ONE hundred years of history have been celebrated in Olveston with the unveiling of a bench marking a special anniversary of the Women’s Institute.

Members of Olveston and Tockington WI were joined by representatives of the Parish Council to receive the bench, where it will be a permanent fixture in the village.

“It was brilliant, even the sun shone for us,” said Olveston and Tockington WI president Kim Prewett, who presented it to Cllr John Hughes.

Praising the WI for their work in the community, Cllr Hughes said: “The Parish Council are absolutely delighted that the Women’s Institute have given this lovely gift to the parish to reflect their centenary.

“The WI are an integral part of parish life and do so much for so many people for which we are all very grateful.”

Opened on September 3, 1918, three years after the national initiative began, the village’s branch of the WI blossomed early on, with around 100 members joining from the community.

“Women back then didn’t really have anything in the way of a social outlet in our area in those days,” said Mrs Prewett, “all they did was look after the house and look after the children.

“So when the Women’s Institute was set up, it give them that bit of freedom and a night out without their men.”

Today the group, which meets on the second Tuesday of every month in Olveston Parish Hall at 7.30pm, has around 30 members but Mrs Prewett says that it still remains relevant in this day and age.

“It still gives the same sort of thing today as it did back then, friendship and companionship, education and freedom,” she said.

“We may be an older group than some others in the area but there are still plenty of youngsters - women in their thirties - who appreciate what we do.

“Whatever you want, you can get it from a WI.”