History of SI Cirencester & District


The formation of the Cirencester Club was proposed in March 1948, when a member of Gloucester Club contacted Miss Kitty Tucker. An informal meeting of people who might be interested in joining Soroptimist International in the local area was held at Stonewells, Victoria Road. The first official meeting was held on 13th May 1948 at The Beeches Community Centre and Mrs Boutflour was the first elected president. Cirencester is the daughter club of Gloucester (and subsequently Swindon became the daughter club of Cirencester) The Charter dinner was held at Stratton House Hotel on 6th January 1949. Miss G. Holloway, the National President, presented the Charter to the Club.

Meetings have been held at many venues and have taken many forms, initially Tea meeting was held at 5pm on the first Wednesday in the month and a coffee morning on the third Wednesday.

Today – Meetings are held are held the Royal Agricultural College at 7.30 but retain the original structure. The first Wednesday is traditional a Business and Programme Action meeting and the third Wednesday is a dinner meeting with an invited guest speaker or presentation from a club member. Many well known names figure in the guest lists of the Annual Dinners and Lunches and among the speakers at social meetings.

In 1954 Mrs Joyce Chambers became the first member of the Cirencester Club to hold the office of president of the South West Division Union (DU). In 1960 Miss Ida Kenworthy was elected DU President and in 1976 Miss Beryl Challen held this office. In 1987 Miss Margaret Edney became the third member of the club to hold this office. In 1997 Miss Jane Rowell held the office of President of the South West and Channel Island Region.

Friendship Links were formed with the Winnipeg, Canada, Club in 1950, Nuoro, Sardinia in 1973, Banjul, The Gambia 1987 and Huddersfield, England in 1987.  Unfortunately these links have not survived. However, Friendship Links with Bury and Durham, both in England, established in 1999 are very active. Electronic mail is a great asset and support to and from these Clubs for all our projects and is much appreciated. In 2006, a link with SI/E Ogre-Kegums, Latvia was established.

In 1978 the club was left a bequest by Dorothy Minnis, a former Treasurer of the club. This legacy forms the Minnis Trust, the income for the investments are used for charitable purposes. It has enabled local young people to travel widely to further their education. The money has also been put to practical use for the benefit of the town.

Money raised by sales, fairs, concert and banquets has supported many charities over the years. Donations have been made to numerous disaster funds for various emergencies. The club regularly supports Cancer Research, Cheshire Homes, The Star Centre, The Boys Town Project in India and Soroptimist’s Elizabeth House. The Cirencester Club was the first organisation to support the Niccol Centre: Funds were raised at a Charity Auction. Proceeds from a fashion Show provided funds for a well in a rural community in the Gambia. Locally we have helped the Bowley Almshouses, Watermoor House, Abbey Field House, the opportunity Group and the Woman’s refuge in Cirencester.

The Club has given seats to the town, organised Anti-Litter campaigns and provided volunteers for flag days. It has been represented on steering committees for many organisations, including the Opportunity Group, Guidpost trust and C.H.Y.P. (Cirencester Housing for Young People). The Club is also active as a pressure group, lobbying councils and authorities to improve local amenities, and MP’s on national and environmental issues. The club also has close ties with the United Nations Association in the town. Throughout it’s history the Cirencester Club has endeavoured to give service to the local community whilst keeping in touch with Soroptimism world wide.

Past President list
1948-49 Mrs R. Boutflour
1049-50 Miss E.M. Peach
1950-51 Mrs U. Hourihane
1951-52 Mrs F. Franklin
1952-53 Mrs J. Chambers
1953-54 Lady Ingram
1954-55 Miss K.M. Tucker
1955-56 Mrs M. Klitz
1956-57 Miss A.M. Boxall
1957-58 Miss E.J. Lock
1958-59 Miss I. Kensworthy
1959-60 Miss I.A. Wulff
1960-61 Mrs J. Chambers
1961-62 Mrs D. Franklin
1962-63 Mrs M. Davis
1963-64 Dr. M. Grove-White
1964-65 Mrs L.E. Simmons
1965-66 Miss D. W. Butcher
1966-67 Miss I. Kensworthy
1967-69 Miss J.E. Stacy
1969-71 Miss D.W. Butcher
1971-72 Miss R. Radcliffe
1972-73 Miss M. Naylor
1973-74 Miss B. R. Challen
1974-75 Miss A. Emery
1975-76 Miss J. Kenyon
1976-78 Miss H. Peel
1978-79 Mrs J. Welsford
1979-80 Mrs B.M. Rees
1980-81 Mrs E. M. Johnson
1981-82 Mrs R. Whiddett
1982-83 Mrs M.F. Brown
1983-84 Miss E. M. Edney
1984-85 Mrs R. Ironside
1985-86 Mrs J.M. Cook
1986-87 Mrs V. M. Bartlett
1987-88 Mrs N. Thorpe
1988-89 Mrs J. M. Copley
1989-90 Miss J.M. Dickens
1990-91 Mrs A Hockey
1991-92 Miss M. Headen
1992-93 Miss J. Rowell
1993-94 Miss M. Paine
1994-95 Mrs K. Kerr-Rettie
1995-96 Mrs J. Flew
1996-97 Mrs B.A. Brooks
1997-98 Miss A. Brown
1998-99 Mrs V.M. Bartlett
1999-2000} Miss L Cleverly
2000-2001} Mrs S. Dennis
2001-02 Mrs J Newbould
2002-03 Miss M. Headen
2003-04 Miss E.M. Edney
2004-05 Mrs A. Levin
2005-06 Mrs S. Alexander
2006-07 Mrs A. Kelly
……   ….Mrs M. Paine
2007-08 Mrs J Gloyn
… . …. ..Mrs J Smith
2008-09 Mrs A. Levin
2009-10 Mrs S. Alexander
2010-11 Mrs M. Rickman
…. …….Mrs A. Brooker
2011-12 Mrs A. Brooker
2012-13 Mrs S. Dennis
2013-14 Mrs  M. Crockford
2014-15 Miss M. Headen
2015-16 Mrs K. Kerr-Rettie
2016-17 Mrs P. Wright
2017-18 Miss M. Edney
…………Mrs B. Banks
…………Mrs J. Gloyn
…………Mrs A. Croft & Mrs J. Beadle