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President’s Blog – December/January 2023

President’s Report – December/January 2023

Happy New Year to all of you! I hope you all  had a Happy and Joyful Christmas?

The twelve days of Christmas will be over by the time we meet again. It takes a while before we feel the benefit of the lengthening days.  But – the days are getting longer.

A big thank you for the Christmas Cards and to those of you who donated in lieu of Christmas Cards. Jennifer will update me in the next couple of days and I will be writing out to thank those individuals who made donations. The money will help the Food Banks who are under a lot of pressure as the cost of living bites.

Charity Shop Winners

I was so pleased that so many of you were able to attend for the presentation to the winners of the Harrogate District Christmas Charity Shop Window Competition. There was a festive atmosphere in the room. It was also great that we were joined by the three young ladies from Rossett School. For those of you who were there you will have heard Nataliie, Manager of the charity shop Shelter in Harrogate, give a very heartfelt thank you on behalf of the people of Ukraine. Nataliie’s family are still in Ukraine and very reluctant to leave. Like all of us, our hope is for peace.

Presentation of the Soroptimist Cup for Best Dressed Christmas Shop Window to Shelter, Harrogate

Wetherby Charity Shop Winners – Gill Smith Cup

The next evening, I was delighted to present the Gill Smith Cup to the Charity Shop with best dressed window in Wetherby. This year’s competition was won by Martin House Children’s Hospice shop with last year’s winner, the Dog’s Trust being highly commended.  Thank you to Hilary, Heather and Elsie for organising the judging and working with Welcome to Wetherby for the prize giving.

President Val presents Gill Smith Cup to Martin House Hospice Charity Shop

Elizabeth Hughes’s 90th Birthday

Ilkley Soroptimist Elizabeth Hughes MBE celebrated her 90th Birthday. Elizabeth is a stalwart of Soroptimist International and Yorkshire. She is an inspiring woman. Soroptimists from throughout Yorkshire as well Club members  Janet M, Janet H, Christabel, Pat, Lesley and myself joined in the  celebration in Ilkley. It was a pleasure to be there. We were entertained by a group of children who are all refugees from Ukraine. They sang and danced and made their mothers very proud as well as bringing a tear to many an eye. I also found out that Carol of Bells, written by a Ukrainian, is a traditional folksong.

Wetherby Christmas Market

It certainly was a bitter day but that did not deter us putting together an excellent stall at the Wetherby Christmas Market.  We raised £250 for the Wetherby Food Bank.  Thank you Christine who was there all day with me, to Janet H, Heather, Rachel, Lynn, Hilary, Jan, Sandra J, Sue and Roger and Liz plus 2 hot water bottles.  We even made it on to the  local radio TempoFM promoting the work we do, Toilet Twinning and Food Banks.

Wetherby Christmas Market

Christmas Party

A big THANK YOU to Liz Stickney and her Elves and the team at the Masonic Hall. We had a fabulous evening and lots of fun as well as excellent food. Didn’t they do well. Great games too. And another great poem from Lesley. My sister bought me a wrap around cape with pockets to keep me warm. I was thinking of what to fill my pockets with after Lesley’s suggestions!!

Our reverse raffle also caused many a laugh especially when a certain pair of Christmas spectacle became much sought after?

Much sort after Christmas Spectacles

It was a special honour for me to present Honorary Membership to Elsie Johnston. Elsie has given tremendous service to the Club and SI Yorkshire. Her work with Contact the Elderly over near 20 years is outstanding. Thank you, Elsie.

President Val presents Elsie Johnston with Honorary Membership Badge
President Val presents Elsie Johnston with Honorary Membership Badge

Carols and Quiz

And thanks to all of you who were able to join Jonathan and I for our Carols and Quiz. It was lovely to see everyone on what was one of the darkest, rainiest days over Christmas. We certainly had fun, and everyone was in good voice – apart from me who had succumbed to laryngitis.  Thank you for the donations. We raised £100 that have been donated to the Stray Ferret Resurrected Bites Christmas Appeal.

Press and Publicity

I know there are many thank you’s in this report, but I want to say a special thanks to Lesley for the great coverage we get in the local news, social media, and Soroptimist News.  Articles don’t get there by themselves – They rely on us making sure Lesley gets the info. Lesley then does a fantastic job of sending them to local media, the Yorkshire Newsletter and the Soroptimist News – as I am sure most of you will have seen when you read the latest edition of Soroptimist News featuring the Hygge by Di and Heather and Maureen’s fantastic achievement of the Great North Run.

Happy New Year

So, 2023 is here. It’s nearly 90 years since the Club was first charted back in Oct 1933.  I know it will be a great year of celebration. There is a lot to look forward to. I am looking forward to seeing you on Zoom  in January and meeting again face to face in February.

President Val