YMCA or a bit of keep fit – everything went in the 80s!


This picture may look like it shows a nice bunch of old ladies joining in the YMCA dance craze, but they were actually taking part in another 1980s pastime – keeping fit.

The photo was snapped in 1983 in Hurstpierpoint village hall and showed the ladies of the Women’s Institute indulging in a spot of armchair aerobics, with the help of demonstrator Valerie Green.

The report in the Mid Sussex Times gave a fascinating snapshot of WI life in the 1980s.

President Hilda Mabbutt presented posies to all the ladies celebrating birthdays – including herself – and was congratulated with a chorus of Happy Birthday.

Lady Margaret Mason and Mollie Hinton won the raffle prizes while Dorothy Sayers produced the best flower of the month.

It was Mollie’s lucky day as she was also one of the winners in a competition to present a home-made gift costing no more than 50p. The other winners were Joan Geering and Doris Wick.

Over at Scaynes Hill, plans were afoot to attract new members to the WI.

The group was visited by Mrs Willis, of the Lindfield Afternoon group, who said an exhibition had been planned for 1984 at Olympia in the hope of not only attracting new blood but helping the WI to make more of an impact in the community.

As the centenary has just passed, they must have succeeded.

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