East Sussex Federation


Saturday 6 July 2019 2-5pm

Held at Fairlight Hall, just outside Hastings, the beautiful home of WI member Sarah Kowitz, this is our main celebration for the Federation Centenary It will be unmissable!

Find the application form in the Events section. A print application form will be at the back of the next News. Do apply quickly. This event is a big investment for the Federation.  Booking opens on 31 January, and we will take applications on a first-come, first-served basis

Tickets are £14 per person, but £9 for 25 of you who offer to help us as a volunteer.

The event is open to WI members only.

What will happen at the event?

Enjoying Fairlight Hall.

You’ll be free to explore the extensive gardens, which have stunning views down to the sea. There is a large walled garden, plus beautiful herbaceous borders and Victorian glass houses. Find out more about Fairlight Hall from their website: http://fairlighthall.co.uk/

A lucky few will be able to book tours of the house, including the principal entertaining rooms with the opportunity to view some of the Kowitz’s stunning art collection. Particularly interesting for WI ladies, the tour will go ‘behind the scenes’ including the kitchens (don’t forget the walk-in fridge…) and laundry.  There are 90 places available for house tours, at £5.00 per ticket.  When you apply, we will allocate you to one of three tour groups. Each tour will last for 45 minutes.

There will also be 60 places available on two specialist garden tours, led by the Fairlight Hall Head Gardener. Places on these tours will also cost £5.00.

We will ask you only to apply for a place on either a house tour or a garden tour.

Tea and cakes

Will be served throughout the afternoon in the Fairlight Hall Recital Room and outside in the Stable Yard – with live music accompaniment. A selection of cakes and unlimited cups of tea or coffee are included in your entrance ticket.  There will also be a servery where you can get free cold drinks, and buy a Pimms.

A large marquee with a programme of live music and entertainment throughout the afternoon.

Another small marquee with an exhibition of rarely-seen WI archive material, including precious banners and table cloths, with our County Archivist, Shirley Kirby in attendance.

The Apple Pie Challenge! Organised by the Food and Garden Sub-Committee. Further details of this great competition will follow.

Traditional party/fairground games with the Leisure and Learning Committee.

A ‘hands-on’ craft activity for you to enjoy, and craft demonstrations.

A quiz, and/or a Treasure Hunt.

Browse the stalls in the ‘Market Street’, including the Fairlight Hall Shepherd’s Hut shop, which sells plants and produce from the estate.

A full programme for the afternoon will be issued with your individual tickets.

Getting there and practicalities.

The gardens are on the side of a hill, and at different levels. There are a number of steps and slopes to navigate, which could be difficult for those with severe mobility issues. The Recital Room, Stable Yard and main marquee are accessible for wheelchairs and mobility scooters, and there are disabled toilet facilities.

There will be extensive car parking on the site, less than five minutes walk from the festivities. Fairlight Hall can accommodate mini-buses, but not full-size coaches. There will be limited car-parking for members with disabilities close to the house, and those with limited mobility can be dropped off by the house – we will ask you to specify parking requirements on the booking form.

Volunteers, stallholders – and other things we need.

As mentioned above, we will need volunteers to help us on the day. We would not expect you to work all afternoon – we will have a rota system, so you can have plenty of time to enjoy the event.  We will need people to check arrivals, check people onto tours, be on hand to help/direct people on site, and to help with serving teas and drinks. Ideally, we would like some people to be able to arrive early to help us set up, and stay after the event has ended, to help us clear up.  If possible, we would prefer you to be relatively fit and able-bodied!  There is a space on the application form for volunteers.


We are looking for a limited number of stalls selling attractive, good quality, competitively priced items that visitors would like to browse – and buy. We will charge non-WI members £8 for a stall, and members/WI groups £5. You will need to provide your own tables and a gazebo (no larger than 3×3 metres) in case of wet weather. Stall-holders can be individuals, or WI groups.  If you are interested, you will need to tell us what sort of goods you propose to sell – we will select applicants to ensure that we have a good mixture of stalls. If you are interested, or know someone who might be, please contact Sharon Hamby.


We will need to borrow some gazebos to ‘weatherproof’ the event.  If you have one you could lend us (and are willing to come and help erect it) please contact Dorothy Proietti


We hope this has whetted your appetite! If you have any general queries, please contact Stephanie Gaunt.