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Club Activities 2019-2021

AGM and President’s Charities Donations

The meeting commenced with a virtual distribution of the monies raised for the two charities during the year 2019/2020, an excellent total of £5320. President Kathleen welcomed Dan from the Alzheimer’s Society and presented £670.00, in addition to the £2000 donation from last year. Diane Boustead from the Carer’s Trust Mid Yorkshire was also welcomed and presented with £2650. The latter will go towards providing respite care for the parents of disabled children.
During 2019/20 we also raised monies for the girls in Nepal (the collection at the  2019 carol service).  Also money in lieu of 2019 Christmas cards for toilet twinning and we had two coffee mornings for flood victims! so that was a lot of money raised in that one year. This last 12 months there was also the pee in a pot collection for WaterAid.
Sadly, due to the pandemic, fundraising events throughout 2020/21 had to be cancelled. However members still managed to raise £600 for the Forget Me not Trust in lieu of Christmas Cards (2020), £1000 from a 2021 Easter raffle and £145 through the sale of Freda’s Easter chicks and rabbits. £1145 has therefore been carried forward to the presidential year 2021/22 and the Club’s charity for the year, the Forget Me Not Trust, which is celebrating its 10th Anniversary.

Happy Birthday Dorothy

President Kathleen & Sue West, Pat, Linda, June and Margaret visited Dorothy on her 90th birthday with cards, birthday cake and flowers and all good wishes.

Eggscellent Easter Efforts

President Kathleen’s final fling was to organise an Easter raffle with proceeds towards the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice. the draw for 43 prizes was made by the Mirfield members. A magnificent sum of £1000 was raised.

Freda’s annual batch of chickens and rabbits was released for sale and raised £145 for Forget Me Not. Well done to Freda and everyone who helped rehome all the creatures.

Helping the Hospice

President Kathleen and Presidents elect Jackie and June visited the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice on February 24th to present £600.00 from donations in lieu of Christmas cards and returned Nepal money. Knitted blankets were also donated

West Yorkshire Hardship project

Thank you all for your donations of toiletries, hats, socks, jumpers, scarves.  Debbie, Linda and Pat dropped them off on Friday February 12th and they were delighted.  They posted the attached photo on Facebook with the following comment ‘ Thank you once again to the wonderful ladies from Soroptimist International for the great donation of toiletries.’

Winter Times

The Christmas meeting was somewhat different this year, being held on Zoom. Following brief formalities the fun began – a Christmas quiz by Quiz master June, a cryptic take on The Twelve days of Christmas (Sarah and Linda), then Christmas past – Who’s who (picture show courtesy of Kate), Christmas present – time for a chat
and Christmas future – cheers & raise a glass !!!
On December 11th President Kathleen presented members’ food donations to Mirfield food bank. The lady receiving the donation was non other than a former member of the club and treasurer, Lesley Ball!
January business meeting was Members night when Catherine gave a very interesting account of her life.

Autumn activities

In September members of SI Dewsbury and Wakefield planted 100 trees at Dewsbury Country Park, with a little help from Pete & Jill from Kirklees. Pictured below. They also planted 100 in October.

Julie Thompson handed over a Toilet Twinning plaque to Sarah and Andrew from the Refreshment Rooms at Dewsbury Railway Station. This is one of five the Club raised funds for through donations in ‘loo’ of Christmas cards last year.

Members are kept up to date with events (or non-events) by the weekly news sheet sent out by member and Yorkshire President Linda Davis. Local area groups of 6 have met in gardens socially distanced, and also collected for local food banks and made Christmas shoeboxes for Samaritan’s Purse. Twiddle muffs have been presented to three local care homes, and bedding provided for the local refuge

A recent programme action project was ‘P in the Pot’ with 155.00 raised for WaterAid.

President Kathleen & Yorkshire President Linda laid a wreath at Ings Grove Park, Mirfield, on behalf of members of SI Dewsbury & District. Members Maureen, Jackie, Helen and Pat also attended.



Helping the Hospice

On Tuesday August 18th  President Elect Pat, President Elect Christine and Yorkshire President Elect Linda went to the Forget Me Not  Children’s Hospice. We met some of the staff and suitably masked (not suitably Dressed anymore) we handed over 9 shakers, 2 ukuleles, a drum kit and a slinky dog. This will be next year’s charity for the club.

Hats off for Yorkshire Day

Getting Together

July 19/20/21st saw the Jo Cox Foundation annual Great Get Together.  As it wasn’t possible for us to have a great get together we had several small get togethers in Batley, Dewsbury, Mirfield, Ossett and Thornhill.

Community Covid Care

After months of knitting by members pre and during lockdown, cot blankets of all colours and sizes were delivered to The Forget Me Not Trust.

Sewing skills were put to good use too, Sue G made some scrub bags, Chris C made some facial coverings and Catherine made loads of masks and distributed to care homes

Two of the members are Admiral Nurse Ambassadors and were approached to help with comfort bags for the Admiral Nurses in Kirklees to give out to carers, dementia sufferers and recently bereaved. They asked members to knit twiddle muffs and hearts. The bags also contained chocolate, toiletries, baking kits, seeds, puzzle books, tea, pens and biscuits. Over 100 were distributed.

President Kathleen was asked if they could knit pairs of hearts for Halifax & Huddersfield Royal Infirmaries.
One would stay with the family member and the other would be given to the patient in hospital. Nurse Catherine, a neighbour of President Kathleen, was delighted to receive them.




The Big Lunch is an annual event, a thanksgiving weekend for neighbours and communities. President Kathleen suggested that instead of members lunching, they donated to the five food banks in the area.

An Equal World is an Enabled World

Sunday 8th March was International Women’s  Day. It was marked across the world to reflect the United Nation’s theme of ” an equal world is an enabled world”. SI Dewsbury struck the ‘equals pose’ at their events during the previous week. Marilyn’s coffee morning in aid of local flood relief on Thursday, Mirfield Friendship Cafe on Friday and a Time for a Cuppa event on Saturday.

Not forgetting the regular curry club with other SIY members joining in.

Festive Times

The annual Christmas meal was at Heath Cottage, a good time was had by all.

At the Christmas meeting several members gave donations in lieu of Christmas cards to each other. It was decided to donate to Toilet Twinning for five toilets in poorer countries.

Saturday December 7th was our annual Christmas party at Tentercroft Court. Fun, Food & Friendship was the order of the day, Santa joined us once again, chatting up the ladies as usual, we also had a surprise visit from Paula Sherriff. By ‘unpopular’ demand, the Twelve Days of Christmas panto style returned, along with a rendition of ’50 Shades of Grey’ and finally, a sing-a-long to Christmas carols.

Our annual Christmas outing this year was to Harewood House, talking statues, talking plates, illuminated chandeliers and ceilings, it had it all. The lunch and service was exceptional, thank you to Sue G for her impeccable organisation.

Dewsbury Soroptimists entry into Trinity Church Christmas Tree Festival 2019. This year we are supporting the Woodland Trust, many of the decorations have been handmade from recycled materials.

Our Annual Carol Service was held on Sunday 1st December at St James Parish Church, Heckmondwike. In attendance were Mumtaz Hussain Mayor of Kirklees and his wife Noreen, Rita Leaman President of SI Yorkshire, Kathleen Thornton President of SI Dewsbury & District, together with members, friends and family of SI Dewsbury. Gawthorpe Brass Band and Heckmondwike Grammar School Senior Girls Choir provided the musical accompaniment.

November Events

At our 28th November Speaker Meeting, Emma, a pupil of one of our members, spoke about her life, from an early age, fighting against mental illness. She has set up a Twitter page called A Fighter and A Survivor, and an Instagram page to inspire others to fight together and to raise awareness of mental health. It’s ok to not be ok.

Sunday 24th November Dewsbury Soroptimists were joined by Wakefield Soroptimists, Ansaar Beaver Scouts, Ravensthorpe Residents Action Group and friends and family, to plant nearly 800 trees at Dewsbury Country Park. Pete Banks, Dewsbury Country Park Ranger, patiently instructed us on the art of tree planting, and gave us the history of the park and explained the importance of planting trees for future generations. Thank you to everyone who came along to make it a special community event.

President Kathleen laid a wreath on behalf of Dewsbury Soroptimists at Remembrance Sunday in Mirfield. Maureen, Jackie, Catherine, Janet, Linda & Pat also attended, and look who we bumped into on the parade – Paula Sheriff and Karen Rowling.

SI Dewsbury & District, together working in partnership with Trinity Church, Ossett and ASDA Wakefield, packed 8 shoe boxes with gifts to bring joy, love and hope to children in need around the world. The boxes were taken to a central point and then collected and shipped by Operation Christmas Child through the Charity Samaritans Purse. The club members were divided into groups by the areas where they lived. They decided which age group for their boxes, met and had fun and friendship packing with love and care their shoeboxes.

October Speaker Meeting

The Second Chance Headway Centre provides a therapy led day service for adults who are living with acquired or traumatic brain injury. Gemma & Sue outlined the charity’s objectives which are to relieve and rehabilitate individuals living in or near Yorkshire and the Humber; providing, assisting and promoting facilities for the carers and families and friends of the individuals.

Charity Coffee Morning – October 11th

Our annual charity coffee morning at Tentercroft Court, in aid of Alzheimer’s Society and the Carer’s Trust, was held on the 11th October.  Roger Ram and his Mam supported us along with Arif and his family from the Baitul Atta Mosque in Dewsbury.  A grand total of £307.00 was raised, to be shared between the two charities.  President Kathleen received a big hug from Roger Ram.

The weather was kind in Crow Nest Park on Thursday when the Green Flag was raised for the ninth successive year, Paula Sherrif thanked everyone for their hard work. Linda & Pat went along to show their support.

And another first for Dewsbury Soroptimists, our first ever Mirfield Friendship Cafe. Dewsbury Soroptimists welcomed residents of Mirfield, two members of Kirklees Council and the lovely staff and volunteers of Mirfield Library. We are looking forward to the next one on Friday 1st November.

Four members of Dewsbury Soroptimists, including President Kathleen, attended SI Garforth-Elmet’s Charter Lunch on Sunday 6th October. As always, it was good to meet up with friends old and new.

Mary Hillary Award winners – again!

Dewsbury won the Mary Hillary Award for a second time since 2009, announced at the September RCM for their work fundraising for Admiral Nurses and Dementia UK.

Following the appeal on Look North from Batley Food Bank, President Kathleen rallied the troops and donations poured in at our Business Meeting on September 12th. Kathleen handed over donations to two volunteers from Batley Food Bank.

September 10th saw the first curry night after our August break. Thank you to Judith from SI Wakefield who organised a fun and tasty evening at the Amaia in Wakefield. It was lovely to welcome members of SI Wakefield & SI Garforth-Elmet.

August Activities

Dewsbury Soroptimists joined with supporters of the Mirfield Community Garden to organise a garden party to raise funds for the garden. There were home made sandwiches and cakes, donations of food, cakes and raffle prizes from the shops in Mirfield and a plant sale. A grand total of £483.30 was raised, Catherine, Chair of the Mirfield Community Garden thanked everyone who contributed to the very successful event.

When Linda & Pat went to see the Arts Catalyst exhibition in Mirfield Library in July, they got chatting to Bev the librarian. They wanted to set up some form of Dementia/Friendship cafe, but, hadn’t quite got around to it.

The room is excellent with tea & coffee making facilities and free parking, it seemed too good to be true, so, we have arranged for us try it out on the first Friday of the month, starting with the 4th October.

We will be setting up a rota for volunteers, we will also be looking to our domestic goddesses to bake the odd cake. It will be a good platform for us to raise our profile and help the community at the same time.

When asked by SI Yorkshire President Pat Kilbane if we would like to do something to help the communities in Swaledale & Leyburn after the devastating floods, we of course, accepted the challenge.  Marilyn kindly opened up her home and we invited fellow Soroptimists and neighbours to join us for a coffee morning.  As always, lots of fun & laughter, lots of cake & tea, and we raised £303.00 in the process.  Thank you to Marilyn for her hospitality.

Celebrating Yorkshire Day – August 1st

Yorkshire Day was given over to our President Kathleen for an afternoon tea. Relocated to Ravensthorpe Community centre to avoid the adverse weather of that week.

Dewsbury Soroptimists celebrated Yorkshire Day with a fantastic afternoon tea of delicious sandwiches, amazing home baked cakes and the delicacy that is mucky fat.  Over £350.00 was raised for Alzheimer’s Society & The Carer’s Trust.

President Kathleen pictured drawing the raffle prizes, holds the garden ornament now residing with Hilda!.

Celebrating 240 years – July 25th

A meeting with a difference! The 80th birthday celebration of 3 members …’celebrating 240 years’. A wonderful evening of reminiscences, poetry which had us all in stitches, delicious food …(puddings only, gorgeous though they were) and rounded off by a wonderful rendition of the song ‘somewhere over the rainbow’ penned we were told in the very same year that these ladies were born.

Friendship meeting with SI Preston – July 22nd

9 intrepid Dewsbury members met with 8 equally intrepid members from S I Preston at SI Skipton’s house. We feasted fabulously on a beautiful buffet and calorie free(haha) puddings. It was lovely catching up with everyone.

Friendship Evening at Beth’s – July 19th

A wonderful evening was enjoyed by all at the friendship evening at Beth’s to socialise with Christine’s visitors Sharon and Carol. Fun, food and friendship flowed all evening. They have enjoyed three weeks her visiting Quilt Exhibitions, the Yorkshire show and the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park amongst others.

Speaker Meeting – June 27th

The July speaker was Sharon Charlesworth from the Domestic Violence Hub of the local police. Sometimes we think we know much about domestic violence from what we read in the press, or see on television, but in fact we know very, very little. The cases quoted to us by Sharon were nothing short of heart breaking, mind boggling, and bordering almost on the unbelievable!!

As a community we are fortunate there are such facilities available to those in need of them.

We were joined by visitors Yorkshire President Pat Kilbane, IPP Chris Clark and Val Jenkins

Dorothy received her Long Service Award from President Pat, and June received a bouquet to celebrate her 80th birthday.

Yorkshire Conference – June 29th

Saturday 29th June, The Yorkshire Conference day was held at the Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, York. The morning was given over to the Museum guides, who introduced us to the Museum followed by the Curator, Mr Mike Tyler, who gave us a potted history of the Land Army, represented today by Iris Newbould who was an original land army girl. joining up at the age of 17. Just prior to the lunch we had a 30 minute interval enjoying the sunshine and treated to a small fly past from a hurricane aircraft.

Lunch was a delight and was followed by Corporal Katherine Height speaking about ‘the front line’ her work in the RAF which began at the age of 18 and has included many campaigns and has won several medals for her.

Curry Club at Parmer’s – June 26th

Curry club night, again a very successful evening with 20 or so members present.

Charter Lunch – June 22nd

The Charter Lunch was held at Healds Hall. Once again this event was a huge success…thanks in no small measure to the food, the speakers, and the company which included friends from clubs across the region. The speaker was Cathryn Riley, senior officer Ceremonies Dewsbury Register Office…who regaled us with anecdotes from every aspect of births, marriages and deaths. Pictured above with President Kathleen and Donna Blakeway who gave the toast to Soroptimism.

Long Service Awards were presented by SI Yorkshire President Pat Kilbane to Christine Cashman, Carol Ashbury, Beth Swann and Kath Maudsley.

Celebrating with Cynthia – June 13th

A Business meeting with a difference. Several members joined SI Wakefield to celebrate the 90th birthday of their member Cynthia Speeden.

Judith introduced Cynthia to everyone then flowers were presented and Cynthia cut her cake. Supper was served accompanied by entertainement from a live duo.

President Kathleen presented Cynthia with a bouquet of flowers from SI Dewsbury.

Several members went to Askham Grange Women’s open prison for the Regional Council meeting on June 22nd.

A detailed account of the work gone into the new mother and baby unit was first on the agenda followed by a question and answer session with immediate past federation president Sue Biggs on the workings of the Federation and its methods of electing board members….a subject pretty obscure to most of us. A wonderful lunch was provided by the residents.

Croquet – June 10th

Rain – torrential rain even, did that deter us – no.  Huddersfield, Wakefield and Dewsbury Soroptimists braved the elements and played aqua croquet in Golcar.  Thank you to Huddersfield Soroptimists for organising a memorable night!

Garden Party – June 9th

Thank you to Carol & Glenn for allowing us to use their garden, lots of food, fun & friendship, and what would we have done without Barry the raffle caller? £1,000 raised for Alzheimer’s Society and the Carer’s Trust.

May Meetings and Events

Thank you to Mags Rogerson, Bsns Development Mgr. Carer’s Trust Mid Yorkshire, Crossroads Carer’s Service, who came to talk to us about how they provide support for carers and the people they care for.

Well done to the organisers of the Curiosity Festival at Crow Nest Park on May 19th, we had a fantastic day raising awareness of this year’s charities, Alzheimer’s Society & the Carers Trust and last year’s charity, Admiral Nurses. Jane and Sue are framed by the Dewsbury Town Crier
Thank you to Julie Lee, Community Fundraiser-West Yorkshire, Alzheimer’s Society for giving an insight into the wonderful work they do. Also, congratulations to Christine on her special birthday.

Curry Club – May 2nd

Our latest adventure into the world of curries, we visited Grameen Spice, Grangemoor for the second time.  Fourteen Dewsbury Soroptimists enjoyed good food and fabulous company.

AGM – April 25th

The AGM took place at Heath Cottage, Dewsbury. Everyone enjoyed a wonderful supper at the start of the evening before the meeting started.
When the ordinary, every day business was finished we had the exchange of insignia from Pat and Linda to our new President Kathleen, followed by gifts of flowers etc and last but by no means least the cutting and consuming of the beautiful cake, baked and iced by our new President, who had been President 39 years ago and never thought she would have the pleasure of doing it again.
So into another year…long may we have another wonderful year.