WOMEN’S Institute members from around the region are celebrating their organisation's 100th anniversary.

Today (Wednesday, March 26) they took part in a nationwide baton relay event that is being held for the centenary.

The baton, which contains a multi-media storage device on to which iconic images are uploaded of county landscapes, handover events and some of the members taking part, was received by Cecilia Wharton, chairman of the Durham county federation, from Kathleen Laybourne, chairman of Tyne and Wear South federation, at a ceremony at Chester-le-Street Cricket Club.

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The baton began its journey on Anglesey, where the UK’s first WI meeting was held in 1915, and is being taken to all of the 69 federations in England, Wales and the islands to celebrate the links of friendship and community developed through the WI.

It will arrive at the Royal Albert Hall in London next year for the National Federation of Women's Institutes' (NFWI) centenary celebrations.

Mrs Wharton said: "We are delighted to receive the NFWI baton. One hundred years is indeed something to celebrate, and anyone who has not heard of the WI will certainly know about us in 2015.

“And now we are starting to plan our own county's celebrations for 2017, when we mark 100 years of the Durham county federation."

From Chester-le-Street, the baton was taken to Annfield Plain and will also go to Castle Eden, Wolsingham, Evenwood, WI House in Spennymoor and to Middleton-St-George, where it will be handed to the Teesside federation.