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President’s Message


President Gillie’s Address – 2022/2023


Here is the SI Chester President’s Message for 2022/2033.

It is customary to thank the outgoing President and Officers for all of their work during the past 12 months. This I do most heartily.  It has been an extremely difficult year (indeed 2 years) for everyone with lockdowns, lifting of restrictions, more lockdown, more restriction-lifting, all of which meant that the Club was not able to meet properly until November and, even then, there was (and remains) an understandable hesitancy to attend these face to face meetings.  We have established hybrid meetings which have meant that members who could not attend in person are able to at least listen to proceedings. But the Government tells us that we are all finding ways of living Covid, which I think is quite right. And so I believe that the time has come to stop looking back and, instead, look forward and embrace the sunny uplands of the future.

We are a small Club but I believe that we have big ambitions; I am very much looking forward to our agreed projects as well as various events that will come along during the year.  Small does not equal bad.  Just this weekend I saw an article about one of my inspirational women: Rear Admiral Dr Grace Hopper who, in 1952, had a huge desire to make computers more accessible and she invented the compiler which allowed for the use of English instructions as opposed to numerical coding to be used.  She also said: “The most dangerous phrase in the language is ‘We’ve always done it this way’”. So why mention this now?  She was a small woman, in a world very much run by men and constantly being told that she was small.  I see small clubs across the country having a huge impact in their towns and cities, just like the huge impact that Rear Admiral Dr Grace Hopper had in her field.

I would like to raise our profile both locally and within Region so that people know who we are and what we, in Chester, are about.  To do this we need to look for realistic opportunities. to establish contacts and working partnerships with businesses, the hospital, hospices, other Women’s organisations and the Police.  We have a new team of Officers who have some excellent ideas about how we progress and I am looking forward very much to working with them.

In order to develop we need several things to happen:

  • We need more members
  • We need to actively engage in activities

So I would like members to attach themselves to either Membership or Programme Action (or both).  For the new members please do not be afraid to bring your ideas forward – be assured that they will be considered.   If you propose an idea, please come prepared to lead on it.   Let us all pull together.

Other Club Presidents have their nominated Charity which the Club raises funds for – I don’t plan on that instead I would like to have some fundraising events for a variety of suggested charities.  As President I plan to purchase several of the Brave Bear books which we can donate to a local school. These books, for those who don’t know, are written in order to engage, educate, empower, and equip children to know how to keep themselves and others safe from exploitation.

I am aware that I have not long been a member of this Club but I am a long-standing Soroptimist and I have witnessed at first hand the immense impact we can have if we all put our minds to it, have fun, and work together – as a friend of mine from the Americas says “we have heads high and hearts open”.


Gillie O’Rourke

President SI Chester

Vice President Cheshire, North Wales & Wirral Region


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