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External Events and Fund Raising

Bishops Cleeve Street fair – the second year

We enjoyed going out and meeting  new peopel at the Bishops Cleeve street fair in 2018 that we booked to go back in 2019!


The weather had been truly awful in the week leading to the date and we busily sourced waterproof covers for the stand in case of a downpour – but it turned out to be a lovely day!


The stand looked good, the produce sold, we met some lovely people and spread the word about Soroptimist International – plus, after all expenses were cleared – we made £150.  We were a little dubious about the lady who so admired a pair of hand knitted socks, bought them and was then heard telling her friend that she was going to take them to the craft group she ran as an example of what was possible – “I shan’t tell them I didn’t knit them, I’ll just let them think I did”!.  I suppose we ought to be flattered …….

Coffee Morning for Save the Children

All our clubs were asked if they would consider donating £100 to Save the Children as they are celebrating the centenary of their charity.

As we have already committed the majority of our resources to the club’s chosen charities of the year we decided to have a fundraising coffee morning specifically for the purpose of raising the money for Save the Children.

Held at IPP Catriona’s home, she invited Soroptimists past and present and also friends and neighbours.   Copious amounts of coffee and cake consumed the generous guests had dropped £200 into the waiting fishbowl!

UN 16 days of Action for the Elimination of Gender Violence – 2018

The Forum!

For the 8th year running our Cheltenham Club arranged a public meeting to mark this important period on the Calendar.  Our theme was about the help and support available in Gloucestershire for the victims of Domestic Abuse.

We produced a flyer, invited speakers from GDASS; Stroud Beresford Trust, showed a film called “leaving” had stands from other local organisations, had an appreciative audience and made tea/coffee and cakes.


The month of August is traditionally a holiday time and when our club does not hold a meeting and we cut back the Programme Action, however, it is good to keep in touch and have the opportunity to socialise so club member Judith invited us to Cava and Strawberries in her garden.  After a very mixed week of weather the sun did shine and we had a very pleasant Sunday afternoon with the promised fruit and fizz.  There was a raffle; book sale and plant sale which raised over £200.  This will be distributed at Judith’s request between the Meru appeal and the club Charities for the year.


The annual Tea party put on by current members for Friends of Cheltenham Club took place on the 4th July this year – at the kind invitation of long time member Diana Sharpe.

The weather was as kind as ever and we enjoyed tea, cakes and strawberries and cream under the shade of garden gazebos.  A small raffle raised £46 which is to go (with other funds) to the Meru Garden Project.


Our club is fed up with being the best kept open secret!  In an effort to promote ourselves in new areas Sue and Freda suggested the Bishops Cleeve Street fair would be a lively location to have a stall and meet some different people.  They both have connections with the Fair and have had success in running stalls for other organisations so the rest of the club were keen to give it a whirl.

We had two main objectives – to promote Soroptimist International and to make enough to cover the costs.  These two were far exceeded.  We raised awareness and made new friends who we are inviting to the club; we covered the costs AND we made £172 on top for our charities of the year; AND we have been invited to look at some partnership working with a group with a project to make re-usable Sanitary protection AND, if this was not all enough, we found it a really great opportunity to actually get to know each other better – team building!

International Women’s day 2018

This year the Cheltenham Club did not hold an individual event to mark IWD, but joined the organising committee producing a special event for the age group 11 – 18.  This was held at the lovely Pittville Pump Room and allowed a wide range of activities and different supporting groups to come together to “Press for Progress”.

Along with song and dance from young people’s groups there were representatives from areas of work where there are good female career opportunities and people who could excite interest. The Armed Forces, Police; Fire and Rescue; Cheltenham Town Football Club; local Women’s Groups and Soroptimist International.

Major Nics Wetherill: Ice Maiden representing the first all-female group to cross Antarctica.

Dr Jackie Bell, Physicist from the BBC series Astronauts – do you have what it takes?

There were “Listen, Engage, Discover sessions during which there were interactive discussions – the three themes were women in Public Service; Business and In the News.

Our group volunteered to act as Stewards during the day, which offer was warmly welcomed and put to good use! We covered the day with a rota of our members and had a very interesting and enjoyable time – we even met women at the event who have been invited to attend our Information Evening in May to learn more about SI.

Keeping in touch with local partners

Part of our program action each year is to mark Environment Day in June.  We keep in close contact with the local authority and the Green Spaces Officer for the Cheltenham Council is a lady called Janice Payne.  Now that Janice has the full measure of what a determined group of Soroptimist can achieve she usually has a “little” project ready for us!

This year the Department arranged a tea party to thank the many groups of volunteers that work to keep Cheltenham and it’s parks and green space beautiful and we were invited.

Treasure and keen environmentalist Sue Cole and President Catriona (who just likes tidy) went along with a display board.  We met some very interesting groups and received an invitation to visit one of the local nature reserves to do a guided walk and picnic – we’re waiting for better temperatures to arrange this.

Well – we did it, and some more

The Cheltenham Forum went ahead and was attended by Cheltenham Mayor, Councillor Klara Sudbury, representatives from local organisations; the forum panel and a good audience. This has lead us to get involved with more external events with …

Reclaim the Night – a march through Cheltenham organised by GRASSAC – President Catriona and Programme Action Executive Patricia Grieves were novices at marches but soon got into the swing …

It’s getting nearer all the time ….

The United Nations 16 days of action to work for the Elimination of Violence Against Women starts on Saturday, 25th November.

We have already started with a really inspiring talk form Tara Newley Arkell (Dame Joan Collin’s daughter) at the Regional meeting.  It was a very “orange” day with the majority of delegates sporting orange to fit the theme.

Members of the club are gearing up to join “GRASAC” on their annual walk through the town to “Reclaim the Night” and then it is just the final arrangements to get our forum underway.

Come to the Forum!!!

After the impact of the public forum we held in November 2016 we decided to hold a further event to coincide with the 16 days of action on the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

This is the flyer we have handed out, put up and emailed:-

There are also 14 local organisations attending and we hope that all reading this will be there.

We celebrate 60 years of Soroptimist International in Cheltenham!

In 2017 the Cheltenham club celebrates 60 years since it was chartered and we decided to do so in style!

We held an anniversary lunch at Manor by the Lake in Cheltenham, attended by Mayor, Councillor Chris Ryder; Regional President Daphne and guest speaker, historian Neela Mann.  We were delighted that all our members were present, including the five new members who have joined this year.  We were particularly pleased to see Margaret Heaven as she was a founder member of the Cheltenham club.

Cheltenham Soroptimists support the Tercentenary Celebrations in the Town

It is 300 years since the Spa waters were discovered and Cheltenham proper began.  The Civic Society held a celebratory dinner at the Pump Rooms at Pittville and six of the Cheltenham club members attended.

We had a good dinner, some charming entertainment, a very gracious message of support from the Queen was delivered by the Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, Dame Janet Trotter and, best of all, good company.  The main charity to benefit from the event was, most appropriately, Water Aid


Modern Slavery

Does it happen in Gloucestershire?

If it does, what is being done about it?

An awareness-raising evening at The Phoenix Centre; St Vincent’s & St George’s Association, Winchcombe St, Cheltenham GL52 2NN


Monday November 21st 7.30 -9.30pm


Martin Surl, Police & Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire

Also:-    Representatives from the charity “Unseen” and The Salvation Army

Come and find out more about this modern problem

To book places, or for further information contact:   or    07513002608

Coffee/tea                                                 Free admission

Soroptimist International of Cheltenham & District




Mayor’s Charity Tea Party – Cheltenham

The Mayor of Cheltenham – Councillor Chris Ryder – held an “Elegant” Charity Tea Party with musical entertainment at the Pittville Pump Room to mark 300 years of the Spa Waters and our club was represented by 6 of the members and two guests.

We enjoyed a traditional afternoon tea and some very fine singing as entertainment – we even took the Spa Waters!  The highlights were really from having the opportunity to see so many of our local friends from different organisations and also meeting Jennifer Hindle’s guest Jane; who was on holiday from Australia.


On 6th July 2016, our club enjoyed a tea party in the garden, by kind invitation of club member, Diana Sharp.

The weather was kind, warm and sunny; the tea was delicious with scones, homemade cakes and strawberries with cream; and it was a wonderful opportunity to meet with club members past and present, along with the Friends of Cheltenham Soroptimists.

We held a raffle with proceeds going to the Meru Women’s Garden Project and raised £60 from this activity alone.

Annual Quiz Night February

Thank you to all those members who worked so hard to make the quiz a success and to former members who also came along to help – it was good to see so many familiar faces. Nineteen tables took part and congratulations to the winning team from SI Worcester & District.


Our speaker meeting in November welcomed Florence Nyasamo-Thomas who gave a fascinating insight into the work of Nowans Community Trust, part of which is an orphanage, home to 17 children but which also runs a school attended by over 200 children in Ghana.

Over three days in November, club members manned a stand at Cheltenham Library to give information to the public about our club and the work of Soroptimists nationally and globally. We also collected signatures for the Purple Teardrop campaign.


In Sept our club marked International Days of Peace and Literacy. We welcomed speaker Ali Mawle, Director of Education for the Cheltenham Festivals and raised money for BookAid International.

Annual Quiz Night – 3 February in aid of Butterfly Garden

Thanks to all who supported our Quiz Night (18 teams) the total raised for the Butterfly Garden was £617.  Thank you to the Quizmistress, Ursula and her team of markers.

Chris Evans from the Butterfly Garden was the speaker at our Club Meeting on 17 February when he was presented with the cheque by Club Secretary, Judith Dawtrey.

Fish and Chip Supper – August

As usual we all enjoyed the fish and chip supper which raised £166 for club charities.  Thanks to Kathy for her hospitality.

Madresfield Visit – July 

A large group of us met at Madresfield Courtnear Great Malvern, the home of the Lygon family and their ancestors for nine centuries, to enjoy a fascinating tour of a house full of treasures.  Thanks to Anne for suggesting and arranging the visit.

Tea in the Garden – July 

Tea in the Garden this year was blessed with wonderful weather, and it was a real pleasure to be able to enjoy both Diana’s garden, the company of old friends, and the wonderful baked goodies supplied by members.

SIGBI had asked all clubs to promote The BIG Project (Birthing in the Gambia) during the 3rd week in June and this fitted well into our programme. We had a display of information about the project and a raffle plus the sale of surplus cakes raised £86.50 for the project. Thanks, as ever, to Diana for allowing us to take over her garden for the day.