West Hampstead Women's Institute celebrates 10-year milestone

Women's Institute

The West Hampstead branch of the Women's Institute celebrated a decade of bringing women together - Credit: West Hampstead Women's Institute

West Hampstead Women’s Institute (WI) has celebrated 10 years of hosting talks, campaigns and bringing women together.

On October 7 members celebrated with prosecco and cake, cut by guest speaker Sarah Woodward.

The actress, who won the Olivier Award for best performance in a supporting role in 1998 for her role in Tom & Clem, spoke about the "stresses of an uncertain profession".

The West Hampstead WI branch was set up in 2011 by Vicky Brown, who worked as a teacher at West Hampstead Primary School for 20 years.

It now has nearly 40 members, who stayed in touch during lockdown and met for coffee mornings at Fortune Green when restrictions eased.

Vicky has served as president for a decade, and at the meeting branch co-founder and membership secretary Jane May proposed a vote of thanks to her. 

The president said: “When we set up the new branch, we had no idea how it might develop. It has been very rewarding, offering local women an opportunity to meet socially.

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"Many of us have made new friends through our events and meetings, learnt a variety of new skills and met some wonderfully talented and interesting guest speakers.

"As part of the wider Women’s Institute, we have been able to support some important national initiatives including the Show the Love campaign which tackles climate change and No More Violence Against Women, still very much an active issue of particular importance to women.

"Having survived the disruption caused by the Covid-19 lockdown, I look forward to a bright future for West Hampstead WI as we enter our second decade."

The WI branch has held a variety of talks over the past 10 years, including actors Jim Carter, Imelda Staunton, Edward Petherbridge and Phillida Law.

Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq and the mayor of Camden have also spoken to the group, as have conservators from the Museum of London and the Horniman Museum, a script writer for The Archers and comedy writer Abigail Burdess.

The branch meets every first Thursday of the month (except August) at 7.15pm in Emmanuel Church, Lyncroft Gardens, London, NW6 1JU.