Tea parties, dinners, tree planting, cake cutting, fancy hats – all featured regularly at Women’s Institute meetings.

The Oxford Mail was always pleased to hear of such happy events and send its photographers to record the fun and laughter.

Picture 1 was taken at Clifton Hampden, near Abingdon, as WI members celebrated at their 30th anniversary party in 1976.

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Seen left to right are Miss E J Gower, Peggy Spiller, June Sayers, Gertie Sandall, president Mary Aldridge and Joan Burtenshaw.

It was only the 10th anniversary at Farmoor WI, but that was no reason not to mark the occasion.

In Picture 2, we see past president Mrs A M Johnson cutting the cake alongside three other former presidents, left to right, Mrs M E Franklin, Mrs B Finch and Mrs V Print in 1973.

Didcot WI members are seen in Picture 3 enjoying a Mad Hatters’ tea party, while in Picture 4, more hats, all home-made, were on display at Freeland WI, near Witney, in 1966.

The three winners, Mrs E French, Mrs L Marks and Mrs R Nash, are sitting in the front row.

Victorian dress took centre stage at a WI celebration at Begbroke, near Woodstock, in 1972.

Many members, among them, left to right in Picture 5, Jane Caton, Edith Couling and Muriel Fread, arrived at the village hall in Victorian garb, much of it worn by their mothers and grandmothers and brought out of mothballs specially for the occasion.

Members mounted an exhibition of Victoriana and spent the evening singing Victorian songs and acting Victorian melodramas.

There was another look back at the past when members of Enstone WI, near Chipping Norton, in Picture 6 toasted the branch at their golden jubilee dinner in 1971.

Standing left to right are Mrs S Arthur, Miss L Bennett, Mrs N Allen, Miss V Paxford, Miss M Parsons and Mrs I Taplin, and front, Miss A Bennett and Mrs F Langford.

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

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