Bridgend Soroptimists enjoyed an evening of (virtual) celebration to mark the 100th anniversary of Soroptimist International. We began with the Centenary Play “100 Years of Soroptimist Heroines” – a Soroptimist History play for Zoom, devised by Sue Challoner of SI Runcorn Frodsham and SIGBI Centenary history and website editor. The cast of Soroptimist Heroines was played by members of SI Bridgend. Through the voices of some remarkable women, the play took us on the journey of how this amazing international organisation dedicated to fighting for women’s rights and gender equality developed. The evening concluded with a candle lighting ceremony to congratulate Soroptimist International on her 100th birthday. Four candles were lit – one for Soroptimist International, one for our Federation of Soroptimist International Great Britain & Ireland (SIGBI), one for our region of Wales South and one for our club, Soroptimist International Bridgend. We were
What a powerful way to start the new term with such an inspirational speaker! Rachel Williams, founder of SUTDA (Stand Up To Domestic Abuse) and ambassador/facilitator of The Freedom Programme, told her incredible story and how it led her to set up SUTDA and become a leading advocate in the campaign against domestic violence. She campaigns tirelessly with a number of petitions to create change and is committed to ending domestic abuse. We urge you to read her book The Devil At Home and visit https://sutda.org/ and play your part in stopping domestic abuse. Rachel, you have inspired Bridgend Soroptimists to continue our work with women’s refuges and to stand up and be a voice for women against violence.
Bridgend Soroptimists were delighted to open the new term by welcoming a new member to the Club. Lesley Dunlop has recently moved to the area and was invited to join Soroptimist International by Joyce Chatterton. Joyce said, “I was aware of Lesley’s interest in getting involved in local charities and felt that she would enjoy being a Soroptimist. She joined us on several zoom meetings, as well as our summer outing and I was so pleased when she agreed to become a member.” Lesley explains, “A newcomer to the Vale, my primary draw to Soroptimist membership was to join local women helping womens’ and girls’ causes and contribute to their charitable endeavours. My main career was in government service before and after having a family. Writing has also always been an integral part of my life, both at work and at leisure. Since editing and publishing
Bridgend Soroptimists support the Soroptimist International’s statement on the situation in Afghanistan. The rights of women and girls in Afghanistan must be protected – read the SI statement her https://sigbi.org/2021/afghanistan/
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
Thirty Bridgend Soroptimists were delighted to eb able to enjoy a summer outing at last. On 28th July, members visited Llantrisant Guild Hall and Museum with local historian and author Dean Powell. Dean is well known for his journalistic experience and was able to bring the history of Llantrisant to life. Afterwards they enjoyed a delicious, socially-distanced tea in the local Church Hall. This occasion was the first time Club members have been able to meet up face-to-face, having met throughout the pandemic on Zoom.
We were delighted to welcome Philip Holmes from Pipal Tree as our guest speaker this evening. Philip joined us on Zoom on Day 8 of his trek along Offa’s Dyke, a personal fundraiser for his charity. Philip commented that this had perhaps been the toughest day so far, but had the compensation of tremendous views. Philip began by thanking members of SI Bridgend for our continuing support and loyalty to the project. He explained the reasons behind the change of name for the charity (from ChoraChori to Pipal Tree) by saying that charities evolve with circumstances and Pipal Tree is more reflective of the diversified activity of the charity. Recent circumstances ie Brexit, Covid etc. have made it a VERY competitive landscape for charity funding and it is essential to be flexible and topical in what you do. Pipal Tree is working closely with two
Looking after our mental wellbeing is very important, and never more so that over this last period when coronavirus restrictions have curtailed so many activities, as well as the ability to meet up and connect with others. With President Sharon Dixon at the helm, Bridgend Soroptimists took things into their own hands and started their very own Soroptimist Super Saturdays. Members were invited to meet on zoom on a Saturday morning for 90 minutes of gentle exercise, a few minutes of mindfulness and an open and honest chat over a cuppa about how we are all coping with lockdown! The focus was all on personal wellbeing and taking a little time for ourselves. Since that first week in January, between 10 and 14 members have met every Saturday morning on zoom and have welcomed guests from other clubs too. On 10th July the group were finally
A letter of thanks has been received from Mental Health Matters Wales for the generous donation of £1500. The monies were raised during President Sharon’s period as Club President. Sharon explains, “The theme for my period as President of SI Bridgend was Mental Health Awareness and Wellbeing and I am delighted that we have been able to support local services with this donation. Our donation is to be used to provide support for older people who are struggling with their mental health.”
Members of Bridgend Soroptimists have continued to meet throughout the pandemic, albeit virtually. At the end of June, we were delighted to welcome Heddwen Cadwallader as our guest speaker. Heddwen is no stranger to Soroptimists – as the daughter of one of our members, Cherry, she has fond memories of, as a youngster, serving coffee at committee meetings when Cherry was Club President. Heddwen is now National Trust Collections and House Manager (Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion portfolio) based a Llanerchaeron in West Wales. Together with colleagues, she developed an exhibition called “Petticoats of Power” – a celebration of the women who have shaped the Llanerchaeron estate over the years. As she explained, “For generations, women played a critical part in the social and cultural life of Wales’ landed estates. Through their familial roles and networks, and as landowners in their own right, heiresses, cultural patrons, domestic