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September 9th 2019: Visit to St Mary Redcliffe Church

September 9th 2019: Visit to St Mary Redcliffe Church

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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

11th March 2019: The Artist`s Muse – Kerry Postle

11th March 2019: The Artist`s Muse – Kerry Postle

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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

14th January 2019: Two Bristol Soroptimists entertain us

14th January 2019: Two Bristol Soroptimists entertain us

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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

12th March 2019: Bristol Hannover “Exchange” – Ann Kennard

12th March 2019: Bristol Hannover “Exchange” – Ann Kennard

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The Bristol Hannover Twinning was established in 1947 just after the war. The link between Bristol and Hannover is one of the oldest twinnings between Britain and Germany. The Council has been facilitating exchanges of citizens every year, holds cultural and social events, welcomes and assists groups visiting Bristol from Hannover. 2017 was a historic year as Bristol celebrated 70 years of twinning with Hannover and Bordeaux, France. The talk covered many interesting aspects of the link and more information can be found on their website giving a full history of the link

Tour of Clifton Suspension Bridge and Vaults

Tour of Clifton Suspension Bridge and Vaults

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Following our Speaker Meeting on Monday’ on Thursday 11th October, 7 members of SI Bristol, one Soroptimister and a guest enjoyed a 2-hour tour of the spectacular grade one listed Clifton Suspension Bridge. Gordon Young, our tour guide, was entertaining and informative; he illustrated many points with visuals from his satchel. We learnt the story of the bridge: about the competition to design the bridge and how the end result differed from the original design. Hardhats and hi-vis vests were donned before we climbed down a ladder to visit two of the twelve chambers inside the red sandstone abutment on the Leigh Woods side of the bridge. The world famous bridge was initially designed by the Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, although he did not live to see his creation, which was finished in 1864. Work began in 1831, but the project was dogged with

8th October 2018: Bristol Spension Bridge – Bob Brewton, Supervisor and Tour Guide for the Bridge.

8th October 2018: Bristol Spension Bridge – Bob Brewton, Supervisor and Tour Guide for the Bridge.

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Mr Brewton quickly explained that although Brunel had submitted several designs for the bridge and his final design in 1831 was accepted, the Bristol Riots in that year meant that building never really got started. It was not until after Brunel’s death in 1859 that two engineers John Hawkshaw and William Henry Barlow came along with extra knowledge and know how. They took over Brunel’s earlier designs and completed the building of the bridge in 1864. Although they changed the design they retained the two towers originally built by Brunel and 2 of the 3 sets of the original chains. The bridge is now owned by a charity and fees for crossing the bridge go towards maintenance. The vaults below consist of 12 caves.  For those visiting the caves you will see two of them and emphasis was placed on wearing warm clothes and stout

10th September 2018 – Brigadier Bruce Jackman from the The Gurha Welfare Trust

10th September 2018 – Brigadier Bruce Jackman from the The Gurha Welfare Trust

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Brigadier Bruce Jackman, Chair of the Western branch of the Gurkha Welfare Trust, gave a very lively talk at our supper meeting on 10 September. He started with a brief history of the Gurkha involvement in the British Army with examples of some of the extreme bravery for which the Gurkhas are rightly renowned. The Gurkha Welfare Trust shortly celebrates its 50th anniversary and was set up because, in order to ensure parity with members of the British army, Gurkhas were paid comparable rates with the requirement to serve 15 years before being entitled to an army pension. Unlike their British army counterparts, however, there was no old age pension for them on their return to Nepal leaving many of them virtually destitute with little opportunities for suitable work. The Gurkha Welfare Fund now provides financial aid (including pensions), medical aid via welfare centres, community

Speaker Meetings May, June and July

Speaker Meetings May, June and July

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This year we have enjoyed a number of Suppers followed by a speaker. In May we were “entertained” by the  Freewheelers (Blood Bikes).  It is amazing how they carry blood around the city to ensure there is a of blood for urgent “cases”.  In June we were visited by Unseen, this is the second year we have chosen then as our Charity of the Year.  We were updated on the work and support they are giving trafficked people in addition to suggesting ideas for us to support them not just by raising funds but through actions.  Look at the Programme Action posts for what we are doing. Finally in July, before the summer “holidays”, Canon Nicola Stanley, Canon Precentor Bristol Cathedral gave us a stimulating talk.  All our speakers are a joy to listen to and we want to know more about their work.  

12th March 2018 – Gill Kirk from Singing for the Brain

12th March 2018 – Gill Kirk from Singing for the Brain

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On March 12th Gill Kirk inspired us with her passionate and informative talk about the effects of ‘ Singing for the Brain’, supported by the Alzheimer Society. So many of us these days know friends or family members with memory loss or the onset of Dementia, where the person appears to withdraw into themselves. The idea behind the weekly group singing and movement sessions is that ‘ people can live well with Dementia’ through the power of music, using it as a therapeutic experience. Research at Reading University has shown the impact music and movement can have on the brain and Gill explained that during the sessions she can see real change in people’s self esteem, as favourite songs are sung; this appears to unlock memory and leads individuals to respond and express emotions in a way they have been unable to do beforehand. Gill’s