Last Saturday saw the Ladybirds turn out in force at Strawberry Fair, an iconic Cambridge event that takes place on the riverside Midsummer Common. The event has been going since 1974, and we may well be the first Cambridge WI to have a stall. We partnered with local charity Cambridge Carbon Footprint and combined two of the things the Ladybirds do best – Cakes and Campaigning! As it was the anniversary of D Day and to link in with CCF’s WWII Rationing Challenge our talented bakers produce a veritable feast of cakes and biscuits baked from original 1940s recipes, including Lucy and Karina’s Wartime Apple Cakes, Helen’s Parkin, Fruity Potato Scones and Chocolate Oat Biscuits, Karina and Alana’s Bara Brith, Rebekah’s Glory Buns, Ruth’s Spiced Biscuits and Oaty Biscuits, Elaina’s Date and Orange Loaf, Celia’s Carrot Cookies and Rock Buns and Sue and Sophie’s Spiced Raisin Buns, Fruity Oat Slice and Boiled Chocolate Cakes.
Rationing limited the amount of butter, sugar and eggs which meant the 1940s housewife had to be creative in the way they used ingredients for baking. Marguerite Patten, a self described ‘home economist’, was famous for showing people how to make the most of rations during the war, and I was sad to see she had died this week – it feels a fitting tribute that many of the recipes we used came from her excellent ‘Victory Cookbook’. Like the WI she was nearly 100 and she certainly lived up to the WI’s motto of #inspiringwomen! We are proud to be carrying on tradition and learning from the past.
We also took the chance to dress up like our Home Fires sisters, donning vintage pinnies a plenty and ‘perky’ snoods. We had lots of lovely feedback on the day, being told we were the best dressed stall and posing for lots of pictures, even appearing with our buns in the Cambridge News 😉 (though we had rather more clothes on than the Calendar Girls!)
We also invited festival goers to contribute to our joint #CambridgeCares Big Bunting Project by decorating flags with what they love that is threatened by climate change. The finished bunting will be taken to London next week for the Climate Lobby and installed as part of the Climate Coalition’s Speak Up For the Love Of… event. From the beautifully artistic to the simple matter of fact, we collected around 100 flags with messages calling for climate action #fortheloveof all the things we care about. Let’s hope the government listens!
Thanks to all the Ladybirds that worked so hard to put together our fabulous stall, and all those who visited us to buy cake and make bunting! I’m delighted that it was our most successful fundraiser ever and we are looking forward to putting our money towards doing good in the local community and providing educational bursaries to our members. I’m sure our 1940s foremothers would be proud!