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Guarlford Women's Institute

Photo album

Here are some photos of recent and past Guarlford WI activities.

 WI Stall at Guarlford Christmas Fayre 2023

WI Xmas stall

The WI Craft Stall at the Christmas Fayre in Guarlford Village Hall was well stocked, thanks to members and another ex-resident of the village, who generously provided many wonderful creations with chocolate oranges and other sweets. We did a roaring trade and raised a fair sum towards the Hall Regeneration Fund.

Linus Quilt 2023

Linus quilt

One of the comfort quilts made by members during the year for ProjectLinus.

Mini Linus Quilt September 2023

Mini Linus quilt

The 'Charity Make' class at the 2023 Produce and Handicraft Show was to sew Project Linus mini quilts for premature babies. This gave members the opportunity to learn some patchwork skills, including mitred corners as on this little quilt.

Knitted Christmas Angels 2022

Xmas angels

Once again we knitted Christmas angels for our Rector, Rev Gary,to distribute in the parish.

Christmas Tree 2022

Xmas tree





For the Madresfield church 'Festival of Trees' in 2022 we dressed our tree with white and silver decorations.


Most decorations were handmade, including the silver bells.

Easter Eggs 2022

On Sunday 24th February a Teaparty was held in Guarlford Village Hall, part of the process to regenerate the Hall and involve the village community. It was a very pleasant afternoon. Members of the WI baked cakes and provided items for a Craft Stall, among them these chocolate creme eggs with covers from a Jean Greenhowe knitting pattern. The pattern is one of the free patterns provided on the late Jean Greenhowe's website, and the covers make very good finger puppets.


Easter eggs

Creme eggs covered by finger puppets


Madresfield Christmas Tree 2021

WI xmas tree 

The Madresfield Christmas Tree Festival was revived in December 2021. Nine groups from the local community decorated Christmas Trees for the Festival, which was held in St Mary's, Madresfield, one of our two parish churches. This year for our Guarlford W I tree we decided on a Scandanavian theme with red, white and cream decorations, mostly handmade by our members, and white lights.


We also placed a knitted doll beside the tree - of St Lucia, patron saint of Sweden - with the story of how she bravely took food to Christians hiding in the catacombs of Rome, wearing candles on her head to keep her hands free to carry the supplies.

80th Birthday Tree Planting 2021

On the sunny, but chilly, morning of 23rd November, a Crab Apple tree was planted on the common near our meeting place to mark the 80th Birthday of Guarlford W I, which was started in Wartime in 1941. Two strong W I husbands prepared the hole for the tree, which was then officially planted by our President, with the members of the Committee watching.


A week later there was a violent destructive storm, and a nearby tree fell, just missing our sapling by a few inches!


WI tree

Planting of crab apple tree to mark 80th Birthday

Produce and Handicraft Show 2021

We couldn't have our usual biennial Produce & Handicraft Show in 2020, but luckily we could in 2021. There were many classes covering Preserves, Produce, Flowers, Vegetables, Cookery and Handicrafts. The offical W I judges were very impressed by the standard of entries and gave useful constructive comments with their marks.


This photo shows some of the entries in the Knitting and Crochet Class of the "Needles and Pins" section. The crochet cushion showed that one of our members had used the imposed lockdown well, as she taught herself to crochet and has reached a very good standard. Among the knitted items were the colourful sunflower bunting and the Mr Men toys, plus the beautifully knitted socks, which gained high marks.


Knitted craft items


One Class in the "Art & Craft" section was for 'any other craft', where members could show their different skills, such as the woven basket and the felted picture shown here, together with the dyed silk scarf, brooch and Christmas decoration.


WI craft


These two baskets of vegetables were much admired in the "Vegetables and Fruit" Section.

Baskets of vegetables



Members are always given several recipes to follow in the "Cakes and Cookery" Section. And a new Class added for the first time this year was for a Victoria Sponge, with an award given in memory of a previous President who was famed for her cooking skills.


 WI cakes


More Elephants 2021

On June 23rd one Guarlford WI member and her husband delivered the tea and coffee cosies, lots of sewn and knitted elephants, hand puppets, cushion, shopping bags and greetings cards to The Stitchery in Upton upon Severn. These were being collected for a 'pop up' shop for the Big Parade in Worcester (elephants) taking place from July to September in aid of St Richard's Hospice. W I members through out the County had been asked to make themed items for the shop.


More elephants


The Stitchery is a really lovely shop, created in the old Lloyds Bank building in Upton upon Severn, with lots of fabric, yarn and many other things for crafts. A visit is definitely recommended, and Shirley the owner is very welcoming and helpful. These colourful little knitted elephant glove puppets we made were very popular in the Worcester St Richard's charity shop.


 .Elephant hand puppets

Elephant hand puppets


As were all the stuffed elephant toys like these.


Knitted elephants

Knitted elephants


Chocolate Tasting 2021



Fairtrade chocolate sampling pack

At our April 2021 meeting we had a Zoom Fairtrade “Divine” chocolate tasting session. A pack of 12 bars of chocolate of six different flavours was delivered in advance to each member, and we then had to rate out of 10 for aroma, snap, texture and flavour, giving a total out of 40 for each flavour. The dark chocolates proved to be the most popular except for the very dark 85% cocoa bar, which most members found too bitter - it was a fun evening.

Bluebell Walk 2021

At the end of April 2021, six members (and one Spaniel) set off on a “socially distanced” walk to see the bluebells in woodland near the village. The walk was even more enjoyable this year, as the usual WI Bluebell Walks weren’t possible in 2020 after the first pandemic lockdown began. The bluebells were delightful and growing in amazing profusion.

Bluebell walk


Walk in Bluebell woods

Elephant Bags 2021

Elephant bags


Elephant bags

In Spring 2021 we started making items for a charity 'pop up' shop to be set up during the Worcester Big Parade of Elephants. The decorated fibreglass elephants, sponsored by local businesses, will be on display from July to September in aid of St Richard's Hospice. Members joined other crafters in making elephant themed items to raise more funds for the charity, such as these shopping bags, cosies, puppets and wooden, knitted & sewn toy elephants.

Knitted angels 2020

Knitted angels

Knitted angels

In December 2020 some members helped to provide knitted angels for our Rector to place round the parish. These were then collected and taken home by families out on their pre-Christmas walks. (See the 'News' page for another photograph.)  We did it again in 2021.

Baby blankets

Baby blankets

Baby blankets

Our 'charity craft' for 2020 was to make these beautifully knitted  blankets and sewn ProjectLinus quilts for babies. We continued making quilts for older children during the 2020 lockdowns.

Patchwork banners

Patchwork banners


Patchwork banners

These are the patchwork banners which are kept in Guarlford Village Hall and they were on display when we had our Craft Taster afternoon in March 2020, just before the lockdown. The samples were made at a series of workshops, led by one of our  members, to learn various types of patchwork. Can you identify them all?

Christmas tree 2019

Christmas tree


Christmas tree

In December 2019 Guarlford WI was invited to join the display of Christmas trees in Madresfield Church, and we decided to demonstrate the many crafts enjoyed by members. We made decorations in the WI colours of white, green and purple - knitted baubles, patchwork stars and angels. To these were added gold 'dangles', cross stitch, painted plaques and walnuts, and tiny golden filled jars.

Christmas parcel 2019

Christmas parcel 2019

Christmas parcel 2019

This is one of the parcels that members donated to our Rector's 2019 Christmas appeal, designed for a little girl aged 5-8 years.

ACM entry 2019

ACM entry

ACM entry 2019

November 2019 - this is our entry in the Co-operative Class of the Craft Rally at the Worcestershire Federation Annual Council Meeting. The Rally theme was "Saving The Planet", and the title for the Co-operative Class was "The Allotment", so we decided to stage our entry like the bench in a potting shed. The 'Floral Art' of scented geranium leaves, berries and daisies was placed in a terracotta flowerpot, and the judge was impressed by the delicious carrot cake with its unusual topping of crystallised carrot. The box (for storing seed packets) was decorated with decoupaged pictures of vegetables. We scored a very respectable 85 and a half marks out of 100.

Christmas Parcel 2018

Christmas parcel

Christmas parcel 2018

This parcel, one of many donated by members for our Rector's 2018 Christmas Appeal, was destined for a little boy, aged 5-8 years.

2018 Centenary ACM


WI ACM 2018

ACM entry 2018

October 2018 saw the Centenary Year Annual Council Meeting at the Three Counties Showground, which was wonderful with excellent speakers and a (free) delicious packed lunch and celebration cake provided by the Worcestershire Federation. Here is is our entry for the Craft Rally Co-operative Class, "Glamour and Glitz". This time our idea was to create a dressing table where someone was preparing for a Masked Victory Ball 100 years ago. Items marked were the corsage and an evening bag, plus a plate of very tasty and attractive petit fours.

2018 Produce and handicraft show

Scones and cakes

Scones and cakes

In September 2018 we held our biennial Produce and Handicraft Show in Guarlford Village Hall. This photograph shows just a few of the items in the Cookery Section. Members were given recipes to follow for a Date Loaf, Chocolate Brownies and Lincoln Ginger Biscuits. We used our own recipes for Cheese Scones.




2018 Tuesday 11th September Guarlford W I Produce & Handicraft Show - the Preserves Section had a colourful display of jams, jellies, marmalade, lemon curd and chutney.

Floral art

Floral art

Floral art

In the 2018 Produce & Handicraft Show Flowers Section, members were asked to create a green display of Floral Art. This proved very popular, and it was amazing to see how many different 'greens' were used.


Craft display


In September 2018 the "Needles & PIns" and "Art and Craft" Sections of the Produce & Handicraft Show were as popular as ever. Here are some of the entries for the 'Blue Peter Remembered' and 'Different Craft' Classes. The Blue Peter programme was 60 years old in 2018, and members were encouraged to show their recycling skills. The Different Craft Class allows members to show something different.


Twiddle muffs 2017

Twiddle muffs

Twiddle muffs


Our 'Charity make' in 2017 was to knit Twiddle Muffs for dementia patients. Members showed great ingenuity in creating them, and they were donated to a local care home.

Fidget quilts 2017

Fidget quilts

Fidget quilts

In 2017, as well as Twiddle Muffs, members made colourful Fidget Quilts for dementia patients to hold on their laps. Various patchwork techniques were used, as well as sensory items. The quilts were donated to a nearby care home.


Annual Council Meeting and Craft Rally 2016

DisplayThe 2016 ACM took place on Tuesday 18th October at the Three Counties Showground. The theme for the Co-operative Class in the Craft Rally at the ACM was "Fun and Games".

For our entry we chose to recall outdoor games from our childhood. We had "Ring dancing games" such as 'Ring a ring a roses' (a dolly bag and posies) and 'Oranges and lemons' (delicious cakes). The required preserve was gooseberry and elderflower  jam, linked with a skipping and two-ball rhyme, and also included were jacks, hopscotch and conkers. We were thrilled to receive 20/20 for the cakes, plus 18/20 for the staging and a very welcome 20/20 for the interpretation of the theme.

This photograph shows one of our ladies collecting the Certificate awarded for our 75th birthday. It was presented by our County Chairman in front of the magnificent wooden mural of country life on the wall of the Severn Hall. Also to be admired is the beautifully embroidered County tablecloth.


Charity Project 2016



Our Charity Project for 2016 (and one of the classes in our Produce & Handicraft Show) was to create soft blankets to be given to local premature baby units. As the blankets were so small, members had fun using attractive and unusual yarns. Patterns came from the Project Linus website.


Produce and Handicraft Show 2016

CraftTuesday 13th September


Every two years we have a Produce & Handicraft Show with classes for Cookery, Garden Produce, Preserves, Flowers, Floral Art and many kinds of Craft. We are given recipes to try: this year they were for chocolate chip cookies, apple turnovers, soda bread and Victoria sponge.


Here are two photographs of just a few of the entries in the Handicraft section.


Members and visitors were able to view various kinds of Needlecraft, Knitting, Crochet, Art, Photography and Papercraft, as well as ingeniously recycled items.


Guarlford WI's 75th Birthday Party

Photo June 14th 2016


Guarlford WI was formed in 1941, and so in 2016 we celebrated our 75th Birthday. On June 14th we had a party to which we invited many guests, from the County Federation (including the Worcestershire Chairman) and from the Malvern Hills Group, as well as the Rector of our parish. One of our Malvern visitors was this lady, who was delighted to win one of the Raffle prizes - cookery books from World War Two and the time of rationing afterwards, which made very interesting reading.

PhotoOur delicious Birthday cake was made and decorated by members, and at our party it was cut by one of our ex Presidents, who was celebrating her own birthday that very day. In the background you can see our green baize tablecloth, with our Guarlford WI logo, which is on the President's table at every meeting.

Visitors and members were able to view a display of memorabilia and photographs, showing how members responded to the demands of wartime - still managing to have fun - and what we do today. Although material things may have changed, members today have much in common with their predecessors, as Guarlford WI is still a very friendly group, helping the community and having fun at the same time.

PhotoThe festivities took place in our Village Hall, which was originally a malthouse. The beautiful old beams have been retained, and they were decorated with bunting for the occasion.

Local people are always happy to come to our parties, as we have a good reputation for the food we serve!


The Birthday cake was decorated with sugar-crafted bees and a beehive, (also made by members), a tribute to the National W I campaign in 2009, "SOS for Honeybees", when the National Federation of WIs asked the government to make plans to help the endangered honeybee.


Before our meal, we and our guests were entertained by the talented trio, 'The Elderly Brothers', who soon had our feet tapping with tunes from our past, from wartime to the sixties and so on, encouraging us to join in. (It was amazing how many people knew all the words.)

Charity Project 2015

CushionsOur Craft Project in 2015 was to make cushions and bags for breast cancer patients. The heart-shaped cushions help patients to be more comfortable sleeping or driving the car, and the bags are a more attractive way to carry the necessary drainage equipment.

We joined with ladies from our neighbouring St Gabriel's WI to make over one hundred of these items in the centenary year.

WI Annual Council Meeting and Craft Rally 2015

DisplayThe Co-operative Class in the Craft Rally of the ACM this year was 'Our favourite moment in the Centenary year', and Guarlford's display depicted our own Birthday Party in June. This had as its theme a celebration of the founding of the first Women's Institute in Britain at Llanfair PG. The background is an applique picture which in 2016 became part of a banner marking the 75th Birthday of our WI.

 Also in the display are a small cushion with gold and black embroidered dragon, a plate of Welsh cakes and a patchwork 'mug rug' (a little tablemat with daffodil fabrics). We tried to use a variety of skills in the display: needlecraft of many kinds, papercraft, photography and cookery. Sadly there was no judging this year, so no marks awarded or helpful comments given, but we enjoyed creating the display anyway.  

Charity Project 2014

The first project for the Craft Group in 2014 was to make cushions for the chairs used at WI meetings, and some are shown below. We created cushions from straightforward squares of colourful fabric and also made cushion fronts using patchwork patterns learned at Craft Group some years ago, such as hexagon flowers and Dresden Plate designs. There is also a quilted cushion with a Celtic knot pattern. Now we are all definitely sitting comfortably!


Christmas Fair in Village Hall 2013

The members of our Craft Group always work hard to produce items for our Craft Stall at the Guarlford Christmas Fair, which raises funds for the upkeep of the Village Hall and the parish Churches. This photograph shows the colourful and tempting stall with all the goods set out for sale in December 2013. We try to provide lots of things at reasonable prices, and so we are always looking for ways to use materials economically - we are very good recyclers! Every year we offer many new ideas as well as old favourites, and a good sum is raised by the stall, this year almost £200.

Craft stall

The next photograph shows the Craft Stall from a different angle, and on the left you can see a couple of the table decorations created at some of our Monday afternoon sessions and on the right the pile of cushions which proved to be very popular this Christmas. During 2013, in addition to creating things for the Stall, we also knitted and sewed lots of gifts for boys and girls for the ChristmasChild boxes being filled at our parish school.

Craft stall

Council Meeting & Craft Rally 2012

County craft rally entry 2012The Council Meeting for 2012 was held on October 31st at The Three Counties Show-ground.

The theme chosen for the Co-operative Entry this time was "The Great British Tea Party", with four items and staging to be judged.

The staging for our display consisted of neatly-stitched pale green fabric, with small flag bunting picking out the main colours of the whole display (green and dark & light shades of salmon pink).

Our hand-crafted item was a beautifully woven tea-napkin (an original design) and the cookery 'item' delicate butterfly cakes displayed on a traditional glass cake stand.

Card-making and calligraphy skills were used to create an invitation card, and the flower arrangement, in a white china teapot in keeping with the theme, was composed of spray carnations in the lighter shade of salmon pink and alstroemerias in a darker shade, with deeper salmon colour heuchera leaves as a background. A pretty china cup, saucer and plate completed our tea party 'table'. The display was awarded a creditable 82%.

Spring Council Meeting & Craft Rally 2011

Rally at Three Counties 2011

The W F W I Spring Council Meeting was held in the Severn Hall at the Three Counties Showground in March 2011, and Guarlford WI entered the  Co-operative Class at the Craft Rally which accompanied the meeting.

The theme was "Proverbs", and we chose "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet".

Items entered were: a cross-stitched cover for the Garden Group Album, depicting many named species of roses;  a corsage of sugarcraft roses; an arrangement of toning blooms; and a scented box card which cascaded out into several layers, all decorated with paper roses.

This was truly a 'co-operative' entry with seven members included in creating the items and staging.

"Comfort" Quilts on show at the Autumn 2010 Produce and Handicraft  Show

Quilts produced by Guarlford WIDuring 2010 members and other ladies from the village created "comfort" quilts for Project Linus UK, a volunteer organisation whose aims are to provide a sense of security and comfort to sick and traumatised babies, children and teenagers through the provision of new home made patchwork quilts.

Project Linus began in the USA in 1995, when a keen quilter called Karen Loucks, inspired by reading an article about a  three year old girl who had been helped through chemo-therapy by her  comfort blanket, began making patchwork security blankets for the Rocky Mountains Children's Cancer Center in Denver, Colorado, and Project Linus was born, taking its name from Linus, the character in the comic strip "Peanuts" who clung to his security blanket in every scene.

The photograph (opposite) shows some of the 25 quilts made so far by Guarlford ladies, and on September 14th Lynne Adams, local contact for Project Linus UK, who had given us much guidance, came to the Produce and Handicraft Show to collect them. Lynne told us later that one of our quilts had been chosen by a disabled little girl, seven others had been passed to children of families linked with a local Hospice and six more to the neonatal unit at our County hospital, with the rest soon to be distributed.

Day of Display and Demonstration 2009

Craft display 2009

In 2009 the W F W I replaced the traditional County Rally with two separate "Days of Display and Demonstration".

Guarlford WI went to the Leigh and Bransford Memorial Hall for a day of cookery and craft demonstrations, together with the exhibition showing what each WI does in Craft and Cookery.

Our entry, which displays the skills of some of our members, won a Silver Gilt award. Included are: box-making, flower arranging, a handmade card, a plate of decorated cup-cakes, and a knitted 'scene' ("The Woolshop Lady").

Visit to Avoncroft 2008

Avoncroft 2008

After an entertaining and informative talk in August 2007 about the Avoncroft Museum of Buildings near Bromsgrove, a most enjoyable guided tour of the Museum itself was arranged for members in the Spring of 2008.

The many exhibits cover a large site, and the photograph shows members looking at the fibreglass spire, which had been built in 1961 to replace a fire-damaged steeple on a Victorian church in Smethwick. The church itself gradually fell out of use, and it was finally demolished in the 1980s, when the topmost octagonal belfry section of the tower and its new spire were dismantled and re-erected at Avoncroft.

For more see www.avoncroft.org.uk.

County Home Economics Rally 2007

Craft display at rugby club 2007

In 2007 the W F W I tried a new venue, the Worcester-shire Rugby Club, for its Home Economics Rally. Pictured is Guarlford WI's entry in the Co-operative Class. The title was "The Four Seasons", and we chose Autumn, 'Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness' as our theme.

Seen in the picture are the five elements chosen for the display: apple and ginger tea-bread, oat & cinnamon cookies, a notebook and penholder decorated with Cathedral Window Patchwork, a flower arrangement and a cross-stitched Autumn sampler.

Please let us know if you have any photos that you would like displayed on these pages.


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