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WIs to join in the centenary party

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A BATON will pass through focal points in and around Uttoxeter as part of the national centenary celebrations of the Women’s Institute (WI).

The celebrations of the national Federation of Women’s Institutes began on January 1, 2014 for WI members nationally as the specially designed centenary baton officially began its journey around the UK.

On Wednesday June 25, the baton will be handed over from Derbyshire Federation WI to the Staffordshire Federation WI executive and it will then travel the length and breadth of Staffordshire, hosted by groups of WI’s until it is eventually passed on to Shropshire on July 2.

At every hand-over of the baton, each host WI Group has planned a range of events that showcases the special places, people and activities that take place in Staffordshire.

On the Thursday it will head to the Butter Cross, Abbots Bromley, at 1.30pm where it will be handed to the Blythe Group WI after first stopping off in Burton.

Members will be dressed in costumes from throughout the decades together with Abbots Bromley Horn dancers.

The baton will then head to the church while the choir sings Jerusalem before it departs at 3.30pm.

The following day, it will arrive at Thomas Alleyne’s High School at 10am by the Jubilee Diamond plaque before members of the Fiveways WI walk to the Dr Johnson Memorial, in Market place, and finally Uttoxeter Racecourse.

The baton will then head off to Alton Towers to the Two Rivers WI for midday before heading off for its next stop over in Cheadle at 1.30pm.

The baton, which was launched in Anglesey where the first WI meeting was held in the UK in 1915, will travel throughout the 69 federations in England, Wales and the Islands.

The aim behind it is to celebrate the links of friendship and community developed through the WI.

It will finish its trip at the Annual Meeting in June 2015 at the Royal Albert Hall.

Ros Langford, Staffordshire Federation WI executive, said: “Plans to celebrate its arrival and travel through each area are as varied as the members themselves; some will take the baton through town centres on open-top buses, on a speed boat, and to parties with the aim of involving as many members as possible in the biggest WI party.”

Each federation will also upload 12 selected photos to a memory stick stored within the baton to represent their members, WIs, and the local area.

The pictures will then be shared on social media sites to keep everyone in touch and allow them to share in the party.

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