🎈Celebrating Milestone Institute Anniversaries!

Posted February 15, 2022 by WI Staff in Local Areas

The Federation of Women’s Institutes of Northern Ireland is celebrating 90 years in 2022!  Here, we share some of the Institutes that have also reached a special milestone mark!  Some Institutes were unable to celebrate their anniversaries in 2020 and 2021, but as time went on and Covid restrictions eased, many groups were (at long last) able to get together and party in person!  


Congratulations ladies – here’s to many more years!


🎈Dundonald WI – 75th Anniversary

Fellow members and friends gathered in the Stormont Hotel, Belfast on 8th November 2021, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Dundonald Institute! President Moyra Campbell welcomed everyone, including the following special guests – Scrabo Area Executive Member Lesley Dowds, ladies from the neighbouring Institutes of Ballyrogan, Ballysallagh, Gilnahirk and Holywood, past Presidents of Dundonald WI Pat Eakin and Betty McCracken, and Dundonald’s honorary member Jean Kennedy and associate member Pat Todd.   The President went on to thank her Committee and Sub-Committee members for all their efforts in organising the evening and acknowledged the funding awarded by Lisburn & Castlereagh Policing and Community Safety Partnership, towards the event.

Various toasts were made and a celebratory cake was cut by Jean Kennedy, Lesley  Dowds and Moyra Campbell.  Marion Anderson, Secretary of the Institute, said the WI Grace.  Following a splendid meal, at socially distanced tables named after 1940s stars of stage and screen, ballot prizes were distributed by Evelyn Ruddock and Heather Grahame.  (The Institute is extremely grateful for the generous support of fourteen local businesses in the Dundonald area and their contributions to the ballot!)

The vintage 1940s theme continued with entertainment for the evening by Sharon Dickson, whose monologue ‘Memories of the Belfast Blitz’ had everyone enthralled. Muriel Whyte proposed the Vote of Thanks. Margaret Collinson (Ballysallagh WI) expressed thanks on behalf of the guests.


*Members of the Dundonald WI Committee who organised the 75th anniversary celebrations in the Stormont Hotel – (L-R): Anne McKinley, Marion Anderson, Ida Griffin, Heather Grahame, Moyra Campbell (President), Lorna Hall, Jill Nash, Evelyn Ruddock, Anne Jackson and Carolyn Boyd.  (*Photograph courtesy of Bob Torrens at the Newtownards Chronicle📸)


Cutting the cake marking 75 years of Dundonald WI – (L-R): President Moyra Campbell, honorary member Jean Kennedy and Scrabo Area Executive Member. (*Photograph courtesy of Bob Torrens at the Newtownards Chronicle📸)


Past Presidents of Dundonald WI – Iris Savage, Betty McCracken, Pat Eakin & Pat Todd. (*Photograph courtesy of Bob Torrens at the Newtownards Chronicle📸)


Nancy Bell, Karen Withlaw, Betty Hegan & Iris Savage in the Stormont Hotel for Dundonald WI’s 75th anniversary celebrations. (*Photograph courtesy of Bob Torrens at the Newtownards Chronicle📸)



Cheers to 75 years – Scrabo Area Executive Member Lesley Dowds, one of the special guests.



Enjoying the festivities (L-R): Wendy Barr, Brenda Wallis, Lilian Coleman and Rita Kirkpatrick.  (*Photograph courtesy of Bob Torrens at the Newtownards Chronicle📸)



Marion Anderson & Margaret Collinson enjoying Dundonald WI’s 75th anniversary celebrations. (*Photograph courtesy of Bob Torrens at the Newtownards Chronicle📸)



Helen Galway, Ida Griffin, Rosemary Patterson and Louise Johnston at Dundonald WI’s 75th anniversary celebrations.
(*Photograph courtesy of Bob Torrens at the Newtownards Chronicle📸)



Helen Cartlidge & Murial Whyte at Dundonald WI’s 75th anniversary celebrations. (*Photograph courtesy of Bob Torrens at the Newtownards Chronicle📸)



Historical items from Dundonald WI in the ‘Memory Corner’.




🎈Mountnorris WI – 75th Anniversary


The Mountnorris ladies met for a belated celebratory dinner in honour of their Institute’s 75th anniversary – this anniversary should have been celebrated during 2020, but due to the pandemic this was not possible, so better late than never! Members enjoyed a delicious three-course, socially distanced dinner in The Canal Court Hotel, Newry.  Not all the members were able to attend but those who couldn’t make it received meal hampers from Alexanders to compensate.  All present were given a small party bag to take home.





🎈Artana WI – 70th Anniversary


The Artana ladies celebrated the Institute’s 70th anniversary at their November 2021 meeting.  The group learnt of the WI’s rich history – it’s origins in Canada, as well as the efforts of WIs in the UK during the war.  The Artana branch had its first meeting on 12th November 1951, with 52 members present!  Over the years there have been challenging times but the Artana ladies tell us that they seek to follow the WI aim of “providing a centre for educational activities and social intercourse.”   Like other Institutes, they wish to increase their membership and assure those coming to join Artana that they will meet a friendly and welcoming group!  The ladies celebrated with special party cakes.

Artana President Elizabeth Cross getting into the party spirit!





🎈Ballysallagh WI – 70th Anniversary


On 11th October 2021, the ladies of Ballysallagh WI celebrated their 70th anniversary with a special dinner in The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn.  President Margaret Munro gave a speech outlining the story of the Institute, recalling that with determination, imagination and energy Ballysallagh WI was formed in 1951!  The Ballysallagh WI Hall has always been at the heart of the Scrabo Area and the local community.   In honour of the occasion, a special celebratory cake had been made and beautifully decorated by fellow member Anne Brown and everyone received a gift bag containing a set of notelets with illustrations taken from paintings by members Sylvia Gillespie and Ida Thompson, along with a memento feather lapel pin.  After the meal, entertainment was provided by the wonderful Leading Ladies.  The members have been greatly helped to return to their meetings safely and with confidence after the restrictions of Covid-19, and to celebrate their 70 years together, with a National Lottery grant, enabling them to organise outings and One Day Schools.


Federation Chairman Margaret Broome (left) with Ballysallagh President Margaret Munro cutting the celebratory 70th cake made by fellow member Anne Brown.


The Ballysallagh Committee members with Federation Chairman Margaret Broome and Scrabo Area Executive Member Lesley Dowds.  (L-R: Pauline Law, Anne Brown, Vice-President Eileen Wilson, Fiona Collinson, Margaret Broome, President Margaret Munro, Anne Galway, Lesley Dowds and Sylvia Gillespie.)


Ballysallagh’s longest-serving members – past Federation Chairman and honorary member Jean Blair (left) with Eleanor Morrison who was presented with honorary membership following 68 years of dedicated service to Ballysallagh WI.



🎈Leckpatrick WI – 70th Anniversary

The Leckpatrick ladies celebrated 70 years of their Institute with a delicious meal in the Waterfoot Hotel on 9th November 2021. To comply with Covid regulations at the time, unfortunately, they were unable to invite guests from neighbouring Institutes, however members were delighted that Abercorn Executive Member Joan Beattie was able to attend.

Joan proposed a toast to the WI Federation, and Leckpatrick President Ethel Patterson proposed a toast to the Institute. A delicious celebration cake had been baked in honour of the occasion by fellow member Alison McCrea.  Betty Brace and Ivy Bell entertained with stories and a quiz, which was followed by a hilarious sketch performed by Ethel Patterson and Karen Wray.  The Committee provided prizes for a fun raffle.

Member Pauline McMichael commented, “Thanks to all our lovely Leckpatrick ladies. We look forward to many more years of Leckpatrick WI!”  


Abercorn Executive Member Joan Beattie (left) and Leckpatrick President Ethel Patterson prepare to crack into that scrumptious 70th cake!


The 2021-22 Committee members of Leckpatrick WI with Abercorn Executive Member Joan Beattie.




🎈Caledon WI – 65th Anniversary

The Caledon ladies got together for lunch at Ballydougan Pottery in celebration of 65 years of their Institute!


President Teresa O’Brien with committee members.






🎈Waringstown WI – 65th Anniversary

In September, President Brenda Brown welcomed 30 ladies to Brownlow House in Lurgan for the Institute’s 65th anniversary dinner. The room was warm, welcoming, beautifully decorated and set within the Covid-19 rules.  A delicious dinner was served after the President cut the celebratory cake and the ladies toasted absent friends. Spot prizes provided a little light entertainment after coffee and cake. Members are now looking forward to meeting up again regularly on their usual night and in their normal venue of Waringstown Primary School. (Many thanks to the principal and staff for allowing this!)    


Celebrating 65 years of Waringstown WI!


Preparing to cut the 65th cake!




🎈Drumahoe WI – 60th Anniversary

In November 2021, the Drumahoe ladies got together in the Everglades Hotel, Londonderry to mark the 60th anniversary of their Institute – fairly quietly, considering Covid was very much around at this time!  Despite it being a more scaled-back celebration, the ladies were delighted to be joined by special guest Dawn Devine from the Home and Garden Sub-Committee. Sadly, a couple of members were missing for this occasion, but those who attended had a lovely evening and a delicious meal.

The ladies are looking forward to more fun times together, with plans for more gatherings in 2022, including the monthly meetings in their usual stomping ground – Lisneal College.

Drumahoe members celebrating 60 years!




🎈Drumcree WI – 50th Anniversary

 On 23rd September 2021, the Drumcree WI ladies celebrated their 50th anniversary in The Civic Centre, Craigavon hosted by the Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough, Alderman Glenn Barr. A delicious buffet supper was provided, and the special anniversary cake was cut.  Roberta Hall gave a very informative presentation on the history of the Drumcree Institute with some very humorous moments!  Alderman Barr kindly gave the members a tour of The Chamber and the Mayor’s Parlour.  Fellow member Margaret Best had recently celebrated her 60th wedding anniversary and a beautiful floral arrangement was presented to her by President Johanna. Each member went home with a slice of the anniversary cake in a cute presentation box as a memento of the occasion.


Ready to cut the 50th anniversary cake, accompanied by Alderman Glenn Barr.





🎈Randalstown WI – 50th Anniversary

Back in November, the Randalstown ladies got together (finally!) to celebrate their Institute’s belated 50th anniversary.  Due to Covid restrictions in 2020, they had been unable to mark the occasion, so they were delighted to be able to celebrate in 2021!  Everyone enjoyed a lovely lunch in the Dunadry Hotel and Gardens, followed by a special cake that had been baked by founder member Margaret Pearson.  President Pamela Walker had prepared an amusing poem, which she read aloud to entertain. Party games and prizes followed.  Such a lovely afternoon together!

Founder members of Randalstown WI with their current President. (L-R): Margaret Pearson, Elsa Sloan, Joan Hughes, Hilda Stewart, Mary Smyth, Nan Millar, Maureen Cheney, Pam Morrell and President Pamela Walker.


Celebrating 50 years – the Randalstown group gather to make a little bit of history!





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