Golden year for Downend Ladies Circle

Published on: 30 Jan 2014

LADIES who missed out on membership to the new WIs in the area but would love to meet new friends are being urged to look at an organisation which was founded more than 80 years ago.

The Ladies Circle was established in 1932 but while jam making and baking may have been the order of the day back then, things are much different now.

The Downend branch, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, puts a firm emphasis on the three Fs – Fun, Friendship and Fundraising.

For many years, membership was only open to the wives or partners of members of the Round Table, but for the last 20 years the rule has been relaxed and the organisation welcomes any women between the ages of 18 and 45.

Members meet on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month to hang out and catch up, sometimes joining in quiz nights in the local pub.

The branch is the only Ladies Circle in Bristol with nearest branches in Bath, Bath, Wotton-Under-Edge, Midsomer Norton and Clevedon.

Immediate past chair and treasurer, Shelley Brown, said now was a great time to join as plans are underway for a swanky event to mark the group’s 50th birthday.

 “The reason I got involved some 15 years ago is that my husband was, and still is, an active member of the Great Western Round Table.

“I had relocated back to Bristol after living in London for a few years and I felt I needed something to ‘bring me back’.”

Shelley, 41, who lives in Downend, said the group meets at various venues, depending on which activity they are taking part in. 

“From time to time, we also meet up with other clubs in other areas and take part in events together or organise something for charity or have a big party – basically, it’s a networking device.  It is also good for local women to promote their business or let people know of things happening in their area.  

“It’s a fabulous way of escaping from our everyday hectic lifestyles, to have a few hours of being yourself with like-minded women.

“The friends I have made through the Ladies Circle, both locally and nationally, have become lifelong friends and I know that if I ever moved away from the area, I could join another Circle and have an instant network of friends.”

Recent events have included a DIY pamper party, a Mad Hatters black tie ball, a showgirl workshop involving can-can, charleston and burlesque dancing, a Zumba class and a Christmas shopping trip to the German markets in Bath.

If you would like to find out more, you can look at the Ladies Circle national website, If you feel the group is for you, then drop them an email at

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