A LIVELY women's institute (WI) group in Appleton is preparing to celebrate its 55th birthday next month.

Park Appleton WI, which meets every second Monday of the month, at Appleton Parish Hall, on Dudlow Green Road, will be holding a special meeting on April 9, to celebrate the milestone.

It will include a visit from Jean Harding, Cheshire Federation chairman, and Cath Stone, WI adviser, along with a celebratory birthday cake, Prosecco and music.

Items will also be on show during the evening to illustrate more than half a century of history – as well as showcasing the group's work.

Gwyneth Richardson, who became president of Park Appleton WI in 2014, said: "Over the past four years, the group has evolved into a modern, busy WI.

"I am very pleased at the way it has grown since I have been president."

Park Appleton WI was founded in 1963 and has since built up a thriving community of around 65 members – ranging in age from 41 to 91.

The group pride themselves on their continuous work in the community, having made, and donated, 'twiddlemuffs' to several dementia units, blankets, hats and jackets to the neonatal unit at Warrington Hospital and hats and gloves to Care UK (Refugee Aid north west).

The women are also currently making Hal puppets for Warrington Hospital, named after the hospital's mascot.

Julie Hand, Park Appleton WI secretary, said: "I like to think we're a proactive and lively WI.

"We have several active groups: book club, gardening group, walking group and coffee, craft and chat.

"Our gardening group won second prize in the National Federation of WI's Brasket Competition and used the prize to plant near the cenotaph at Appleton Thorn.

"The gardening group has visited the Sefton Palm House and the coffee, craft and chat group has made two visits to Black Sheep Wools at Glazebury for lunch and shopping. We also support the Warrington Women's Refuge with donations of toiletries and sanitary products."

For more information visit cheshirewi.org.uk or call Gwyneth Richardson on 07805 058723