Stunning crochet afternoon tea celebrates 50th anniversary of Findon Village WI

A stunning afternoon tea made from crochet has been formed into a post box topper to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Findon Village WI.

The wool-based scene can be seen outside Findon Village Store, where the Topper Ladies have been creating exceptional themed post box toppers for the past two years.

Gay Hibbs and Gill Gostick created the first scene for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee in 2022 and managed to keep their identity secret for a long time.

But word got round the village and they are now well known as the crocheters behind the Topper Ladies, producing post box toppers for various special events throughout the year.

Angus Charlton, shop manager, said customers loved them and constantly commented on how good they are. "They are just so meticulous," he added.

As members of Findon Village WI, Gay and Gill wanted to celebrate the group, which was formed in 1974 as an evening meeting so it was able to welcome working women.

Gay said: "It is quite difficult to depict the WI so we went with Inspiring Women. We try to keep the toppers tasteful. We have had a lot of compliments. We are quite good at the construction, so it stays in place.

"We were also celebrating the crafts and included Cuthbert the Rabbit because of the historial link. In World War One, when the Germans stopped sending all the toys, the first WI in England was formed in Singleton.

"They were wanting women to be involved in making things and selling them, and to make toys for the children. Cuthbert the Rabbit was made out of fabric and that was their first pattern. For the WI's 100th anniversary, I made a Cuthbert and we now have him on the table at every meeting."

Gay and Gill plan each post box topper between them, sometimes repurposing previous designs and sometimes starting with new wool.

Gay said: "We do like to change them so they will never come back exactly the same."

Gill said they started with a crown for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee and her husband helped by building structures to keep the crochet secure.

She added: "It is mainly crochet with a little bit of knitting and some fabric work. We made one for when the shop won an award, for the sheep fair, for Hallowe'en and Christmas. We like to try to link it to a theme.

"We use some patterns, some we just make and sometimes we adapt different patterns, like with the rabbit. It is our hobby and we need a purpose for it."

Findon WI is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a party at the Village Hall tonight. Meetings are held on the 2nd Thursday of the month at 7.30pm.

The group is thriving, with more than 50 members, and it is a mix of the traditional 'jam and Jerusalem', fun, and forward thinking.