BARNSLEY Opals Women’s Institute - whose members have met just a handful of times in 18 months due to the pandemic - held their first festival.

BOWI Fest, which came just a week after their first face-to-face meeting since last year, resulted in a record number of new members joining the ranks.

A spokesperson said: “This little WI has big plans - just over a year ago there were 16 members but over the last year this has more than doubled to 36, with requests to join still growing.

“This is even more surprising given that, until this month, there have been few face-to-face meetings. Many traditional WIs around the country have seen numbers fall and some have unfortunately had to close due to lack of members.

“It is safe to say BOWI is not what most people would perceive of a traditional WI.

“We are always happy to welcome new members so if you are interested, just send a message via our Facebook page, Barnsley Opals Women’s Institute - BOWI.”