SIGL celebrated 95 years since the club’s founding in June – the oldest club outside of the United States! A fantastic lunch, including a glass of “Prohibition Punch” (a nod to the 1920s USA) was enjoyed by all, as was a variety of entertainment and speakers. Regional Secretary Rita and Federation Councillor Pauline spoke about two fantastic programmes supported by SIGL – the aptly named RITA (Reminiscence Interactive Therapy and Activities) programme which helps to battle dementia; and the Yarl’s Wood Befrienders respectively. Long services awards were also presented to our longest serving members as we enjoyed a gorgeously decorated cake, complete with our insignia and 95th logo. We ended the day with a raffle, the proceeds of which will benefit President Doltice’s charity Young Minds.
It is with great sadness that we have learned of Rita Pankhurst’s passing. Rita Pankhurst, notable academic and women’s rights activist, and widow of Richard Pankhurst OBE (1927-2017), passed away at her home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 30 th May, 2019, aged 92. Rita leaves daughter Helen, son Alula, and grandchildren. The funeral was held on 4 th June in Selassie Cathedral where Rita’s late husband also is buried. Rita’s mother-in-law, British suffragette campaigner, artist, writer, and champion of Ethiopia, Sylvia Pankhurst (1882-1960) was accorded a state funeral attended by Emperor Haile Selassie in the same Cathedral, almost sixty years before. In Sylvia’s declining years, Rita supervised a special diet for Sylvia whose digestive system suffered as a result of hunger strike and brutal force feeding in Holloway Prison during the women’s suffrage campaign. In Britain during the 1980s, Rita was appointed Head of
SIGL member Yemisi hosted President Doltice and other members and friends for a fantastic garden party to raise funds for the SIGBI quadrennial project Meru Women’s Garden Project (https://sigbi.org/our-charities/meru-womens-garden-project-2016-2019/). It was a lovely day and everyone enjoyed the scones and cake. There was also a raffle along with the sale of plants for our own gardens, and jams and sauces from Meru Herbs – a women-led cooperative working in rural Kenya.
President Doltice and several members of SIGL, plus guests, celebrated the festive season with a meal at Taormina Restaurant in Bayswater. The food was lovely and company lively! There was a raffle with fantastic prizes, which raised £66 for the Young Mind’s Charity. Everyone had a wonderful time.
At the September meeting, President Doltice and member of SIGL welcomed Pippa Holdup from Alzherimer’s Society as a guest speaker. Pippa gave a very informative speech, which was enjoyed by all.
At the October meeting, President Doltice and members of Soroptimist International Greater London welcomed two guest speakers, Regional Secretary Rita Beaumont and Federation Councillor Pauline Panter, who were representing the Yarl’s Wood Befrienders charity. Pauline is a Befriender and spoke about her experience and the need for everyone to get involved and support the vulnerable women who are detained. For more information about the Befrienders, please see their website: www.ywbefrienders.org. The club presented over 50 pairs of knickers to Pauline and Rita be donated to women who are detained at Yarl’s Wood IRC, and have pledged to make this an ongoing project for the club.
In July, President Doltice and other members of SI Greater London visited the exhibition “A Stone’s Throw from Westminter” at Holborn Library, co-curated by member Irene. We have a lovely and informative day, and were impressed with the amount of information that was available. We also enjoyed seeing the banners made at workshops. We thoroughly enjoyed our private tour, led by historian and expert on women’s suffrage, member Irene. The exhibition continues until 28th September of this year, for further information, please see http://www.lovecamden.org/stones-throw-westminster-suffragettes-and-other-feminists-camden.
Earlier this summer, member Sheila, with the assistance of member Irene, took a booth at Barnes Fair. Sheila was selling her pure silk scarves, which she sources from India, dyed in purple, white and green; colours associated with the UK women’s struggle to win the right to vote in Parliamentary elections, to celebrate this and to raise funds for the club’s charities. The limited edition scarves were made to mark the centenary of (some) women gaining the vote, which is being celebrated this year. Sheila provided work in India and the means to sell the work in the UK, at Barnes Fair. A portion of the proceeds was donated to our SIGL charity fund that benefits needy causes.
We had a wonderful time celebrating 94 years of Soroptimism in London (and the UK) in May. Several members and their families were in attendance where we enjoyed a lovely lunch and fantastic poetry and song from Associate Member Sandra. We also had the privilege of witnessing Immediate Past President Yemisi hand over the the chain of office to new President Doltice. Additionally, we raised money for Immediate Past President Yemisi’s charity, The Alzheimer’s Society and donated to the exhibition member Irene is curating in Camden for the Vote 100 programme.
On Sat 11 Mar almost 50 women from around our Soroptimist London Chilterns Region met in London including Members of SI Greater London. We started the day with a reading about International Women’s Day “International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day recognising and appreciating women’s social, economic, cultural and political achievements over the decades. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Woman’s Day was first observed in 1909 in the United States and it is only in 1977 that the United Nations officially declared International Women’s Day celebration on March 8. International Women’s Day (IWD) is a collective day of global celebration and is also an official holiday in several countries like Belarus, Armenia, Albania, Brazil, and Cameroon. No one government, Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), charity, corporation, academic institution, women’s network or media hub is solely responsible