Officers and members of Wells-next-the-Sea Women's Institute together with the chairman of the Norwich Federation of Women's Institutes, Lady Leicester and members of Wells-next-the-Sea Town Council, at the unveiling of the new town sign. Picture: SUPPLIED BY PAMELA UNDERWOOD

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A Norfolk Women's Institute branch is celebrating its 100th anniversary and has erected a town sign to commemorate the event.

Wells WI is celebrating its 100th anniversary and has erected a new town sign.Florence Smith, pictured, founded the Wells WI in 1919.  Pictures: supplied by Wells WIWells WI is celebrating its 100th anniversary and has erected a new town sign.Florence Smith, pictured, founded the Wells WI in 1919. Pictures: supplied by Wells WI

Wells-next-the Sea WI’s sign has been installed at the east end of the town in Polka Road, and will be unveiled at 11.15am on Thursday, April 4.

The existing town sign will remain at the junction of Mill Road and Park Road.

The sign was designed by Val Emerson, one of the committee members, and includes the Hanser with depictions of the marsh and pine trees, which are synonymous with the town.

It was made by The Village Sign People, Harry and Pammie Stebbings, of Gt Hockham, with funds raised by holding a lunch and a quiz.

The new town sign at Wells-next-the-Sea. Picture: SUPPLIED BY PAMELA UNDERWOODThe new town sign at Wells-next-the-Sea. Picture: SUPPLIED BY PAMELA UNDERWOOD

Wells Town Council made a grant available and other funds were raised by matched funding from Barclays Bank.

Branch secretary Pamela Underwood said: “We are very proud of our long and continuous history stretching back over 100 years.

“During this time, we have supported the community and pride ourselves on continuing to provide that important support and assistance where and whenever it is needed.”

The WI branch was started in 1919 by a group of women who had been working with the Red Cross during the war, preparing first aid supplies and knitting gloves, scarves and balaclavas for the troops.

The new town sign at Wells-next-the-Sea. Picture: SUPPLIED BY PAMELA UNDERWOODThe new town sign at Wells-next-the-Sea. Picture: SUPPLIED BY PAMELA UNDERWOOD

The first president of the branch was Florence Smith whose husband George was a prominent businessman in the town.

The founding members built their own hall which has been in continuous use ever since.

Membership started at 100 at the outset and has fluctuated to a steady 50-plus over the last decade.

Activities held at the hall include a lively book group once a month, and the WI also goes on theatre trips, with the latest being to see the Calendar Girls at the Theatre Royal in Norwich.

The presentation of a bench outside the Library in Station Road in 1966. Pictures: Wells WIThe presentation of a bench outside the Library in Station Road in 1966. Pictures: Wells WI

Other activities held at the hall include embroidery, lunches, and afternoon teas. The Wells WI meets on the first Thursday of every month.

The Women’s Institute (WI) was formed in 1915 and the Norfolk Federation of WIs in 1919.

The presentation of the replacement bench in 2001. Pictures: Wells WIThe presentation of the replacement bench in 2001. Pictures: Wells WI



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