Canterbury Soroptimists held a fundraising supper in support of the SIGBI Federation Project 2019-2020, ‘Empowering Girls in Nepal’, and the Canterbury Foodbank. Our donations raised £260 and we enjoyed an evening of festive cheer, friendship and generosity. Many thanks to Jane and David Webb for hosting this lovely event.
Canterbury Soroptimists were joined by over a hundred people for our Silent March to raise awareness about the United Nations 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based violence against women and girls. We were joined by the Rt Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Bishop of Dover, Rosie Duffield, Parliamentary Candidate for Canterbury, and Annie Lyttle, former Director, Rising Sun (Domestic Violence and Abuse Charity) who all addressed the large group before we set off. We were also joined by Soroptimists from Thanet, Maidstone, Medway Towns, Folkestone and Tunbridge Wells plus the Mother’s Union, the Womens Equality Party, Rising Sun, White Ribbon, the Sustainable Development Forum, the Ethnic Minority Council and many family and friends. Everyone agreed that walking in solidarity and silence through the ancient streets of Canterbury, to raise awareness about violence against women and girls, was a moving and powerful experience.
Canterbury Soroptimists once more attended the annual Remembrance Day Parade through Canterbury and the service at Canterbury Cathedral that followed. Millie, Jane, Maggie, our two Dawns and Annie were honoured to join other organisations in this poignant event and to lay a wreath on behalf of the club.
Canterbury Soroptimists represented the club in the Peace Procession at the UN Service for World Peace at Canterbury Cathedral. Dr Carl Wright gave a powerful address about Climate Emergency, Zero Carbon and Global Peace. The audience was also inspired by an impassioned speech by thirteen year old Pascal Sleigh representing YouthStrike4Climate. The service also included beautiful readings, prayers and singing by the Canterbury Singers and the Canterbury Gospel Choir. All of this in the wonderful surroundings of Canterbury Cathedral.
Canterbury Soroptimists joined together on Monday July 22nd to celebrate and support the SIGBI theme for 2018 -19 “Think on it”. This asks us to focus on our own wellbeing and mental health as well as supporting others, and is an important reminder to us all of the importance of friendship and care within our club. Eight members spent two hours at Expressions Arts Café in Canterbury being creative, talking, laughing, sharing friendship and feeling happy. During the morning we decorated some amazing mugs which will now be fired before being returned to us. We’re all looking forward to seeing how our efforts look once they are glazed and they will no doubt provide a reminder of our friendship and creativity. Expressions Arts Café is popular with children and families in the area but also works extensively in the community providing opportunities for elderly
Seven club members and some partners took part in the SIGBI Saturday of Service on July 20th, organising a litter pick on Seasalter beach, Whitstable. After approaching the Canterbury coastal warden to see which stretches of our local beach needed to be cleaned, members and partners cleaned a stretch of the Seasalter beach collecting 15 kilos of rubbish and raising the profile of SI Canterbury. As well as supporting our Federation’s Day of Service their work also supported the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14, Life on Water and we are all grateful to those who were able to take part.
Members of SI Canterbury gathered for an afternoon tea party to thank member Maureen Keppler as she returns from SI Canterbury to SI Ashford. Maureen transferred from Ashford in 1999 to support the survival of Canterbury. She served as President and took on the responsibility of Treasurer for many years. Her sense of what is right, experience as a successful business woman and her energy and good judgement are all qualities that have made Maureen a wonderful Soroptimist and advocate of equal rights for women and girls. Maureen engaged with many Programme Action projects and she has always championed Soroptimist aims. Most of all, Maureen brought friendship, warmth and generosity to our club. We will miss Maureen very much at Canterbury, but we are sure she will enjoy being back with Ashford and I’m sure our clubs will now share a very special relationship.
Canterbury Soroptimist Jane Webb and her husband David used tomatoes to raise funds for the Meru Women’s Garden project for the second year. David grew the plants from seeds and then sold them raising over £70 to support the women in Meru, Kenya. Members thank Jane and David for their great effort.
Members from Canterbury, Croydon and Lewes Soroptimist clubs walked 8.5 miles from Shepherdswell to Dover on May 26th. They had much better weather for the second stage of the Via Francigena but it still took five hours to complete the walk! The clubs have now walked the entire way of the Via Francigena in England, from Canterbury to Dover! The next stage is from Calais to Wissant in France. Pilgrims can then walk across the north of France into Switzerland and down into Italy and finally to Rome, a total of 1800 kilometres.
Canterbury Soroptimists welcomed Frances Timberlake from, Help Refugees, to their meeting on May 23rd. Frances gave an interesting and informative talk about the support the charity gives to refugees at Calais women’s camp and gratefully accepted member’s donations.