Members were delighted to welcome SIGBI Immediate Past President, Margaret Emsley, to join them for dinner on the 26th June. Margaret gave an interesting, and often amusing, talk about her year in office as President of the Federation. During her year Margaret travelled to visit clubs in Sierra Leone and the Cameroons. Undoubtedly, however, one of the highlights of her year was the Federation Conference, held in Malta in November 2016.
At their November meeting members wore orange to unite with other members throughout the Region and to mark the Orange the World Campaign to End Violence against Women and Girls. The 25th of November is the Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls and marks the start of the designated 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence.
This year we planned our third annual croquet event for an evening in June so that we would benefit from the longer evening but instead we were blighted by a forecast of torrential rain! Undaunted we re-scheduled for Wednesday July 27th and kept our fingers crossed! Fortunately the evening was bright but breezy. A group of over 20 members of SI Chester; SI Runcorn, Frodsham, and District; friends and family took to the lawns under the patient guidance of Chester Croquet Club President, Sarah Andrew, and several other club members. Soon the sounds of mallet on ball, laughter and/or cries of dismay were ringing around the grounds. I suspect there was rather more levity than at the regular club events! Mavis Sellers took charge ‘front of house’ organising both a raffle and a friendly tournament, which was won in great style by Susi MacLean.
Once again members spent some time in the Soroptimist Information and Friendship Tent at the International Eisteddfod in July. We met with visiting Soroptimists from all over the world and enjoyed explaining to other visitors what our organisation is all about. This year we sponsored a Women’s Traditional Folk Dancing Group from Kyrgyzstan, assisting with the cost of their travel and accommodation. Wednesday was Schools Day and we kept the children entertained making masks with Peacock Feathers! For further information about the event please visit our Regional website
On the 14th May Club members joined members of other Clubs in the Region in Chester’s Grosvenor Precinct to celebrate Soroptimist Membership Month. We were joined by the Mayor of Chester, Councillor Hugo Deynam who visited our Information Stand. Several shoppers came to look at the display stands and those who lived in Chester were invited to join us for a Meetup at the White Horse, Chester Racecourse, CH1 2LY, from 7.30 on Tuesday, 24th May. Anyone interested in finding out a bit more about us is welcome to come along and chat to our members over a drink.
Chester Soroptimists were invited to have a stand in the Town Hall on Saturday, 5th March. This event was organised by Chester Women’s Aid and was an opportunity to showcase some of the work done by Soroptimists from throughout the Region. During the morning we were visited by Chester MP, Chris Matheson, and presented him with a certificate showing the location of a toilet that we had twinned for him in Bangladesh. Chris was really interested in the concept of toilet twinning and particularly pleased that ‘his toilet’ was in Bangladesh, a country that he had visited.
On Friday, 19th February 2016, we celebrated the first anniversary of the Chartering of SI Chester with a Quiz and Hotpot Supper held at Boughton Cricket Club. Over 100 members and their friends attended and altogether over £500.00 was raised for our club charities. The Quiz Master was our own President, Victoria Pritchard, and guests on the evening included teams from Chester Women’s Aid and Tomorrows Women Wirral, both recipients of our fundraising this year.
On the weekend before Christmas members spent four hours each day packing bags for shoppers at the Caldy Valley B&M Store. The public gave generously and altogether over £400 was raised for our Club charities.
On Sunday, 22nd November, members of SI Chester joined Women’s Aid in the City Centre to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. With the help of the Dee Signing Choir and support from the Lord Mayor and his wife and Cheshire Fire Brigade altogether £1,250 was raised. This money goes towards helping families experiencing domestic abuse. Club members will also be assisting the Friends of Women’s Aid this year to wrap up donated Christmas presents.
Six members have just returned, full of renewed enthusiasm, after attending the 81st SIGBI Federation Conference in Glasgow. They experienced: The moving opening ceremony, with President Victoria accompanying the UK flag Heard inspirational speakers, including HRH The Princess Royal and Had the opportunity to meet with the outgoing and incoming Presidents over coffee on Saturday morning.