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Hillhall ladies celebrate the first 60 years of their WI

At Hillhall WI's 60th Anniversary Dinner in Malone Golf Club is President Sandra Dorman, Executive member Ann McCready, Federation Chairman Betty Birney, Maureen Reid, Mary Hamilton, and Betty Milford US2007-402PM Pic by Paul Murphy President Sandra Dorman cuts the cake with founder member Betty Cowan. US2007-404PM

At Hillhall WI's 60th Anniversary Dinner in Malone Golf Club is President Sandra Dorman, Executive member Ann McCready, Federation Chairman Betty Birney, Maureen Reid, Mary Hamilton, and Betty Milford US2007-402PM Pic by Paul Murphy

President Sandra Dorman cuts the cake with founder member Betty Cowan. US2007-404PM

THE ladies of Hillhall Women's Institute have been celebrating their 60th anniversary this month with a series of commemorative events.

The Hillhall branch of the WI began in May 1947, when a group of local women first met in a room at Gracey's factory and decided to form a branch of the Institute.

Today, a remarkable 60 years later, the Hillhall WI is still going strong and the ladies decided to mark the special occasion with a dinner in Malone Golf Club on May 15.

Laying the foundation stone for the Braniel Hall 1950 At the 60th Anniversary Dinner are President Sandra Dorman, Mayoress Laureen Lunn, Mayor Trevor Lunn, Federation Chairman Betty Birney, and executive member Ann McCurdy US2007-403PM

Laying the foundation stone for the Braniel Hall 1950

At the 60th Anniversary Dinner are President Sandra Dorman, Mayoress Laureen Lunn, Mayor Trevor Lunn, Federation Chairman Betty Birney, and executive member Ann McCurdy US2007-403PM

Guests at the event included Lisburn Mayor, Councillor Trevor Lunn, the Rev. Dr. Jack Richardson and representatives from the Federation Executive.

Back in 1947 the group met each month in Gracey's until the opening of the Braniel Hall in 1950, where they still meet today.

The ladies were instrumental in the building of Braniel Hall as they worked in conjunction with the Drumbeg/Hillhall branch of the Ulster Farmers Union. Over 300 members of both committees attended the official opening ceremony for the Hall in 1950, after it had been mainly constructed by volunteers at a cost of 1,600, toward which the Hillhall ladies had gathered 581 in just two years.

Members of Hillhall WI cut the cake to celebrate their 50th anniversary at a special dinner held in Forte Posthouse Hotel in Dunmurry back in 1997 Braniel Hall in 1954

Members of Hillhall WI cut the cake to celebrate their 50th anniversary at a special dinner held in Forte Posthouse Hotel in Dunmurry back in 1997

Braniel Hall in 1954

At the official opening Mrs Howard Walker, President of the Hillhall Branch of the Women's Institute, paid tribute to the ladies for their whole-hearted efforts and said that in spite of the fact the branch was only three years old they had made remarkable progress.

It seems that the same spirit remains with the Hillhall ladies today as they celebrate their 60th Anniversary.

Ulster Star
25/05/2007