Baton rally goes up a gear thanks to biker Yvonne

WI centenary baton. handover by Yvonne Buxton on her motorbike ANL-141118-172156001
WI centenary baton. handover by Yvonne Buxton on her motorbike ANL-141118-172156001

A centenary baton marking 100 years of the WI got one of the raciest trips of its nationwide tour in Suffolk.

The baton was whisked from Bures to Hadleigh by WI member Yvonne Buxton ... on her motorbike.

Keen biker Yvonne, who lives in Bures with husband-to-be John Perk, has been in the village WI for five years.

She went along to a meeting to learn how to make encaustic wax pictures.

“The speaker cancelled but they were such a nice bunch of people, I stayed – we have such a lot of fun,” said Yvonne, 49, a sivil service project manager.

“I don’t imagine many WI members have motorbikes and, yes, it’s probably the only trip the baton will make that way.

“I’ve always had a bike. I’m in two clubs, the Silver Knights and the Imperial Elephant, both based in Essex, where I used to live.

She currently has an 800cc BMW. “There is nothing like the freedom you feel with a bike, with the air rushing past you,” she said. “You get a very different perspective from being in a car.”

Yvonne is not the only biker in her family. Her dad is still riding at 72, and she met fiancé John at a bike club.

The WI centenary baton started its journey in Anglesey, where the organisation began in 1915.

It is being passed around institutes all over the country before finishing up at the annual meeting at the Royal Albert Hall next year.

The baton arrived in Bures by train from Sudbury’s Gainsborough WI.

A welcoming party was attended by members from Bures, Boxford, Leavenheath, Aldham, Elmsett, Polstead, Naughton, Nedging, Nayland and Stoke-by-Nayland.

Party-goers dressed in 1915 costume and sang music hall songs to celebrate the centenary.

The next morning, the baton left with Yvonne en route to Hadleigh, before continuing its journey around the country.