Centenary Baton Watch … Surrey!

The baton made its last stop, in Surrey, before next week’s Annual Meeting.

In Ripley, the baton arrived with costumed WI members, accompanied by a vintage bicycle.



In Bookham,  the baton was passed to the Presidents of the two newest Surrey WIs, Amanda Edge from Great Bookham Belles and Clare Cody of Bookham Butterflies.

Next stop … the Royal Albert Hall!

Centenary Baton Watch … Middlesex!

The baton has just made its penultimate stop, in Middlesex, before being delivered to the Royal Albert Hall.

HA:WI, meeting in Pinner, celebrated by welcoming author and historian Jane Robinson who spoke about the history of the Women’s Institute, drawing from her book A Force to be Reckoned With. Members sipped tea from fine bone-china vintage cups and saucers, alongside the obligatory Victoria sponge.


The ladies of West Ealing WI made this impressively-decorated cake to mark the centenary:


Elsewhere in the county, WI members took a paddle steamer trip …


… and posed for a photo with the baton on a rainy day at Staines Bridge.


Only one more stop to go!

Centenary Baton Watch … Hertfordshire!

The baton was given a lovely greeting in Hertfordshire by the Kimpton Belles who showed off a beautiful float.


In St Alban’s, WI members dressed up as Romans to welcome the baton’s arrival at the Abbey Theatre.


The Herts Belles put on a spectacular looking cake sale in honour of the baton:



And in Royston, the baton was walked over the heath by members of the Therfield and Kelshall WI and then delivered to the Royston Golf Club, where it was paraded by the town crier.


Centenary Baton Watch … Buckinghamshire!

The Centenary Baton’s latest stop was in Buckinghamshire.


You can click here to see a brief video about the baton’s visit to Aylesbury.

At Stoke Poges the baton toured Gray’s Monument and Memorial Garden where Jenny Harper-Jones, President of Hedgerley WI, recited Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.


The baton was taken by bicycle to Wendover, with ladies from Broughton Pastures WI, Fairford Leys WI, Quainton WI, Wendover Evening WI and Haddenham & Witchert WI.



Centenary Baton Watch … Oxfordshire!

The ladies of Oxfordshire have had great fun celebrating with the centenary baton, as it crossed the county by boat, horse and cart, vintage MG and fire engine.

Glorious sunshine welcomed about 200 members of the Women’s Institute to Oxford by steamer boat from Abingdon.


Linda Needle, Treasurer of Steeple-Aston WI, and her husband Roger, transported the WI baton to Bicester Garden Centre in a 1934 van with baker’s livery. Along the way, they stopped at five WIs to collect homemade cakes to deliver to the garden centre.


Lulu Belcher, he oldest member of the Fritillary group, took the baton in a 1926 Bullnose Morris from Denman to her group’s venue in Horspath, where it was met by a fanfare of buglers.


The baton was also taken by dray horses to a pub lunch before a picnic in Broughton Castle.



Centenary Baton Watch … Berkshire!

The Centenary Baton is inching its way closer to the Royal Albert Hall every week! It has just left Berkshire where it was greeted in Cookham by members of the Cookham, Cookham Dean and Dean Rise WIs, as well as the Mayor and Mayoress of Windsor and Maidenhead, Richard and Mary-Lou Kellaway.

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The three institutes gathered at Cookham Dean Cricket Club for a celebration tea, with members singing songs from the First World War.

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Centenary Baton Watch … Wiltshire!

You don’t need three guesses to work out where our Wiltshire friends headed when looking for an iconic spot to pose the Centenary Baton!


We can’t think of a more perfect spot.


The baton also visited Salisbury Plain with Wiltshire Federation Chairman Isobel Acott and other WI members. There, they bravely sat atop a Challenger tank!

Isobel said: “It was absolutely fantastic, the army were marvellous, we could not have asked for anything more.”


Centenary Baton Watch … Gloucestershire!

Before handing the baton off to Wiltshire, the Gloucestershire Federation celebrated in style!


Former Blockley WI president Sheila Weir cuts a celebratory cake to mark the Centenary and Blockley’s part in carrying the baton via Royal Enfield motorcycle and Watsonian sidecar:


The baton crossed the Severn on a rescue boat:


Ebrington WI members dressed in period style and then set off through the village to Chipping Campden in a vintage tractor and trailer:



Well done, Gloucestershire!


Centenary Baton Watch … Somerset!

The baton continues its journey around the country, with a stop in Somerset, where a big group of WI members welcomed it to Montacute House:


Later in the week, Lympsham WI held a celebration complete with a vintage tractor and songs from preschool and primary school children. A centenary cake was cut and a special centenary balloon was sent off with a tag asking the finder to let the WI know how far it travelled.



Centenary Baton Watch … Devon!

Our neighbours in Devon have just had the Centenary Baton for a week. Let’s see what they got up to!

Our own former Federation Chairman Kathy Reed handed over the baton at the Tamar Bridge in the presence of Councillor Jean Dent, Mayor of Saltash, and Councillor Michael Fox, Lord Mayor of Plymouth.


Here’s the baton in the grasp of Devon Federation Chairman Elma Blackmore, here flanked by her two vices Julie Ayre and Angie Williams.


At Exeter Cathedral, I’m told a spontaneous ‘Jerusalem’ came over the ladies, much to the delight of passersby!


Halwell WI hosted a party:


And made some fabulous costumes!


Well done, Devon!