Inspiring women of wartime exhibition to be staged in Wisbech

PUBLISHED: 11:35 16 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:35 16 October 2018

The exhibition opens on October 20 and continues through November. Entry is free. Picture: National Federation of Women's Institutes Archives.

The exhibition opens on October 20 and continues through November. Entry is free. Picture: National Federation of Women's Institutes Archives.

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An exhibition highlighting the vital role hundreds of local women played during and after the Second World War is being held at Wisbech and Fenland Museum.

Inspiring Women - The WI in the Isle of Ely reveals how Fenland WI members were recruited in wartime to produce tons of Vitamin-C rich jam and canned fruit on an industrial scale.

Sugar in bulk was ferried in to Wisbech, free of rations, and the produce of Fenland kitchens and WI halls ferried out for national distribution throughout the 1940s.

Co-curator, Sarah Coleman, said: “I had no idea how far-reaching the efforts of these local women were. It is truly phenomenal.

“Against all odds these women made a huge difference to their own communities and the country.”

Anne Barnes, of Wisbech WI is working alongside Sarah to bring together rare photographs and artefacts, including a WI canning machine.

Anne said: “In the WI we’re proud of our history and we’re still the UK’s largest voluntary women’s organisation working to improve the life of women and whole communities – non-sectarian, non-party-political.

“We have 50 members just in Wisbech Centre WI and there are many more women’s institutes still going strong in surrounding towns and villages.”

The exhibition opens on October 20 and continues through November. Entry is free.

To mark the centenary on October 24 of the first-ever WI resolution, Wisbech Centre WI will hold its committee meeting at the museum, followed by a WI talk at 2.30pm to which visitors are welcome.

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