Our 16 Days of Activism (see programme Action Report “Orange the World”) culminated with a talk delivered via Zoom by Andrew Wallis. In addition to members of SI Bristol, the talk was ‘attended’ by members from our Friendship Link clubs: SI Chester, SI Halifax and by SI Weston super Mare. Unseen has been operating in Bristol and beyond for over 10 years and we have been involved with them in many different ways since 2013. “Human trafficking is a crime. It does not always involve international transportation. Trafficking in the UK includes commercial, sexual and bonded labour. Trafficked people have little choice in what happens to them and often suffer abuse due to violence and threats made against them or their families. In effect, they become commodities owned by traffickers, used for profit”. Andrew is an inspirational speaker and he started by telling us
One of our members, Lucy, gave a talk (via Zoom) about her impressions of Syria in 2008. This was before everything changed in such a devastating way with the onset of the civil war. Lucy spent several days there for work and was able to see something of the country as well as meeting some Syrians. Visits to the mosques in Damascus as well as the Syrian Coptic churches where she heard the Lord’s Prayer recited in Aramaic were very interesting, but the highlight was a visit to the impressive Krak de Chevalier Crusader castle. She recalled the welcome of everyone she met there and how she often wonders what has happened to them now.
We were very pleased to welcome Ryan Taylor from NatWest Bank who enlightened us on frauds and scams in financial services. He said that 1 to 2 billion pounds is lost every year due to fraud and scams. This money often goes to terrorist organisations as well as criminal gangs. Only 5% is ever reported due to reluctance, embarrassment and allied issues. Often the object is gaining information as much as getting money. If a data base is accessed, the details can be sold on to various criminal gangs until eventually “you” end up on a “suckers” list! People on this list tend to be targeted multiple times. The approach used by scammers includes charm, sympathy, and helpfulness but if you show signs of non-acceptance the approach ends up with threats and intimidation. Many fraudsters are articulate post graduate students, who have found it a
At our Supper Meeting Dan, from Bristol Zoo Gardens, came to give a talk about Sustainable Development and Bristol Zoo. He was very engaging and a most enthusiastic speaker who showed a real passion for the job. Dan explained that Bristol Zoo Gardens is the fifth oldest zoo in the world and was founded on 22nd July 1835, by Henry Riley, a local physician, who led the formation of the Bristol, Clifton and West of England Zoological Society. Henry Riley, and a number of other prominent local individuals, gathered with the mission to facilitate ‘the observation of habits, form and structure of the animal kingdom, as well as affording rational amusement and recreation to the visitors of the neighbourhood’. Shareholders at the time included several famous Bristolians, including Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The Bristol, Clifton and West of England Zoological Society opened the Zoo’s doors to
At our Supper Meeting on February 2nd we enjoyed listening to Shirley Hodgson, a retired headteacher talking about some of the hidden history of Bristol’s poorest children in Victorian times and the rise of Bristol’s Industrial Schools. Shirley Hodgson herself devoted her working life to Bristol children, teaching in various schools. For ten years she was head of Victoria Park Junior School. As the 19 century progressed there were organisations run by charitable and philanthropic individuals – often religious – which improved the lot of some. They would be taken in, fed, clothed and educated and taught skills to fit them for adulthood and work. These were mostly run by well-meaning people of whom Mary Carpenter was a leading light of the Reformatory School movement and founder of Red Lodge Reformatory School for Girls, as well as an Industrial School for boys at Park Row.
Wine expert Ian Abrahams started his wine career taking visitors round Harvey’s wine museum in Bristol. He also studied for and passed the Wines and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Diploma, a high level professional qualification. He now works as a freelance Wine Educator, certified by WSET to run their courses which are aimed at professionals starting out in the wine industry. Last night Ian talked about ‘The Glories of Wine’ and brought four examples for us to taste and appreciate accompanied by cheese and biscuits – a Pays d’Oc from an English owned vineyard in France, a Muga Rosé from Rioja, a lovely Errazuriz from Chile and a dessert wine, a Chenin Bland from the Loire Valley. He went through a brief explanation on how to taste wine and what to look for. The evening passed very quickly and was enjoyed by all.”
On 9th September 22 Soroptimists, including Soroptimisters, enjoyed a wonderful evening at St Mary Redcliffe Church, set in Redcliffe itself. We were greeted by Cecile Gillard whose knowledge of the church was amazing she left no questions unanswered. We saw the stained glass window commemorating John Cabot’s 1497 voyage to America aboard the Matthew and a small model of the Matthew too. The other stained glass windows were amazing and included a modern stained glass window in the Lady Chapel. There were towering pillars and Gothic arches, a wonderful view along the central aisle and the medieval stone font at the west end of the nave. There was so much to see and a return visit is essential to refresh our memories and see more. Many thanks to Susan G who organised the visit and to Cecile Gillard a volunteer with exceptional knowledge of this
On Monday March 11th, Soroptimist International of Bristol heard a most interesting talk by Kerry Postle. Kerry teaches English as a Foreign Language, but she has recently had her first book published and the second, on the Spanish Civil War, is due for publication at the beginning of April. Kerry is particularly interested in writing from a woman’s perspective in the “me too” age, and says that she wrote her first book because she wanted to read it. Her first book is called The Artists Muse and in it she seeks to show the different attitude of artists towards their models rather than towards the women of a higher class whom they also painted. She illustrated this different attitude by describing the work of two artists, Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. Klimt’s famous painting entitled The Kiss shows his muse, Wally Newzil, with whom he
Tonight we were treated to a fascinating talk by David Hogg who has been researching the Gibbs Family since 2003 There were many slides of the historical figures and faraway places which has played such a part in the fortunes of the family and estate of Tyntesfield
The first meeting of the new year was a real treat. We were entertained by two of our Bristol Soroptimists, Ruth and Pat Ruth started her talk by asking “How many people write letters” – the response was very few! She then went on to tell us that she has recently published a book of the letters she received from her Mother in the 1970’s. Whilst at University she received weekly letters from her Mother 3-4 pages long. She read some of them out and we were delighted her mother managed to amuse us with the way she managed the distance between her and Ruth. This book is a social history of that era and gives an amusing and descriptive glimpse into normal family life. The second member Pat spoke of her experience working with 4yr.old children for a BBC TV programme in 2017. The