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Archive of Club Activities 2010-2011

President – Dr Jacqueline Smith-Autard

During the year 2010-2011 the Events headed as Fund Raising Activities (below) resulted in the fantastic sum of £3,500 raised for the President’s Charity – Research into ALZHEIMERS and DEMENTIA. A cheque was given to the Alzheimer’s Society at the AGM on April 28th 2011.  

It was an extremly busy and eventful year during which all Club Members worked very hard to achieve excellent results working for several charities and having a good deal of fun. However, the Club experienced much sadness too in that 2 very long-standing members died during the year – Joan Cave and Dorothy Bickerdike will be much missed.


A ‘Nearly New’ Fashion Show – June 17th 2010

The ‘Nearly New’ Fashion Show was held at St Ignatius Parish centre, Ossett. Clothes were modelled by SI Dewsbury members with assistance from members of the church, together with a raffle over £350 was raised for the President’s charity – Alzheimer’s Society Research into Dementia.

This was a fun evening attracting many non-soroptimists to view then purchase some really superb outfits.

Brighouse Charity Gala –  June 26th 2010

Brighouse Gala

Club Members had spent many hours sewing, knitting, painting pictures, creating cards, making cakes, jam and preserves to fill a craft and home-made items stall at the Brighouse Charity Gala. The event was huge in that many hundreds of people came to enjoy a sunny day and purchase all manner of goods from a range of stalls including ours. We had a really successful day making in the region of £450 on the day which will increase when we receive a proportion of monies gained from entry tickets etc. This event was a first for us and, though a great deal of hard work for the group who organised it, we were highly pleased with the outcome – funds towards the President’s charity – Alzheimer’s Society Research into Dementia. 

A Boat Trip from Naburn to York – July 4th 2010

 Boat trip to Naburn Lock

Arrival in York

Club Members and friends enjoyed a wonderful day on one of our member’s long boat. She and her husband very kindly donated the trip on the River Ouse from Naburn Lock to the Museum Gardens in York wher we all had a picnic and then wondered into York. The weather was perfect, the company was great and the scenery and quiet, leisurely, slow travel through the water was an excellent ‘unwind’ experience for all. The crew ensured that everything ran as smothly as the boat itself and we all alighted dead on time back at Naburn very happy travellers. The event raised £140 for the President’s charity – Alzheimer’s Society Research into Dementia.

£75 for SIGBI’s 75 years and ‘Loos for Lynn’ – July 18th 2010

As a response to our SIGBI President’s challenge given to all clubs – to mark our 75th birthday by raising £75 – towards provision of sanitation for 3rd world countries and also raising money in memory of Lynn Dunning’s amazing work in this field, members and friends had a good time in one of our member’s lovely garden where decorated and planted up entries of potties, bedpans and the like competed for the award of ‘Best Loo’. The winner – an old silver bedpan with a painted border featuring several small cactus plants was titled ‘Tickle your Fancy’ (pictured left). There were a good few others that demonstrated much imagination such as a golf club threaded through a loo seat titled ‘Hole in One’! A super lunch, tombola and other fund raising games raised over £180 for both of these sanitation-based projects. 

Memory Walk and Lunch – August 7th 2010 

Memory walkers

Are we nearly there yet? Julie Thomson stepping out with SI Richmond President Sheila and Yorkshire President Judith Alce

Many prayers for fine weather paid off in part since the large gathering of SI Dewsbury members and friends had a really good time on this ‘memorable’ day! At 10am around 20 walkers (including SI Yorkshire President Judith and SI Richmond and Dales President Sheila) set off on a 5.5 mile walk along lanes and through woods with questionnaires in hands. On their return their answers were taken from them. After a splendid lunch enjoyed indoors (heaving with folk) and, in between the showers, outside on the several terraces in the President’s garden the walkers were required to remember the answers to the questions and everyone had opportunity to engage in several other memory games – matching pairs of cards, observing and remembering details of a short film, recalling items on a tray. The results demonstrated that, despite many of us advancing in years, we are lucky enough to have pretty good memories. The day raised awareness of those with alzheimers and dementia who are not so fortunate.  This event aimed to raise funds to support research into these awful diseases and the Club is happy to announce that over £300 was added to this fund through the sale of tickets for lunch and the sponsored walk.   

Garden Party and Lunch – September 12th 2010 

Garden party at Carol's

A Garden party held at Carol and Glenn’s home raised £330  through the sale of plants, home made produce and a buffet lunch for the President’s charity Alzheimer’s research into dementia. The forecast promised a nice day which was correct for the most part so that members and friends could enjoy the fabulous lunch in a beautiful garden decked out with 3 gazebos and a lovely new summer house. A great way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon.

The Primrose Project

Primrose new computer

A group of teaching staff with their new computer

In July 2009 SI Dewsbury were asked by a governor at a local school in Dewsbury if they could help with a school in Thika, Kenya.  She had been out to help at the Primrose Academy school which receives no financial support from the government. It charges school fees but children go free if they are orphaned or if their parents cannot afford to pay the fees. It is sponsored by a local travel agent.

There was a suggestion of buying some books or helping with postage.  Members wanted to do more and so decided to raise funds for a computer which would provide the children with a link to the Dewsbury school. They held a games evening with a supper at the homes of two of the members, a good time was had by all.

The next project is supporting a female student training to become a teacher. The club would also like to help improve their sanitation situation.

A few of the ladies out there had not heard of Soroptimism and are quite interested so the wheels have been set in motion.

Who knows one day members may  find themselves out there helping them in person!

The Pig Race – Mirfield Community Centre January 22nd 2011

Pig race - ready for the off

Many SI Dewsbury Members, their friends and visitors from other clubs came to this wonderfully successful event which raised over £1,100 for the President’s charity Alzheimer’s Dementia Research. There were 7 races – all pre-sponsored and each race included 6 pigs all ‘owned’ by virtue of selling them before the event. Owners won money if their pigs won. Bets were place on each mechanical pig then they were ‘off’. The final Big Spenders Auction Race included all the winning pigs of the former six races.

The supper sponsored by a local bakery, included ham, of course, and was enjoyed by all. Indeed the whole evening was a great deal of fun. ‘It was hilarious we never stopped laughing and it was well worth the journey from Richmond’ said Sheila Blacklock, President of SI Richmond and Dales who had come with Helen Stalker, President of SI Harrogate, and her family.  Everyone had a really good time and an amazing amount of money was made to add to our President’s charity.

Saturday of Service – March 5th 2011 

To mark the 100th anniversary of International Womens’ Day SI Dewsbury chose to sell teas, coffees, scones and sandwiches to Dewsbury Saturday shoppers in order to raise money for an aditional girls’ toilet in our adopted Primrose School in Thika, Kenya (see above). At present there are but 4 shack toilets between over 400 children!

The hall became very full of people buying very low cost clothes, books, cakes and bric-a-brac. Over £300 was raised in the very pleasant though busy afternoon.

SIDZ Cafe Big Brew

President Jackie + bunting

SI Dewsbury runs a monthly (SIDZ) cafe at Thornhill Parish Church. In March members supported the Big Brew event and attempt at the Guiness Book of Records entry for the longest and fairest bunting. President Jackie shows some of the bunting made above.



SI Dewsbury Charter Lunch – June 27th 2010


SI Yorkshire President Judith Alce with SI Dewsbury President Jackie Smith-Autard greeting SI Huddersfield Joint President Joyce Haw

The Charter Luncheon celebrating our 68th year was held at Blenheim House, Batley attended by Yorkshire President Judith Alce, members from other Soroptimist clubs including friendship club SI Preston and relatives and friends of SI Dewsbury members. We enjoyed a very good lunch in an excellent venue. Unfortunately, however, our prestigious speaker Professor Alistair Burns – chair of Research in the Alzheimer’s Society and Clinical Director of the Government Dementia Strategy –  as a result of a threat to jump from a an overhead bridge by two young men, was stuck on the M62 for 3 hours and therefore could not get to us so a quickly conceived ‘Plan B’ had to be put into action. It was gratifying that ‘Plan B’ worked and that the diners greatly appreciated hearing about other clubs’ charity activities from seven visiting presidents. A further highlight was the presentation of Long Service Awards to 7 SI Dewsbury members for between 25-35 years service.

House of Lords Visit – July 8th 2010

  On the Terrace at the House of Lords

Eight SI Dewsbury members enjoyed a lunch at the House of Lords which was sponsored by Baroness May Blood of Northern Ireland who also gave a wonderful speech. The lunch was served on the terrace on the edge of the Thames (as pictured) and Dewsbury members enjoyed meeting members of other clubs sharing our tables. Afterwards we ventured up to the public gallery in the House of Lords and heard a debate on housing. Following tea in the Commons part of the Houses of Parliament we wandered along the Embankment and finally took a taxi to St Pancras to view the station and have some champagne before boarding our train home from Kings Cross! A really good day.     

A Scarecrow Exhibition at Thornhill Parish Church Summer Fair   – July 10th 2010

CleopatraOnce again SI Dewsbury submitted a scarecrow to the church for the above event. This year the theme was famous people. We chose to dress our scarecrow as Cleopatra.

There were 19 scarecrows scattered through the church and many activities for the many people and families who came to enjoy the Summer Fair in aid of the church funds. 



Visit to Harlow Carr and SI Harrogate’s Car Treasure Hunt – July 24th 2010 

Harlow Carr

President Jackie and 16 Dewsbury members visited Harlow Carr gardens in Harrogate and had a wonderful friendship day out with members of Richmond and Dales. SI Yorkshire President Judith joined us at lunch-time to enjoy a relaxing afternoon walking around the beautiful gardens. We all enjoyed the environment and company. At 4pm 9 of us were whisked off in SI Harrogate cars to join their Car Treasure Hunt. We had a good time challenged by questions to test our observation in villages around Harrogate and finished with supper in Burn Bridge where we learned that a Dewsbury team had won the competition!! A long but thoroughly happy day extending friendships between 3 clubs. 

Friendship Supper with SI Preston – July 28th 2010

An annual friendship evening was shared with members of SI Preston – our long standing friends. Supper was provided by both clubs and very amusing entertainment was presented by Preston (our turn next year!). This is always a much treasured event which, this year, enjoyed the hospitality of SI Skipton in their club house.   

Visit to National Memorial Arboretum  – September 25th 2010

A party of members visited the National Memorial Arboretum to attend a service and to witness the planting of 3 further trees in SIGBI’s garden in celebration of the work of Soroptimists for Peace and Reconciliation World Wide. This was a lovely day. The Arboretum provided all of us an awe inspiring emotionally charged experience not to be missed.

Visit to Richmond – hosted by SI Richmond and Dales – April 2nd 2011

Visit to SI Richmond

A party of 13 Dewsbury members travelled to Richmond where they enjoyed the hospitality of SI Richmond and Dales members for an interesting day at the Golf Club for lunch, Georgian Theatre, Millgate House and Gardens finishing with tea at the restored Railway Station.


 Barbara Woodhouse-Carlton  – Quality Research in Dementia  – May 27th 2010

Barbara gave a very moving talk about her experience as carer of her mother who lived with dementia for a long period before she died.  Forced to give up her deputy headship and devoting more and more time to her mother as the disease progressed Barbara ended up giving many years of 24/7 care rather than have her mother in a home. It was clearly a very hard time for Barbara and her husband but she learned a huge amount from the experience and has become one of the leaders in the field in promoting the need for research into cause, cure and care of dementia. She spoke of the important work she is doing for the Alzheimer’s Society as a member of the Quality Research Network and impressed on Club Member’s the real need for funding of such research since it is estimated that very soon 1 in every 3 over 65 year old people will suffer with a form of dementia. Barbara’s talk was warmly received by the audience and it certainly provided an excellent initiation into our fundraising activities for this charity.

Helena Muller – Lost Chord –  June 24th 2010

Helena Muller is founder and Chief Executive of ‘Lost Chord’ – a group that provides music experiences for dementia sufferers. This organisation has become nationally recognised for its work in visiting care homes to play music and sing songs that trigger memories for the residents often resulting in miraculous communication – singing and dancing and playing percussion instruments to the music – from people who have not been able to communicate for years. Helena told us of several moving cases in which ‘Lost Chord’ had made a difference.

Helena then surprised us by quickly changing into her High Sheriff of South Yorkshire outfit. She outlined the very interesting journey into and in this office in which she clearly distinguished herself.  

 Jo Butterworth – July 29th 2010

The speaker for the July meeting was Doctor Jo Butterworth who is currently Professor of Dance Studies in the University of Malta. In a most enjoyable talk, she outlined her very interesting life in dance from performing as a GoJo dancer to setting up and running the dance degree courses at Bretton Hall (University of Leeds).  She also showed a snippet of Wayne McGregor’s choreography – one of her students at Bretton Hall who has become famous and is now resident choreographer for the Royal Ballet Company.  

Sophie Adler – Northern Ballet – September 23rd 2010

As an Education Officer Sophie Adler of Northern Ballet presented a very interesting talk about the huge range of activities that the Company engages in beyond the many great performances they present in theatres around the country and abroad. Sophie gave us an insight into her heavy schedule including running projects such as one in our area involving Young Offenders in dance-making, leading workshops in schools and colleges and offering a wide range of classes in ballet, contemporary and jazz for young people and adults of all levels – beginner to advanced. She also talked about the Northern Ballet Academy which offers classes to very young children and houses one of the Centres for Advanced Training for talented young dancers in the Yorkshire area. Sophie ended with a description and photo of the amazing new building in the centre of Leeds into which Northern Ballet and the Phoenix Dance Company move on October 4th 2010.

Open Cluster Group Friendship Meeting – October 7th 2010 – Speaker – Jackie Hird

Cluster group

Jackie Hird, an engaging speaker, held the audience of members and visitors from other clubs in wrapt attention as she spoke about the Joanna Project which is a Leeds-based Christian outreach and support organisation working with women at risk or involved in prostitution. Through practical and emotional support, befriending and mentoring they aim to empower their service users to exit prostition, come off drugs and fulfill their dreams. The talk and DVD presentation was most informative and somewhat awe-inspiring in recognising the commitment of volunteers who drive a van around Leeds very late at night to provide hot drinks and support including finding accommodation for women living in dire circumstances or on the streets. The meeting ended with refreshments and much interested discussion on this topic.

Open Speaker Meeting at the Breast Cancer Haven, Leeds – October 28th 2010

Haven visit

Organised by PAC for their ‘pink’ evening, SI Dewsbury members shifted their Speaker Meeting to the Breast Cancer Haven in Leeds. This was a follow up to a talk given last year by a speaker from the Haven. It was a pleasant and informative evening also attended by members from SI Leeds. Visitors included members of SI Garforth Elmet and several friends of SI Dewsbury members. We all learned about the free care given to breast cancer sufferers in this most sympathetic building. The presentation by Jane King – fundraiser for the Haven, a talk given by a past client and a tour around the building provided a clear picture of the important work that is undertaken to help many women (and a few men) during very difficult circumstances in fighting cancer. To this end, many different treatments are offered to help clients’ well being and coping strategies. The Haven does not receive public funding so success in fund-raising is imperative. Obviously this was the main aim of the evening and we are pleased to announce that the Produce and Craft stall together with a raffle raised £230 as a donation to the Haven on the day of its second birthday.

Angela Walker – Sports Reporter for the Dewsbury Reporter group  – January 27th 2011    

Angela gave a most enjoyable talk on the theme of a woman journalist working in a ‘man’s arena’. Amusing and interesting insights gave much credence to Angela as an imaginative and increasingly valued member of the reporting team. Members were very interested to hear about coverage of events close at hand. The adventures of a sports reporter were presented with wit and charm. Clearly Angela has made an impact in her job and according to her there is no discrimination or differentiation between men and women.

Sylvia Connor – Primrose School Project,Thika, Kenya – February 24th 2011

A very interesting talk about a visit to the Primrose School to which SI Dewsbury has donated a computer (their very first) filled in some details about the buildings, head teacher, teachers and about the children. The latter looked really happy in the photos and quite clearly would gain a great deal from use of the computer and the books sent by a Dewsbury school. There are about 400 pupils between 6 and 12 and only 4 pupil toilets – so our next project is to provide another ‘choo’ Swahili for toilet!  Sylvia is a very enthusiastic supporter of this school. She lives in the local area of Dewsbury and continues to be an excellent link between our club and the school in Thika.

Rev. Ann Sherratt (Vice-President) – Life and Quilt Making – March 24th 2011

As an emergency fill-in for a lady too ill to come and speak on Trafficking Ann was truly wonderful. She wound into demonstration of her own quilts her own life adventures, a few philosophic insights and some of the important learning she had gained on her journies in her role as a methodist minister in various localities. It was an illuminating talk which created resonance for some members and food for thought for others. The importance of creative engagement in some medium or other was a clear message. A most enjoyable evening in ‘getting to know’ Ann a little more since she is a relatively new member to SI Dewsbury.