Closure of Ardgay & Culrain SWI

Ardgay SWI amalgamated with Culrain SWI in 2017. With diminishing numbers, very sadly we have had to close our doors after one hundred and two years.

From left to right: (back row) Betty Simmonds, Ann Worthy, Doreen Bruce, Jean Jack. (Front row) Effie Ross, Gillian Glennie, Vera MacDonald, Susan Reid, Dorothy Brown. Jean, Vera, Susan and Dorothy have sadly passed away. © Gillian Glennie

Ardgay SWI was created in 1918 and has been running ever since. Culrain SWI amalgamated with Ardgay in September 2017. Member numbers have gradually diminished over recent years due mainly to people passing away, moving away from the area or not wanting to come out at night which is understandable especially in cold wet or snowy weather. So very sadly we have had to close our doors after one hundred and two years.

We were very reluctant to close but as we were down to five members all but one in their mid to late seventies we felt we could no longer carry on. Maybe it is a sign of our times. The original reason for forming the SWI was to bring women together after WWI when many were either bereaved or isolated in the countryside. They were able to attend the meetings and meet up with others exchanging recipes and sharing skills amongst each other. They also had speakers who attended and showed members new crafts or gave interesting talks on many subjects. With so many ways of communication and travel these days this has taken over from the old ways and younger folk do not seem interested in learning crafts and being creative in the same way.

Speaking personally I joined in 1989 and very glad I did as new to the area I soon met compatible friends who enjoyed the same things as I did. There was so much to learn and partake in along with the companionship of other members. My mother was a member in England and I remember her on the WI float, on Coronation Day, dressed in Highland dress for Scotland along with Wales, England, and Northern Ireland. (Her father was a Scot.)

We shall miss our monthly get togethers and doing the teas for the Whist Drive once a year and craft and coffee mornings. We shall still see each other and remain good friends. I suppose all good things come to a natural end eventually.

One of our biggest accomplishments was at the turn of the century we made a large Millennium quilt with members of both Ardgay and Culrain each making a square depicting something local to the area and putting it together, it is now proudly displayed in the foyer of Migdale Hospital in Bonar Bridge. This is an item which will still be here long after we have departed this world.

by Gillian Glennie, ex Treasurer Ardgay and Culrain SWI


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