Shirley Prescott with the new banner members made for the Parade in St. Mary's Church, Bury St. Edmunds in September 2015, to commemorate the Centenary of the WI and 95 years in West Suffolk

Polstead Women’s Institute

Welcome to Polstead WI

We have 25 members and our speakers cover a wide variety of topics. We also have outings and join other WI’s at events locally as well as the wider events, competitions and social occasions within West Suffolk.

Polstead WI is not only about learning new skills or improving old ones and finding some you have never considered before, but about making friends and supporting the wider community.

For further information, please contact:
Hon. Secretary: Carmel Evans 01787 210865

Why do we belong to the WI?

It offers opportunities for all women to enjoy friendship, to learn, to widen our horizons and, together as a group, to influence local, national and international affairs.

We are part of The Three Valleys Group, which includes Boxford, Bures, Elmsett and Aldham, Hadleigh, Leavenheath, Nayland and District, Polstead and Stoke by Nayland. This is governed by the Suffolk West Federation which, in turn, represents us nationally.

A little bit of our history

Polstead WI was formed in May 1919. By 1921, the membership was flourishing and held meetings in the Village school. Mr W M Cooke offered a gift of land for the WI Hall and a wooden hut was obtained. The opening ceremony was held in September 1923. It showed great initiative for a small rural village and we are proud that it has flourished ever since.

Over the years, Polstead WI has continued to thrive, only having a few months break at the beginning of the Second World War – the members being very active in various ways, usually for the benefit of the local community. Early in the 1970’s a new hall was built for the village. The last meeting was held in the old Village Hut in April 1975

It was the ladies of Polstead WI who were among the main instigators of a Community Shop for the area. It was the first one in Suffolk. This was set up when the old village shop closed down. The shop has won many awards over the years and it has been a wonderful success. Several current WI members still form part of the large group of volunteers who help to run the project.

We are very proud that Polstead WI is still thriving and we are looking forward to our Centenary in 2019.

A sunny day in August when members enjoyed a lunch at Waldringfield Golf Club before taking a boat trip on the River Deben


We arrange frequent outings locally to places of interest, for meals, boat trips, to the coast and the Theatre. We use Hadleigh Community Transport in addition to members’ cars. The outings are well supported by members, friends and family. Whilst WI members have priority, there are occasionally spare seats. If you are not a member, but would like to join us on one of our trips should there still be room, please contact our secretary, Carmel Evans 01787 210746. Meetings and outings are advertised on village notice boards and in the village shop.

We would be pleased to welcome any new members to ensure that Polstead WI continues to flourish.

Polstead WI Programme 2017

January 10th Pilates with Jeanette Mayes

February 14th Skin care and mini facial - Catriona Symington

March14th Drawing for Beginners - Paul Vousden

March 22nd Federation Annual Meeting at the Apex, Bury St Edmunds

April 11th Three Valleys Group Meeting at Leavenheath

April 11th Tales from the Bench - Graham Higgins

May 9th Annual Meeting, some business and social time

June13th Stories from Old Newspapers - Pip Wright

July 11th A Wondrous Platter - Cookery with Malcolm Long

August No Meeting

September12th Horticultural Snippets - Jim Marshall / Sarah Cook

October 10th Story of Silk & Pashmina - Jenny Gibbs

November 14th Lanzarote - Cesar Manrique Talk & slides Jim Sephton

December 12th Christmas Party

All our meetings start at 7.30pm in Polstead Village Hall, second Tuesday in the month.

We also have trips to the Theatres in Ipswich, usually by Mini-bus

and occasional outings to local places of interest with a stop for lunch or tea.

Visitors are always welcome, just £3 and we would love to recruit new members.

Please phone Chris Cuthbert 01787 210746 or Margaret Walker 01473 822027

Please contact Carmel Evans on 01787 210865  email for more information about the WI

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