New rose commemorates 100 years of the WI in Bedfordshire

Bedfordshire Beauty
Bedfordshire Beauty

A new rose has been commissioned to celebrate the centenary of Bedfordshire County Federation of Women’s Institutes in 2019.

The federation’s first county chairman was Mrs M Whitbread of Southill, from the famous brewing family.

The new rose, named Bedfordshire Beauty, was launched at the Hampton Court Flower Show and was commissioned through Harkness Roses of Hitchin.

Two coaches of WI members and friends travelled to Hampton Court to view the rose, prior to ordering their very own in September.

These can then be planted in their gardens for them to be in full bloom across Bedfordshire in 2019.

The WI movement came to the county in 1917, when Dunstable WI was formed.

This WI unfortunately disbanded and reformed many years later, although by 1918 eight institutes had formed, enabling the formation of the County Federation on September 27, 1919. Bedfordshire now has 83 institutes with 2,900 members.

The launch of the rose is at the beginning of a programme of events being organised throughout 2019 to celebrate the centenary year.

A church service is to be held in Dunstable, a peel of bells will be held across the county on the actual birthday, September 27, together with a celebratory afternoon tea to be held at the Sculpture Gallery in Woburn, plus much more.

The WI is the largest voluntary organisation in the UK with more than 212,000 members in over 6,600 institutes. It plays a unique role in enabling women to develop new skills, giving them opportunities to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities, and provides wide-ranging activities for members to get involved in.