WI Harrogate
Members of the North Yorkshire West Women's Institute Federation held a silent auction of a painting donated by the artist Ashley Jackson. Picture shows l to r Chairman of Arts & Leisure Heather Stoney, Membership Chairman Margaret Merrall and Federation Treasurer Lesley Manser bidding against North Yorkshire West Federation Chairman Pauline Bowman for the painting. Photograph by Winpenny Photography, Otley

Art auction proves a hit for WI

28 July 2016

A bumper year for visitors to the Great Yorkshire Show is set to benefit the Women’s Institute as well, after visitors swarmed to the organisation’s pavilion at the event.

Home-made sandwiches, cakes and cream teas were snapped up by thousands of eager show-goers, who also stopped to tour the pavilion’s exhibitions and competitions.

A watercolour donated to the North Yorkshire West Federation of WIs by leading artist Ashley Jackson was sold through a silent auction held throughout the three days. After the show concluded, the bids were opened and the winner was revealed – but has chosen to remain anonymous.

Federation chairman Pauline Bowman said:

The painting was the star attraction at our pavilion this year and we are very pleased to see it going to a new home. The money raised will be used by our federation to support our members and the wider community with workshops and events throughout the year.

WI GYS HArrogate
The WI pavilion proved a hit with visitors, drawing in record crowds for tea, cakes, sandwiches, and strawberries and cream

Meanwhile, the cafe in the WI pavilion proved as popular as ever. Over the three days of the show, volunteers cooked 300lb of bacon, served 720 slices of sponge cake and 144 slices of tea bread, hulled 250 punnets of strawberries and baked almost 6,000 scones. Each day, 550 bread rolls and 20 loaves of bread were buttered for sandwiches to sell to the hungry visitors queuing out of the door.

There was also an exhibition of crafts and cooking, with WI members submitting entries for judging and visitors able to enjoy the striking results.

Mrs Bowman added:

We had a very busy three days at the Great Yorkshire Show, helped by fantastic weather of course.

We couldn’t do any of this without our fantastic volunteers – we had almost 200 WI members from across our area doing shifts with us throughout the show. It was also lovely to welcome WI members from around the country to the pavilion, and to meet many women who were keen to find out more about joining our organisation.

We’re still counting up the proceeds from the event, but we know it has been one of our busiest years yet. It is our biggest annual fundraiser and we’re very grateful to the Yorkshire Agricultural Society for continuing to allow us to use the pavilion, which was purpose-built for the WI in 1950.

It’s time for a well-earned rest now, but we’ll soon be planning for next year’s show!


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