SOMERSET Women's Institute had a famous face join them to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its conception.

Ann Widdecombe, fresh from the Big Brother House, joined 300 members for a lunch at Somerset County Cricket Club on Saturday, February 10.

There are 127 WI groups across the county with 4,000 members. The first group started in 1918.

The lunch with Ann was the first event in the year to celebrate the milestone.

Julia Statton, Somerset County Federation chairman, said: “From a small beginnings in 1918 to the 4000 members we have today, Somerset Federation of Womens Institutes has been a joy and inspiration to many – improving and enriching the life of our beautiful county.”

Ms Widdecombe, 70, who was born in Bath, Somerset, gave an inspiring speech to the crowd following her stint on the Channel 5 programme Celebrity Big Brother earlier this when she was the second last to leave the show.

On February 2, Shane Jenek/Courtney Act was announced as the winner of the series having received 49.43 per cent of the final vote, with Ann Widdecombe as the runner-up after receiving 39.50 per cent.

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News:

Hazel Hillman, Ann Mumford and county chairman Julia Statton with their anniversary displays.

WI members enjoyed her speech and praised Ann for the attention she gave all the attendees.

Lesley Porter said: "Ann Widdecombe was entertaining funny and interesting and liked the fact that she tried to come to as many tables as possible to say hello or pose for photos and the cricket club was the perfect venue."

Judy Cuthbert said: "She has all the elements of a good speaker. Fascinating, interesting, down to earth. The time flew.

"It was all accompanied by a delicious meal, good wine and good company."

There was also an exhibition of embroidered panels which members of the Somerset WI’s had produced to showcase the history of Taunton at the lunch.

Other events will be taking place throughout the year, including on April 28 when the WI banners will be paraded through Wells.

To find out about joining the WI, contact Wilton Lodge on 01823 284261.