On Tuesday, September 15th Anna Bartlett and I went to Redbridge Park and Ride where we were joined by other WI members going to Christ Church Cathedral where the Oxfordshire Federation were going to celebrate the WI’s hundredth birthday. If you were on the bus you would have known that they were members of the WI because of the volume of noise!! We all gathered together in Christ Church Meadows with our banners, much to the bemusement of foreign visitors who took photos or enquired what we were doing. We processed up St Aldates and entered the Main Gate and around the Quad with photographers and press cameras in attendance. So many beautiful banners, some obviously very old and some made quite recently. Ours was declared the best there by a member from Woodcote WI and admired by many others. We processed up the aisle to the organ playing “Chariots of Fire”. Very spine tingling!
The service opened with Jerusalem and a welcome from the sub dean, Dr Edmund Newey, followed by the singing of Lord of the Dance. There was a reading and Eloise Irving sang “I Dreamed a Dream”. Ann Jones, the Chair of the Federation of Wales, gave an inspiring potted history of the WI movement, after which Eloise sang “Bridge over Troubled Water”. Sir Hugo Brunner then talked about his mother who started life as an actress but became very involved with the work of the WI, becoming National Chairman and being responsible for the setting up of Denman College. Almost in anticipation of the Rugby World Cup we sang “The World in Union” and Pauline Goddard gave the closing address. The Blessing was given by Dr Newey and we concluded with the National Anthem.