One might have wondered what was going on at The Magpie on a Monday night recently. Lots of ladies arriving, lots of chatter. No, this was not an enthusiastic hen party. The attraction on that particular evening was to be CHEESE!

Sunbury Village WI has taken up residency for its monthly meeting in The Magpie and I had been invited along to find out what the group gets up to.

There are many WI groups around. In fact the institution will be celebrating its centenary this year. The idea of a group of women getting together in friendship and community is as solid as ever. We may have ideas of the WI as a bunch of ladies ’talking knitting and bra sizes’ as Mr C would put it, but I can put that myth to rest straight away. On this particular evening the group was being entertained with a talk on the food industry, ending with some sampling of cheddar cheese.

Next month they will be joining in belly dancing! I looked over the programme set for the year with interest and raised eyebrows. After the belly dancing evening, you could attend a talk on Women Who Have Murdered (husbands beware!). In April there is simply a Girlie Night. Later in the year is a talk on Local Ghosts.

Just to satisfy my preconceived ideas I was delighted to spot on the programme that there is indeed a slot for chutney making and also a fruit cake competition!

The WI has a nationwide overall committee and many of the activities stem from their traditional way of doing things. It is then up to individual groups to vary depending on the groups ages and interest. The Sunbury Village WI is an evening group as most of the members are mothers and/or working full time. “We aim to enjoy each others company, learn from interesting speakers and events, benefit from each others individual skills and support local initiatives within our Community” states their website. The age range is from 30’s to many decades older. The tone has appeal to all ages who are united in their interest of life and people.

At Christmas the group got involved in supporting the local Restore project through St Saviours church. The group supports local women and families in need, offering food and essentials. They plan to offer further support around Mothers Day.

Outside the main meetings you can join in a book club, a singing group, a craft group of if you just fancy a drink out with like minded ladies, then the social group might be for you.

The desire to be a part of a group where you can learn, be entertained and socialise is very evident through the many such local groups that exist. Sunbury Village WI has a membership of around 80. At only £34.70 per year it is a small price to pay for such a lot of fun, camaraderie and community.

If you fancy joining a forthcoming meeting to see if WI might be for you then get in touch: sunburyvillage@gmail.com