Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Friendships Worth Weight in Gold; Marking 50 Years of Camaraderie

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Friendships Worth Weight in Gold; Marking 50 Years of Camaraderie

Article excerpt

Byline: MIKE MORGAN

GUISBOROUGH Townswomen's Guild founders Brenda Crossland, Maisie Collins and Eileen Stevens have an incredible 150 years' service to the organisation between them.

Now, as the guild celebrates its 50th anniversary, the lively trio say the voluntary guild has given them "the best friendships we've ever had."

And they are keen to encourage younger women to join the guild and benefit from women's empowerment, a host of activities, and speakers on just about every subject under the sun!

The guild nationally was born from the ethos of the famous Suffragette movement and holds conferences each year which have often produced motions which have had significant effect on Government policy of the day.

But they say the most important thing about the guild through the years has been the warm and lasting friendships they've all made - and kept.

At the inaugural meeting in March 1961, more than a hundred people attended.

Recently, membership has dipped somewhat as many members have got older or moved away.

But, like the Women's Institute which has successfully boosted its appeal nationally recently, the Guisborough guild is determined to attract younger blood to make the organisation last well into the 21st century.

Great-gran-of-five, president Brenda, 89, of Rectory Avenue, Guisborough, is celebrating her diamond anniversary of guild membership, having been a member at Northallerton for 10 years before moving to Guisborough with her family.

She instigated the formation of the Guisborough branch.

She said: "It's a fantastic, fun organisation offering women of all ages the chance to make lots of new friends, find new interests - and have a voice in local and national issues.

"When we first started in 1961, we met at an upstairs room in Fountain Street. Now we gather on the second Wednesday of each month at Sunnyfield House in the town centre at 1.30pm and organise a host of activities.

"These range from visits to local industrial sites, craft and dance classes, support for national campaigns, you name it.

"The main thing I've got from the guild is making friends. Sometimes when you move to a large town like Guisborough, it's hard to make friends at first.

"Joining the guild meant lots of friends were 'on tap' and we must have enjoyed literally hundreds of different activities over the years."

The trio of founder members stress, however, how important it is that younger women now apply to join to ensure the guild prospers.

Brenda added: "The guild is easy-going and there are lots of trips to the theatre, exhibitions - all sorts of things. There's definitely a place for it in modern society."

They say the key thing is that new younger members will have a say in steering the guild towards activities that interest them. …

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