There is one thing about the ladies of Horsell Afternoon WI – they are not shy with regards to their age. Indeed, they consider it a reason for celebration, writes Ann Tilbury

And when it is one of those Big 0 birthdays then there has to be a party. And food, and music and cake!

This was the group’s 60th birthday and they were entertained by Steve Poole singing songs of the 1960s and playing his guitar.

Times have changed in those 60 years, including the timing of the meetings. Horsell Afternoon WI came into being as Horsell Evening Women’s Institute in 1963, first meeting in the cricket pavilion on Horsell Moor. 

This was a time when more women were working outside the home so belonging to the original Horsell Women’s Institute with afternoon meetings was difficult and the demand for evening meetings grew. 

As time went by, evening meetings became inconvenient and members decided to meet in the afternoon so the group became Horsell Afternoon WI. What goes around comes around!

The times of the meetings may change, and the times we live in change, but Horsell Afternoon WI remains a non-political, non-religious friendly group and continues to welcome new members to be part of the largest voluntary organisation for women in the UK. 

There are branches of the WI all over the country: the Surrey Federation of Women’s Institutes has more than 8,000 members. The movement, now worldwide, had its birth in Stoney Creek, Ontario, in 1897 and was based on the British Women’s Guilds created by Rev Archibald Charteris in 1887. So no wonder the ladies are not only not shy to show their age, but positively revel in it!

Horsell Afternoon WI meets at Horsell Village Hall on the first Thursday of each month from 1.45pm to 4pm. More information from [email protected]