DECADES of fun and friendship were celebrated when Sandown Afternoon Townwomen's Guild celebrated its 90th birthday.

The group traces its origins back to March 10, 1932, when a group of local women led by Mrs Ogle met in St John's Church's parish room.

Their objective was to form a Sandown branch of the Townswoman’s Guild after a group started in London three years earlier. Sandown is the sixth oldest guild in the countrywide organisation.

Those attending agreed there were three things women wanted — friendship and comradeship, practical things like cookery and needlework, and a connection with town and public affairs.

The subscription was to be two shillings per year or 6p per quarter, whichever suited members best.

The first monthly meeting was held in the United Methodist school room, York Road, and the programme included singing, a market stall competition, business affairs and the all-important cup of tea.

Meetings continued during the Second World War.

Subjects discussed included making something new out of something old, a recipe for furniture polish and hints on how to spring clean, jam making and bottling fruit.

The drama and music group performed various concerts.

Activities of Sandown Afternoon Townswomen's Guild over the years

Throughout the last 90 years, members have taken an active part in Sandown life, entering floats in carnivals and supporting local good causes.

In 1957, to celebrate their 25th year, members presented a public seat to be placed near the library.

In 1962, the 30th year, Mr Bailey and his mannequins presented a fashion show for charity.

In 1982, the 50th year, members raised funds for a machine to aid asthmatics and diabetics and in 1992 (the 60th year) they fundraised for a heart machine, both for Sandown Medical Centre.

Sandown Afternoon Townswomen's Guild celebrates 90th birthday

To celebrate their 90th year they are planting a rose bush in the Broadway Centre garden.

Recent fundraising has been for the scanner appeal, Hampshire and IW Air Ambulance, Sandown and Shanklin Inshore Lifeboat, the IW Zoo and the defibrillator outside Sandown Library.

Membership continues to increase.

Members meet at the Broadway Centre, on the third Wednesday of each month from 2pm to 4pm.

All are welcome.

Phone Gillian Glover on 406352 for more details.