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 171,000 members in 5,306 local institutes across the country. In the year to April 2023, the organisation attracted 30,670 new members and 54 new WIs were created. 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 2014, 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
After a long career in local government I am now enjoying my retirement, doing all the things I always meant to! I love working in my allotment, visiting gardens and going to the theatre and art exhibitions. I also volunteer at the Walthamstow Wetlands. 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
I was born and bred in London and have lived in Leytonstone for over 50 years. I spent my whole career in banking and am now putting my financial skills to use as the Stone Ranger’s Treasurer. I am an avid theatre goer and ardent Leyton Orient fan as well as an enthusiastic grandmother.
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.
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!
Mary Ellis – I retired to London from rural Essex about 7 years ago – I know it’s more common the other way round ! My last job was teaching English in Cambridge. My husband and I did a lot of travelling before we had a family and had the time to go travelling again once the kids got older. I love the theatre, reading, gardening and urban walking. When the world opened up again after Covid lockdowns I wanted to meet women in my local community so joined the WI. A good choice.