Who We Are
Inspiring women, inspiring others, then and now.
The Women’s Institute (WI) was formed in 1915 to give women a voice and to be a force for good in the community.
Today, the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) is the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK with almost 190,000 members in approximately 5,500 local institutes across the country. We pride ourselves on being a trusted place for women of all generations to meet like-minded women, have fun, share experiences, learn new things and campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities.
Formed in 2013, Stone Rangers is Leytonstone’s WI. We are one of around 50 institutes overseen by Middlesex Federation (MFWI).
We currently have about 40 Stone Rangers members. We’re a mix of all ages and backgrounds and come from Leytonstone, Leyton and the surrounding areas.
Women’s Institutes are run by and for their members. They survive and thrive as long as there are enough people willing to join in and help out. Every WI committee must have a president, a treasurer and a secretary. Besides these essential “officer” roles, committees are able to create additional roles to suit their needs, although you do not need a specific role to be on the committee at SRWI. In 2022 we created the role of Vice President.
Any member can join the committee, we actively encourage it! If you’d like to get in touch with any member of the committee please email us or come and chat to us at a monthly meeting.
We also always welcome additional support which can be anything from helping to welcome new guests at meetings, selling raffle tickets or joining the baking rota to helping clear up at the end of the night!
Helen Fisher – President
I’m now retired after a 30 year career working in Local Government, mainly in Housing and Urban Regeneration. I now spend my time volunteering in a local park, working in my allotment and garden – my passion, and enjoying trips to exhibitions and the theatre. I joined the Stone Rangers in 2019 to meet local women and to get more involved in my community. It’s been great. The women are friendly and welcoming and the variety of activities, talks and fundraising are really interesting. I joined the committee in 2020 and became President in 2022. I very much look forward to welcoming you to the Stone Rangers
Carmela Crute-Jones – Vice President
I am an environmental consultant and have worked for 20 years with community groups to improve our local areas and encourage engagement in caring for our planet. I joined the WI to meet and have fun with local women. All good so far!
Deborah Mills – Treasurer
Bio to follow
Jill Hasler – Secretary
Although I’ve lived in Leyton a long time the majority of my friends didn’t live nearby. When I retired from the job I loved (Learning and Development Manager for a charity) in 2019 I looked around for a local group to make new friends, enjoy socialising and join in interesting activities. Stone Rangers ticked all the right boxes! I’ve become a WI Climate Ambassador and Committee Secretary and have found ways to follow many interests. I really enjoy the socialising at meetings and variety of speakers. I joined the Committee at the end of 2020 and look forward to another busy and fun SRWI year.
Liz Schwarz – I moved back to London after living in Paris for 20+ years – only to discover I didn’t know anyone here anymore. Luckily for me, I came across the welcoming group of women at Stone Rangers and joined in 2019.
After a varied career in real estate, telecoms and translation, I now volunteer with a local charity supporting vulnerable women during pregnancy and early motherhood. Hobby-wise, I’m an avid Pilates practitioner (and qualified instructor), love weight training, walking and tending to my roof terrace garden.
I’m mum to two adult sons and granny to one grandson.
Elaine Burgess – As I was approaching retirement in 2019, I joined Stone Rangers to meet local women and be more involved in the local community. Although I have lived in Leytonstone for many years, work had always been uptown or out of borough.
I have worked in Physical Education, Sport and Dance all my working life, first as a PE teacher in South London, as a National Sport Development Officer at Sport England and finally as the School Games Organiser in Barking and Dagenham.My interests include keeping fit: I love walking, Pilates and Yoga. I also enjoy reading, gardening, theatre, art galleries and concerts.I love being a member of Stone Rangers and have enjoyed all the talks and activities (although I am not a natural crafter) but it’s good to try new things!
Emma Hayward – I have always lived in the area and have two grown up children. Using my degrees in Town Planning and Applied Arts I worked as a chartered Town Planner in a London Local Authority for 14 years followed by a brief foray in teaching.
My hobbies include crafts, knitting, crochet, singing, cooking, reading, Pilates and visiting art galleries and National Trust premises. You can’t get much more WI than that!
I joined WI following my appearance in the WI choir at the Royal Variety Performance in 2016 as an honorary member and decided I should join for real. The fact that the meetings are held in a pub is purely coincidental!
Juliet Knott – I recently retired following a rewarding career in housing management working my way up from the frontline to holding senior leadership roles. I am also a qualified coach and mentor and continue to practice.
By chance I met up with an ex-colleague and whilst we were talking, told me she was a member of the Stoneranger WI. She encouraged me to attend a couple of meetings to see if I would like to join. I went along to a meeting and liked what I heard, loved the vibe which was fun, inclusive, and informative. (of course, there was cake but I assure you this was not the deciding factor!)
Since becoming a member I have learnt so much, developed new skills and made new friends. Its also great to be actively involved in supporting local community initiatives as well as on a national level running campaigns covering a wide range of issues.