When we took the decision to set up a WI we knew there were a lot of rules and regulations involved. The Women's Institute is a hundred years old it has procedures and protocols. That's one of the things we love about it. We want the Swallowtail WI to be part of the traditions that generations of women have been following.
We knew we needed help in navigating the rules of setting up a WI so we contacted the Norfolk Federation to ask for their assistance. We were given two advisers, Margaret and Kim, I think they guessed we might be a handful and needed extra guidance!
Our first meeting was at Margaret's beautiful house and we sat around her gorgeous kitchen table, drinking mugs of tea from a huge teapot. It felt very WI.
Vicki's little boy joined our meeting as our honourary man but he wasn't too impressed by the proceedings. He was much more interested in investigating Margaret's kitchen cupboards.
Margaret and Kim took us through the steps we would need to complete to set up a WI. They answered all of our many questions. It was reassuring to have people we could turn to who had the answers or knew where to go to find out.
We came away feeling like our idea was getting one step closer to becoming a reality.
The idea of setting up a new WI was one that came to Vicki and I (Claire) slowly. A vague idea, a sense that we'd love a modern WI our side of the city, a venue with lots of parking. We wanted to meet women who lived near us, women who could become friends.
It seemed in turns exciting and insane but it was an idea that we just couldn't shake. The excitement won out but we knew we needed more people involved to get the idea up and running, so we co-opted Szara and Roisin. I like to think we invited them to join us but I think we might have swept them up in our enthusiasm and they couldn't really say no.
We knew we had a lot to talk about so we got together at Vicki's house for pizza and ice cream, the perfect planning food. There were so many things to take into consideration, when, where, how but it turned out the most important decision for us was choosing a name for our potential WI.
We went through a heap of names, we wanted it to be something personal and with meaning, local but not location specific. Norfolk terms and dialect were put forward and dismissed. Nothing felt right until Szara asked if I had a favourite butterfly.
Everyone that knows me knows how much I love butterflies and in that instant I knew what we should call our future WI - Swallowtail. They are native to Norfolk and are incredibly beautiful. We loved the idea of transformation, darkness into light. You can read more about why we chose that name here...
As soon as I said the name Swallowtail WI we all got chills. It felt like a magical moment when the dream started to become a reality.
We knew there was a lot of work ahead but we were excited to start the journey together.
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