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President’s Blog – A busy May

BLOG – MAY 2024

I really do enjoy May, it has 2 bank holidays (so no work for me!), having longer days and being able to get out and about during daylight! I have tried very hard this month to take photos so I can share what I have been up to with you.

It’s been a busy month building friendship links, focusing on project completion and as you can see from the photo’s all whilst having fun.

Soroptimist International of Blantyre  – Seyema School Library Project

Christabel and I have been working with SI Blantyre on finishing off the Seyema School Library Project.  Thank you, Christabel, for your very generous hospitality, wonderful views over the river Nidd and most importantly for seeing this project through to the end.  Christabel will give a very short presentation to the next Regional Council Meeting about the project. I  hope she will be able to do the same at our business meeting in July.

Soroptimist International of Yorkshire Club Events

I have been very fortunate to attend 3 Yorkshire events this month and enjoy what little bit of glorious weather we have had.  The first was the new Yorkshire Presidents’ lunch hosted by Susie Westwood, Yorkshire President. It was great to meet up with and get to know other Presidents and Officers from around the region. We enjoyed a lovely lunch on one of the rare sunny Saturdays we’ve had, in Linda Phillips (SI Wakefield) gorgeous garden.

The following day, Sheila, Heather and I ventured to Halifax to help SI Halifax celebrate their 96th charter lunch at the Crows Nest Park Golf Club. The golf club is built on the estate of the Lister family, made famous by the BBC Drama series Gentleman Jack. I could just envisage seeing Gentleman Jack striding down through the middle of the golf course towards the 19thhole! Once again, the sun shone and it was great to meet other Soroptimists and I was able to hear about what the Rotary Club of Halifax and Calder was involved in from their President, Geraldine Carter. It was also another opportunity to catch up with President Susie.

The third Yorkshire event I attended was on 18th May 2024 with Pat and Sheila, supporting SI Keighley celebrating 90 years of activism. Huge thank you goes to John Shore for driving us there and back.  We had a fantastic guest speak Michelle Hands who spoke about “She who dares, Wins”, her company that Inspires and Empowers women. It was fascinating to hear about her experiences in the Engineering industry and the barriers and discrimination she hsd overcome together with the work she is doing in promoting women through her podcasts.

Mayor Making in Knareborough

I attended this year’s Knaresborough Mayor Making with Christabel at Knaresborough House last week. The outgoing Mayor Hannah Gostlow was an avid supporter of SI Harrogate and District and came to several of our events with the new Knaresborough Mayor Margy Longhurst and the outgoing Deputy Mayor Helen Westmancoat.  I am looking forward to exploring partnership working between SI Harrogate and District with Helen when she becomes President of Knaresborough Rotary Club.

The New Zealand Garden Presentation –  Links to Wellington

What a fabulous Speaker Meeting we had, with my ex-colleague Sue Wood (formerly Harrogate Borough Council) from North Yorkshire Council telling us all about the New Zealand Garden in the Valley Gardens:

  • the history and link to Town Twinning
  • Initial Planting and renovation
  • Recent renovation

It was a shame that no-one from SI Wellington was able to join us, but it was VERY early in the morning and it is their winter, so I can’t blame them! Val has sent a copy of the zoom recording to Kristeen who has responded by saying “That is fantastic, thank you very much. So very special to receive this email from you, I will enjoy watching, Kindest Kristeen”


I was so inspired by the talk, that I went the next day and took some photos and sent copies to Sue, as she said she didn’t have many.  I would like to thank Val for her technical support at the speaker meeting – not only did Val manage the zoom meeting, she looked after the Speakers presentation and the sound system. After the meeting Val then produced the 3 YouTube videos so again Val a huge thank you.

What an excuse to miss the speaker meeting !!!!

Our Immediate Past President Pat was honoured to attend the Service of Dedication for the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire at St. Pauls Cathedral on the 15th May.The King as Sovereign of the Order and the Queen, Grand Master both attended in embossed damask rose and gold robes and processed down the aisle a foot away from Pat & John.

Their Majesties were accompanied by the Lord Mayor of London, The Dean of St. Pauls and the Bishop of London. They were also accompanied by the Honourable Corps of Gentleman at Arms and The Yeoman of the Guard.

Pat met many incredible people from all walks of life and had an incredible and wonderful day.

Congratulations Pat, what an amazing experience and an absolutely justified excuse to miss the speaker meeting!

Alzheimer’s Society Trek 26 North York Moors









On a personal note, on bank holiday Saturday (25th), I volunteered at the Trek26 North Yorks Moors event in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society in Whitby. Over 700 people participated in either walking a half or full marathon along the wonderful east coast and raised in excess £300,000.  Normally I would have been one of those 700, but unfortunately due to problems with my hip, I wasn’t able to sign up for the actual walk.

I had an amazing day, giving out medals and selling merchandise. And, it was quite emotional seeing some finishers in tears as doing the challenge meant so much to them, something I can really empathise with.  I’m hoping, next year to be able to do the trek, so if anyone wants to join me, let me know. I would though highly recommend volunteering at these types of events, especially at the finish line! I also tried my hand at doing some videos for Facebook, so there is a lack of photos!

Orange the Day –  25th of the Month

As it was the 25th of the month, of course I was wearing orange! I was so pleased to see on Facebook our Food Poverty Team planning for their event on 8th June all wearing orange. So wherever you are on the 25th of the month you can always wear a bit of orange and Just Say No to Gender Based Violence.

Future Events

I am really excited to start planning this year’s charter lunch with Lesley and the team, Janet M, Maureen and Sheila. A date for your diary is Saturday 12th October 2024 at the Bridge Inn, Walshford 12 – 3.30pm.

I look forward to seeing those who are able to join our Summer of Song concert on 8th June in aid of Resurrected Bites and our Summer Outing’s Whitakers Gin tasting event on 19th .