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The Here We Are Story - past, present and future

SWRI-000 - Scottish Woman’s Rural Institution (SWRI)

Cairndow Scottish Women’s Rural Institute was usually referred to as ‘The Rural’.

It was founded in Cairndow in December 1950, at the instigation of Mrs John Noble, encouraged by Lady Gainford, from Tayvallich. The two of them launched the first meeting in Cairndow Hall. A committee was elected, and Mrs John Noble was the first President and remained in this post for 22 years.

Elizabeth Noble, Alice Sinclair and Lizzy Callander at the SWRI’s 21st Birthday Celebrations 1971

The Women’s’ Rural Institutes were set up to bring women together, at the time there was little opportunity for women to go out.  The idea was to learn (for instance about contraception, or how to make lampshades) to share, to socialise, to encourage community and of course, to have fun.  In the early days it was very popular, 1957 there were 32 members.

Christine MacCallum, Jean Warnock, Alice Beattie, Lady Veronica Gainford, May Wilson, Cathy Mather, Anastasia Noble, Jenny Speirs

The Rural met once a month during the winter.  There would be a talk and or a demonstration by an invited speaker, also games and a competition of baking , crafts etc. (the 1st, 2nd and 3rd) earning points towards an end of year  trophy ) And there was tea with cakes and sandwiches. There were outings and annual events like whist drives, Christmas parties, Sales of work and teas on the day of the Sheep Dog Trials, etc.  The money raised was used for the running cost, any excess was donated to charities, both local and national.

June Findlay, Christine MacCallum, Cathy Mather, Jenny Speirs, Patsy MacPherson, Alice Beattie, May Wilson, Sybil Gray,
Frances Bremner, Carol Burnap, Jean Warnock and May MacPherson

In 2006 at the A.G.M, it was sadly decided due to falling numbers and increased costs the Cairndow Rural would have to come to an end.


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