Thornbury & District Townswomen’s Guild says goodbye

May 02 2022
Thornbury & District Townswomen’s Guild says goodbye

A GROUP set up for women in Thornbury 62 years ago has met for the final time. Thornbury & District Townswomen’s Guild member Pat Denney signs off for the organisation.

MEMBERS of Thornbury & District Townswomen’s Guild met for the last time on Wednesday, March 9 in Turnberries, their meeting place since April 2017. 

The guild celebrated its 62nd birthday in October last year – the first meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic forced a lockdown in March 2020. 

However, by January this year it was decided that, with a declining membership and rising costs, the guild would hold its final AGM in March. 

After reports by both the secretary and treasurer, in her report, chairman Mary Haigh referred to the guild’s significant support for Thornbury. 

Members had regularly taken part in mop fairs and carnivals, besides contributing to local charities over the years. 

She had been pleased to present a cheque recently to Jigsaw, which supports local children with complex needs. 

Mary also singled out the many and lasting friendships which had been made through membership of the guild, and hoped that would continue in the social gatherings planned for the coming months. 

The chairman then thanked committee members past and present for their hard work and support. 

The AGM concluded with remarks by Dorothy Watts, a founder member. 

She attended the informal meeting of young women, many with children, who got together in August 1959 and who by October had signed up to form Thornbury & District Townswomen’s Guild, a member of the National Union of Townswomen’s Guilds, as the TG was then called. 

The guild's title reflected the welcome to ladies who lived outside Thornbury. 

The guild clearly fulfilled a need, with 97 names recorded at the initial meeting. 

Many were local but many were newcomers to the area, like Dorothy, the wives of key workers who came for instance to work in the nuclear industry. 

Mrs Audrey Pinder was the first chairman and the guild soon joined the Bristol North West Federation. 

Mrs Watts felt sad that the guild had to close but said it was a reflection of the times. 

Young mothers in 1959 were usually at home and looked forward to an evening out but today life for young women is very different.  

The chairman thanked Dorothy and then welcomed Jo Jeffery, who gave an interesting talk on costume jewellery, much of it dating from the first days of Thornbury & District Guild.

Picture: Thornbury & District Townswomen’s Guild at the 2017 town carnival