President of Maghera Women’s Institute, Mrs Christine Sufferin, welcomed everyone who attended their 60th anniversary dinner in the Royal Hotel, Cookstown.
She gave a special welcome to Mrs Elizabeth Warden, Federation Chairman of WI in Northern Ireland, Sperrin Area Executive member Mrs Linda Brown and, of course, Maghera’s founder member, Mrs Elizabeth Shiels from Crewe.
Members, former members, family and friends were also joined by representatives from all the other Women’s Institutes in the Sperrin area.
Christine gave a humorous speech delving into the archives as she looked back over the first year of Maghera Institute in 1957-58. Christine made special mention of ‘Aunt Lizzie’, who had been the tea hostess at that first meeting and has now been a member for 60 years. Throughout this time, Lizzie has entered into the spirit of the WI, taking part in a variety of activities and competitions such as baking and – her greatest loves – music and drama. She also made special reference to Mrs Margaret McKee and Mrs May McKee, both present on the evening, who, although not founder members, joined the institute shortly after and whose contribution to Maghera’s success is well documented.
A toast to the Federation was proposed by Christine. Mrs Elizabeth Warden replied and brought greetings and congratulations from all members. A beautifully engraved cut-glass vase was presented to Maghera to mark this special occasion. Sperrin Area Executive member, Mrs Linda Brown, added her congratulations and good wishes for the future and also presented a gift of a cut-glass bowl.
Founder member Lizzie then entertained everyone with a poem she had written to encompass her 60 years of happy
memories in Maghera WI and received a standing ovation. Singer Kenny Paul then entertained everyone with a selection of hit songs spanning the six decades Maghera has been in existence. Floral gifts and a comprehensive vote of thanks, given by Mrs Linda Bolton, vice-president of Maghera WI, brought a very enjoyable evening to a close. Members and friends lingered to view the display of photographs and crafts of the Maghera ladies’ talents.