Falmouth WI celebrates 95th birthday
12:00pm Sunday 24th February 2013 in Falmouth/Penryn
Falmouth’s Women’s Institute may have celebrated its 95th anniversary last week but members are determined to dispel the notion that it is still all about “jam and Jerusalem” and insist things have changed.
Gig rowing, table tennis and even gliding are not the sort of activities that usually come to mind when thinking of the WI, but at Falmouth the women are adventurous and keen to try out new skills. “We want a more modern image,” said Betty Ross. “We are not just about jam and cakes – that is just what we have become known for – we are much more modern.”
Falmouth WI was formed in February 1918 and is one of the oldest within the Cornwall Federation of WIs. It first met at a building in The Strand, which had been opened by Lady Falmouth.
In 1928 it moved to its current home in Webber Street, which had been three cottages, and in 2004 the ladies embarked on their largest fundraising campaign and raised £35,000 to upgrade the listed building.
In January 1923 membership peaked at 324, but these days numbers have dwindled to around 35.
Among those are Mercia Paterson, who has been a member for 50 years and Mary McComb who has given 46 years’ service.
Mary admits things have certainly changed over the years. “When I first joined the WI, all the ladies used to wear hats and if you didn’t get to meetings by a certain time, you had to stand.”
Members got together at the Falmouth Hotel on Friday to celebrate their birthday when they enjoyed a three course lunch.