Saturday, 15 March 2014

Women's Institute

The History of Nocton WI

Mr and Mrs Ireson moved to the village in April 1946.  Mr Ireson was the General Manager of Smiths Potato Estates.  The Nocton WI was formed on the 4th of July 1946 under the guidance of Mrs Ireson. She was the first President and held that position until she left the village in April 1966. The first meetings were held at Embsay House and by the November they were held in the newly opened Village Hall.

Mrs Lillian Ireson

The women who formed the Nocton WI in 1946 were looking for a cure for the post war blues.  Little did they realize that they were building a pillar of the village society.  They were the instigators of a Baby Clinic, a Chiropody Clinic and a Grandmothers Club for the old folk.  Members helped various good causes by giving their time or raising funds or both but they never lost sight of their first aim which was to get the social side going in the village after the war and to keep it going.

Mrs Ireson organized the Annual Garden Party at Embsay House and in 1949 the Nocton WI combined with Cricket Club to hold the event, this arrangement worked well and continued for many years.  The 1954 Garden Party saw the brilliant scaled model of the Coronation Coach and Horses arrive in Nocton.  (Remember that some people may have seen the Coronation, the previous year, on a small black and white television screen).

Mrs Phyl Redshaw was the first Secretary and then President in 1966 and later she recalled some of the outings that had been arranged for members to visit France, Germany, Italy and Norway.  By 1970 there were 49 members and no “sleeping” ones amongst them; certainly not the sixteen “grandma members” who entertained the other members at a party which was usually held in April.  It was one of the treats of the year because not only did they provide a lovely buffet but they also did some sort of comic turn.  One year they all paraded in hats made from kitchen utensils – colanders stuck with roses and things like that.

WI (@ Embsay House)

The WI also hit the headlines of the local press in 1972 – “Nocton WI sets a crisp pace”  “The women are now an active village force”

For several winters the WI ran Whist Drives and raised over £700 for Cancer Research.  During the late 1950s and early 1960s, the members made many articles for sale at Mrs Frank Smith’s London RNLI Sales of Work and the highlight was a three day trip to London for three members to help on the Stall including an evening at a West End Show with all expenses paid.

Before 1977 the Lincolnshire WI movement was divided into three federations - Kesteven, Lindsey and Holland. The Boundary Commission changes turned the north of Lincolnshire into South Humberside, which meant that the WI Federations were very unequal in size and population so Lincolnshire North and Lincolnshire South Federations were formed.  Nocton is in Lincs North with the Headquartes in Louth while Metheringham is in Lincs South with their Headquarters in Sleaford using the “old” Kesteven Federation offices.

Around 1985 the Nocton WI was disbanded due to fact that a committee could not be formed and all the records would have been sent to Louth along with any money held on behalf of the WI.

Fortunately a group of women got together and reformed the Nocton WI with their first committee meeting on 4th December 1989 and the following week eighteen members were present to hear Maureen Drummond’s talk “Poetry Ragbag”.  The Tablecloth that is embroidered with the founder members names had not been sent to Louth and there is a record of it being returned to the WI on 5th March 1990 by Barbara Bee and is still in use today.

To celebrate 90 years of the WI movement in Britain, Nocton WI invited as many past members as possible to a party in the Village Hall on Monday 8th August 2005. They were asked to bring a bottle and a photo taken during their time in Nocton WI and about 90 people were present that evening, including the County Chairman, Jacky Cheetham.  There was no need for any entertainment as everyone was busy catching up with each other’s news.  Past members came from as far afield as Norfolk and Skegness and all had a good time.

Nocton WI held their 20th Birthday celebrations on 14th December 2009 when the two longest serving committee members, Doreen Green and Ann Kennedy, cut the special birthday cake.

Whilst much has changed during 68 years, both socially and economically, the spirit of the WI holds true.  Members vote on important issues from human rights to high street shops – the debates go on.
In 2013 there were approximately 20 members who met monthly in Nocton Village Hall.  We were encouraged to knit teddies for Lincolnshire Police, collect used stamps and make craft for WI stalls!

Lincolnshire Police teddies

Every meeting is full of friendship and goodwill and with programmed activities voted for by members there is something for all.  In 2013 alone we danced to the strains of Egyptian music, donned Saris from India, had fun with antiques and were inspired by a woodturning demonstration.  The history of tapestry and weaving was a joy and the talk on embroidery and restoration of Lincoln Cathedral awesome.  A visit to Easton gardens and bowling were additional fun activities.
2014 promises to be just as exciting with talks on the Sugar Factory, Life in Lincolnshire Salt Marshes, the Wonders of the Solar System together with activities such as jewellery making and pottery, to name but a few. Guests are invited to our open meetings and new WI members are always welcome.

We hold our meetings in the Village Hall on the second Monday of the month at 7.15 p.m. and if you wish to join us either come along or contact one of the following people:

President:     Barbara Nicholson  Email:  Tel: 01522 797667
Secretary:  Jacky Free   Email:  Tel: 01526 321558

[Article provided by Nocton Women's Institute]

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