FIVE years ago a group of ladies from Penarth and Llandough decided to set up a new Women's Institute group.

The decision was to call the new group Penarth Peers WI. The response was excellent and soon the number of members started to grow.

We have had many interesting, enjoyable and inspiring speakers, activities and outings during this time and our numbers have grown and grown.

We decided to mark our fifth year with a number of challenges, and of course, celebrations.

We started with a Birthday dinner held at the Manor House Hotel with most of the members attending and raising the level of noise in the conservatory restaurant with their happy chatter. We raised a glass to the success of our ‘Birthday Challenges’ during the coming year.

These challenges were to be:

To collect food from our members every month for the food bank at Tabernacle Church.

To make and buy baby and toddler clothes for the Women's Refuge.

To enter a Christmas tree in the St Augustine's Church ‘Christmas Tree festival’ and make all the decorations which would depict ‘a year of activities in our WI group’.

To make a banner to be paraded in the Glamorgan Federation 90th Anniversary Carol Service at St David's Hall in December.

Our members have been most generous with their contributions of food and many have enjoyed knitting baby jackets and hats. Non knitters have taken pleasure in searching out and buying tiny baby garments. These have all been delivered by our willing and busy member, Theresa Lloyd, and very gratefully received.

Our Christmas tree looked great with all its hand crafted decorations and was admired by the hosts of people attending the festival.

Our biggest challenge was to design and make a banner which would be formally adopted as ‘The Penarth Peers Banner’. A small craft group was formed and, led by president Julie Davies, set out to formalise a design and work to create a banner which represented both our town with its iconic pier and also the range of activities enjoyed by WI members.

At last it all came together and was proudly paraded in St David's Hall by our secretary, Elaine Walsh, much to the pride of all members who were present at this very enjoyable event. It now takes pride of place on the wall at our meetings.

As our fifth year draws to a close we can reflect on the success and enjoyment we have all had , how we have made many new friends, stretched our boundaries and generally enriched our lives. Watching our members enjoying our Christmas dinner in January at the Glamorganshire Golf Club last week was a sure testament to the success of the group - 40 ladies raising the sound level as they enjoyed the company of old and new friends alike.

We still have a production of Thoroughly Modern Millie and a day trip to Denman College to look forward to before we end this special year

Our next challenge is to arrange a Posh Frocks Afternoon Tea in May to be enjoyed by members of our Link WI groups in Sully and Barry.