The Annual General Meeting was held at the Pinewood, Handforth on April 10th. Members enjoyed a delicious meal in a convivial atmosphere. The formal business of the AGM was followed by the installation of the new President, Stella Kay. Stella then presented Susan Hollick with her Past President’s badge and installed Susan Underwood as President Elect and Christine Gibbons as Vice President.
Cornerstone Visit President Susan and members visited the Cornerstone Day Centre on April 9th to present them with a cheque for £1775, money which was raised at the Olde English Night in December. Marjorie Coates, who is a Support Worker, gave us a warm welcome and showed those of us who had not been before around the Drop-in Centre. The Centre offers a one-stop shop where people in need can get a meal, change of clothing, friendship and even access to the telephone or internet and basic education and healthcare. They propose to use the money to install a professional standard deep fat fryer. I think there will be another club visit when that is up and running, just to do some quality control testing of the chips!
April Speaker Meeting President Susan welcomed two speakers and two new members to the meeting on April 1st. The speakers were Pat Williams who is the Regional Membership Officer and Naomi Norton who is a music teacher. Pat spoke about the issues around the recruitment and retention of members and an interesting discussion ensued. She was also very pleased to extend a welcome to our two new members. The club came to be in touch with Naomi via Sylvia Schwarzenbach, the Swiss Soroptimist we met in January, as she was the organiser of the conference that Sylvia attended at the Royal Northern College of Music. Naomi is a music teacher from Leeds who is undertaking her PhD at the RNCM. Her thesis is titled ‘Health Education in Instrumental and Vocal Music Lessons: The Teacher’s Perspective’ and she gave a fascinating talk on the subject and answered
Members were pleased to help celebrate International Women’s Day at the Pankhurst Centre on March 5th when 40 pupils, aged 11 to 13 years, came from Manchester High School for Girls for a study day with the theme of ‘Women as Peacemakers’. The girls spent time in the heritage museum learning about the Pankhurst family and their involvement with the Women’s Suffrage movement and there were two workshops, one where small groups of pupils worked on composing a Peace song and the other where a large Peace banner was made. There was a moving performance of peace songs by an ad hoc choir consisting of some members of the centres own choir, The Pankettes, some ladies who had been part of the Greenham Common peace camps in the 1980’s, centre volunteers and even our own President Susan. The pupils were issued with a replica ration
Members and guests gathered at Chancellors Hotel, Fallowfield, on Saturday 1st March to celebrate the club’s 88th Charter Dinner. President Susan welcomed Councillor Naeem ul Hussan, Lord Mayor of Manchester, and Victoria Smerdon, President of South Lancashire. Also on top table were Angie Christopher, President of SI Blackburn, Wendy Grimshaw, President of SI The Fylde, and Mr Davd Hollick who proposed the Toast to Soroptimist International. After dinner Mr Bernard Dolan, Ambassador for Cancer Research, introduced and performed with the group ‘Loose Change’ who regularly busk in Wilmslow in aid of cancer research.
Agnieszka Parlinska, a member of SI Warsaw, who was coming to Salford University during February made contact with our club and met up with President Susan and Rosemary Steven for a most enjoyable and informative evening discussing and comparing lifestyles and Soroptimist activities in Poland and the UK. Agnieszka is an economist specialising in the public sector and as part of her PhD studies had spent a period at Glasgow University and has now commenced a post doctorate thesis leading eventually to an academic chair at Warsaw University. The Warsaw club was opened in 1990 – the first club in Poland to be chartered. Agnieszka is club treasurer and hopes eventually to be President. She is arranging to return to Salford University in the near future which will give more members the opportunity to meet her. We look forward to seeing her again soon.
Past President Fiona opened her home to members and friends for a charity Pancake Party on February 8th. In true Soroptimist spirit it was an evening of fun, food and friendship. Pancakes were served with delicious savoury and sweet fillings; there was a quiz on famous Manchester people, table games and a well-supported raffle. .
At the meeting on February 4th President Susan welcomed two speakers who work with girls and women. Jen Herbert, Region International Advisor for Girl Guides North West, spoke about the opportunities Girls Guides today have to travel abroad and about a recent trip to Morocco where girls gave service and made friends in a village in the Atlas Mountains. She also has the onerous task of organising travel for a large number of girls who will be attending the World Scout Jamboree in Japan in 2015, and is looking for sponsorship to support this educational trip. Rachel Lappin came into post as the new Centre Manager at the Pankhurst Centre in September 2013 after it merged with Manchester Women’s Aid. She told members how she would like to re-establish links with our club and welcomed our support and help. She has obtained a grant
On Saturday the 18th January members were delighted to entertain Sylvia Schwarzenbach, a Swiss Soroptimist, who was in Manchester for the weekend attending a conference. Sylvia is a founding member of Club Berne Arcadia and is a clarinettist, music educator and an honorary life member of the International Society for Music Education. She was in Manchester to attend a conference at the Royal Northern College of Music on the subject of researching into and caring for musicians’ health. She was presented with an SI Manchester pennant and she presented the club with a CD called ‘Edelweiss and Paprika’ featuring herself and two other Soroptimist musicians from Switzerland and Hungary. The sales of the CD raise funds for a music therapy project for special needs children. She also brought us some gingerbread and macaroons from Berne which were enjoyed by all.
A very successful evening of fun, food and friendship was held on Friday 6th December at Audenshaw Masonic Hall. The Old English Night was organised in association with Edward VII Masonic Lodge and guests enjoyed traditional British food and were entertained with musical and comedy acts. Thank you to all those who attended and gave generously to raise over £1000 for Soroptimist charities.