HUNDREDS of women from across Westmorland and Furness have converged on Kendal to celebrate the Women's Institute's centenary.

A baton relay passed through the town this morning, beginning at the castle and ending at the parish church hall, ahead of the organisation's 100 year anniversary next year.

The relay began on January 1 and by June, 2015, will have passed through all 69 of WI 'federations' in the UK.

"It's an honour to be part of it," said Ruth Rigg, Cumbria-Westmorland federation chairman.

"We've all been so excited about it."

The relay began at 11am and the relay took around 45 minutes.

It was finally handed over to the federation's honorary president Olive Clarke, who will ensure it is kept safely for a week before it is handed onto the Cumbria-Cumberland federation.

"It's been a wonderful day," Mrs Clarke told the Gazette.

"It's been truly wonderful and it's so exciting to be part of it."