Opening Ceremony

Anne Rogers, SI Stourbridge and District

Inside the auditorium, the atmosphere is building up with excitement.

Old acquaintances are spotted and furious waving ensues .Ex-Federation Presidents are floating everywhere and Conference virgins in their orange lanyards look on in anticipation. The stage is dominated by enormous dynamic ‘S’ symbols. The theme tune from the Greatest Showman is at maximum volume. Then Liz Jamieson appears and we have lift off!

We are welcomed to Bournemouth by our comperes Catherine and Carol, Eileen our conference chair, followed by Councillor David Flagg, who wishes us all a happy and friendly conference.

I can see all the flags and students of SI Bournemouth’s STEM project lining up in the tunnel beneath my feet, ready to go. Nervous anticipation. Then they are off. President Sue is on the stage to welcome them all. 31 flag bearers and representatives. All colours. All SIGBI members. Impressive. Emotional even. Ending with President Mariet and the Soroptimist International flag. Lots of applause. It’s a spectacle that always pleases.

Eileen delivers our Vision and Mission statements and the Roll call begins. Regions stand when called. The smallest make the loudest noise and get the most applause. Some like Sierra Leone wear their national dress. Delightful.
Liz reads out the greeting received from HRH Queen Elizabeth. Very special. Other greetings are on the website. President Sue delivers a special poem and leads a quiet moment for Soroptimist sisters we have lost in the past year. Sombre time of reflection.

President Sue reiterates her message. ‘Soroptimists Think On It’ campaign, raising awareness of mental health issues. Conference will re-energise us, enjoy the company of old friends and new.

The Rock choir had us singing along, dancing in the aisles, clapping in unison.

Conference is open. Let’s go and enjoy!