LIME & Cheshire Show Committee
L.I.M.E. Report to Region Meeting September 2019
Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod 2-7thJuly 201
The week of the Llangollen International Eisteddfod was a lovely, hot and sunny week which always puts a smile on everyone’s face. For LIME it was a happy and successful week thanks to the volunteers, committee members, friends and visitors who called in daily.
We were delighted to welcome visitors and competitors from all over the world, especially the Polish choir that we sponsored, they were daily callers at our tent. The Alla Polacca choir from Warsaw were a group of young girls and young women who had never been abroad before and were completely overwhelmed by the friendship extended to them. Their English was excellent so we were able to have chats with them. We were so pleased when they were awarded a third prize in one of the competitions they entered. At short notice they also filled in at one of the evening concerts. We felt we had made good friends. President Pam who was at the Eisteddfod on a number of days promised to contact SI Warsaw to link them with this wonderful group of young women. Could we possibly have a Regional link with the Warsaw club? Pam presented the choir with a plaque to celebrate their visit.
We made good friends with other stall holders including officers/helpers at the Rotary tent, Officers from Berwyn, the prison at Wrexham ( who called for their daily cups of tea). Stall holders who have visited clubs in the region at various fairs etc. In fact a real network of supporters.
We were pleased to welcome the local MP Susan Elan Jones who never fails to visit us, together with her PA. She is always so keen to hear about the work we do. We were also visited by Ian Lucas MP for Wrexham. In his role as MP he has chaired the committee at Westminster dealing with African affairs and visited Africa numerous times. He and his wife are interested in our work (especially the projects linked with Africa) and keen to help in any way they can.
Some visitors came back time after time wanting to know more about the work of Soroptimists. Some have shown an interest in joining local clubs. I have passed on their names to the appropriate clubs. Let us hope that they do become members.
Many thanks to all the members who so generously donated pre loved handbags, scarves and jewellery. They were a great attraction.
I have mentioned friends and friendship numerous times and that is exactly what the Llangollen International Eisteddfod is about. Its roots were to develop peace and friendships between countries who had been at war with each other . I felt this very deeply and was proud that we as Soroptimists were part of this good will that was so much in abundance on that amazing week at Llangollen. If you’ve never volunteered to help at the LIME tent previously please bear it in mind for next year. Helpers get free parking and entry to the grounds and the marquee to see the competitions. At this point I need to add that all committee members pay for their own tickets as their contribution to the event.
A great big thank you to the LIME Committee who worked so hard in organising and preparing the tent ready for the busy week. Let us know if you want to join the LIME Committee.
Chair of LIME committee.
Soroptimist involvement at the Cheshire Show began when I was about to become Region President in 2010, and Cherry Povall was President Elect.
At that time there was a strong Soroptimist message to go out and inform the public about Soroptimism and do our best to increase Membership which was dropping rapidly at that time. That is still happening today.
Also at that time the presence at the Llangollen Eisteddfod was having problems and thanks to Anne Macdonald, she stepped in and it was rejuvenated.
We thought about what WE could do too to respond to this call, and we came up with the idea of having a stand at the Royal Cheshire Show – a Show which attracts around 85,000 people each year from all over the country not just Cheshire North Wales and Wirral!
We worked hard for 6 months to try to obtain sponsorship which was extremely difficult in that era, but eventually we managed it. We thought about how would we fund it in future years, and so that is why a tombola was established, (although we are well aware a number of you didn’t agree with, but it was a means to an end) and the much-enjoyed Christmas Luncheon and Shopping. These gave us the funding for future years, due to those of you who always supported these ventures.
Every year we have had a theme and these have ranged from DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, (with very hard hitting posters), BREAST CANCER, TOILET TWINNING, WATER AID, PURPLE TEARDROP, MARY’S MEALS, FRIENDSHIP LINKS AROUND THE WORLD, HIV AIDS AWARENESS, EDUCATING GIRLS AROUND THE WORLD, and PERIOD POVERTY.
Our theme for 2019 was ‘Period Poverty’ – Stop VAT on Sanitary products. We spoke to Hundreds of ladies and young girls who came to talk to us and sign the petition that we had, as well as introducing them to the Soroptimists! In the summer statement the previous Chancellor Philip Hammond agreed funding for secondary schools to assist with the provisions of Sanitary wear – we would like to think that our petition would have played a small part in this!
A number of Federation Officers over the years have congratulated us on our initiative to raise awareness of Soroptimism in this way, including the current SIGBI President Sue Williams.
Every Project has an objective, a beginning, and an end. The success of the past years has shown that the objectives of the Cheshire Show Project have been reached. It is now time to draw the project to its natural end. And so the time has now arrived for us to consider our position and we have taken the decision that 2019 would be our last.
If any of you in your Clubs would consider taking this on, we would certainly give all the assistance needed.
Have we achieved what we set out to do?
Without a doubt! – we have certainly raised the profile of Soroptimism here in the North West, and hopefully over the years many new members have materialised – in Liverpool, Manchester, Yorkshire, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Lancashire, Wales, because these are the counties and cities where the ladies come from to the Cheshire Show.
I am well aware that some of you are disappointed that there will not be a Christmas Luncheon this year – unless of course someone is willing to take this over!
I cannot conclude this report without mentioning the valuable support Veronica Anderson gave to this initiative. It was something she strongly believed in, and even when her health was deteriorating, she wouldn’t let go!! She wanted to be involved. We miss her encouragement and enthusiasm, without a doubt, (not to mention the cigarette smoke!)
So, on behalf of the members of the CS Committee, thank you for your support over the years – it was hard work, but we also enjoyed it too! Jacquie Weatherill.
Jacquie Weatherill- Chair Royal Cheshire Show Committee