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Memorable Conference, AGM and Celebration

Helen Byrne President SILCOn Saturday 9 Oct Soroptimist International London Chilterns Region held their AGM/Conference and continued to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of SI. President Helen Byrne (pictured) welcomed 50 women to the Zoom call from all over the UK – including Cornwall and Derbyshire, and mostly from the London Chilterns Region.



Dame Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London was a truly inspirational keynote speaker who really set the tone for what would be a memorable AGM and conference. Bishop Sarah spoke about her career and gender. She spoke about her experience at the UN Commission for the Status of Women, her ability to influence law from her position in the House of Lords and the work of the church in supporting people in dire need in London. For details of this work please click on the link below to download the text from the address. Bishop Sarah is an unassuming and skilled speaker who shared her personal experience of being a pioneer – rising to senior roles in two very different professions. In nursing she was the youngest woman appointed by the Government as England’s Chief Nursing Officer, she was the 4th woman to be ordained as a Bishop and the first female Bishop of London in the Church of England.  

The text from Rt Revd & Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, Bishop of London‘s address can be downloaded and viewed here: SILC Dame Bishop Sarah Mullally Address 9 Oct

The video recording of Dame Sarah’s address plus Q&A can be viewed on Youtube by clicking on this link Please also scroll down to the bottom of this page to read her biography.

Maureen Maguire We were delighted that Soroptimist lnternational President Elect, Maureen Maguire was able to join us. She gave us some thoughts for her presidency 2021-2023 and encouraged us all to join her when she will preside over the  Soroptimist International Convention in Dublin 27-29 July 2023 “Challenge the Future”

To view Maureen’s speech on youtube please click here and click here to read her speech SI LC Maureen Maguire Speech 9 Oct 21.

Next Maureen introduced her 2021/2023 International Presidents Appeal “Opening Doors to a Bright Future: Changing Lives Through Education”. Click here to download and view Maureen’s Powerpoint presentation SILC 9 Oct 21 Opening Doors Maureen Maguire and here to read the script for her presentation Maureen Maguire Script for SI President Appeal 2021 – 2023.

Click here to view Maureen’s presentation on youtube please note there is a short (about 20 sec) delay at the start while the Slide Show opens…

COP26 Glasgow 1-12 Nov 2021At a time when the Climate is high on everyone’s agenda and the UK is set to host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow in November, Regional Executive Member and Carbon Literacy Trainer, Linda Shall gave a presentation to help us understand what COP26 Linda Shall COP26 SILC 9 Octmeans for us and for the planet.

To view Linda’s presentation on youtube please click here and to download and view the slides please click here SILCR Preparing for COP26

We continued celebrating the Soroptimist International 100th Anniversary by recognising Dame Vera Baird DBE QC, Peggy Hodges OBE and Johanna Raffan MBE – three of the top #WhoIsShe Soroptimists from our Region – please see the complete “hall of fame” from our Region on this page of the website  For the full list of more than 100 wonderful women from across our Federation please see

The #WhoIsShe presentation from Sat 9 Oct is here: SILC 9 Oct WhoIsShe Presentation

Johanna Raffan - memoriesWe also spent time remembering and celebrating the life of our dear Johanna Raffan MBE SIGBI President and Member of SI Thames Valley in our Region, who sadly died in June. Please click here to see and hear Soroptimists’ tributes to Johanna

President Helen has extended the Regional Tree Planting Project to include support for SI Thames Valley‘s Kori Project‘s appeal to develop an Orchard in Kori, Sierra Leone, in  Johanna’s memory – click here to read more SI TV Orchard Appeal to SIGBI clubs Aug 2021. If you wish to donate please follow the instructions in the Orchard Appeal document here or email 

The AGM business was covered after Dame Sarah Mullally had spoken. Officers reports were sent to Clubs in advance of the meeting and more information was circulated in the week after the meeting. The AGM part of the meeting was  led by Regional Secretary and Federation Councillor Rita Beaumont and President Helen Byrne (pictured above). President Helen’s theme for the year wasCelebrate the Past, SILC Exec 2021Create the future. You can read the report that Helen delivered to the meeting here Presidents Report 2021 Helen Byrne Helen carried out the role of President with relish and steered us through the last year of COVID with excellent virtual meetings; you can scroll through the Region News on this website for a reminder of what has been achieved.

The pic here is from an Exec meeting on Zoom earlier this year.

The year ahead – please click here to read the words that Helen Byrne delivered to the meeting SILC 9 Oct The Year Ahead Helen Byrne  The Regional Exec have chosen to call themselves “The London Chilterns Challengers” for the year ahead and the Theme is “Soroptimists Respecting Differences, Celebrating Similarities”. Helen passed the reins to the Region’s Executive Committee who will share the role between them in the year 2021-2022. The officers for 2021-22 are listed on this page of the website If a Member of the Region is interested in joining the Executive or would like to know more you will be very welcome; please email 

SILC Zoom AGMSILC Zoom AGMHelen Byrne Zoom AGMSILC Centenary Cake




Here are a few screenshots from the 9 Oct – what a memorable Conference! – and what a great year we’ve had in spite of COVID – with celebrations for the 100th Anniversary of Soroptimist International continuing. (Believe it or not the image here is of a centenary celebration cake from our June meeting!)



Biography – The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE

Bishop Sarah was installed as the 133rd Bishop of London at St Paul’s Cathedral on 12th May 2018.

Bishop Sarah sits in the House of Lords as one of the Lords Spirituals, having been introduced on 24th May 2018. She was sworn as a member of the Privy Council on 14th March 2018, and became Dean of Her Majesty’s Chapels Royal on 11 July 2019.

Bishop Sarah studied first at South Bank University for her BSc followed by a MSc and then at Heythrop College, University of London where she got her MA. She was awarded Honorary Doctorates of Science from Bournemouth University, (2004), University of Wolverhampton (2004) and University of Hertfordshire (2005) and was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2005 for her contribution to nursing and midwifery. In 2019 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from the University of Exeter.

Bishop Sarah is a late ordinand who before ordination was Chief Nursing Officer in the Department of Health. She trained for the ministry at the South East Institute for Theologian Education and served her first curacy at Battersea Fields in Southwark Diocese from 2001 to 2006. From 2006 to 2012 she was Team Rector at Sutton in Southwark Diocese. From 2012 to 2015 she was Canon Residentiary and Canon Treasurer at Salisbury Cathedral before taking up her role in 2015 as Suffragan Bishop of Crediton in the Diocese of Exeter. Bishop Sarah was installed as the 133rd Bishop of London at St Paul’s Cathedral on 12th May 2018.

Bishop Sarah is married to Eamonn and they have two children. She has continued her interest in the health service having been a non-executive director at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust then at Salisbury NHS Foundation Hospital. She is a member of Council at King’s College London University. She is a novice potter.

Visit the Bishop of London’s website.