who was responsible for the start of the Women's Institute
100 years ago
Doesn't time fly? It seems only five minutes since I blogged about an invitation to stand as President of my local Women's Institute. In fact, that was two years ago.
Last Thursday was Election Day, always a nervous time for me in case I didn’t get anything or everything right. I wrote my presentation well in advance and kept updating it as the weeks went by and it seemed to go down well. I’m not the only one who has to report, the secretary (new to the job) has to present one, as does the treasurer. Mind you, the treasurer had more to worry about than I did but it’s no consolation on the day. I tried to introduce some humour before getting down to the nitty-gritty and that raised a smile from the
audience members. Actually it was a good thing
to do because it made me relax more.
I am not a good speaker. I dare not even try to talk without the written word to refer to. However I did practice reading with plenty of pauses and lots of looking up at the members. I have read about public speaking but it doesn’t come easy to me. Nerves play a big part; even if my subject is familiar and well known I still fear making a hash of it. Oh how I admire those who can stand there and talk for an hour without a hitch. But I’m okay with a script in front of me.
I had made my mind up in advance about what I wanted to do and decided that I would stand down if someone else put their hand up. Being President is a worrying job sometimes. No matter what you do to encourage enthusiasm it never seems to work. We’re an ageing institute, you see. Everyone has been there and done that and doesn’t want to do it again. Under those circumstances there’s only so much we can achieve. The Women’s Institute does great things but it’s younger people who keep it going. I never thought I’d say that but we have to be realistic. All the oldies want is a cup of tea and a chat and to listen to a good speaker. Anything else would be hard work.
I was voted in. An honour really, but after thanking them for their confidence I told the members I would only serve for one more year.... adding that three years was more than enough for anyone. I shall be 82 next May (you can raise your hands in horror or merely smile) so I’ve reached the stage of wanting to take it easy. Being president doesn’t allow that to happen because there’s always things to dream up, plan, and arrange. I’m running out of steam so that back seat is beginning to beckon.
I can’t complain, I’ve had it good in the WI. I moved up the ladder quite quickly and took on responsible jobs; I was County Chairman for four years which was a big responsibility but enjoyable so I can’t complain that I haven’t seen life in the WI.