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Carys Brown – A Personal Tribute

We are sorry to announce that our dear friend Carys Brown passed away on 5th August following a recent diagnosis of MND. Carys was a dedicated Soroptimist and much loved member of SI Bridgend and Immediate Past President Sharon Dixon echoes all our thoughts as she pays this personal tribute to Carys.

As many of you know Carys Brown was a true Soroptimist – an ambassador who was always willing to go the extra mile. When Carys became a Soroptimist in 2000 who would have thought that she’d go on to such great things in the name of Soroptimism. She was definitely a leading light and a force to be reckoned with. She was SI Bridgend club President in 2005-6. She became the Regional President for Wales South from 2010 to 2011. Again I’ve heard great things about her Regional Presidency.  Carys has also held the role of the Regional Trustee for the Benevolent Fund and also the post of Regional Treasurer.

Programme Action, which forms the very heart of Soroptimism, was something that Carys showed a great passion for. She would always go above and beyond. Carys was an avid fundraiser, raising money years ago for Lassa Fever in Sierra Leone; she was a massive advocate for Women’s Aid; and, ever keen to support the environment, she has arranged for us to plant several trees at Parc Slip in October to commemorate 100 years of Soroptimist International.

Carys was my mentor when I joined SI Bridgend. She brought me in and showed me the way. As did many others! She was warm, welcoming and full of advice as well as offering support for which I will be eternally grateful. She mentored many new club members over the years.

Carys’s mother also introduced many of our club members today to the club in Bridgend. Carys was a superb organiser and would plan the conference trips to countries around the world as well as here in the UK.  I’ve heard tales of many – especially the trip to Barbados where apparently rum punch was on the menu for breakfast! I think that was the year that Carys was Regional Treasurer, so say no more! I’m not sure if it was the same day that she persuaded, cajoled, encouraged, or perhaps railroaded one of our non-swimming members, Rayner Rees, to embark on a snorkelling trip aboard a fabulous catamaran. Carys was absolutely in her comfort zone; Rayner not so much. I’m pleased they both survived to tell the tale.

Carys had such a can-do attitude. She was amazing. Just two years ago when she was 79 she did a mile long zip wire in North Wales with her grandchildren, who she adored. By doing the zip wire she raised money for children in Nepal. Outstanding! She also, just a few weeks ago, visited the new zip wire on the Rhigos with her grandchildren. I know she wished that she could have joined in the fun!

She modelled for the fashion show at SI Bridgend, more than once. She was always a very smart, fashion conscious and trendy lady who loved her colours.

Carys was the unofficial photographer whenever club, regional trips or conferences were organised. She was instrumental in developing several of our friendship links especially the one with SI Moreton North Inc in Queensland, Australia. When she was visiting her son Huw and the grandchildren she would arrange to visit the Soroptimist club there and we have received a heartfelt message from the Club’s President, Chris Knight .

Carys had a great deal of love for her family – her son Huw and daughter Sue and of course her beloved grandchildren. She always shared stories about them all with us, what they were up to and what was going on in their lives. Her joy in sharing was so lovely to see!

Carys was an incredibly active person. She enjoyed going to the ballet, she loved watching the rugby often with the family. Carys played the piano and was learning to speak Welsh again. She was also heavily involved with her church.

Carys was one of the first women head teachers in the Valleys after returning to Bridgend to care for her parents. She was Head Teacher in Maesteg. William Brown was artist in residence at Maesteg School and also at many other local schools.

Once again Carys’s organisational skills came into play when she was elected as the all Wales representative for retired head teachers. She organised so many events. Lunches. Evenings out etc. Carys loved to be in charge and she definitely got things done.

She really loved our Saturday Gin and tonic squad on Zoom.  We’ve met every Saturday at 6.30pm online since lockdown began in Mar 2020. If you know Carys she’s a whisky drinker, but nevertheless joined in every Saturday – during the last few weeks if only for 20 minutes or so. What a trooper!

What more can I say about this wonderful lady – so thoughtful , caring and kind. She even FaceTimed me when I was in hospital just a few days before she left us.

I can only aspire to be as good a Soroptimist, woman and human being. She has indeed left us with an outstanding legacy. She will truly be missed by us all.

Rest in peace my mentor, my inspiration.  A true friend to so very many!