Honouring the first National Chairman of the Women’s Institute
In late September, Development Consultant Doug Eaton, was the only man to attend a major Women’s Institute (WI) gathering.
Doug is a regular lecturer to WI groups in Sussex and often speaks about Blue Plaques and he was surprised to learn that there was no plaque honouring the first National Chairman of the WI, Lady Gertrude Denman, who had lived in the county for many years.
Using his expertise he provided ideas of how to go about organising a plaque, and West Sussex WI Chairman, Yvonne Price, ensured the notion of commemorating the life of ‘Trudie’ came to fruition. Hence, Doug was invited as the sole male guest at the unveiling ceremony at The Victory Hall in Balcombe, which Lady Denman had funded and designed.
The ceremony also marked the centenary of the founding of Balcombe WI. Many Sussex members came to partake in prosecco, sandwiches, cake and – of course to sing ‘Jerusalem’.
National WI Chair, Lynne Stubbings, described Lady Denman’s eclectic life and revealed how the WI was thriving and evolving, with some fascinating new groups being formed, including the Rusty Belles WI and Wonky WI!