WI & the Community

Calder Vale is a traditional  English village located on the edge of the  Forest of Bowland in Lancashire, the United Kingdom. It lies on the River Calder in a deep valley with only a single road providing access to it. The village was founded by Quakers Jonathan and Richard Jackson, and in 1835 a cotton-weaving mill — the Lappet Mill — was built, powered by the River Calder. The working mill and mill pond still exist today!.

The church of St. John the Evangelist lies high above the village, linked to it by a woodland footpath. It was consecrated on 12 August 1863.It serves the village of Oakenclough, in addition to Calder Vale. The village also contains a primary school, Calder Vale Church of England School, which was built concurrently with the church. It is a small school consisting of two teachers and about 30 pupils, and it is situated next door to St. John's Church, the two being very closely linked.

There is also a methodist church, a village hall and a mission room. Calder Vale is both a beautiful spot to visit and walk around, and an interesting living reminder of the industrial history of cotton production in Lancashire.

Calder Vale's WI is involved in a number of activities and events in the Calder Vale village and beyond. Below there is a list of the main events descriptions and pictures we participate during the year

Bluebell's Teas
The Bluebell's teas run in the village hall every may during the season that bluebells flourish in our local wood. The Village's WI always has collaborated with this lovely initiative, supporting the event with hands-on activities (preparing sandwiches, cakes, teas, organising, helping out serving, donating plants and items for the 'sale table', etc.) . With 250 visitors on average each sunday, provides it success. 

Garstang Agricultural Show
Reputedly one of the Best One Day Shows in the North West, the Annual Garstang Show will be another spectacular event in the local Annual Calendar. The WI used to have an event tent with the active participation of various WIs groups from the Garstang area. Calder Vale WI members used to be actively  involved in organisation, exhibitions, competitions, etc.

Calder Vale Community September Outing
The history of the Community Outing goes back many, many years. The Calder Vale W I records show that it began in a simple way, the institute initially providing a tea party for the older folk of the village in the days when people didn’t have cars as now. Then a WI committee member suggested that on outing by coach with a stop for refreshments would be even better and the idea took off.  

This required greater finance  and Calder Vale Club came to the rescue by allowing the WI to hold bingo evenings in their club.  Any person in the village is eligible to go on the ‘Calder Vale Community Outing’, and, because of the support of the club, its members too. The twice yearly bingo nights have continued. The raffle and the prizes WI members provide are very welcome. Over the years many different committee members have organised the outings and the venues have varied accordingly as has the pattern of the day and the refreshments.

As costs have soared there have been changes, even to the name. One thing always remains the same  - on a Saturday in late summer come rain or shine,  a  coach rolls up in the village, folks pile on and set off for a lovely time – and all  thanks to some hard work and organisation by the local WI!.


LFWI Garstang County Show 
very successful WI Lancashire Federation organised show in which our talented Calder Vale WI members compete in a variety of craft and local produce show. Loads of first, second and third prizes won by members of our Calder Vale WI. Unmissable!. 

Harvest Festival 

St. John’s church, although situated a little way out of the village ,  is the parish church of Calder Vale ,and so each September when the Harvest Festival is celebrated over a full day and the church is decorated by the many organisations of the village, the local WI does a beautiful display - always in keeping with the year’s theme and local customs but making clear the friendship within the WI as well as its activities. 

Village's woods litter picking and Himalayan Balsam bashing  
Every year WI members volunteer to clear the woods and areas around the lodge of rubbish and reduce the growth and spread of 'Himalayan Balsam'. The aggressive himalayan balsam seed dispersal, coupled with high nectar production which attracts polinaters, often allows the plants to outcompete native plants. In the UK, some local wildlife trusts organise "balsam bashing" events to help control the plant, and we do in Calder Vale.


Village Memorial upkeep

Members of the Calder Vale WI gather together to plant some spring bulbs in commemoration of those who gave their lives in the wars. This initiative followed a national WI call during 2016 to select a special occasion or location to commemorate the anniversary of the Women’s Institute. Funded by the Calder Vale WI, during 2017 pair members of the local WI continued the upkeep of the memorial for all to enjoy by tiding up, planting new flowers and keeping the memorial at its best. 

Village's Christmas Carols
Every year, near christmas, members of the Calder Vale WI get together for carol singing round the village and collecting donations to support local initiatives. After the singing, a member of the WI kindly treats all with delicious mulled wine and minced pies. The 2017 collection was donated to the Village Recreation Field and towards the village's Children Festival funds.


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