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SI Bingley share SI Canterbury’s International Friendship weekend, October 2015

Jane Tullie and Lynn Asquith represented the SI Bingley at the weekend. This is Jane’s report for the November Business meeting.

Our journey was uneventful and on time. We were met at Whitstable station by Carol Townsend and linked up with Versailles Soroptimists Eva Roost and Nadia Chamaraux. We spent a very pleasant afternoon in glorious weather exploring Whitstable and the harbour culminating with a visit to a local Tea shop. This was a good way to get to know the French ladies who spoke excellent English and 3 of the SI Canterbury club members.

We were taken to Millie Brierley’s home, our accommodation for the weekend. Millie and David were lovely people, very accommodating and they looked after us really well. That evening we went to the beautiful home of another Soroptimist. There we met several of the Canterbury members and had a lovely meal. We had prepared some notes of our Club’s Programme Action (past and present) and how SI Bingley was currently being run without a President. The members were very impressed and familiar with the bookmarks (we had a few with us) and had purchased some of the previous ones. They were definitely interested and wanted some more of the latest ones and will
be looking out for Chris and other Bingley members at the Glasgow Conference.

Saturday (another escorted day) was spent doing a conducted tour of the cathedral with lunch in Canterbury and time for some shopping and visiting a Food Festival – a bit like the one that is held in Saltaire.

On Saturday evening we were guests of the SI Canterbury at their Celebration Dinner at the historic Howfield Manor Hotel. A great evening, lovely food and lovely entertainment. I sat next to a member who had worked in Bradford and had lived in Batley, we had a great time reminiscing. Entertainment included video messages from their other Friendship links, these were shown on a screen and a singer entertained us with Sinatra songs.

On Sunday we were promptly picked up transported and escorted to Dover Castle. Another beautifully sunny day. France was very visible. Dover Castle site has been strategically important, situated at the narrowest point of the English Channel since the Romans invaded Britain. It played a huge part in our defence during World War 2. There are about 4 miles of tunnels and a nuclear bunker.
Jane did a conducted tour of the tunnels in the afternoon and Lynn did a tour of the Military hospital. Dover castle featured massively in the Dunkirk evacuation, more than 230.000 men were rescued off the beaches and we went back for 50,000 French Soldiers.
Lunch was at the NAAFI .

At tea time we went back to Millie’s for a cup of tea in her garden. Then we were off again to a Soroptimist house for another lovely meal with the French Ladies and more Soroptimist chat.

On Monday, we said goodbye and thank you to Millie and David and set off to Chilham, a quintessential Kent village for lunch in the Woolpack Inn with some of the Soroptimists and then more goodbyes. We went off to the station to catch the high speed train to St. Pancras and back to Yorkshire

Canterbury Programme Action. (Past and Present)

The biggest thing for them at the moment is the Maru Women’s Garden Project which they support and was voted as the International Charity at Glasgow Conference, November 2015.
Other initiatives supported are:

 Fundraising for Myeloma UK

 International Book day.

 Supporting Probation-led Womens’ groups.

 Adopting a local Primary School.

 Support and donate to the local Food Bank.

 Birthing in the Gambia.

Canterbury Club collected and published a collection of Short Stories and Prose. Thelma was one of 48 Soroptimists from 14 countries from all 4 Federations who contributed to this publication. So far this has raised £2500. Canterbury also raised £1000 for this project with a Bagathon.

 Involved in a breast cancer awareness survey.

 Held a SE Region writing competition for girls.

 Raised funds for a gardening project in Bulawayo one of their friendship links.

Canterbury is a very dynamic Club there are currently 16 members and they feel this is a good size. They think we are a very big Club.

One of the Club members is currently involved in trying to create a new Club in Thanet. So far she has had 12 very promising and interested women.

We had a really fabulous weekend in Canterbury.