Anger as thieves snatch WI tribute

Hambleton WI 100 year tribute which was stolen
Hambleton WI 100 year tribute which was stolen

“Annoyed” members of Hambleton Womens’ Institute have launched a public appeal for the return of their centenary tribute.

Placed on Ryecroft corner, just off the main street, the tribute consisted of two giant china cups and saucers on a hay bale.

Someone somewhere knows where they are. I imagine they were sold the day after they were taken as they are quite desirable items

Beryl Hartley

It was put there by members of the WI on July 20 but by the end of the month had been taken.

Beryl Hartley, publicity officer for the WI, says one of the other members saw a man and a woman loading the cups and saucers into a van but had no means of writing down the nunber plate.

“We’re really cross that someone could have done this,” said Beryl. “We put the tribute there to mark 100 years of the WI as we wanted to do something a little different. We never imagined someone would take it and we don’t hold much hope of getting it back.”

Hambleton WI consists of 60 members and Beryl says they’re all “very disappointed”.

They are now making a public appeal to get the cups and saucers back but fear they may have already been sold.

Beryl said: “Someone somewhere knows where they are. I imagine they were sold the day after they were taken as they are quite desirable items.

“But they’re also quite recognisable and that’s what makes us think we could possibly get them back.

“Hopefully if someone has bought them at an auction or somewhere else they will see this and return them back to us.

“The cups were placed there to symbolise something very close to the WI – cups of tea!

“A big part of the WI is women knowing they can have a cup of tea and a natter as well as doing some fun activites. They’re more important to us than they are to anyone else so I really hope they’re returned.”

The incident occurred after judges came to the town to rate the work of the Hambleton in Bloom Committee.

Both judges praised the sense of community, the Lord Kitchener statue and the Lest We Forget memorial.

They were also impressed that local working parties, including children, help to keep the village and churches neat and tidy. The stolen cups were filled with some of the best flowers chosen by the judges.

Events for the WI aren’t stopping despite the incident with a litter pick taking place on September 25.

They are meeting at 10.30am at Shovels Inn car park with litterpickers and bags being provided. Drinks and food are also on offer and for more information call Beryl on 01253 700066.