The Young Wives group came into being on an informal basis in the late 1950s, when various ladies with children at home found themselves regularly meeting at the shop and stopping for a chat. Conversation turned to the opportunity of getting together in the evening to get away from the children and to have time to themselves for socialising. As a result, the group started to meet up once a month on Thursday evenings at the Village Hall. Often it was a rush to get there because of the need to wait for their husbands to get home from work (or in some cases the pub!) to take over looking after the children.
The format of welcoming outside speakers on various subjects of interest and the development of craft skills such as flower arranging, was similar to that of the W.I., and the Young Wives would also have a float in the procession that preceded the annual fete. Other activities were more family-orientated, such as holding dances in the British Legion Hut and an annual Christmas party at which husbands and children joined in the fun. In the summer the group would book a coach to take themselves and their children on an outing to the seaside, always stopping on the way back for fish and chips in Blandford.
The Young Wives effectively ‘fizzled out’ in around 1970, because the members were getting older and no longer had children keeping them at home, which in many instances resulted in their obtaining jobs and having less time for membership, as well as being less reliant on the social network within the village. Reduced numbers meant that the individual cost of the monthly payment for the hire of the Village Hall increased and, as with so many organisations at that time, interest waned with the advent of television and the increase in car ownership.
However, while in its heyday, one of the highlights of the Young Wive’s year was their cricket match against the Youth Club, held either on the field that then existed where Clay’s Orchard is now, or at East Farm. This event brought the generations together, with mothers playing against children in a spirit of fun and the connection between these two groups was re-emphasised in the joint reunions that were held at the Emblems restaurant in 1996 and 1999. These gatherings of people, who in some cases had not seen each other for many years, were extremely well attended, demonstrating the warmth of the memories held of this period of intense social activity in the village.