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So how do you celebrate your 100th birthday?

By going to the House of Lords of course for a champagne reception!   What other way is there to celebrate with your Soroptimist sisters from far and wide.   With London calling, Club members Georgie, Elaine and Amina , together with Associate  member Tricia travelled to the House of Lords.   There they  joined Soroptimists from the UK and Ireland to celebrate our Centennial.

Federation President Cathy and SI President elect Maureen Maguire led the champagne toast.   They reminded us of the great achievements of our organisation.   And also that there is still a lot to do to improve the lives of women and girls.

We were joined by our last female Prime Minister the Rt Hon Teresa May.   The House of Lords protocols prevented us sharing this on social media however incoming Regional President Anne Rogers did mange to obtain her autograph.   A lovely souvenir.

Group of women on the terrace of the House of Lords
Cheers! Midland Arden Region enjoying the sunshine, the view and the company

Many friends from Midland Arden Clubs also travelled to enjoy the celebrations.   We do love a Grand Day out that involves champagne and wonderful food!   Thankfully we were able to share this group photograph of Midland Arden Region members  on the Terrace having  our very own toast to our Region.

A very memorable and enjoyable day.

President Julie was especially pleased to get this report from our newest member Amina about her day.

As daunting as it seemed (due to my CFS), I am pleased I managed to don my glad rags and join our fellow Sorop sisters from all over the country in London yesterday for our Centenary Celebration lunch at the pleasant surroundings of the House of Lords. I had 2 kind chaperones aka the husband and son who took the opportunity to tour the Palace of Westminster while I spent quality time with my fellow Sorops yesterday.
To say I was inspired is an understatement. All of the ladies were incredibly remarkable, committed to our values and wonderfully witty as well! How we laughed! I haven’t done so for years now, it seemed. It was a delight to meet Anne Rogers, Elaine and Georgie is just so adorable as well as a hoot!
 I am pleased to report that I have now returned back home to Kenilworth with a renewed vigour to support our club at all levels, the anticipated continuous improvement of my health permitting. I am incredibly proud to be a Sorop and will forever be grateful to Gill B who introduced me to the joy of being one.
Here are a few photos I managed to get on my camera including with our only surviving female former Prime Minister and a remarkable Sorop from Yorkshire named Sharon, who by strange coincidence had done some incredible work in my very own hometown in Nigeria where I grew up!

And the winners are!

Carrying on with the Centennial Celebrations back in Kenilworth, President Julie had more rewards to give out.   As ever she looked fabulous, presenting two of the junior winners of the 100 Women of Empowerment Trail with their prizes.   From this reply from their Grandmother, Julie certainly made an impression on these young men!   Clearly she is a women of empowerment in her own right.   Although we hope it doesn’t take another 100 years for her recognition!

Blonde women wearing chain of office with young boy on either sideThank you so much for taking the time to present the prizes personally and formally, wearing your chain of office.

The boys had been nervous but relaxed into the occasion and enjoyed telling you their responses to the trail and quiz. We spent some time in the day talking through the women they remembered or had learned about in school. This included Mary Seacole as well as Florence Nightingale, Malala and Greta Thunberg also Boudica. 
It occurred to them that a number of the women had worked as nurses: not just Mary Seacole and Florence Nightingale but also Edith Cavell and Irena Sendler. They enjoyed racing around searching the posters and the info out and finding things out about women they hadn’t heard of and they were very pleased to have generous prizes presented in person.

Keeping up to date with our friends in Malawi

Gordon, from Friends of Sick Children in Malawi has sent us the latest newsletter for you to read by clicking on the link
Autumn_2021_Newsletter   It’s always good to read the positives about how the money we raise for them is spent.   Such a small amount from us goes such a long way in the hospital we support in Blantyre.

Our last dinner meeting!

Well no not really, just the last one at the hall of St Francis of Assisi before we return to the Holiday Inn.   We are of course very grateful for the use of the room over the past few months.   Our team of ‘dinner ladies’ have done us proud organising the catering and clearing up.   However they’re probably ready to relinquish their metaphorical pinnies!

Climate Change and what can we do?

Because of our link as Soroptimists and the UN Sustainable goals, we were delighted to welcome Matthew Griffin as our dinner speaker     Just as well he’s tall as he has a very long title!   He’s the Graduate Environment Project Officer for West Midlands Combined Authority and a Greenpeace Youth Speaker.

This was Matthew’s first  ‘live’ talk since lockdown, and only our second speaker meeting. We all agreed that  it’s great to get back to face to face meetings. His talk was very timely because the COP26 summit in Glasgow.

Matthew started by giving us a brief history of the origins of  Greenpeace.   It was founded in 1971  by a small group of concerned individuals to try to stop a US nuclear weapons test.   Greenpeace instantly received worldwide publicity and now has a presence in over 40 countries.   Since those early days, the organisation has widened its remit to campaign on a wide range of environmental issues.   These now include climate change,  deforestation,  pollution of the oceans and industrial farming practices.

Amongst the raft of alarming statistics Matthew gave us, two stood out. The fact that 80% of the coral reef is now bleached and that every minute a forest area  equivalent to  27 football fields is destroyed.   These certainly got member’s attention.

Thankfully at the end of his talk, Matthew gave us tips on what we can do as individuals to protect our environment.   He did stress that the main responsibility  is on governments and corporations to take action.

Matthew’s top tips to reduce our carbon footprint

  1. Make your voice heard by those in power.
  2. Eat less meat and dairy.
  3. Cut back on flying. 
  4. Leave the car at home. 
  5. Reduce your energy use, and bills. 
  6. Respect and protect green spaces. 
  7. Invest your money responsibly. 
  8. Cut consumption – and waste.

And if any of this appeals to you –

Our next dinner meeting will be on the 25th November at the Holiday Inn Kenilworth.   You can contact us for more details via this website or our Facebook page