TANSLEY LADIES GROUP
1959 to 2010
By Diana Dakin
"The group has survived through the years, mainly because its members enjoy life and enjoy meeting up with others in the village."
A Young Wives' Fellowship was formed in Tansley on 12th January 1959, opening with a party held at the Rectory by kind permission of Mrs Cordes the vicar's wife, and attended by 24 ladies. In March of the same year a committee was elected.
In those early days the group met fortnightly, members paying 6d (2.5p) each time. Speakers were invited to every other meeting and on alternate weeks the group made its own entertainment, such as play reading, listening to records, sing-song and beetle drives. By the end of April in the first year, the fee was raised to a shilling (5p) as the venue was to be moved to the village hall, which would cost five shillings a night to hire.
The Minute Books highlight the interesting history of the group over the last half a century. Many of the speakers at the group's earlier meetings concentrated on providing help with new electrical gadgets, which were coming on the market at a rapid pace.
By the year 2000, 38 members were each paying a yearly subscription of £4, and a 20p raffle took place at every meeting.
In those early years, the group thrived and provided parties for the elderly members of the village. As the years passed more and more members looked forward to taking their turn to sit back and enjoy the parties themselves, but sadly the dwindling number of younger members made party preparations increasingly difficult, and the last party was held in May 1999. Cream teas were provided by the ladies for the next two years but sadly they also ceased.
For a number of years, a children's party was also held, and in fact the group seemed to be the main force behind any social events in the village. The harvest suppers were organised - and in 1964, the £3 raised from the sale of the produce was given to help buy robes for the church choir.
Village pantomimes, written by Joyce Leaney (a Ladies Group member) and produced by Peter Clark, were performed by members until the formation of the Tansley Players in 1970. The group also organised dances, including one on Field Day, Halloween parties, discos, Bonfire Nights, carol singing, Christmas bazaars, fashion shows and treasure hunts.
Since 1985 the group has also organised village picnics (some turning out wetter than others!) and race nights (played with wooden horses crafted by Nigel Griffiths, two large sponge die and a plastic track running three-quarters of the way down the hall). It also put on an art exhibition featuring Tansley artists Enid Sewall, Kevin, Norma and Leavon Archer, Rachel Brewster, Eileen Wilding, Linda Winder, Gilbert and Margaret Seymour, John and Patrick Eatherden, Duncan Rose and Peter Duggan.
An Any Questions evening was also held, and panel member Patrick McLoughlin, our local MP, arranged for the group to visit The House of Commons; we left early on a snowy April morning, slipping and sliding up Nottingham Road onto the moor with snow showers falling nearly all the way to London! A carol evening is now held within the comfort of the village hall, with a good break for sherry and mince pies to lubricate everyone's vocal chords!
In 1963, the name of the group was changed to The Tansley Wives Fellowship, as it was felt that some members could no longer be viewed as young! The name changed again in 1972 - to The Tansley Ladies Fellowship - meaning that you did not need to be married in order to join - and again in 1985 when the group became known quite simply as the Tansley Ladies Group.
In 1980 the number of members attending meetings on a regular basis dwindled drastically and the group was nearly disbanded. However, in 1982 it was agreed to meet only monthly (the first Monday of each month) and to end the year in July with an outing of some sort - theatre, barge trip, mystery trip etc. The idea of a village walk was also born - a walk ending up for refreshments at the Royal Oak, The Tavern or the Gate.
More recently we have walked up to Riber Manor, the home of Colonel Walton, or Heatherfield Lodge on Lant Lane where group member Val Wildgoose lives both having the most delightful gardens to enjoy; when meeting at the latter venues, a group of expert sandwich makers convene at 49 Riber View Close in the afternoon and then the refreshments are taken there ready for the weary walkers to refresh themselves before the walk back. Some of the ladies who find the walk a little too far, meet up just for the refreshments and a good old natter!
Over the years, the group has managed not only to provide parties for the children and senior citizens of the village, it has also been able to help the village school, playschool, the church and the chapel, and in acquiring the village Fete Field. Donations have been made to various charities but mainly to the Air Ambulance Service and to the Whitworth Hospital Minor Injuries Unit which has included the provision of an Oxygen Probe.
The group has survived through the years, mainly because its members enjoy life and enjoy meeting up with others in the village.
In 1982, the group celebrated 25 years when 19 members attended a meal at the Black Swan, Ashover, inviting founder members. On 18th January 1999, more than 60 past and present members (including four original committee members - Rosemary Mantell, Jean Clark, Margaret Lomas and Agnes Slack - celebrated the 40th anniversary with lunch served in the Village Hall and memorabilia displayed creating much interest. Brenda Travis, a founder member of the group was presented with a bouquet of flowers in recognition of her loyalty and continued membership, being the group's longest serving member.
January 12th 2009 marked exactly 50 years since the formation in 1959 of The Tansley Young Wives Fellowship. The Ladies Group celebrated its Golden Anniversary with a dinner at Alison House, Cromford, in January, and culminating with Pimms and an evening meal in The Burlington Room within the surroundings of Chatsworth House in July 2009.
Current chairman of the Ladies Group is Diana Dakin, who has held the post since 1985. She joined the group in 1978 when she first came to live in Tansley.
Today the group has around 45 members, including three people whose involvement dates back to the group's inception - Marjorie Ramwell, Sheila Newton and Agnes Slack. Subscription is now £10 and the raffle 50p. The age range of members (without wishing to give away any secrets!) is from around 50 years to 99 years - meaning that the younger members were only just being born when the group began!
7th August 2010