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Patricia Barnes-Harman, a member of Soroptimist International, Kingston Upon Thames and District for 22 years, has died at the age of 89. Pat was president of the club in 2004 – 2006 and was the honorary secretary for many years. Pat’s Soroptimist activities extended her professional work to improve educational opportunities, especially for females: she raised £1,350.00 to personally take to a school in Soweto, South Africa; sponsored a 5 year bursary for the education of a girl rescued from living on the streets by Operation Restoration Bolivia, and supported READ (Resources for Education Advancement and Development) in providing textbooks, school supplies, and college scholarships to strengthen and progress education as a tool for fighting poverty. Her other great passion was the Stroke Association for which she raised £3,500.00 towards a computer and a counsellor for patients in need. Over her 2 years as club president, Pat helped to raise just under £8,000.00 for various charities.
Carol worked at the University of Warwick as an administrator looking after salaries and contracts. Due to her involvement with the contracts she became interested in legal matters and started to train as a lawyer; she was unable to finish this training but used her knowledge to good effect when appointed a Magistrate in 1997. One day she bumped into another magistrate in the car park; the other magistrate was a Soroptimist, and through this meeting Carol joined the club in 1999.
Carol was in The Royal Observer Corps from the age of 18 until the Corps was stood down in 1991 and she rose to the rank of Observer Lieutenant. She still attended reunions, regularly met up with former colleagues, and was an active member of the holiday group.
As a Soroptimist Carol attended regional meetings as our representative and reported back to club. She used her interest in legal issues to collate material and investigate issues that arose through Soroptimist work. Carol also liked to visit our Friendship Link clubs when the opportunity arose, and she was a regular delegate at Soroptimist conferences, notably in Barbados.
Carol enjoyed taking charge of our regular sales tables or raffles, and she was for many years our liaison officer for the Haven, a local refuge for women who have been abused. She collected food and toiletries from club throughout the year, and also toys and other gifts at Easter and Christmas. She delivered our gifts and took time to find out what other help was required – then organised it.
Carol was always cheerful; she was calm and thoughtful and will be remembered for her warmth and kindness especially to any member who needed support at any time. Her strength of character was fully in evidence in her last days, when she was content that all she needed to have done had indeed been done.
Carol is survived by her son. We will all miss her.
Annette was a soroptimist for almost 30 years, and was SI Coventry’s President in 1999/2000. Her experience in the club was invaluable – she was a wonderful guardian of club traditions. Her organisational skills were put to good use, for example in negotiating with venues – she got on with this with no fanfare and no fuss, but she was so effective in securing the best deals for us all.
Annette’s career included senior secretarial roles in the Coventry Probation Service and in Coventry schools, and later invigilating at Coventry University. She served as a school governor at both secondary and primary schools, and was on the steering committee that initiated an Advisory Centre Steering Committee for young girls, dealing with sexual, contraceptive, and emotional problems.
Annette died very suddenly while on holiday in France with her family in October. She leaves husband Don, sister Bernice, children Helen and Mike, and four grandchildren. She will be sadly missed.
Muriel was Coventry’s first lady undertaker and a Soroptimist for 33 years. She overcame many obstacles to achieve success in life. As a child she experienced the Coventry blitz; her home was destroyed and she was taken out of the city to safety. Later she married and had three children; her husband’s sudden early death caused her to enter his business as a funeral director. Muriel ran and developed the firm; her organisational skills and compassion for clients made her outstandingly successful, well loved by the people of Coventry, and popular with every church group in the city.
Muriel was happily married to Kenneth Offley from 1984 until his early death. She eventually sold her firm in order to take up a training role for Lloyds. Her example of according respect and dignity to the deceased and their families led the way for many funeral directors to employ women in similar roles.
But Muriel also loved fun. She was SI Coventry’s President in 1995/6 and remained active in the club until very recently. She loved musical theatre and Broadway shows; she passed her talent for singing and dancing to her family, and often entertained her soroptimist friends.
Muriel was a true daughter of Coventry; she sustained knocks but always got up and ‘started all over again’. Courageous to the end, kind and caring, loved by many – Muriel died peacefully on 28 October 2017 and will be much missed.
Ann Nelson died on December 31st 2017 aged 71. She was a member of S.I. Durham from 2007 to 2017 and was President in 2013, but due to illness was unable to complete the year. She was President Elect in 2016 but stood down as illness returned.
Ann was a larger than life personality, generous in every way and when she set her mind to it, quite a force to be reckoned with! The respect and esteem in which she was held was reflected by the huge attendance, and range of ages, at her funeral service. She was a talented artist excelling in pencil drawing and painting in oils. Ann began her teaching career as an Art teacher in Chester le Street, later becoming Head of Art at Tanfield Comprehensive School.
Ann was passionate about empowering young people, she formed 7th Chester le Street Guide Unit and later became involved with the government’s innovative programmes of study for Citizenship. She was appointed Inspector of Citizenship for Durham County Education Department, where she achieved an Impetus Award. Ann was instrumental in producing the A.C.T. Quality Standard for schools.
Her interest and work in this area made her an ideal member of Soroptimist International and she was keen to get involved in local, regional, national and international issues whenever possible.
The last few years proved a very challenging time for Ann, but she remained very brave and very positive throughout, helped by her husband Ted, son Michael and his family. Sadly, Ted died in 2016 and Ann valued the support of the club. Ann maintained her membership and although unable to attend many meetings or events, kept up to date via e-mail and visits by members and supported the club whenever she was able to.
She will be greatly missed as a member of S.I. Durham.
Vera Waller died on December 14th 2017 aged 82. She was a member of S.I. Durham from 1989 to 2009 and was President in 1992.
Vera was a vibrant person, a great organiser and fun to be with. She was an astute business woman, first with a printing business and then her own beauty clinic in Cleadon, where she encouraged her staff to attend courses and progress themselves.
She was a “doer” who enjoyed life. She particularly loved walking, tennis, the theatre and travelling.
Vera was an active member of S.I. Durham from the start. (She said it was a daunting process to become a member at the time!) As a member, she volunteered readily when others may have been more reluctant. She embraced the principles or Soroptimism, and continued to embrace them long after she resigned.
She had strong opinions and was a valuable member of a range of committees including the Executive and Social and Fundraising among others.
In 1995 Vera attended the International Conference in San Francisco. She became known as The Patrol Leader by fellow S.I. Durham members, as she arranged trips including The Napa Valley Wine train, and the theatre.
In 1999 Vera attended The International Conference in Helsinki with several other group members.
In 2001 Vera and other Durham Members attended a lunch in The House of Lords where Betty Boothroyd was the speaker.
Vera had a keen social conscience. The club supported The People’s Kitchen in Newcastle, with food, blankets and clothing and Vera continued to collect for them and to deliver to them long after she was no longer a member. She did the same with our local Women’s Refuge as well as continuing to volunteer at St. Cuthbert’s Hospice
All in all a true Soroptimist who will be greatly missed.
Leila Robinson, SI Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands, died 17th October 2017 aged 79. An active and committed Soroptimist for 38 years, she was included in a group of fifteen women chartered as SI Grand Turk in 1979. She held various Officers and was Chairperson of All Standing Committees. She was the third President of the Club in 1980/81 and again President in 1994-95 and 1995-96. She later became an Honorary Member and in 2012 founded SI Providenciales. She was a Federation Councillor and a Past President of SI Caribbean Network.
Soroptimist International of Durham announces with great sadness the death of Lorna Hallyburton at her daughter’s home in London on June 2nd 2017, just a month before her 80th birthday. Lorna had been a member of S.I. Durham for 23 years and supported to the end everything the club did, quietly but with determination. She commissioned the beautiful silver President Elect Badge and chain to be made in memory of her husband as she thought the President Elect, not just the President, should have ‘something pretty to be recognised by’. The club will treasure this in memory of them both. Lorna was a very generous, gentle and much loved lady and will be greatly missed by all members of the club.
Her funeral service was held in Durham Cathedral on Monday 26th June, a fitting tribute to her many years as a supporter of and part time steward at the Cathedral, a building she loved. Many members of the club were present, testament to the great respect and affection in which she was held.
Lena was President of the club in 1975/76, and she served on Executive and various other committees. She was very involved during the setting up and chartering of Kenilworth and Rugby daughter clubs, and for a long time she was the representative for the Federation Benevolent Club, which has always been dear to her heart.
Lena was also very active when SI Coventry was involved with Helen Ley House, a care home near Leamington for people with multiple sclerosis. When it first opened club members made the lunches one day a week, and Lena spent many a Monday morning chopping fruit for the fruit salad. SI Coventry also paid for part of the garden, and this is acknowledged on a plaque in the garden.
In recent years when Lena’s walking became more difficult she still got involved in helping at events by taking charge of any raffle or the visitors’ book at the annual lunch, right up until she needed more care and had to go into Coundon Manor Care home. She still kept an interest in the club’s work right to the end.
The end was very quick and she went peacefully in her sleep on Monday 22 May. Lena will be sadly missed by many friends.
Sheelagh Simms was born on 27th July 1931 and passed away at her home on 14th November 2016 after a brave battle. She was a loyal daughter, sister and friend who followed in her Mother’s footsteps and joined Soroptimist International of Bangor. She was honoured by Bangor Club at its 70th Anniversary lunch in May this year when she was presented with her certificate for 50 years service by Regional Past President Alice.
Sheelagh trained in Domestic Science and worked in a number of schools before becoming School Meals Organiser for Co. Antrim and then for the Southeastern Education and Library Board.Her lovely family home overlooking Ward Park was always open to visitors, especially Soroptimists, and she and her Mother were delightful hosts.Indeed she was renowned for her cheese scones and for cooking Sunday lunch for many friends who were on their own.
For many years Sheelagh was a Guider running a very successful Guide company in the centre of Bangor and that is how I got to know her. As I began my working career, she was the person who invited me to become a Soroptimist and the rest is history! A loyal friend and supporter of me, she along with Nancy Derby travelled to Sydney for the International Convention in 2003 so as to be around if needed help. However she always said Hawaii was her favourite Convention.
When Helen Baird and I were compiling the 70th Anniversary booklet I spent a lovely time with her as outlined her memories of Soroptimism and produced fascinating photographs. Many were of Conferences where she was to be seen with other NI Region friends such as Catherine Tomlinson from Ballymoney Club. Sheelagh had many other interests including Hamilton Road Presbyterian church but central to her was her work for the NI Hospice. She was a great supporter of the Bangor Support Group and a volunteer driver for over 20 years. Donations in her memory are for the NI Hospice.
As a Club we will miss her greatly and the large attendance at her Thanksgiving Service, which she arranged, was testament to how many people’s lives she touched including mine.
Laura Gilbert was born in the small village of Donaghacloney, attending the village school. After her parents retired, the family moved to Bangor where Laura completed her grammar school education and went on to study law at Queen’s University, Belfast where she graduated with a 2.1 degree and won the Literific Society Bronze Medal for Debating.
She spent the rest of her career as a solicitor in her own practice and was a well known advocate specialising in family law, personal injury litigation criminal and employment law. She became a part time Chairman of Industrial Tribunals dealing mainly with discrimination cases- sex, race and disability, a part time Chair of Child Support Tribunals and Social Security Appeal Tribunals. She also served as a member of the Lord Chancellor’s Legal Aid Advisory Committee and a member of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. It was her proud boast that her decisions were only appealed on three occasions and upheld by the Court of Appeal on two of them!
Laura married a widower with 3 young children and took a career break to care for them. Whilst away from work she was a Samaritan volunteer. She also had a lifelong love of drama and acted and produced many plays as well as playing a full part in the running of Bangor Drama Club where she was Club Chairman and Trustee.
She joined SI Bangor in 1985 and served on various committees including Programme Action. She was an avid Publicity Officer and organised the Club Public Speaking and poetry competitions. She was Club President in 2000 – 2001. As a Club we will miss her lively mind and wise counsel.
It was with great sadness, that we said our last farewell to our much loved and respected member: Maggie Bayliss – a Soroptimist since 1997. The many addresses read out at the funeral service on Monday 10th April, paid fitting tribute to the remarkable and wonderful woman, wife, mother, friend, Soroptimist etc. she had been. Throughout her nearly 20 years’ membership she held many offices, including President, Secretary, Membership Officer, Regional Rep, MAR Treasurer, Friendship Link, with great efficiency and dedication, She transferred to our club SI Kidderminster & District some two years ago. Her untimely death leaves a void in our club and we all will miss her and her lovely smile very much. The two personal tributes from fellow members express what we all feel:
“When Maggie transferred from SI Stourbridge to SI Kidderminster a couple of years ago, I already knew her very well. We had worked for a few years on the Regional Officers’ Committee of Soroptimist International Midland Arden Region where Maggie was Treasurer and I was Secretary. Maggie upheld the values of Soroptimism and I found someone with whom I could work well. We organised things together, we sorted out problems together and it worked well. I could always rely on Maggie to see a job through. If Maggie said she would do something. She did it. She brought these qualities to Kidderminster club where she supported our events and was always there to offer advice and help. Maggie was a true Soroptimist and a good friend. She will be a great loss to our club and we will all miss her and her engaging smile. Stephanie Ainsley – SI Kidderminster”
“Maggie was a dedicated and caring Soroptimist. Right from the day she joined Stourbridge Club she involved herself in all its aspects and then took on various roles at Club and Regional level. With her amazing memory and understanding of how Soroptimism works she became a font of knowledge for us all. Above all I will remember the fun she managed to share whilst still getting the job done. Soroptimists have lost a valued member and I have lost a good friend. Linda Roberts – SI Stourbridge
Rest in peace – Maggie!
Brenda was born in Sheffield and lived in her Grandfather’s house for all of her life. She became an administrator for the Sheffield Family Planning Clinic in 1966 and also spent 20 years working for the British Red Cross. She was accepted to be a magistrate in 1975 and as a result of her work, charity involvement and the magistrate work she was awarded an honorary doctorate by Sheffield University. She was a member of the Sheffield Health Authority and became Vice Chair in 1990. Dr Jackson has been a Trustee of the Talbot Trusts since 1989 and through her time was a very committed and supportive advocate for the objectives of the Trusts. She was involved in the Yorkshire Cancer Research and capably led this strong and very effective charity for 14 years as Chair.
Brenda became a Soroptimist in 1964 and the President of SI Sheffield in 1975-76. She went on to become President of Yorkshire Region in 1982-83 and Federation President of SIGBI in 1992-93. During this time she travelled extensively to other Association countries with many interesting tales to tell including being offered a Cockerel head to eat in Nigeria. In October 1992 she held her conference in Liverpool with a theme ‘Caring for the future’. There were nearly 2000 women from all over the world.
Brenda continued to enjoy travelling especially on cruises in the later years. She was delighted to be given Honorary Membership of SI Sheffield and we all have much to be thankful to Brenda for. She epitomised a Soroptimist Woman and was an inspiration and example to us all. She will be remembered with much fondness by all who met her.
Vera Bromley joined S.I. Llandudno &District Club soon after the club was charted and was a Soroptimist for 52 years. She was made an Honorary Member of the club in 1993. She held many offices in the club and was President in 1981/82. Vera was DU Treasurer [the former name for Region] from 1982 to 1987. When the SIGBI 41st. Annual Conference was held in Llandudno in 1975, Vera was much involved with the local committee in arranging venues for Pre Conference Coffee Party at the Grand Hotel, Cocktail Parties at the Grand, Hydro, Imperial and St. George Hotels, Civic Reception and Concert at the Pier Pavilion, Ecumenical Service at Holy Trinity and the Sunday Coach Tours.
When she was President, the club gave 40 Buddlea Plants to Happy valley to attract butterflies. A tree was planted on the Promenade and a shield presented to the Llandudno Horticultural Society for best carnations in the show [in perpetuity]. For many years Vera was the Friendship Link correspondent with a club in New Zealand and Pendleside. Vera was responsible in sending Birthday Cards from the club to members, all cards carefully selected.
Vera died on 11 December 2016 aged 98, the service was held at her Parish Church, St. Hilary’s, Llanrhos on 23 December 2016.
SI St Andrews and District lost their Immediate Past President in May of this year and wanted to reflect on some of the many memories the Club had of Anne during her years as a Club Member, joining on 1 December 1985 and becoming Club President for the first time in 1990.
Anne graduated with honours from the University of St Andrews and then took a diploma in education. She taught chemistry at a local secondary school. She was a driving force for many years with the Woman’s Royal Voluntary Service in Fife as District Organiser, recruiting volunteers to help the elderly. Anne significantly contributed towards a wide variety of local community projects to benefit local people, not least as Secretary of the Stratheden Hospital League of Friends, as well as supporting the agreed Soroptimist projects locally, nationally and internationally.
Well known for her kindness and companionship she will be sadly missed by all who knew her.
On 22nd October we said our final farewell to our oldest and longest serving member, Eve Bowler, who had died on 30th September at the age of 98 – a devoted mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and recently a great-great-grandmother, a wonderful friend and also a very loyal Soroptimist for over 40 years – the last few as Honorary member of SI Kidderminster & District. Until her retirement some years ago, she had been Head of Needlework at the then Holy Trinity Girls School, Kidderminster. She was an amazingly gifted needlewoman and a brilliant teacher. The girls, her pupils, loved her and she taught them with a combination of the skills of her experience, creative flair, a passion for the subject and the wisdom of a stern but forgiving figurehead in their school life. She is also well remembered by the school for her famous fashion shows – professionally presented in the assembly hall with a stage and catwalk in place. And she and her assistant spent many days and a whole weekend working together on stitching the new Holy Trinity logo onto the stage curtains.
She created many magnificent pieces of embroidery – among them beautiful hangings not just for her local church: St. George’s in Kidderminster, but also embroidered hangings for Liverpool Cathedral.
She was a much valued member of our club – very involved in all aspects of club activities, including the visits to and from our German friendship link SI Heidelberg.
Although she became housebound over the last few years, her contact with the club continued. To help keep her involved, the Executive Committee held their meetings at her house and for her personal wellbeing a rota was drawn up for fellow members to take her to her regular weekly hair appointments. She was a remarkable person. Knowing her has enriched all our lives and we shall miss her.
“Another thread in the rich tapestry of our lives has come to an end.”
After several years of service on the Executive Committee Elizabeth became President of SI Swansea in 1989/1990 and at the request of club members was made an Honorary Member in 2007.
She died on 7th July 2016 aged 98 years
1935 – 2016
On 15th July 2016, Soroptimist International Durham lost a long serving and much loved member, Mary Robinson.
Mary worked hard for the club for many years, including being President in 1993. She served on many committees and supported every club event and project with great enthusiasm.
Her courage during her long illness was inspirational. She never complained and maintained her humour and compassion for other people until the end. She could brighten any situation and frequently lightened up club discussions with her sound common sense, wit and charm.
We all feel privileged and lucky to have known Mary and to have her as a member of our Soroptimist family for many years.
She will be sadly missed and remembered always with love and gratitude.
It is with deep regret that we the Executive of SI of Providenciales inform you of the passing of our IPP Louise Garland-Thomas, a founder member of the Club, Chairperson of the SICN and a longtime Educator in the Turks and Caicos Islands. A Soroptimist at heart and had attended SIGBI’s Conference last year and was planning on doing so in November of this year.
She died on 8 July 2016.
She was born in 1945 and grew up in Woodville, Derbyshire. Jane built a formidable career as a geochemist and was an expert on the composition of the surface of the Earth. She was the first female deputy director of the British Geological Survey and the first woman president of the Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. In 1997. She was appointed CBE for services to science and industry. From 2000 to 2005, she was also the chief scientist of the British Geological Survey (BGS). Employed at 23 by the BGS, she was the first woman appointed to the senior rank of scientific officer, making her mark with geochemical mapping of mineral deposits in the riverbeds of Scotland, a country she adored.
It was for her medical plight and indomitable spirit that she will be most widely remembered. Jane Plant was a distinguished scientist who produced a bestselling account of surviving cancer after embracing an Asian-style dairy-free diet. Sacrificing milk and cheese was the secret of staving off breast cancer, she argued, citing her own experience — as well as statistics — as proof. By 1993, Jane had developed cancer five times. Expected to live just seven weeks, she was desperate for a solution. She also gave up meat, fish and eggs, sources of animal protein. Within days, the cancerous lump on her neck began to shrink.
Six weeks later, it had vanished.
Jane wrote of her experience, in the little time spare from intensive research and field trips. Your Life in your Hands (2000) advocated dairy-free eating as a method — along with orthodox medical treatments — of curing and preventing cancer. Preparing for chemotherapy, she bought a “good wig” and had it styled like her normal hair. Then she gave up dairy. Hair loss only came some 20 years later, as she took chemotherapy treatment during an eighth, final struggle with the illness. She died suddenly at home from a blood clot in the lungs on 4 March 2016 aged 71.
Kingston Upon Thames will miss her and her sound advice on all our programme work especially health and welfare. She was an inspiration to all of us, a truly International woman.
Betty Sugden (nee Wills) was born in Bristol on 17th December 1919, she attended Redland High School and left on the 26th July 1938 to go to the Royal Veterinary College, London on October 3rd 1938. During her time at Veterinary College she met her future husband Dick Sugden who had also enrolled at the RVC but who left after war broke out in 1939 to join the RAF as a pilot and who never returned to complete his studies. Dick and Betty were married on April 10th 1943 and a son Richard was born in February 1947.
Betty qualified as a MRCVS on the 4th July 1944 and then worked for Dr William Watson MRCVS who ran a small and large animal practice at Thornbury. After the birth of her son she worked for the Ministry of Agriculture doing TB tests and also started her own small practice in Hanham. She was elected president of the Mid West Veterinary Association in 1953.
In December 1955 Dick Betty and Richard emigrated to Southern Rhodesia, working at veterinary surgeons. She established the first Veterinary Hospital and Surgery with 4 other Veterinary Surgeons in a prime position in Salisbury (now Harare). In later years a branch surgery was established at Ruwa some 20 miles from Harare and Betty carried out consultations there first thing in the morning before going to the main Surgery in Harare.
During her years in Zimbabwe Betty became a member of the Soroptimists and was elected National President one year as well as local President in different years. Betty was involved in the Community as a Rural Councillor for 15 years and Chairman of a Committee for Health and Education and received the Woman in the Community WI award one year. In 1999 after many years of researching the Ruwa District area (where she lived) she published a book “Harvest of Memories” which received great local acclaim.
Betty’s husband Dick died in July 2001 and she remained living in Zimbabwe until a year later in July 2002 when she was held up and robbed at gunpoint in her own house. She then decided to finally retire as a Veterinary Surgeon and leave Zimbabwe and returned to England to live closer to her son in Hook Hampshire.
Betty lived for over 12 years in Geffery’s House, Hook and made many friends of all those who visited her and who came in contact with her. She provided a great deal of input to the author Paul Watkins on her experiences at the Royal Veterinary College during World War 2. She finally died in her sleep on the morning of 21/1/16.