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. In 2021 it is to make use of something that would be recycled to make a child’s outfit.

2021 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.

For 2021 the Cup will be awarded to the WI which has made the most imaginative and effective use of technology and social media to engage with its members through the COVID-19 period and beyond.

Entries are received in May, judged in June and the cup will be awarded at the Autumn Federation Meeting in October.

2021 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‘.

Check the schedule for the rules (those above the dotted line apply to individuals, below are for the Federation) and complete an entry form to accompany your submission.

Schedule 2021Entry Form

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.

2021’s Huxley Cup Competition had been designed with the intention of the winning entry being replicated at this year’s RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival.

Given the risks that the current pandemic poses and the uncertainty of what this may bring in the coming months, the NFWI Activities Committee has decided that the Huxley Cup competition 2021 should be amended and the link with the RHS removed.  The safety of our members is of upmost importance to us and this, together with the level of uncertainty posed by COVID-19, it was decided that it would not be appropriate to encourage members to spend time working on together and managing a project, given the current national restrictions and where the outcome may not ultimately be achievable.

The Huxley Cup competition has now been adjusted.

Check the schedule for the rules and complete an entry form to accompany your submission.

Schedule 2021 RevisedEntry Form

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.

WIs are invited to compile a record covering the period January-December 2021, showing how members work together to engage and support one another throughout the year, offering opportunities that have united their members as well as successfully marketing the WI. All members are encouraged to contribute; from organising activities, photography, managing and writing the record(s), to designing and formatting the final entry which can be displayed in any form — diary, scrapbook (no larger than A3), video presentation etc. WIs are encouraged to be creative and include as much information as possible within their finished entry.

Entries should be submitted to the Federation office for initial judging by March 25, 2022. Three entries will be chosen to go forward for national judging.

Schedule 2021Entry Form


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