WI’s Doris marks 103 with cake

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You may be forgiven for thinking there is something in the water for Netherby Women’s Institute’s members celebrating significant birthdays this month.

Matriarch Doris Wakelin, a member of Mid Canterbury’s district’s WI for more than 65 years, will celebrate her 103rd birthday tomorrow surrounded by family and friends.

And Daphne Nish and Catherine Thomas have both celebrated turning 80.

The milestones for the ladies were acknowledged with cake during their WI branch meeting at the Ashburton Senior Centre last week. It was the Netherby WI’s first get together since Covid-19 lockdown.

Mrs Wakelin, still living in downtown Ashburton, has been a member of the Maronan WI, Willowby/Eiffelton, Ashburton District, Hampstead and now Netherby WIs.

She joined in her mid-30s and had enjoyed a time full of friendships, fun and continued learning from, and with other women, she said on her birthday last year.

Born in the family home in Hampstead on July 24, 1917, Mrs Wakelin was the eldest daughter of six children and had five children of her own; a sixth child died at birth.

Twice widowed, Mrs Wakelin’s husbands George Bishop and Wis Wakelin died in 1975 and 1979 respectively.

Her celebration tomorrow, while a low key affair, may see Mrs Wakelin get a few wellwishers; she has 13 grandchildren, 30 great grandchildren and 18 and counting great, great grandchildren.