Members of WI take up new challenge for the New Year

Washington WI Concord now has a lively ukulele group

The Washington WI Concord ladies, the Ukuladies picking up their instruments from JG Windows in Newcastle
The Washington WI Concord ladies, the Ukuladies picking up their instruments from JG Windows in Newcastle

Strumming along on their new ukuleles, these ladies are bringing a bit of Hawaii to their WI group.

Proving you are never too old to try something new, members of the Women’s Institute (WI) in Washington have picked up the ukuleles to learn a new skill in the New Year.

And the ladies from the Washington WI Concord group believe they may be the first WI members to try their hand at this.

The members dropped into JG Windows in Newcastle’s Central Arcade yesterday to pick up their new instruments for the group they formed at the end of last year.

Ranging from 37 up to their late 60s, the ladies were looking forward to taking on the challenge ahead. Maureen James, who has been a member of the WI for four years, was the brains behind the idea. She played a little for some of the ladies in the group and the idea spiralled from there.

“It’s a silly little thing and we thought, ‘Why not bring a little light-heartedness into the WI,” said Maureen, who is in charge of programmes and advertising. It’s great fun and the ladies have taken it seriously, some are going to The Sage for proper lessons and we have a tutor coming in to see us this week to keep us on track. It was a really popular idea and everyone has really embraced it. I think that we may be the first WI ukulele group, at least in the North East.”

Elizabeth Lowrey, president of the Washington WI Concord, said: “It’s good fun and people enjoy playing together and we always have a good laugh. It is definitely one of the more different things we have done.”

Seven members of the new group went to pick up their ukuleles. Maureen and Elizabeth were joined by the WI’s youngest member Jane McClelland, 37, Linda Lawton, Olive Appleby, Delene James and Marie Gallagher. Jane said: “I have not played an instrument since I was in school so it has been a really good laugh picking this up.”

The Washington WI Concord meet on the first Tuesday of every month at The Lighthouse in Washington and are also on Facebook.

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