HUNDREDS of women gathered to watch a commemorative baton change hands to mark 100 years of the Women’s Institute.
The 30cm relay baton is on an 18-month tour of the country and changed hands in Fareham at Westbury Manor Museum and then again at Titchfield Community Centre at lunchtime.
It then went to Burlesdon, before finishing for the night in Winchester with a torch-lit procession.
Ros Cooper, from Langley WI, was supervising the exchanges and enjoying the atmosphere.
WI adviser Mrs Cooper said: ‘Everybody is doing something different. It’s all been very enjoyable.’
The baton began its tour on January 1, 2014, and has been travelling throughout the 69 WI federations in England, Wales and the Islands.
It launched in Anglesey where the first WI meeting was held in the UK in 1915.
A celebration will be held at the WI’s annual meeting where the relay will finish, in June at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
By that time all 208,000 WI members will have had the opportunity to join in with the celebrations.
The baton has travelled by a variety of quirky ways and yesterday saw the baton arrive at Westbury Manor in a classic Morris Minor convertible, much to the delight of members.
President of Lee-on-the-Solent WI Evelyn Love was at Westbury Manor to mark the occasion.
Mrs Love, who has been a member of the WI for 16 years, said: ‘It has brought us forward as a group and hopefully we will attract lots of new members from it.’
Other guests at yesterday’s events included Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage, mayor and mayoress of Fareham David and Pamela Norris and officers of Hampshire County Federation of Women’s Institutes.
An exhibition to mark the WI’s 100 years is being held at Westbury Manor Museum until January 30, which is free to visit.