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President Blog – November

Presidents Report – November/December

Where has this year gone? And yet is seems ages ago since we made our first tentative steps back to normality.  Last year we met on the 1st of December and awarded the Charity Shop Christmas Window winners at the Crown Hotel. A week later, I had to make the presentation to the Wetherby Winner’s in the street as restrictions were reintroduced due to the spread of covid. Covid is still a factor but is now part of our everyday lives. I hope all of you who have recently had covid have made a good recovery.

Remembrance Sunday 13 November

November has been another very busy month.  There is so much going on in the Club. On the 13th of November I represented the Club at the Harrogate Cenotaph to lay a wreath at the Remembrance Service.  It is always a day of reflection as we remember those who sacrificed their lives. It is particularly pertinent now as war rages once again in Europe.  We are  seeing at first-hand the impact of war on the lives of women and children.

Wreath laid at the Commonwealth War Graves Harrogate

I then went to Stonefall Cemetery where I laid a wreath at the Commonwealth War Graves. I  am always moved by the ceremony organised by the Harrogate Brigantes as most of the young men buried there are from Canada, Australia, and New Zealand – far from home. Like my own Uncle. He flew in the same Squadron as some of the young Australian and New Zealanders buried at Stonefall,  He too lost his life and is buried in Holland.

Thank you, Christabel for organising the wreaths with the British Legion and for those of you who laid a wreath this year.  Elsie in Wetherby, Nicola in Ripon and Christine in Knaresborough.

Friendship Evening

On a happier note, what a fabulous Friendship Evening organised by Janet Morrow.  It was great fun and a fantastic amount raised with Judith as our auctioneer and over £600 raised for the International President’s Appeal, Building a Bright Future. And wasn’t it fabulous to connect with our new Friendship Link in Wellington New Zealand.  Zoom really does help shrink the world. Speaking to others who are already in tomorrow!

Dementia Forward

 Thinking about success I was delighted to meet Sandra J in Burton Leonard to present Jill, CEO  Dementia Forward with a cheque for £800. Maureen’s wonderful Christmas knits are also helping Dementia Forward raise money for their essential work.

Presentation of a cheque to Dementia Forward

Presentation of the Gill Smith Trophy at Harrogate Spa Tennis Centre

I was also delighted to meet with Emma Craig to present the Gill Smith Trophy for best girl improver at the Harrogate Spa Tennis Centre.  Thank you, Maureen, for organising this and for Lesley for meeting up to take the photos. It’s always a pleasure to meet at the Tennis Club who are undergoing significant changes now with a new Club House.


Presentation of a cheque to Harrogate City of Sanctuary Group

I then went to meet up with Sandra Jowett to present a cheque for £250 to the Harrogate City of Sanctuary Group. The money will provide English Language lesson to the Ukrainian Refugees. Thank you, Sandra, for being our liaison with the sanctuary and for all you do to help a Syrian family adapt to living in the UK.

Share our Skills

I want the thank Sandra Frier and the Share our Skills team. We were delighted to welcome Alice, from Rossett School to our speaker meeting in October.  I am so pleased that Alice, Pinkie, and Poppy will be joining us at our December meeting. Sandra sent me copy of the Press Release about the fantastic work going on in the 6th Form to support the 16 Days of Activism to Stop Violence Against Women.  It was good to see the boys there too. There is excellent coverage in the Stray Ferret and the Harrogate Informer.

Women in Prison Project with SI Blantyre, Malawi

Well done Christabel in raising over£300 to help support SI Blantyre in Malawi with their Women in Prison project. This is great example of how one Soroptimist Club can support another. It was lovely to help at the fund raiser at ‘Bright Waters. My cheese scones didn’t last long.  Ripon Market was a bit of a disappointment due to lack of footfall.

It made me realise how getting the right footwear is essential when you are standing around – good preparation for the Wetherby Dickensian Market on the 11th of December. The forecast is very cold so those of us who are helping man the stall will have to wrap up well and take regular warm breaks. All money raised will go to the Wetherby Food Bank.

Soroptimist International of Yorkshire Regional Council Meeting

Four of us attended the Regional Council Meeting where we welcomed in our new President Jane Glendenning. The meeting usually falls in the 16 Days of Activism, so the predominant colour was Orange. It was a well-planned meeting and interesting to hear what other Clubs are doing.  We watched a video of the pop-up choir that are rehearsing for the Women’s Day Event on the 8th of March. Sandra F and Sandra J are in the choir. All followed by a very tasty lunch.

Harrogate District Charity Shop Christmas Window Competition

It has been very busy over the last 10 days getting ready for then judging the Charity Shop Christmas Window Competition.  I am typing this report listening to Christmas music, surrounded by judging sheets, certificates and the certificate frames. The Soroptimist Cup is looking good and ready for engraving.. Thank you to Sandra J, Sandra F, Lynne, Jan, Christabel, Sue Williams, and Liz for being part of the judging team. We were also joined by Cllr Mark Flood, Deputy Mayor of Knaresborough, and Linda, a local artist in Ripon.  Find out the results here.

We started judging the shop windows in 2004 so over the years we have seen many windows.  Lynne and I also judged the Commercial Shop Windows in Harrogate in the competition now organised by the Rotary Club.

Wetherby Charity Shop Christmas Window Competition

Thank you to Hilary, Elsie, and Heather for organising the Wetherby Charity Shop Christmas Window Competition. I will be presenting the Gill Smith Trophy to the winner on the 8th of December at Wetherby Town Hall.

Young Carers

Hilary also a lovely photo from when she presented a cheque to the Young Carers.  So, thank you very much for helping make a difference to those children who must care for their family members. The money enable 23 young carers receive a voucher for Christmas.

Our Club e-Christmas Card will be on its way to the Yorkshire Clubs and Friendship Links soon. Thanks to Chris Grainger for another excellent card.

I wish you all a Happy Christmas and Hannukah. We don’t meet face to face again after the Christmas party till February. Wishing you all a Happy New Year.  I hope that you will all join us on Zoom on 11th January 2023.


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