The Mothers’ Union is an international Christian charity that seeks to support families
The organisation was founded by Mary Sumner in 1876 in the Church of England parish of Old Alresford near Winchester where her husband was the rector. She wanted to bring mothers of all social classes together to provide support for one another and to be trained in motherhood. The growth of the movement beyond the boundary of the Dioceses of Winchester was due to the emphasis in Victorian British society on morality. It spread rapidly, first to the dioceses of Ely, Exeter, Hereford, Lichfield and Newcastle and then throughout the UK. By 1892 there were 60,000 members in 28 dioceses which grew to 169,000 by the turn of the century. In 1893, AGMs were organised and in 1896 the Mothers’ Union Central Council was formed and Mary Sumner was unanimously elected president, a post she held into her nineties. In 1897 during her Diamond Jubilee, Queen Victoria became patron of the Mothers’ Union. Branches were set up throughout the British Empire.
The Netherthong branch of the Mothers’ Union ( MU ) was started on July 6 1912 and affiliated to the Parish Church and, at its 70th. birthday in October 1983, the special guest was Emily Sykes, aged 92. Although they met once a month their meetings were infrequently mentioned in the local paper and these were often just a few lines. In July 1921 a public tea was promoted and given by the Mothers’ Union and held in the Church School. The objective was to raise funds for the renovation of the Parish Church. The evening was spent in the grounds of Fairfield, courtesy of Mrs. Floyd, with games and competitions. In August 1922, members under the leadership of the president, Mrs.Floyd, went on an outing to Ripon and Fountains Abbey.
At the December meeting in 1924 they were entertained to a lantern lecture illustrating the work of the Mothers’ Union in different parts of the world. The next report was March 1928 when the services in connection with the Parish Church were conducted by the vicar, Rev.H.Hind. The address was titled ‘ Mothers of the Canadian Prairies.’ Three months later they had their annual outing visiting Ripon, Fountains Abbey and Knaresborough. In February 1929 they held a cake and Apron sale. That same year they held a Winter Sale which took place in the National schoolroom. There were lots of stalls , a public tea plus entertainment. Annual outings were very much a feature of the organisation and, in 1930, 30 members went on an excursion to Harrogate and Knaresborough. In 1947 they went to Rhyl and the following year in June they visited Llandudno in one of Messrs. Castles 33-seater coaches.
A service was held in April 1949 for the declaration of the new Mothers’ Union banner with the service being taken by Rev.S.Black. He said that the Netherthong branch of the Mothers’ Union was founded on July 6 1912 by the late Mrs. J.Peel Floyd. 40 members were enrolled at the first meeting and six were still living – Mrs.Hoyle, Mrs.Taylor, Mrs.Albert Wimpenny, Mrs.Arthur Wimpenny, Mrs. Knutton and Mrs. Tom Wood. The first of the four ladies were still attached to the branch. The next report was in October 1950 when their meeting took the form of a Curtain Fund. Mrs. Gledhill gave a cinema show of Whitby and the Gower as well as the recent school concert.
At the AGM held in May 1974, Mrs. M. Capstick, the enrolling member, welcomed everybody and Mrs. E. Hincliffe, the secretary and treasurer, gave her report. A small committee were formed to be responsible for various duties and they were : Mrs. M.Capstick, enrolling member ; Mrs. Hinchliffe, treasurer and secretary ; Mrs. K. Woffenden, Mrs. D. Horncastle and Mrs. I. James , refreshment committee ; Mrs. J.Rothwell, flowers and cards ; Mrs. J. Jarvis ; Mrs. S. Gledhill, Mothers Union representative on the Parish Council Committee. The next report wasn’t until 1976 when the AGM was held in January. Mrs. Jarvis was appointed Enrolling Member, Mrs. Hinchliffe retained the post of secretary with Mrs. Rothwell becoming the treasurer. The committee members elected were Mrs. B. Taylor, Mrs. R. McKenna and Mrs. M. Wilson. There were no reports for 1977 and 1978.
There were 30 members at the March 1979 meeting when Mr. Aubrook gave a slide show illustrating the history of toys. He was thanked by Mrs. M.Jones and the tea hostesses were Mrs. M.Taylor and Mrs. B.Taylor.
In December 1984 a joint effort by the Mothers Union, the WI and the Young Wives Group raised £130 at a bring and buy sale, held in the Parish Church rooms, in aid of Save the Children Fund