When Mrs Granville Dunstan of Budock Vean Farm toured the parish to encourage local women to join the newly formed Women’s Institute, their menfolk allegedly scoffed “It’ll never last”.
One hundred years on, a thriving Mawnan WI (with 80 members) celebrated their centenary in the newly refurbished dining room of Mrs Dunstan’s old home – now the Budock Vean country house hotel on the Helford River, near Falmouth.
“It’s a fantastic story and we love the fact that our WI has gone from strength to strength over the last 100 years rather than dwindling away as the naysayers would have had it,” says newly elected President Gill Druce. “Those grumpy men couldn’t have been more wrong. Maybe they were worried about their wives getting too feisty and independent, but they needn’t have worried: WIs have been a huge force for community good – with fantastic food and cookery at their heart, all of which Mawnan WI fully endorses!”
Nearly a hundred members and guests returned to the spiritual home of their WI for a delectable three course lunch served in the Budock Vean’s beautiful restaurant. Among those celebrating 100 years of Mawnan WI at the Budock Vean was CFWI Chairman Margaret Johnson, WI Adviser Jane Mills, six of Mawnan’s past presidents and visiting presidents from nearby WIs – all of whom were wined, dined then entertained by Cornish star comedian Johnny Cowling.
They celebrated the inspiration, friendship and fun of belonging to their WI, as well as the opportunity to have an active role in community initiatives ranging from awareness-raising on climate change, health and well-being to Harvest Festivals and Christmas Fairs.
Fortunately, Mawnan’s WI members hold no grudges about the past, and enlightened menfolk of today were invited to join in the centenary celebrations too.