Letter of congratulation to Borden WI 2009 from Elizabeth Giles nee Valentine.
I am so sorry not to be with you all on this special day - the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak!
I came to Borden Village in 1941, with my 6th month old baby boy. My husband had been placed in a reserved occupation and had spent the time from the New Year finding a home for us. I walked into Broomfield in June, having travelled through an air-raid, and the back door was open. There was a lovely walled garden with a great bed of lilac mauve iris scenting the air. I knew I was going to be happy living in kent.
I joined Tunstall W.I. that year. I didn't know anyone and I was hoping to find friends. I also took my baby up to the clinic in the big old Borden Vicarage and met many young mums, who were as ignorant as I was.
By 1949, I had two more children and Kathleen Bishop (who lived in the house above Posiers),felt that there should be an Institute in Borden. We went round the village, asking folk if they were interested.
In October 1949 we had our first meeting and about 30 villagers attended. Mr Plumtrees V.C.O. was one of our first sponsors and helped to get us going. By this time my husband John, was more involved with the Church, he was treasurer and he had been very busy helping with the 'Welcome Home' Fund and the planning of the Playstool where we had many summer fetes.
I have some early WI programmes. It was very much a time of 'make do and mend' as the war was just over. Curing rabbit skins and making fur gloves was one of the handicraft sessions I particularly remember and making lampshades out of hedgerow materials was another!
We put on a pantomime and Amy Hudson started our choir, this went from strengh to strength and we took part in a concert at the Albert Hall. (The Brilliant and Dark),with a young Herbert Willcox conducting.
I went to Denman College in about 1954 and was so pleased to be there. it was an interesting and enjoyable experience and since then I have been lucky enough to go again three more times, the last time with the Suffolk rep. to do water colour painting.
In 1953 we performed a Pagent to celebrate the Coronation. We got into our costumes at Dot Tidy's house and paraded across to the Playstool, singing songs about Merry England. Reg Kift,who was the church organist,used to talk about his day when he was a member of the W.I. !
Excerpts from a letter of congratulation sent to Borden WI on the occasion of its 60th Birthday.