Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Winchester Cathedral marks 140 years of the Mothers' Union

Choir in Winchester Cathedral
Image caption Mothers Union members from around the work took part in the anniversary services

More than 2,000 members of the Mothers' Union have taken part in services to mark the organisation's 140th anniversary.

The union, which campaigns on social and family issues, was founded in 1876 by Hampshire vicar's wife Mary Sumner.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby led the second of two celebration services at Winchester Cathedral.

Mothers' Union president Lynn Tembey paid tribute to Mary Sumner's "vision, passion and commitment".

Image copyright Mothers Union
Image caption The Mother's Union was set up in the 19th Century to help support family life

The union, originally founded under the auspices of the Church of England, now has four million members around the world.

As part of the anniversary events, flowers were laid on Mary Sumner's grave at the cathedral.

Ms Tembey said: "We are celebrating all that members have achieved in the past and all they continue to do to reach out to communities and families - whatever shape or form that family takes."

Image caption Flowers were laid on Mary Sumner's grave at the cathedral

Archbishop Welby praised what he called "the world's greatest women's group", which he said tackled "isolation, ignorance and under-development".

The Church of England leader, who discovered the identity of his real father in April, said families were "complicated things... and that is the call and challenge for the Mothers' Union".

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