Lerryn Women's Institute
Jam and Jerusalem - and the rest!
Lerryn WI has been an important part of village life ever since it was founded in 1948, and its traditions of mutual support and shared activity still continue. In other respects, however, Lerryn WI – like its members! – goes way beyond all the conventional assumptions about the Women’s Institute.
Our lively programme of meetings and outings, combined with our sponsorship of attendance on courses, has involved members in recent years in making shoes, playing the harp, studying languages, doing carpentry, upholstering furniture, rearing pigs, designing jewellery, winning prizes for craft activities at the Royal Cornwall Show, foraging for wild food (and, even more bravely, cooking and eating it!) learning about sewage processing systems, undertaking a one-year intensive study of local woodland and winning county-wide competitions for writing about the development of threaded needle-work and the role of women.
We meet in Lerryn Memorial Hall on the 1st Wednesday of each month, except August when there is no meeting.
Meetings start at 7.15 pm but members are asked to arrive at 7.00 to read the correspondence and notices set out on the table.
We are also involved in more traditional domestic craft activities, and our long association with the local Produce Association means we organise and arrange judging for the cookery sections of the village’s annual Produce Show. Our interest in food doesn’t stop there however. We also have concerns about its production and marketing, and we have actively campaigned on behalf of local dairy farming and in support of local shops.
Our monthly meetings often attract very good speakers and we have never kept these to ourselves. On the first Wednesday of most months, we hold our business meeting at 7.15pm, but at 8.00pm the doors are open and anybody in the village is welcome to come in and join us for the talk and for refreshments afterwards.
If you are interested, scroll down or follow the link to our Programme, which will give you an idea of what we are getting up to this year. You can also scroll down or click on Community links, which will show the ways we have worked to support both the village community and the Memorial Hall where we meet.
Our membership numbers have climbed steeply in recent years, but there is always room for newcomers! If you are thinking about joining, why not come along to one of our meetings for a “free sample”? You will be very welcome.
Lerryn WI is part of Lerryn and we have always wanted to make a useful contribution to our local community.
The appearance of the village
One of our first moves, once we could afford it, was to work in consultation with the Parish Council to buy and plant daffodil bulbs in public spaces within and around the village. These are now naturalised and something to look forward to every year.
The Memorial Hall
We are grateful to be able to meet in such a comfortable and attractive hall, and we have tried to find ways to maintain and improve its facilities:
- We have bought cushions for all the folding chairs. Not only do these make long meetings more comfortable but they have also had the very welcome side effect of making the seats less creaky in use.
- In consultation with the Hall Committee we provided new fire-retardant curtains, professionally lined and interlined, with a view to improving both acoustics and heat insulation.
- Also after consultation with the Hall Committee, we bought good quality fabric that toned with the curtains and made two sets of matching tablecloths for use by all those meeting in the hall: one set for the large tables and one for the small ones.
- We have more recently organised fund raising to support the refurbishment of the Lerryn War Memorial.
- We funded the installation of a defibillator, now mounted for public use on the side of the Ship Inn.
Other local organisations
Lerryn is a lively place with many thriving clubs and societies and we work in active co-operation with many of them:
- When the Film Club showed the film, ‘Calendar Girls’, we provided a cake and refreshments to make it a celebratory joint enterprise.
- We have worked with the Tuesday Club, another local women’s organisation, to run fundraising meetings for local charities.
- We take a very active part in the Produce Association’s annual show. This is run in conjunction with the WI, whose members arrange the judges and schedule for the cookery entries. We have in recent years made very successful efforts to involve more children and teenagers as competitors.
- We cannot, as a registered charity, give our own funds to other charities, but we regularly raise money among ourselves, by means of raffles at meetings and by providing refreshments to guests. This enables us as individuals to provide a small but constant flow of donations to local charities such as the Precious Lives appeal.
Our monthly business meetings are for members only, but most meetings end with an outside speaker. These are often very good, and we do not keep them to ourselves. The talks are widely advertised and anybody in the village is welcome to join us. Sometimes, such as the night two of the original Calendar Girls came to speak, this makes for a big event and a packed hall. On other occasions, just one or two people join us to hear a speaker on a topic of special interest to them. Either way, all are welcome, and there is usually no admission charge.