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WI ladies enjoy a nice cuppa with Atlantic Ladies' Di - with pictures

By Rory Smith | Much Wenlock | News | Published:

More than 80 members of Women's Institutes from around Shropshire clinked mugs with record-breaker Di Carrington during a bi-yearly vintage tea party.

Hosted in Much Wenlock by the town's WI group, six branches came together for the meeting, with Pontesbury's Di Carrington, the oldest woman to row the Atlantic Ocean, at the forefront of the event.

Speaking on her record-breaking achievement and the mentality it took to get her there, Di gave a presentation before taking questions and joining the WI groups for a cuppa.

"I sometimes slip out a little early at certain events but I stayed until the bitter end at this one, I just enjoyed it so much," she said.

"I received such a lovely, warm reception from the audience and they all told me they really enjoyed it.

"After giving them a flavour of where I was, jobless due to anxiety and depression, I take them along my journey to rowing the Atlantic Ocean.

"Once I had finished I made my way around every single table and I had so many questions I wouldn't have been able to answer them all if I didn't.

"The food and refreshments were lovely and you could tell organisers put a lot of effort into getting everything sorted."

Helping with the refreshments from Much Wenlock WI Gay Bream, Val Humphries, Helen Egli, Ina Taylor and Diana Baugh

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Kim Leitch, vice president of Much Wenlock's Women's Institute, said the committee made the perfect choice in bringing Di to the event.

"She is such an inspiration and fits right in with the WI's attitude of inspiring women to do the best they can and achieve," she said.

"Her story is brilliant and she's an inspiring Shropshire lady so it fits together very nicely – even the two gentlemen we had in the audience enjoyed it too."

The meeting took months of preparation, with days of non-stop cake baking and sandwich making.

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"Every bit of food was homemade, so for the last few days we've been baking cakes and the morning of the event was spent making sandwiches," she added.

"It really was outstanding and I think even we're a little surprised at just how well everything went down. We've had some fabulous feedback already."

With six groups part of the bi-yearly meetings, Much Wenlock will have to wait another three years before it hosts the event again.

Di set three world records on the 60 day adventure when she became the oldest woman to row the Atlantic Ocean at the age of 62 in early 2018.

More than a year after her trip, Atlantic Ladies, a show about Shropshire's famous sea-going heroines, is set to take place at Shrewsbury's Theatre Severn next week.

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Trainee news reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Ketley office in Telford.

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