Shillington social group for women celebrates 50th year

The ladies of the Shillington Wives Group at the group's 50th anniversary celebration held at the Co

The ladies of the Shillington Wives Group at the group's 50th anniversary celebration held at the Congregational Church, Shillington on April 10 2014. Credit: Peter Watts - Credit: Archant

A social group for women in a Bedfordshire village is celebrating its 50th year, with one founding member reminiscing about its beginnings.

The Shillington Wives Group marked its 50th anniversary by entertaining past and present members at Shillington Congregational Church in Church Street with a buffet on Thursday, April 10.

In 1964 the late Reverend John De St Croix arranged a meeting of mothers of children at the High Road Methodist Church Sunday School to discuss the formation of a social group for young women to meet in the evenings.

The idea was that they could meet with other young women on a social occasion away from the families, with 18 attending the first meeting when a unanimous vote was made in favour of forming a group which was named the Shillington Young Wives. The group then rose to 33 after the first year.

Chairman and founder member Janet Hills said: “The group was originally set up in order that young wives who were in the house all day looking after the house and their children could get out for a social occasion and meet other young wives.

“They would meet on alternate Thursdays and have a speaker for a talk or demonstration, a cup of tea and a chat. It would be a relaxing time away from the home where many would be all day as in the 1960s not many ladies went out to work after having their children.

“Through the years times have changed and now the majority of ladies work and their children are looked after at nursery or by childminders. We are not such a large group now but the ladies still enjoy the talks, demonstrations, social evenings, outings and just getting together to catch up on the news.

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“We like to think we are a relaxed social group without too many rules. We are always pleased to welcome ladies of all ages whether they be married, single or divorced.

“We still have several members who have been with us for the 50 years and we all look forward to the Shillington Wives Group continuing.”

The group met at High Road Methodist Church until it closed in 2004, before relocating to Scytells Court until 2011 when that also shut.

The Shillington Wives Group now meet every second and fourth Thursday of the month at Shillington Congregational Church at 7.45pm.