Farewell to WI group after 299th meeting

Pat Cooke, ex-chairman of the WI (PA1301-5)
Pat Cooke, ex-chairman of the WI (PA1301-5)

THE FINAL meeting of a women’s institute took place after it was forced to close due to committee members retiring.

Bridlington WI, which has been running for more than 20-years, reached its 299th meeting on Thursday, December 13, and went out in style with a Christmas party.

A WI advisor attended the final meeting and formally closed the group, which used to meet monthly on a Thursday morning at the Jamroz Centre, North Street, Bridlington.

Pat Cooke, the former chairman of Bridlington WI, said: “Our membership has been dropping and dropping. The main reason for closing was some of the people on the committee have been on for years and wanted to come off. Three of the members are well into their eighties.”

The group has experienced a decline in membership over recent years and accompanied by a lack of younger members joining, there are not enough members willing to take on the task of a committee position.

“We all have a good time and we have been happy but it does get to be a lot – we have got a lot to organise and remember,” said Mrs Cooke.

The closure of Bridlington’s WI follows the recent closure of Bainton’s group, and some of the members will join other groups, such as Sewerby WI.

Jean Gelderd, the group’s former secretary and a member for 22-years, said: “We have been struggling for some time and when you do not have the money for speakers people are disinterested.

“It is getting people to take on the responsibility and young blood coming into it. It has been the same in some of the other groups – it is the age factor.”

The town’s Women’s Institute can be restarted within a three-year period and regain the group’s equipment which has had to be handed back to the organisation.

Starting in 1915, the WI aims to provide women across the UK with a means to get involved in their communities and learn new skills. For more information visit www.thewi.org.uk.