THE Women's Institute has returned to Burley-in-Wharfedale after a gap of nearly 15 years.

The WI celebrates its centenary in 2015, so the time was right for the village to regenerate its original branch, which closed at the turn of the millennium.

The concept of regenerating the WI for Burley started from a conversation amongst a group of friends in a local walking group, which included former WI president, Ann Nuttall, and the new president, Liz Moody.

Liz said: "It was something I really wanted to do, and I knew there would be other ladies in the village who would feel the same.

"The response has been overwhelming."

An introductory meeting was held at the Red Lion in Main Street in September, when more than 80 women attended to express their interest in joining the new group, with its new name of Wharfedale Scone Roses.

Bigger premises were required, so the first official meeting of the new WI was held in Burley Social Club in Hilltop last Thursday, when more than 50 women signed up to become members.

West Yorkshire Federation chairman, Helena Harrington, and membership support and training chairman, Edith Cheesbrough, were present to help the new committee members formalise the group.

Liz Moody signed the WI constitution, along with secretary, Rosie Sumner, and the Wharfedale Scone Roses became an official WI branch. Liz is supported by treasurer Sandra Pearson, vice-treasurer Jo Robinson and minutes secretary Kath Thomason. Others will help with social media support and with organising meetings, including Lorna Thompson, Jude Illiff, Kathy Jackman and Lindsey McDermott.

Ann Nuttall started the meeting with a short talk about her role as president of the original WI, taking mementos to the meeting, including a register from 1956.

She said: "The previous WI ran from 1947 to 2000. I hope this one will last even longer and be a very successful institute."

Following her talk, and to her surprise, Ann was honoured with a WI centenary pin for her contribution to the old and new groups.

Ann was followed by a very topical discussion from local man, Rob Lawrie, talking about the humanitarian support he is providing in the migrant camps in Calais. A lively question-and-answer session followed.

Both Liz and Helena spoke of how they are absolutely overwhelmed and delighted with the response from the ladies of Burley-in-Wharfedale, and encouraged members to have fun and enjoy the events.

With an emphasis on friendship, social networking and community support, ladies of all ages and interests are welcome to join. Membership currently stands at 80, and is growing, with an age range of 20s to 80s.

Contact the group via its Facebook page or attend the next meeting at Burley Social Club on November 12 at 7.30pm.