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Ipswich women’s group celebrates 80th anniversary

The Ipswich section of the East Anglia Branch of the Catholic Women’s League has staged a celebration of its 80th anniversary of its founding in 1936, which intriguingly threw up archived information which may indicate it is even older.

The 80th birthday party, held in St Pancras Church Hall, Ipswich in November, was attended by National President Margaret Valentine who travelled down from Newcastle to be there, and Audrey Kelly (93) a member for over 50 years, both pictured together above.

But what was thought to be a straightforward memorable celebration, brought to light two puzzling bits of history, explained Monica Ford.

“We had assumed it was it our 80th anniversary, as announced in the 1936 minutes,” said Monica. “But a newspaper article, also found in the CWL archives, reported that in July 1915 Ipswich CWL members were holding a fete in aid of the funds for the WW1 wounded and Belgium refugees.

“Also, in a cupboard in the church hall, a banner emerged from the 1930s which combined the Guide trefoil with the CWL logo. What was the link? Was the CWL somehow involved locally in the development of the scout and guide movement during the 1930s?”

The branch decided that more research is needed to establish the full facts.