Hayling Island’s last WI group has broken up after 73 years

Picture: Shaun Roster
Picture: Shaun Roster
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THE end of an era on Hayling was celebrated with the final meeting of the last remaining Women’s Institute group on the Island.  

After 73 years, Hayling Island Afternoon WI (formerly Stoke and North Hayling WI) is no more.

Vice President Angela Goodsell said: ‘The committee had worked hard to keep the group going over the last few years, but all needed to step down and no-one was able to take over the officers’ jobs to keep the group going.’

Members enjoyed their last event, a lunch at Hayling Golf Club.

Angela added: ‘Good friends have been made over the years and the WI have contributed to many Island events and activities.

‘So many residents have belonged, sat on committees, worked as officers, plus contributed in many ways to make a successful group over the last 73 years.

‘It will be missed.’

Though there are no longer any WI groups on Hayling, the organisation is still huge. There are believed to be over 6,000 groups in the UK boasting a combined membership of around 220,000.

The WI movement began at Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada, in 1897. WIs quickly spread throughout the country with 130 branches launched by 1905 in Ontario alone.

The first WI meeting in the UK took place in September 1915 at Llanfairpwll on Anglesey, Wales.

The organisation had two aims: to revitalise rural communities and to encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War.

Since then the organisation’s aims have broadened and it is now the largest women’s voluntary organisation in the UK

The WI is a women-only organisation, and only two males have ever been accepted as fully paid up members.

One was Colonel Richard Stapleton-Cotton, who played a major role in setting up the previusly mentioned meeting on Anglesey.

And the second? That was the Colonel’s dog, Tinker!