Northamptonshire WI members enjoy afternoon tea at Buckingham Palace for centenary garden party

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Members from all over Northamptonshire travelled to London on Tuesday morning to celebrate the centenary of the Women’s Institute at a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.

Barbara Bentley, from Northamptonshire WI, said it was a fantastic day.

“Northamptonshire members seemed to be in the right place, at the right time amongst 8000 other members,” she said.

“Sue Kendall, our county chairman, was definitely in the right place – in the Royal Tent – but other members also had a memorable experience.

“Out of the blue, Lesley Smith, president of Earls Barton Millenium WI, with Lynne Clements, also of Earls Barton Millenium WI, were approached by an Equerry and asked if they would like to be presented to the Countess of Wessex! Of course they said yes, and enjoyed the conversation with Sophie Wessex, who is also a WI member. She was interested in their WI and how they built up their membership.

“Christine Farmer, of Preston Capes WI (also a Northamptonshire Trustee), was presented to the Duchess of Cornwall briefly but then the Duchess of Gloucester approached her and when discovering she was from Northamptonshire chatted about Barnwell, the East of England Show and also the late Princess Alice who was also a member of the WI (we have a photo of her in WI House Northampton) – and the Duchess also mentioned Towcester.

“Diana Birch of Yelvertoft WI (also a National Vice Chairman) was nominated to escort Princess Alexandra, Janet Smith (President) and Carolyn Reynolds (Secretary) of Oakley Vale WI (Corby), almost saw HM the Queen – almost! They saw her corgies disappearing behind a tent just as their group arrived!

“The whole event showcased the fun and friendship of WI members everywhere. It was a wonderful day, the rain held off and the sun came out. Strong gusts of wind separated from their owners but it all added to the fun of the day.”

Members will be travelling to London again on Thursday for the Centenary AGM at the Royal Albert Hall in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen.