Politics, literature and spiritualism are just some of the topics discussed over the years by a women's organisation celebrating their 40th anniversary.

Ickenham National Women's Register have met regularly to offer each other support since 1968.

Originally known as the National Housewives' Register, the organisation developed after an article calling for members was published by Betty Jerman in The Guardian in 1960.

By 1970 membership had risen to 15,000 with groups all over the world.

Long-time member, Jane Goodwin, said: "It was fantastic for me. When I returned from Yugoslavia I had one two-year-old and was pregnant with another. I knew I was destined to spend time at home with the children.

"We'd have a meeting once a month and the topics would be a bit more intellectual. It definitely wasn't about flower arranging."

Book club discussion topics included Tess of the D'Ubervilles, Watership Down and the Greek tragedies.

There was also a badminton, swimming and bridge club as well as designated babysitters to offer some relief to tired mothers.

Mrs Goodwin said: "When I was living in Africa four of us got together and started a group where at one meeting we discussed witchcraft.

"Lots of us had children in the 70s but we still met and we enjoyed each others company. When you're not working having that interaction was amazing. There's not such a need for it now."

Initially the group served the whole borough but as numbers grew, separate Ruislip and Uxbridge organisations were formed.

Mrs Goodwin went on to be a committee member of the national leg of the organisation for four years, during which her confidence flourished.

On Saturday, the Ickenham group will be wearing red to celebrate their ruby anniversary with a party at 34 Highfield Avenue, Ickenham, from noon. The party is open to all members old and new, with tickets costing £10, made payable to Ickenham NWR.

Mrs Goodwin added: "When I joined the national group I thought I knew nothing, I learnt a great deal and it made me more confident about what I was going to do. This gave me confidence and networking contacts as well." 

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