Cambray WI 100th Anniversary

Back Row (L-R): Evelyn Louden, Shirley Forman, Margaret King, Mary Sinclair, Dorothy Copp, Anne Hood, Betty Hayes and Lisa Chomko. Seated (L-R): Charlotte McKay and Rita Bradley.Absent: Joan Casswell.


On March 5, 2005, Cambray Women’s Institute celebrated its 100th Anniversary. The Branch hosted a Tea Party on March 9th in the Cambray Community Centre for 92 guests.

A lot of thought and work went into the planning. Members were worried about the weather in March; they did think of waiting until June, but decided to take a chance and celebrate on March 9, 2005. It was a nice day, cold but dry.

Evelyn Louden came up with the idea of doing a Calendar Girls skit. This was topical, as Rylstone WI in England had so much success with the calendar they put out in 2001, showing their Members very “tastefully” posing nude, complete with sunflowers and pearl necklaces. This was followed by a movie which the Cambray Ladies had been to see and thoroughly enjoyed. Evelyn did not think they would be willing to prance around the Community Centre in their birthday suits, even with sunflowers and pearls, so she came up with the idea of a celebration day each month, when we would wear an appropriate costume for the day and a piece of music to correspond would be played. Members searched their trunks, made and borrowed costumes.

Sharron Patterson, though not a WI Member, took part and kindly lent four costumes. Lisa, Shirley and Anna were also busy making 25 royal blue tablecloths. Members decided to set up small card tables rather than long tables. The centerpieces were wine glasses with yellow beeswax candles, made by Lisa, floating in them. Jane Barker made small “wreaths” of yellow and blue roses to go around the base of the glasses. They had yellow napkins and gave each guest a silk ribbon with the Mary Stewart Collect printed on it.

The Ladies made a nice selection of sandwiches, which were served with pickles, cheese, fruit and vegetable dip trays. The cake was made by Dorothy Copp’s granddaughter, Coleen, and was donated by Dorothy and her daughters Carol Brown and Elizabeth Riches, and was served with ice cream. Tea and coffee were served by Jane Barker, Dodie Bullock and Gill McGregor, who together with Marie Pearson, Ruth Bray, Audrey Tamlin, Deanna Hood, Anne and Ken Tamlin and Clare Patton were very willing helpers in the kitchen and helped clean up afterwards. Being a small Branch, they always appreciate the help they have been given over the years by non-members whenever they have a function needing lots of willing hands.


Members wore long black skirts, white blouses, their blue hats and corsages consisting of a yellow rose with a royal blue bow. The stage was decorated with the Branch Banner, made by Lisa, and plants from Lisa’s home, together with two yellow chrysanthemum plants that were brought to present as door prizes.

Lisa welcomed everyone and introduced the District Executives: President Sandra Thurston, Secretary Barbara Hone, Treasurer Beryl Connell, and the Mayor of the City of Kawartha Lakes Barbara Kelly.

Margaret King read the very interesting history of the Cambray Branch. Lisa presented each of Member with a 100th Anniversary Pin, sent from the FWIO Provincial Office. Life memberships were presented to Betty Hayes and Lisa Chomko and a Tweedsmuir History Certificate of Appreciation was presented to Dorothy Copp. Anne read messages of congratulations from the FWIO Provincial Office; Premier Dalton McGuinty; Prime Minister Paul Martin; and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Mayor of the City of Kawartha Lakes Barbara Kelly, brought congratulations from the Council and presented the Branch with a congratulatory certificate. Sandra Thurston brought congratulations from the Executive and spoke of the plans and aims of the Women’s Institute when it was founded in Stoney Creek in 1897 and has now become a world wide organization and wished Cambray WI many more years as an active Branch. Lisa called a break in the proceedings while the Branch prepared to present their skit.

Evelyn told the guests how the idea for this skit was formulated, and introduced Beryl Tamlin, who was the pianist. Evelyn had written the commentary to accommodate each costume. As each model entered, Beryl played the accompanying music, then Evelyn read the commentary as each model paraded around the room. All the costumes received much applause, and some were received with much hilarity. As a finale, everyone appeared in their costumes, along with the Members who were unable to take part in the skit, and sang the song that had been written by the late Edna Rogers to celebrate Cambray WI’s 85th Anniversary.

Tea was served by the Branch’s “waitresses” and a very pleasant social time was enjoyed by all. Many congratulations were given on the presentation, both on the day and for many weeks after. Reporters from the Lindsay Post and Chex Television were present and both gave excellent coverage.

When at last everyone had gone home and the clearing up was done, the Cambray Ladies breathed a sigh of relief that it was all over and had been such a success. They all agreed it had been worth all the hard work and worry and they felt that the five founding Members and all the past Members would be proud of how they celebrated their 100 years. This was a celebration made possible by their efforts in the past and they now look forward to more years as the Cambray WI.


Cambray Women’s Institute Anniversary Song

Tune: Marching Through Georgia


In the year nineteen hundred and five, some ladies they did say,

We need a Women’s Institute right here in Cam-br-ay.

They talked with the Area Director and on a stormy day,

Formed the Women’s Institute of Cam-br-ay.

CHORUS: HURRAH! HURRAH! One hundred years ago,

One hundred years and still we’re on the go.

And when the need arises, we still put on quite a show,

For ‘by Dad’ we’re the Institute of Cam-bray.

The women now that started this, there’s none of them alive,

There wasn’t many of them, in fact t’was only five.

Mrs. Webster, Mrs. Feir, Mrs. Sinclair,

Mrs. Wells and Miss Patience By-am.

CHORUS: HURRAH! HURRAH! One hundred years ago,

One hundred years and still we’re on the go.

Our heads are getting grayer and our steps are getting s-l-o-w,

But ‘by Dad’ we’re the Institute of Cam-bray.