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Women's Institute

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The WI - Up for anything (bags the lush in the pink cardy)

English social organisation for women (originally aimed at rural housewives), comprising local groups affiliated to the national organisation.

A fine body of women if ever there was one, the WI is a bastion of sense and sensibility in an increasingly mad world. If ever there was an organisation that would have thwarted Hitler's machine upon invasion of this septic isle, the WI would've been it. The boxheads would've been outclassed, outsmarted, pretty severely told off and so the day would've been saved. Hurrah!

Recent publicity and increasing membership - especially among younger women - has solidified their non-party-political clout. Gave Blair a thorough turning over at their Annual Conf in 2000 and continue to surprise many by their "radical" stances on issues such as drugs. However, the WI thrives mostly because it continues to be what it does best. These stout-hearted and hardy souls are one of the few remaining links with a largely disappeared world: a bygone age of brief encounters, stiff upper lips, rickets and Nazis.

When you're next at a village fete, pop a few bob in their bucket and give them a knowing wink. 'God save the King!'

The WI, say it with pride