Aveton Gifford Women’s Institute Inspiring Women

Meeting monthly, AGWI is a friendly, welcoming group of women who get together for pleasure and to learn something. We have an outside speaker most months, on a wide range of topics, and finish our evening meetings with a light supper. We organise occasional outings and meals out. It’s an ideal chance to make new friends, find some support if you need it, and have a good laugh!

WI is a national organisation which encourages women to get together locally, regionally and nationally; did you know that it’s adding five hundred new members a week?

It campaigns on issues which affect its members: current issues include supporting our High Streets and the use (or not) of plastic bags. Its public image was portrayed as ‘jam and Jerusalem’ until its members gave Tony Blair a less than ecstatic reception – as it is a strictly non-political organisation. Our membership includes some very good jam makers (though we only talk about it if asked!) and we don’t usually sing ‘Jerusalem.’

Over the last couple of years our speakers have included Pat Holmes from South Hams Radio, and Tony Hogg, Police Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall; representatives from local charities, trading standards and local travel companies, travellers to Italy, Burma and Africa; and we’ve learned about keeping bees, ducks and camellias.

We have organised trips to Dartington, Cockington and the chilli farm. Members have taken part in county trips further afield: to Tyntesfield, Tate St Ives and the ballet.

Twice a year, the Devon Federation meets for Spring and Autumn councils: these are a great chance to meet members from other institutes, swap ideas, buy some goodies and hear some brilliant speakers. Ann Widdicombe and Chris Beardshaw have made us think-and laugh till we cried-at recent events.

WI allows women’s voices to be heard. With a national membership of 210,000 it is an organisation which politicians ignore at their peril. From its foundation almost one hundred years ago, it has campaigned on issues that are important to women, and sought to educate in the broadest sense, from making best use of available foods to learning about life in other societies. At a local level it offers a chance for a monthly get-together: a chance to tap the experience of older generations if you’re keen to ‘make do and mend’, and an opportunity to give national issues a local face.

Our present Chair Lesley Allsopp is sadly leaving us to move away in mid January. Mary Hodder as Vice Chair will be stepping in until our AGM in May when new officers will be appointed.

The WI programme for 2015

  •  January 8: Practical Felt Making – Meg Brett
  • February 12: Bees and Beekeeping – Jeremy Ena
  • March 12: A singalong evening with Richard Bain
  • April 9: The Mare and Foal Sanctuary – Sally Page
  • April 22: Spring  Council Meeting of the Devon Federation (Torquay)
  • May 14: AGM Resolutions for National AGM. Bring and share supper
  • June 4: The Centenary AGM – for all branches and all members (Royal Albert Hall)
  • June 11: Lost Landscapes Re-created – Debbie Flack
  • July 9: Beryl Cook, The Artist – Marilyn Bishop


  • September 10: Victorian Samplers – Christopher Stevens
  • October 8: Bladder and Bowel – Wendy from Quay Physio in Kingsbridge
  • October 14: Autumn Council Meeting of the Devon Federation
  • Nov 12: Quicke’s Cheese – Stuart Dowle
  • Dec 10: Decopaste – Jennie Field. Bring and share supper.



  • WI planting commemorative tree on Rectory Lawns

    WI planting commemorative tree on Rectory Lawns

  • WI members in younger days

    WI members in younger days

Contact Details

For more information please contact:

Mary Hodder - Acting Chair

Jackie Javes - Secretary
Tel: 01548 559283
Email: [email protected]

Joining WI

We are always open to new members (you can come to a meeting to see what it’s like for free) and new ideas. Annual membership for 2014 is £34.70, payable in January.