THE OLDEST Women's Institute in Berkshire has begun a year long celebration of its centenary.

In 1915 during the great war effort large groups women became economically mobilised for the first time, leading the residents of Llanfairpwllgwyngyll in Anglesey to import the WI idea from Canada.

Two years later and Burghfield set up a branch.

To celebrate 100 years of jam and Jerusalem, the Berkshire faction installed a commemorative bench in the recreation ground on April 20.

Jennie Abbott-Hauxwell, member for 18 months, said: “We put it at the heart of the village where it will be used on a daily basis by people just wanting to rest awhile.

"The ribbon was cut by the President of the Burghfield WI, Jean Shepperd in front of a crowd of WI members, officers from WI Berkshire Federation, parish councillors and members of the public, and declared officially available for use.

“Tea and cake was served from the pavilion after the opening.”

Running up to the Institute's centenary on June 13, two historical plaques will be installed on the building where the club first met in 1915 and on the village hall.

On the day itself author of 'Jambusters' Julie Summers will deliver a talk to the group.

The celebrations will continue into September when the village hall will house an exhibition tracing the group's history.

Speaking about why she signed up, Mrs Abbott-Hauxwell said: “I'm the kind of person who likes to get involved. Lots of lovely ladies go there, there are lots of friendships to be made and a lot of campaigning.

“At the moment we are campaigning about the shortage of midwives and carers. We have also campaigned about the demise of bees.”

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