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Celebrating International Women’s Day 8th March #IWD2024


President Pat Shore welcomed our guests as Harrogate and District Soroptimist  celebrated International Women’s Day with a special event at the Wesley Centre in Harrogate with the theme, ‘Forging an Inclusive World for Women and Girls’. With over 160 people present on the night we were delighted to announce our Young Woman and Woman in the Community Awards. Women volunteers making a difference to others. It is always a hard job for the judges with such fantastic nominations.  Yorkshire President Susie Westwood and Club President Pat Shore presented the Winners and the Highly Commended certificates.

Young Woman in the Community Award  – Grace Hughes.

Women standing at a podium presenting a certificate
Grace receiving the Young Woman in the Community Award

Grace has used her organisational and musical talent to support Dementia Forward , Saint Michael’s Hospice shops and is an ambassador for Orchestras for All.

Emily receiving her Highly Commended Certificate
Highly Commended –  Emily Houghton
Emily is a volunteer for Harrogate Hospital & Community Charity. She helps out at events always greeting people with her infectious smile.

Woman in the Community Award – Lindsay Oliver

Lyndsay receiving her Woman in the Community Award

Lindsay set up New Beginnings Peer Support Group in 2019 for women in Ripon area who have suffered domestic abuse. It supports women and families to grow and rebuild their lives after leaving an abusive relationship.

Highly Commended are:

Helen receiving the Highly Commended Award from Yorkshire President Susie Westwood

Helen Mackenzie. Helen set up a food charity, ‘ Back to Basics’ in 2019. Helping families who struggle to make ends meet. Helen deliveres food packages to 14 families with every ingredient including recipe cards needed for a healthy hearty meal.

Pat Donkin receiving the Highly Commended Award from Yorkshire President Susie
Pat Donkin. Pat has been a volunteer for her Salvation Army Community for over 20 years. She sits at the markets stall come hail of shine selling the Savagion Army War Cry. She also helps run the Salvation Army kids club.
Sue Hart

Susie Hart MBE . Susie’s spent over 20 years making a difference to the lives of many including deaf people and those with physical difficulties both locally and Tanzania and Peru. Susie also founded #Artizan . There is now a workshop and a fair trade shop in Harrogate.

Annie receiving Highly Commended Certificate from President Susie
Annie Kilroy. Annie’s volunteered for Harrogate Hospital Radio for over 10 years. She is well regarded by staff and patients. She also supports the Chaplaincy Team.
Jeannette receiving the Highly Commended Certificate from President Susie
Jeannette Wilson. Jeanette has shown unerring loyalty and commitment as a volunteer fundraiser for over 50 years for Friends of Harrogate Hospital. During her voluntary service over £2.3m has been raised. Jeanette has also taken the vital role as secretary for the charity for many years.
Two  Highly Commended women did not wish to be named. Both volunteer at the hospital. We are delighted that Dr Jackie Andrews, the Medical Director at Harrogate Hospital, attended the event and will present their Highly Commended certificates to them.

Keynote Speakers

Our Guest Speakers, SIGBI President Ruth Healey & Dr Ruth Smith, High Sheriff of North Yorkshire in nomination, spoke about how we #inspireinclusion. President Ruth was flying out to New York the next day to attend the Commission on the Status of Women.  She highlighted how important it is to include women in decision making at all levels. Dr Ruth spoke about leadership and asked the audience if anyone ever have imposter syndrome? She also spoke about the ‘sticky floor’ and how that can hold women back. The sticky floor is an expression used as a metaphor to point to a discriminatory employment pattern that keeps workers, mainly women, in the lower ranks of the job scale, with low mobility and invisible barriers to career advancement.

Entertainment –  The Stray Notes

Stray Notes Choir
The Stray Notes choir provided wonderful entertainment to finish off a memorable night.
Remembering our Past Members who made a Difference
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