Sir, – To learn that the National Federation of Women’s Institutes I had paid £88,500 for the design of a new logo and image came as quite a shock; but an even bigger shock was that they had used Equilibrium Image Consultants, a firm with a client list of big international companies such as Barclay’s, Shell, Lloyds TSB, Orange, British Airways, BBC and Unilever. And there at the end of their illustrious client list comes the WI.

I think the shock to our members on the discovery of their hard earned funds being squandered in this way was almost on a par with the disgust felt over the dubious expense claims of many of our members of Parliament.

Another case of while not illegal, certainly against the principles of thrift and good management espoused by our organisation.

It seems quite ludicrous when some firms are obviously paying to promote their image as being cosy and comforting that we have joined the “cutting edge” set. You can almost see those 1980s shoulder pads and Filofaxes springing into life again.

In our WI we felt the tree of life logo was unique and couldn’t be confused with any of the other logos shown, especially so as it actually incorporated the WI initials What more fitting logo could we have than a tree of life; it is green, natural, growing, branching out, protecting and nurturing, all the things which we believed the WI stood for.

As for those who mock the “Jam and Jerusalem” label, how many of those international companies would kill for just three words which gave instant recognition for their firms?

We got “Jam and Jerusalem”

for free and it is viewed with great public affection. As for the updating of our image, I think the Calendar Girls did that several years ago, bringing huge amounts of positive publicity – not only free, but at the same time doing so much good for other people.

Surely, that is what we all believe is the aim of this organisation?

After reading the article on the logo, my first reaction was anger at such waste, now I am just sad and disenchanted with the National Federation.

If we had been properly balloted with the question “do you want to scrap the tree of life logo in favour of new one?”, I think the answer would have probably been a resounding no.

However, if a new logo was required, then surely the democratic way to choose one would have been through local WI competitions. Regional winners would progress to the local group and so on up to National Federation level to choose the winner.

With all the talent and artistry among our 205,000 members I’m sure we could have come up with something stunning and free. Instead an obscene amount of money has been spent on a not very attractive piece of work.

We now have £88,500 less in the reserve fund and an ugly spiky logo that far from inspiring me just makes me sick to think each of those 19 letters has cost £4,657.89.

VAL COE President and members of Ravensworth WI.