Urquhart & District WRI was formed in November 1949 and have continued without a break to the present day. Membership rose to over 70 but over the last 20 years it has gradually dropped to under 10. However the current members are keen and active rural ladies who are happy to continue their memberships for the forseeable future.
As the membership has dropped it has been uneconomic to meet in our local village hall for every meeting, so we have become a travelling "rural", we meet in members homes or go out on visits to places of interest and once a year on our birthday in November, we invite many other "rurals" to join us in Urquhart Parish Hall for a meeting where we bring in a demonstrator or entertainment and provide a home baked tea [sometimes for as many as 100].
In 2002 a history of Moray and Nairn Federation was completed on behalf of and at the request of the Federation by 2 Urquhart members, each institute had a page, this was Urquhart's page.........
URQUHART & DISTRICT
Date Formed 2nd November 1949
Meeting Place Urquhart Parish Hall
First Meeting 7th December 1949
Honorary Members President, Lady Margaret Tennant
List of Presidents Lady Margaret Tennant; Mrs Black; Miss Forsyth; Mrs Laing; Mrs Mitchell;
Mrs MacKenzie; Mrs Sutherland; Mrs Mitchell; Mrs Cowe; Mrs Fitch;
Mrs Price; Mrs McGregor.
List of Founder Members Lady Margaret Tennant; Mrs Mary Morrison; Miss Molly Forsyth.
Membership High and Low 72 members 17 members
At a meeting held in Urquhart Public hall on 2nd November 1949, at the instigation of Miss Janet Dean of Jointurelands, it was decided to form a branch of SWRI to be known as Urquhart and District WRI. Meetings were to be held on the first Wednesday of each month. Miss Isobel Brown the long time Federation Secretary advised proceedings and Lady Margaret Tennant accepted the post of President. With a membership of 60 and paying a subscription of 2/- (10p) we entered enthusiastically into Rural events such as the Morayshire Farmers Club Show, and foundations were laid for events which are still on-going, although over the years customs have changed. In our early years, bus outings were greatly enjoyed, as travel during the war years had been limited, and many families still had no car. Nowadays we go on evening outings by car.
Our Christmas parties always finished up with a surplus of food which was distributed among various Homes, this evolved into collecting baked gifts for Andersons and personal toiletries as gifts for Spynie. Nowadays we collect gifts at Christmas for young adult social work clients.
At Federation level Urquhart has been well represented, a Federation Chairman, 3 Federation Vice Chairmen, A Social Secretary, 2 Magazine Secretaries, a Housewives and Handcrafts Secretary. In the East Moray Group, Urquhart has also played its part by providing several office bearers over the years.
Urquhart has always entered enthusiastically into Federation events, and on occasion we have been fortunate enough to represent the Federation in national competitions, our Matter of Opinion Team has represented Moray and Nairn at least twice. At local level our quiz teams have been successful at least 3 times, and we have always enjoyed taking part in the Federation Quiz, Matter of Opinion and Variations on a Theme competitions.
In the early 1990s a team from Urquhart entered the Grampian TV Top Club competition and reached the semi-finals, cheered on by a busload of supporters.
Urquhart enthusiastically entered the Farmers Club Shows and latterly the Federation Exhibitions, and has had some success, winning the Fyffe Cup for Plain Sewing, the cup for best overall exhibit, and also an early win in the co-operative section.
Members have taken part in housewives and handcrafts tests over the years and have attained very high standards, currently 2 members are qualified Housewives Judges.
For many years we enjoyed an annual visit to Innes House as the guests of Sir Ian and Lady Margaret Tennant, and when the Innes House gardens were opened to the public, we baked and served teas.
Memories from Miss Molly Forsyth
1952 The death of King George the sixth happened on the morning of what should have been our Burns’ Supper - cancelled of course, - and most of the day was spent advising members, guests, butcher, and cooks. There were so few phones in those days and our members were scattered throughout the area.
1959 Sitting on the lawn at Innes House with a group of ACWW guests one sunny afternoon, after lunch in Fochabers, being questioned about Colin Tennant, who was one of Princess Margaret’s group and convincing them that he didn’t stay at Innes.
1968 A very personal memory of my first day as the sole female member of Moray Council, being welcomed by the words of so many - “my wife knows you through the Rural”!