Published: 06:00, 04 March 2021
| Updated: 07:48, 04 March 2021
A Women’s Institute has been forced to close after 77 years.
Yalding WI, which was set up in 1944, shut after the committee in charge - which includes a president, treasurer and secretary - disbanded.
But there is still hope its fortunes might be revived.
Dee-Ann Stead, of Kenward Road, is leading the effort to restart the group.
The 42-year-old, who runs Yalding Taxis, said: “Unfortunately, the old executive committee couldn’t carry on due to personal reasons and, without an executive committee, there can’t actually be a WI.
“But we are hoping, if we can find new members that would be interested in joining, we can re-launch it.
“Unfortunately, Covid-19 restrictions have put things on hold.
“There were 40 members before it closed.
"But unfortunately, they were either busy or unable to be an executive committee member.
“It was just something we were quite passionate about, that it didn’t close, because, with 77 years of history, it would be a shame to see it go.”
Chairwoman of Yalding parish council, Geraldine Brown, expressed her sadness about the closure.
She said: “They were always a part of everything that went on so it’s a shame.
"They had been around for such a long time.”
Cllr Brown added: “Dee-Ann has been talking to some of the younger people who would like to join and would like to see it start up again.
"I’m hopeful that we will be able to do it.”
Among the good work Yalding WI has done within the community in the past 77 years is to make blankets for dementia patients and fabric bags for the Heart of Kent Hospice, for people’s belongings when they pass away. Previously the charity used plastic shopping bags.
The group also played an important social role.
Mrs Stead said: “It can be a lifeline, especially for new people moving into the village if they don’t know anybody.
“Some of the younger ladies could learn how to bake things without a soggy bottom from the older members, or how to make their jam set.”
Anyone interested in helping to revive Yalding WI can call Mrs Stead on 07920 402052.