Federation Competitions

Every year the federation hold competitions open to all members/ WIs for which the winner receives a trophy at the Autumn Federation Meeting.

The Eileen Bowler Competition

Eileen Bowler was a member of Fetcham WI who served for many years on the Surrey Federation’s Home Economics Committee. She was a very keen and skilled craft lady and shared her enthusiasm with Surrey members by organising and running numerous courses in craft and cookery.

When she left a legacy to SFWI in her will it was decided to use it to encourage members to share their love of crafts with others through an annual competition. Rather than award a traditional cup, it was decided to have a special trophy designed in wood in the shape of a rolling pin, which reflected her expertise in cookery. The competition began in 2011 as a Group-based contest and was opened to individual Surrey WIs in 2013.

Previous competitions have required WIs to submit a pincushion, photograph of Surrey, a jar of soft fruit jam, a greetings card, knitted toy, original design necklace, a mascot for the centennial celebrations, a fabric embellished wall hanging, and most recently a decorated photo frame.

2020 Competition

The Southey Cup

This cup was purchased and donated to recognise the service Mrs Elizabeth Southey gave to Surrey Federation and as NFWI chairman and was originally presented to the “best” Surrey WI of the year. However, the judging caused some difficulties and presentation of the cup lapsed.

Now a new competition has been launched under the title A Window to Your WI to encourage WIs to look at how they promote themselves. It will be judged on the design and style of WI year programmes, whether a paper or card copy or a website. Entries are received in May, judged in June and the cup will be awarded at the Autumn Federation Meeting in October.

2020 Competition


WI members can take part in a range of national competitions organised by the NFWI. Over the years there have been competitions to suit all members – from cookery and craft to writing, design and sport, open to individuals or working as a team. Current competitions include:

The Lady Denman Cup

An annual creative writing competition in which members submit an original piece of work based on a set theme. The 2020 theme was “What I heard on the bus”. ‘And the winners are!’

The NFWI is pleased to announce that the Lady Denman Cup Competition 2021 will be held in partnership with the National Gallery.  Using no more than 500 words, WI members are invited to submit a piece of writing, fact or fiction, in any style (story, poem etc.) based on the painting by Artemisia Gentileschi entitled ‘Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria, about 1615-17‘.

The schedule and an entry form will be available shortly.

The Huxley Cup

This is a floral art competition held at a different showground every year. Each Federation is invited to submit one entry, and the contestant must produce an arrangement to a theme provided to them on the staging day, along with all materials, sundries and containers. The cup was presented to the NFWI by Mrs L. K. Huxley, OBE, in 1938. She was elected to the NFWI executive in 1926 when she was in her 20s and was honorary treasurer from 1930-1936. In 2020 the competition will take place at the Devon County Show at Exeter in July.

The Elizabeth Bell Challenge

This is an annual competition with a new challenge each time. This year WIs were invited to submit a collection of photographs depicting a year in the life of their WI. We are proud to say a team from the Surrey Federation’s Old Coulsdon Cupcakes WI were this year’s winners.


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