That's how many years Maud has been with the WI

PUBLISHED: 13:39 22 September 2006 | UPDATED: 22:15 28 May 2010

FOR 76 years Maud Edgley has been a member of Chatteris Women s Institute, and her remarkable record could make her the longest serving member in the country. She joined shortly after leaving school at the age of 14 and has recently celebrated her 90th bi

FOR 76 years Maud Edgley has been a member of Chatteris Women's Institute, and her remarkable record could make her the longest serving member in the country.

She joined shortly after leaving school at the age of 14 and has recently celebrated her 90th birthday with gifts from her WI friends.

"I went along with my mother and she had been in the WI for a long time," she said. "It's not all jam and Jerusalem now and over the years I have learned a great deal from being a member."

There are no records at WI headquarters to show how long individuals have been members but a spokesman said: "It is amazing, I would imagine she is certainly a high contender for being our longest serving member. It is very impressive and I haven't heard of any individual who has been a member for that length of time."

Mrs Edgley, of Angoods Lane, joined the WI after leaving the town's New Road School. Meetings were then held in the parish hall.

She said: "There were more members then because there weren't other things to do and women didn't go out to work so much. The WI has always been educational. You learned to cook, sew and do handicrafts.

"Some things have changed and we have Denman College where members meet with other WIs and lots of educational courses go on there."

Mrs Edgley remembers when Chatteris WI had 400 members and a waiting list. There are now about 50 members. She has helped organise and serve refreshments for many years.

The WI first started in 1915 and by 1930, when Mrs Edgley joined, it had become firmly established in rural areas.

During the Second World War Mrs Edgley remembers the WI being involved in the Ministry of Food's fruit preservation scheme to help the war effort.

Secretary of Chatteris WI, Mary Lawrence, said: "Chatteris started in October, 1927 and it will be wonderful for Mrs Edgley to celebrate our 80th birthday with us.

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