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Next stop on the classic bus ride is Little Wenlock WI’s 100th birthday celebrations

Much Wenlock | News | Published:

For a century members of a county WI have gathered to provide a place to make friends, meet up, learn new skills, discuss ideas and listen to talks.

Little Wenlock Women's Institute who are celebrating 100 years of the WI boarded a bus for an afternoon of celebrations

Members of Little Wenlock Women’s Institute marked its 100th birthday party with a classic bus trip, while club president Diana Justham spoke of the organisation’s ability to inspire all women.

Originally set up in 1919, the group has been providing a way for members of the community to meet up, learn new skills, and discuss ideas ever since.

It is just one of many that come under the Shropshire Federation of Women’s Institutes, which has nearly 3,500 members in 120 different WIs.

Members took a trip to Much Wenlock

Mrs Justham, 74, who organised the classic 1950s bus, which formed a key part of the commemorations, said the WI was a hugely and important organisation for women.

She has been a WI member for 50 years, across five different federations – originally joining the WI at the age of 16 when she went to her mother’s meetings in Somerset.

“The WI is very very important," she said. "We are not just ‘Jam and Jerusalem’.

“The WI is whatever a woman wants it to be. It can inspire her to do anything she wants, even if that is baking a cake or writing a book.

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The old bus travelled from Little Wenlock to Much Wenlock’s old railway station and back home again

“It is an organisation that is just for women and we are allowed to be like that. It is wonderful. The friendship and interests it provides is phenomenal. You can just do what you enjoy doing.”

Mrs Justham explained how she had arranged the bus for the anniversary because she wanted to find a special way for people to celebrate the occasion.

Her brother-in-law, Adrian Hunt, 68, has owned the bus since 1992, and was happy for the ladies to use it as part of their plans.

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In all, a group of around 15 ladies travelled from Little Wenlock to Much Wenlock’s old railway station and back home again, where they were able to enjoy a homemade afternoon tea in the village hall.

While on board, they had their meeting and enjoyed the picturesque sights surrounding them.

President of the group Diana Justham aboard the bus

Mrs Justham said it had been a lovely way to celebrate the anniversary.

She said: “We wanted to make the celebration as special as we could. So I planned to have a special meeting to advertise it, and thought the bus would do.”

Speaking as they prepared to embark on their journey she said: “I am very excited for the day ahead, it has taken a lot of organising and the weather couldn’t be better for it.”

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