2017/18 events

International Women’s Day 2018


On the 10 March 2018 club members held a pop up shop in the Vancouver Quarter of King’s Lynn shopping centre.

The main focus for the day was the Global Blanket Campaign with members of the public invited to make squares.The club provided the cloth and crafts to create a square and the day was a great success with over 60 squares made by the end of the day.

As well as creating squares for the Global Blanket we celebrated 100 years of votes for Women, collected sanitary items for a local project and old jewellery for the Diamond Education Grant charity.

The day was a great success thanks to the support of the Vancouver Quarter, the local newspapers and radio, not forgetting everyone who popped into the shop to create a square.

Further details and photographs are on the projects page.


Norfolk Lowland Search and Rescue Talk


For the club’s Speaker meeting in March, we welcomed Paul Webber of Norfolk Lowland Search and Rescue (NorLSAR), part of the wider Lowland Rescue. NorLSAR is one of only 34 county units across the country.


Paul gave a very interesting talk , starting with a film showing a rescue scenario, and going on to tell us about the search methods – by foot, using dogs, a water safety team and boat team, as well as their 4 x 4 response vehicle. The police oversee Mountain, Lowland and Cave Rescue services – all three are made up of volunteers.

The club were told about recent incidents that NorLSAR have been involved in, along with some excellent photographs – the most recent event being the help they provided during the snow. In 2014, NorLSAR were part of the national flood response when the Thames flooded. In Norfolk, there are around 16 to 20 missing person call outs per year.

Paul took us through the kit they use, such as Ivor the Land Rover and an Isuzu incident truck and he spoke about the training that members of NorLSAR undergo – 5 training sessions over 4 months at the outset – members must be 18+, be able to walk 5 miles and undergo a police check. After probation lasting 6 months, attending meetings and live searches, members are issued with a full set of kit and are full members.

The search dogs were of particular interest to the club. Each dog undergoes around 600 hours of training over 12 to 18 months, two or three times a week and learns to air scent. Lowland Rescue are hoping to receive some funding from the Postcode Lottery to buy tracking training dogs – the dogs that smell a personal item and then follows scents to locate people.

Fundraising Lunch for Regional Charity


On Sunday 11th February 2018, three members of SI King’s Lynn travelled to Wivenhoe House Hotel, part of the University of Essex, for a fundraising lunch for the London Anglia Region charity Pelandaba Orphan Fund.  People from across the Region attended, raising over £830, with many bidding in a silent auction for an impressive range of items, ranging from a gorgeous Louis Vuitton handbag, a race day at Chelmsford Racecourse and Afternoon Tea at Wivenhoe House to a bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin, whiskey and a glass decanter.

The event also recognised 100 years since some British women won the right to vote, with purple, green and white ribbons being sold and worn by women present in tribute to the suffrage movement.

SI King’s Lynn member Megan Applebeck was the key speaker, bringing the Pelandaba Orphans charity alive by talking about the difficulties children continue to face in Zimbabwe. Megan read out quotes from the children, who were ambitious, wanting to become well-educated so they can help themselves and their younger siblings to have a better life in the future.

SI King’s Lynn President-Elect Kim Bramham said: “We were pleased to be part of this event. When King’s Lynn club proposed Pelandaba Orphans to be the London Anglia Region charity for the next two years, we were delighted that members from across the region agreed.   Fundraising efforts have spread far and wide, so that people from across the Eastern Region are supporting this valuable charity to help children in Zimbabwe. We are so grateful to the team that organised this fantastic event”.

Thanks to Dilly Meyer and Mell Robinson who organised this event and put so much effort into fundraising. Also to Alison Charles for her support as Regional President.

Guide Talk


At the club’s February meeting Pat Pinnington, Assistant Leader at 9th King’s Lynn Guide Unit, began by explaining how the Girlguiding and Scouting movements celebrate Thinking Day which is on February 22nd. On Thinking Day, Guides are asked to think about the Guiding movement around the world, lending it an International theme.  Pat explained how Guides can expand their Guiding through International Community Experience.

Unfortunately Guide, Lauren Greengrass was unable to attend the meeting, so Pat gave her presentation. Lauren went to Vancouver, Canada in July 2017, to attend the Spirit of Adventure Rendezvous (SOAR), which was a camp of 5,000 Guides. She was able to experience the Native Indian culture, visit a Timber yard and meet, quite literally, the local wildlife, including bears.

Hannah Carter another Guide, then spoke about her trip to Belgium in 2015 and the benefits it had brought to her. She now hopes to go onto the next stage of the International Community Experience by attending a project in Ghana. She is now busy raising the necessary funds, through bag packing at a local supermarket, providing refreshments for a Stamp Fair and being part of an Afternoon Tea. In Ghana, she hopes to be able to do some teaching, go trekking and sightseeing plus meet local Guides.

Charity Quiz

Club members and friends enjoyed a Charity Quiz on 19 January at South Wootton Village Hall.

The event was a great success with £90 raised for the club charities. Thanks go to the quiz masters Chris and Mandy Pope, for the range of questions which provided much fun for everyone.


Home-start speaker


At our meeting on Monday, Liz Cross, Senior Co-ordinator for Home Start Norfolk (West) explained to members how Home Start helps families who are struggling to cope. This charity was started by Margaret Harrison in Leicester in 1973 and is now country wide, providing early intervention/prevention in families with children under 5.   Home visits are undertaken by volunteers who help directly in the family home.

Liz talked about the training & recruitment of volunteers, who are usually people with practical experience with children & families. It is a robust process and needs commitment for an 8 week course which can lead to accreditation. Volunteers work with a family for approximately 2 hours a week over a 6 month period. Families must consent to a volunteer coming to their home and the idea is to empower families to make their own decisions by being there to talk through issues to listen, but not to do things for the family.  It’s a free, confidential and non-judgemental service.

Families can self –refer to Home Start, or be referred by other bodies if they are not able to get access to other support.

Liz also spoke about the change in obtaining funding. The charity has to be self-funding now, and changes in staff structure make it difficult to fundraise in a pro-active way, but the Norfolk group has been lucky enough to attract Lottery funding for their projects, and funding form commercial concerns too.

Liz ‘s  talk  clearly showed the work , passion and commitment of the people working for Home Start and held our interest , stimulating us to want to help if we can.


Prison and families speaker

Ian Wells, a retired Addiction Counsellor from the Prison Service, came to speak to us about the impact of imprisonment on prisoners’ mental health and the emotional impact on their partners and families. His aim was to help us to consider how Soroptimist members could get involved in helping the families.

Ian began by giving us some statistics about the prison population. There are currently over 86,000 prisoners nationally and almost one third of these are in the 30-39 age group with partners and children. There is a prevalence of hard drugs in prison. Despite constant vigilant searches, prisoners are still able to get drugs into prison. Prisoners may also suffer alcoholic addiction and it may have been their addiction which led to their, sometimes terrible, crimes. Such prisoners are lonely, and often suffering from mental illness.

Many are excluded from seeing their families, or limited to infrequent contact. Within prison the prisoner is supported to make progress but, who was supporting the families outside of prison life?

The conduit for support, both inside and out, is the Chaplaincy Service. An example was given of a very successful project, ‘Fathers Inside’, involving prisoners recording themselves reading bedtime stories for their children. This kind of support helps prisoners to connect with their families, who may live great distances away, and thus gives them hope. A sense of hope is the greatest need of the prisoners and the families, if they are to make progress.

The very interesting talk ended with a vote of thanks from Janet Porter who commented that society not only punishes the prisoner but their families also, and that the club should consider how we could become involved in supporting them. A full report on the meeting is on the Project page.

Women in The Archaeology and History of West Norfolk Conference Saturday 25th November 2017


Club members from Soroptimist International King’s Lynn, Gill Bond and Liz Pye wrote an article and presented a paper on one of the clubs founder members Audrey Muriel Stratford who help found the club in 1975 at the King’s Lynn and West Norfolk  Archaeological Society conference which focused on 50 years of Women in local archaeology and History

There was also a book launch of the conference presenters’ papers and many other authors also contributed to the book.

The conference ran on 25th November, the United Nations Day which champions, the elimination of violence against women. Soroptimist members put up a stall and used orange as a theme to highlight worldwide campaigns involved in eliminating, reducing and preventing violence against women.


More details are on the Projects page.


Literary Lunch


More than 50 Soroptimist Club members, friends, family and enthusiasts gathered on Sunday, 19 November at the Le Strange Arms in Hunstanton for the Literary Lunch which has become a regular event.

On a sparkling autumn day, everyone enjoyed a delicious three-course meal in congenial company.  This was followed by the wonderful guest speaker, Alison Bruce, who entertained us all by describing how her series of DC Goodhew detective novels which are based in Cambridge had come about, as well as her own route to becoming a writer.  Alison explained that the main character had been named after a friend and that it had taken several complete rewrites and a number of years to produce the second book in the series.

Three hampers, generously provided by club members, were raffled and contributed to the sum of over £400 which was raised for the club’s 2017-18 charities being Shelter UK, Nelson’s Journey and The Pelandaba Orphans School Fund.


Remembrance Day


President Eect Kim Bramham represented SI King’s Lynn at the Remembrance Sunday wreath laying at King’s Lynn’s Tower Gardens.


Kim attended the event along with dignitaries, representatives of the armed services, veterans’ associations and other local groups.







Pelandaba Speaker


Cindy Macdonald, founder of the charity “Pelandaba Orphans” was the speaker at Soroptimist International of King’s Lynn meeting on the 6th November.

The club members had voted to support the Pelandaba Orphans in a ballot earlier in the year. In addition the Soroptimist International London Anglia Region has also voted to support the Pelandaba Orphans for the next 2 years. Club member Megan Appelback who had put forward the charity in the ballots said “This is a highly commendable contribution to a group of very vulnerable children and much appreciated by the charity”

Cindy during her talk highlighted the requirement of funds needed for the 45 children in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, for their education. As a result of Aids and the political situation, many children are denied schooling of any kind. When Cindy visited friends in the vicinity she became aware of the situation and decided to start a charity to raise funds to educate these children. Today, thanks to continued events and donations from generous folk she pays for 45 children’s’ education.



Five Go To Conference



The club was well represented at the 83rd Conference in Cardiff, with five members along with two husbands making the trip. We all the enjoyed the conference weekend, which included great speakers, updates, debates and entertainment.

For full details go to the Conference webpage.




As usual we also enjoyed trying out the local cuisine, which included rugby themed dining!


It was also good to be able to meet up with old friends from other clubs to catch up on everyone’s activities.





Fashion Show
Fashion Show

A very successful and enjoyable Fashion Show was held on the 18th October. The club raised over £300 for the club charities being Shelter, The Pelandaba Orphans and Nelson’s Journey.

Club members and friends were models for the evening and we were very pleased that Borough Mayor Carol Bower was able to join us.


Tower Gardens



Club members were very pleased  again to support the maintenance of a flower bed in Tower Gardens, King’s Lynn.

A certificate of recognition of the contributions towards the Anglia in Bloom  Campaign was received by the club.

Nelson’s Journey Speaker


At our meeting on the 2 October Dave Cole from Nelson’s Journey spoke to us about the important work the charity does to support bereaved children across Norfolk.

Dave told us about  his background and how he became a volunteer for Nelson’s Journey on his retirement.  He gave us some statistics – it is estimated that the charity looks after around 3,500 children at any one time. Referrals in 2016 were 791 and 2017 is likely to top 1000 – one reason is the increased coverage in the media (Rio Ferdinand’s TV documentary on the loss of his wife/mother of his children, and the coverage or Princes William and Harry on losing their mother). Work to support the children includes one to one sessions, youth clubs and activity days and weekends. There is now a free app to download, suggested by the children who use Nelson’s Journey

Dave thanked us for our support, telling us that it costs around £500 to put one child through Nelson’s Journey’s full range of services, and that Nelson’s Journey spent £1/2 million in 2016 to run – all funded by donations.


London Anglia Region Programme Action Award

The club was very pleased to win the London Anglia Regional Programme Action Award this year for their Pop Up Shop event held on 4th March in King’s Lynn town centre to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March. The theme was, ‘ Be Bold for Change.’

Gill Bond, Programme Action Officer, received the prize money of £25 on behalf of the club for the presentation at the SI Regional Meeting held on 25th September at Colchester.

A very big thank you went to everyone who helped including Abbie Panks and her team at the King’s Lynn Vancouver Centre, King’s Lynn Tourist Information Office, all the local radio stations and newspapers for their publicity before, during and after the event and of course finally to members of the public who kindly donated items on the day and after the event.

From the day the club collected an amazing:-

  • 70 Kilos of bras for the Purple Teardrop Campaign, 910 bras, which means 9 women will be free from trafficking and able to start up businesses of their own.
  • 5 Kilos of jewellery were collected for the Diamond Education Grant which helps funds vocational course for women.
  • I large bag of toiletries for a local women’s refuge.

In addition:-

  • 200 ‘Loves me, Loves me not bookmarks, promoting positive and healthy relationships were handed out.’
  • I bag of recycling items  were collected for The Norfolk Hospice.
  • Leaflets were also handed out for The Pandora Project to raise awareness on the work supporting victims of domestic violence.
Friendship Link Visit


At our September meeting we were delighted to welcome Usha Devi Rathore from our Friendship Link club SI Pune.

Usha had recently returned from a yoga centre in Gloucestershire where she had been teaching a group of under-privileged girls from Pune.

During the meeting Usha gave us an illuminating talk on the practise of yoga and women’s empowerment. She explained how balancing the chakras (the seven centres of spiritual power in the human body) allows the 

spiritual energy to flow – a ‘keep fit’ programme for the mind, body and spirit. The club members were very interested and have asked about the possibility of Usha returning to deliver a yoga workshop next year.

Usha stayed on to sample the delights of the North Norfolk beaches and dinner with some club members the following evening.

Picnic lunch and plant stall


Following the success of the Strawberry Tea in 2016 members of Soroptimist International of King’s Lynn together with friends gathered on 29 July 2017 in a member’s beautiful garden in Corbyn Shaw Road for a picnic lunch.  Picnic group


The day was held to raise funds for the clubs charities for the year as well as being a social event.

A feast was prepared, including savouries, strawberries and cake, which was enjoyed by everybody, with second helpings for all.


Plant stall with Ghyslaine and Corinne


Members also donated a multitude of plants, which were sold in aid of this year’s clubPlant stall with Ghyslaine and Carolyn charities being Shelter, Nelson’s Journey and Pelandaba Orphans’ School Fund. Everyone left with at least one plant and several passers-by were also attracted to the stall.



Including the proceeds of the raffle on the day, a total of £100 was raised.

Charter Lunch


President Ghyslaine and Sally Dearman-CummingsPresident Ghyslaine Clarke and members of Soroptimists International of Kings Lynn held their 42nd Charter Lunch at Congham Hall Hotel. Grimston on Sunday, 9 July.  Following a very pleasant lunch the speaker for the event was Sally Dearman-Cummings, the first woman pilot of fast jets in the Royal Air Force.

Sally’s talk focussed on her career, which has ranged from being a pilot initially of fast jets and later helicopters, to a weather presenter with the BBC and currently a relationship coach and counsellor.

Thirty-five members and guests, who had travelled from as far afield as Norwich, Cambridge & Great Yarmouth thoroughly enjoyed learning how Sally has successfully combined such an interesting and varied career with home-educating three children.

Public Speaking Competition


Primary Schools from across the King’s Lynn area met at King Edward VII Academy on Thursday 15th June 2017 to battle it out in the annual Public Speaking Competition run by Soroptimist International of King’s Lynn.

Groups of three Year 6 pupils from each of the six participating schools presented their arguments – wowing the judges with their eloquent and confident presentations

DSCN6492 (2)North Wootton Community School triumphed this year. In a well-argued presentation on Bullying, they told the audience that bullies are made not born. The school was represented by Saniya Sarda, Willian Hindmarsh and Finley Meehan. A cheque for £100 and the Benita Haynes Shield, in memory of a former member of the Soroptimist International King’s Lynn was presented by Catherine Booth and Tim Haynes, Benita Haynes’ daughter and son.

Headteacher James Grimsby said after the competition: Speaking in public is such an important skill. Before the competition, our Year 6 pupils are encouraged to audition to show us what they can do. I am really pleased the team did so well. North Wootton Community School will be back again next year!DSCN6484 (2)

Local Author and Actor, Gareth Calway, speaking on behalf of the judging panel told the children that had all done very well in a tough competition.

The team from Whitefriars Church of England Primary Academy was presented with the second prize by Alderman Paul Brandon, also speaking about Bullying. Last year’s winners, St Martha’s RC Primary School were placed third, speaking about Environmental Issues. Soroptimist International King’s Lynn President, Ghyslaine Clarke presented their prize and medals.




Bra packing party


Seven club members got together in May to sort and pack the huge number of P1010404bras that have been collected for the Purple Teardrop Campaign. The bras will be used to support women who have been victims of trafficking in Africa – helping the women to start their own small businesses and make them less vulnerable to being re-trafficked. A few eye-catching items caused some hilarity and, as always, working together is very enjoyable. After 2 hours, 70kg of bras had been sorted and vacuum-packed ready for shipment.


Civic Reception


20170512_185431Members of SI King’s Lynn were delighted to attend a Civic Reception at County Hall, Norwich on Friday 12th May 2017.  The Reception was to celebrate the Chairman David Collis’s year in office. Club member Margaret Taylor has been the Chairman’s Consort for the year and was pleased to be joined by the club’s President  Ghyslaine, President Elect Kim and past Presidents Corrine and Andrea.

The evening started with drinks and canapés, followed  by entertainment provided by a magician.  After speeches, a buffet was served.  It was a very enjoyable evening.


International Earth Day


International Earth Day came to King’s Lynn on Saturday 22nd April at St Nicholas Chapel. Members of the club were pleased to support the event which was organised by Kings Lynn Klimate Concern with a stall and food. The event was well attended with a range of food from around the world being available to try as well as numerous stalls providing information on global warming and the environment.

The event was enjoyable as well as informative with a poster competition for children.