50 years at Smisby WI :
Poem by E. M. Bailey
It seems to be WI fashion
To tell all your history in rhyme.
We've never been known for conforming
But we'll do our best this time.
Our saga began in December
A full fifty years ago,
When the group who became founder members
Decided to give it a go.
They started with twenty four members
A nice little group was it not?
And strangely enough, despite changes,
That number is what we've still got.
The war was our first real challenge
When meetings were spent making jam
The minutes give prices for piglets!
So together with jam went ham!
Our sessions of jamming and canning
Bring memories back by the score
Such as rhubarb sticks put in whole as they were
The army still came back for more.
The sessions we had with the canner
Needed gallons of water to cool
So, because of a drain that didn't connect
A cellar became - well - a pool!
We spent many hours in repairing
The havoc that flooding did cause,
So the next lot of cans were sealed at the home
of one with her own watercourse
Now that shops were getting quite empty
We made almost everything
We upholstered our chairs, we made our own shoes,
We even made mats with farm string.
As our President was Red X Leader
That let us in for the lot.
We went 'Penny a week' collecting
First Aid Certificates we've got.
The most serious part of our saga
Happened in the year'49
We were on our way to a meeting
And travelling along very fine
The weather it was quite atrocious.
A lorry was lumbering along
When suddenly our bus was crashed into bits
And most of our senses had gone.
Tis better if we can forget pain and fear
And of that night sufficient to say.,
That of all thirty two involved in that crash
Not one of us could walk away.
To say that W.I. members are friends
Was certainly true that day
For eighty groups all over the land
Offered help in many a way.
The locals took washing, did cooking at home,
Took gifts to the hospital wards,
And those far afield offered homes for a rest
And cash if we should be in need.
Twas six months before we returned to the fold
And some of our number had gone.
The rest of the group put a show on one night
To convince us we did still belong.
The years that followed were gentler by far
As we slowly got back into gear,
And we set about learning many new skills
At classes we held each year.
We knitted and crocheted, did wickerwork too,
Made stools, cushion covers, and hats;
Made toys for the children, and lampshades galore,
And arrangements of flowers to attract.
The benefits of all this striving and strain
Were seen when we entered the show
We didn't do much in the first few years
But soon we were raring to go.
The year'66 was the first time we won;
We'd proved that our tactics were sound
We took the shield eight times in twelve years,
A triumph of which we are proud.
The rest of the prizes fell into our grasp
As our cooks and craftswomen too
Brought out the best from their repertoire
And showed what we could do.
And now we have reached our fiftieth year
Our story is right up to date,
Although we've travelled through so many years
It didn't take long to relate.
We've made lots of friends who've lasted the course
And many more new ones too.
But there's just one person who's carried us on
The whole of the fifty years through.
We had one leader the whole of the time,
The Institute really is hers.
If Miss Hewitt had never started us off
There wouldn't have been any verse.