To mark the centenary of the West Sussex Federation of Women’s Institutes, the federation teamed up with the National Trust Northwood Estate at Slindon to plant 100 trees.
The tree planting was also held in support of the National Trust’s ‘Rise of Northwood’ project, which aims to return 185 acres of farmland back to its former wooded landscape.
On Saturday, March 16, 32 WI members - representing 23 WI groups - were joined by federation chairman Yvonne Price, centenary events organisers and West Sussex Environment and Public Affairs Committee members as they planted the trees.
The tree planting event is part of a varied programme taking place to celebrate 100 years of WI in the county. Members started the celebration with lunc for 100 members on January 31 at the Avisford Park Hotel in Arundel.
On the day, Mary Devenport from Billinshurst WI, who is 100 this year, was chosen to plant the first tree.
Al Menzies, who initiated and organised the planting of the trees, said: “Looking back one hundred years, when the woodland was cleared for the war effort, it seems unlikely that a group of women would have come together to plant replacement trees. We can hope that in one hundred years from now, when the federation is celebrating its bicentenary, someone will look in the archives and find the legacy we are leaving here, and will come to find the mature oaks, and perhaps have a picnic and raise a glass to our efforts.”
The West Sussex WI federation will be showcasing young musical talent in the country at an event this Friday, March 29. ‘A Musical Evening’ will take place from 7.30-9.30pm at Clair Hall, Haywards Heath. West Sussex Music Youth Big Band, 15 year old soloist Henry Godwin, and the Worthing Steel Band will be performing. Tickets are £8 and can be obtained through the WI or online at www.jumblebee.co.uk/wsfwiclairhall.