About us

Diane McLaren Diane McLaren

Welcome to the Wiltshire Federation

A very warm welcome to Wiltshire - A beautiful and diverse County in the South West of England almost half of which is designated an area of outstanding natural beauty.  Wiltshire is uniquely rooted in the past; Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age people all built settlements on the hills and downs, while Romans, Normans and Saxons left their mark on our countryside and towns. Stonehenge and Avebury are by far the most famous Neolithic sites in the UK, but Wiltshire is also known for the eight iconic white horses carved into its chalk hills.  Other attractions and landmarks include Salisbury Cathedral which boasts the tallest spire in England, Castle Combe voted one of the prettiest villages in England, Lacock the home of photography, Caen Hill Locks - one of the original seven wonders of the waterways, and last but by no means least the home of Brunel’s Great Western Railway in Swindon.

Our History - The Wiltshire Federation of WIs came into existence in 1919, the same year that six WIs were established. Redlynch & District WI is our longest standing Institute and is the eleventh oldest in the country. It celebrated its centenary in September 1916 and possesses a fascinating archive of written and photographic material from the early years right up to the present day. All WIs are encouraged to archive such material at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre at Chippenham where it can be viewed by anyone interested.

A review of the last 12 months (October 2015 – October 2016) - During the past year our Federation recruited 602 new members, formed 3 new WIs:  Whiteparish Village, Pewsham Belles & Lockside, provided access to both new and educational activities, stimulated high levels of interest in the majority of our events, provided enhanced access to information via our own publicity material and website, as well as through social media, local radio and the press and established Presidents’ Fora to facilitate interfacing opportunities both between WI Presidents and with the Trustees.  

We also held a successful Annual Council Meeting at the City Hall in Salisbury with three guest speakers: Councillor Eric Shaw - the Mayor of Swindon, Tony Neate - the CEO of Get Safe Online and the High Sheriff of Wiltshire David Hempleman-Adams, all of whom injected humour into their fascinating presentations. The day concluded with a delightful musical interlude provided by professional opera singer Zoe Turner and her accompanist Janice Thompson.

Our 2016 Board of Trustee Elections - The day after the ACM we held our Board of Trustees Elections Meeting. I was honoured to be re-elected Federation Chairman for a second year and all the other Board Appointments were reconfirmed, except for that of Deputy Treasurer, a position held previously by Mary Lloyd, who had to stand down from the Board owing to pressure of family commitments. The role of Deputy Treasurer will henceforth be undertaken by our newest Trustee, Lesley Adam from Atworth WI. During the past year we were also very sorry to lose two long standing Trustees Jan Penn and Jill Russell, who both stood down from the Board for health reasons.

We still have some vacancies on our Federation Committees, so if you are interested in coming along to a meeting as an observer please do let me know; there is no commitment implied on either side and your travel costs will be reimbursed. I look forward to hearing from you.


Event Notification:  The 2017 WI Fair - 29th March till 1st April 2017

If you visited the first WI Fair at Harrogate last year you will undoubtedly wish to go again. However if you missed last year’s event then this is your chance to experience everything about the great British institution that is the WI. The Fair will bring together four fabulous days of craft, cooking, creativity, shopping, learning and travel, plus over 300 exhibitors; it promises to be a great day out with something for everyone. WI members and non-members are welcome.  You can find out more about the fair on the NFWI website: Our Federation is currently organizing coach travel to the fair and a flyer will be with your secretaries shortly.

Diane McLaren
Federation Chairman