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Remembering Surjit Athwal

Remembering Surjit Athwal

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This week we remembered Surjit Athwal who was murdered in an honour killing when she was 27 years old.   We visited the cherry tree which was planted in her memory in November 2021. You can read about this here: Tree planting in memory of Surjit Athwal Due to the very hot and dry weather,  it had lost its leaves but grown since November and was showing some buds.  July is the month of Surjit’s birthday and we will try to visit the tree annually to mark the occasion of her birthday. Visitors to the tree included SI Epsom and District Club members and visitors: Left to Right-Dr Clive Driscoll (True Honour Deputy Chair), Pam Cooper, Norma Stride, Jenny Harding, Sue Merchant, Ina (a refugee from Ukraine), Sarbjit Athwal (member and  Surjit’s sister-in-law) and Diana Porter. Not in the this photo – Veronica Storey.  Afterwards, some

Reduce Single Use Plastic- Improve Zero Waste!

Reduce Single Use Plastic- Improve Zero Waste!

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As part of SIGBI's Day of Action, which focused on the reduction of single use plastic, we invited Tony, Founder and Director of Eco Be Ltd, a zero waste shop in Dorking,  to speak to the Club. He spoke about his approach to reducing single use plastic and the products he sells in his shop. Tony also spoke about the amount of plastic which is thrown away and described  a plastic island in the Pacific ocean, the size of France, which was detrimental to all the surrounding wildlife. In the clip below, he referred  to the 'Loop System' which entails all the 20 litre plastic bottles containing liquids to be sold in his shop, being sent back to the wholesalers in order to refill his stock. https://sigbi.org/epsom-and-district/files/2022/07/22.07.26-Video-Club-Speaker-Meeting-Eco-Be-Loop-system-1.mp4   The use of paper bags instead of plastic bags in the shop for produce and how all
Hilary Page MBE

Hilary Page MBE

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Hilary passed away peacefully on 14 July 2022, having been a Soroptimist for 50 years and after celebrating her 90th birthday in June. She held positions at Club. Region, Federation and International level, including Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) Federation President from 1989 to 1990 and Soroptimist International President from 1997 to 1999. Hilary was awarded honorary membership of SIGBI in 2011. Hilary was a people person, mentoring and encouraging members of her first club, SI Lewisham, and still supporting members of SI Epsom and District club, to which she transferred in 2017, even during her final illness. She brought her skills and experience as a civil servant in the (then) Department of Employment (chairing committees, developing plans and budgets, preparing briefing papers for Government Ministers). As a Senior Executive she was involved in developing and implementing an Equal Opportunities Policy through
Ashtead Rotary Village Day

Ashtead Rotary Village Day

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What a great turn out at the Ashtead Rotary Village Day! We attracted plenty of visitors to our stall which included a special Big Jubilee Draw, a lucky dip, Doves of Peace badges in Ukraine colours and paper flowers. The Big Jubilee Draw was a huge hit with children who coloured in and produced their own illustrations related to the Queen's Jubilee.  It was a good opportunity to tell passers by about the work of Soroptimists which includes fundraising for three local domestic abuse charities. You can read about those charities here: Violence Against Women and Girls  We have also been involved with Soroptimist International in Lviv, Ukraine,  for the past few years and during the present conflict, have been  sending funds via Switzerland and Poland to Lviv. All proceeds from the Village Day will go towards our collection for Lviv.
Mid Surrey Community Fridges

Mid Surrey Community Fridges

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Clare Davies, CEO, Mid Surrey Community Fridges, spoke about her work to members of SI Epsom and District yesterday.  To begin with, Clare described the setting up of the community fridges in Surrey when she and colleagues felt something needed to be done about the surplus of food being produced which was being turned over to landfill sites.  In 2019, they were able to work with a charity called Fare Share who receive food from large organisations such as Tesco’s and Waitrose. The local housing association suggested setting up a community fridge at the North Leatherhead, Trinity Centre. Funding from the Community Foundation for Surrey provided them with a mobile fridge. The idea was that people came to collect food for a donation of £2.50 and it was not based on need in the same way that foodbanks operate. The situation, however, changed during the

Women leading the way!

Women leading the way!

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What an eventful evening, celebrating the Women Leaders in our Club!  Charlotte Kneer DL, CEO Reigate and Banstead Women's Aid (RBWA) and honorary member of our Club, was invited to talk to us this week  about herself as a leader and those women who inspire her. Charlotte spoke about her role as CEO of RBWA and of the  recent honour she received as Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey in recognition for her work in the county.  Charlotte has truly been an inspiration and talked openly about her own background as a domestic abuse survivor. She described how that has helped to shape the woman she is now and how she is able to support women  who have gone through similar experiences. You can read more about the work we have done to support RBWA and our focus on the elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls
Cherry Tree 1 at RBWA
Today is Earth Day and our trees are blossoming!

Today is Earth Day and our trees are blossoming!

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What better way to celebrate Earth Day knowing that the cherry trees we planted in November 2021 at a Reigate and Banstead Women’s Aid Refuge are healthy! To read about their planting, visit this page Planting Trees The theme for Earth Day is ‘Invest in our Planet’ and individual action on climate change can include personal choices in many areas, such as diet, means of long and short-distance travel, household energy use, and consumption of goods and services. We all can play a part in this by making small adjustments to the way we live. Our Club is already investing in our planet through  simple recycling of items such as blister packs and green milk bottle tops to changing ordinary light bulbs to LED bulbs. We are also looking into reducing our food waste and you can read about this here on our Climate Change

A special celebration evening

A special celebration evening

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A special celebration was held last night for International Women's Day. The evening began with a recorded speech from Liz Batten, Past President of Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI). Liz spoke about one of our members, Hilary Page MBE, who has been a Soroptimist for 50 years, since 1972. Hilary has received a certificate from SIGBI to mark the occasion. Last year,  Hilary was presented with a certificate by SIGBI for her achievement in her work and being a Soroptimist.  She was amongst over 100 women nominated in the Soroptimist Centenary year. You can read about Hilary's achievements on this link: #WhoIsShe? - Hilary Page MBE Sally Curtis gave an introduction to International Women's Day, focusing on the women and children of  Lviv and the support we are sending over to them. Information about this can be found in a previous post on
International Women’s Day: Flowers for Lviv

International Women’s Day: Flowers for Lviv

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We were privileged to be invited by Sutton Women's Centre to their International Women's Day to promote the work of Soroptimists at Honeywood Museum, Carshalton. We had a stall in the building and were visited by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Sutton, who spent some time finding about the Club and the work that we do.  A presentation was delivered by one of our members, Sally Curtis. She emphasised the range of projects we have been involved in over the years for women and girls locally, regionally and globally.  We had formed a friendship link with Soroptimist International (SI) Lviv, Ukraine, in 2005. Orphanage No. 1 in the city of Lviv housed 110 orphan children, aged from birth to three, with different degrees of brain and psychological challenges.  SI Lviv supported this orphanage through buying food, crockery, furniture, lights, shoes, cleaning products, medicines, accessories
Epsom Refugee Network – Jo Sherring

Epsom Refugee Network – Jo Sherring

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We were joined on Zoom by Jo Sherring, coordinator from Epsom Refugee Network (ERN) this week.  She began by telling us about how refugees are people who have been forced to flee because of persecution, war or violence in their own country and that they would go home if they felt it safe to do so. She described how ERN was formed in 2015 and grew out of the Epsom and  Ewell Foodbank as there were many refugees and asylum seekers who went there. ERN work with many people from Syria and are expecting 5 families from Afghanistan soon to arrive in Epsom and Ewell Borough for resettlement.  As a result,  they are one of the largest refugee charities in the area. Help is offered to refugees in the form of access to translators, doctors, dentists, legal help and other local support services such as