Lorne Sutherland WI celebrates 100 years

GALETTA – The ladies of the Lorne Sutherland Women’s Institute (WI) are a bunch that comes out year-after-year in support of their group and their community.

On Saturday, June 22 the WI celebrated their 100th anniversary and were celebrated by members of the surrounding Women’s Institute clubs and area politicians.

The organization celebrated the amazing milestone with an afternoon tea at the Galetta Community Centre Saturday, June 22.

“We’re so pleased you could join us to celebrate 100 years of achievement,” WI president Terry MacHardy said. “Neighbours helping neighbours since 1919.”

About 36 women and four men were in attendance for the event.

The first Women’s Institute branch was formed in Stoney Creek, ON, on Feb. 19, 1897. The Galetta area branch was formed 22 years later, on March 19, 1919.

“The original branch comprised a group of community-minded women previously involved in Red Cross work,” MacHardy said. “The branch name honours the memory of Lorne Sutherland, a member of the community who gave his life for the cause during the First World War.”

The women of the WI honour his sacrifice by their support of their community.

“Hard working members, with big hearts and strong community spirit, have been the backbone of the Lorne Sutherland branch,” MacHardy said. “The branch has made generous contributions to the community over its 100-year tenure. In the early years, activities included the making of jams and jellies sent for use in local hospitals. In more recent years the branch has catered to West Carleton Diners and also the Kinburn Seniors Christmas Dinner. Funds raised through community catering has been re-invested back into the community.”

The money they have raised has been used to purchase a chair for the palliative care ward; a medical cart for the operating room; and a full room furnished in addition to donations in excess of $8,000 to the Arnprior hospital.  Since 2011 the group has annually donated to Arnprior Braeside McNab Seniors at Home Program’s Dare to Care Campaign and the Prior Chestnuts breast cancer survival group.  Other organizations supported include Friends of the Experimental Farm in Ottawa, Robbie Dean Centre, West Carleton Food Access, 4H, Valley Heritage Radio and many more.

Members and dignitaries pose with cake at the 100th anniversary of the Lorne Sutherland WI. Photo by Jake Davies
Members and dignitaries pose with cake at the 100th anniversary of the Lorne Sutherland WI. Photo by Jake Davies

“I can’t believe where the time has gone,” MacHardy said. “I joined as a newlywed as a way to visit my mom and mother-in-law at least once a week.”

Dunrobin and District Women’s Institute president Beth McEwen was on hand to congratulate Lorne Sutherland on the milestone the Dunrobin women hit last June.

“I wanted to bring some yellow roses from Costco, but they were all sold out,” she said. “Terry had bought them all.”

MP Karen McCrimmon, who is also a Dunrobin WI member, had some words for the audience.

“This tells you just how high in esteem you are held,” she said. “The WI jumped into action after the tornado. They provided that leadership. That is what allowed us to build this great country and community we live in today.”

MPP Dr. Merillee Fullerton was also on hand.

“When we meet face-to-face, we are community,” she said. “How important it is to bring the head and the heart together. That’s what you do here. Congratulations to all of you.”

Coun. Eli El-Chantiry was one of the few males in attendance.

“Now I understand what the resilience in our community is built on,” he said. “It makes us a stronger, better community. I wish you another 100 years of success.”

While two WIs in the West Carleton area celebrated a centennial anniversary this year, like many volunteer organizations, the WI brand faces challenges. Branches in eastern Ontario have dropped from 12 to four with branches in Kars and Vernon as well.

Membership has always been small but long-serving at Lorne Sutherland, peaking at the 30-member level. Part of the day’s ceremony included honouring the current members, most having been members of 30 to 50 years.