Obituaries will be added to this page once a month on the last Friday of the month. They will remain on the page for three months, and will then be removed.
To submit an obituary, send a picture (if desired) which has been cropped to 150 x 150 (thumbnail size) and a maximum of 150 words to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winn Mitchell – SI Bromley
Bromley SI is sad to report the loss of Winn Mitchell at the age of 99. Winn was a Soroptimist for many years and transferred from Bexley to Beckenham. Winn was a WREN during World War II, serving in Campbelltown, provisioning ships. After having her family she entered the school meals service, becoming a supervisor. Winn’s culinary skills were superb, her jams and marmalades being a major attraction at the stall we ran at a bank holiday fete, and they were a big money-spinner. And her baking! Some favoured her lemon meringue pie, whilst others chose bakewell tart as number one. Winn liked to be active and she was leading walks for the Ramblers until about ten year ago. She always made an effort to attend our fund-raising events. Winn was a keen gardener and loved jigsaws and table games, frequently winning games of Mah-jong. A well-loved member of the club, always cheerful and good comany, Winn’s passing will be a great loss. The photo shows Winn in her garden.
Norah Wells – SI Bromley
Norah joined the Beckenham club in 1960 having been a member of the Tynemouth club for 12 years. She was our President in 1973. We celebrated her 50 years of membership by making her an honorary member in 1998. Norah was a Cytoscreener by profession.
She lived in a small village and was a very active member of that community. Norah could always be relied on to support the club’s projects and fund raising- enhanced by her skills in craftwork and gift for flower arranging. The photo shows Norah receiving some flowers from the club.
Lilian Cameron – SI Dunfermline
Lilian, honorary member of SI Dunfermline, sadly died this month, having accomplished over 40 years of service to the club, including being President. One week before she died, she was given her long service certificate at home and she greatly appreciated this, despite being very ill.
Lilian hailed from her beloved Caithness and having won a prestigious bursary, studied Latin and French at Edinburgh University. Further studies followed at the Sorbonne and she became Head of Classics at Queen Anne High School in Dunfermline. Being fluent in French, she was for many years correspondent with the club’s friendship link in Vichy, a club she visited several times.
Latterly housebound, she loved visits from her Soroptimist friends, so that she could keep up with news of the club’s work. Friends found her so interesting to talk to and always appreciated her kind and caring nature.
Mary Bell – SI Edinburgh
Mary became a member of SI Edinburgh in 1971, serving in different roles.
She worked for the Scottish Council for Development and Industry for thirty years, having been one of their first female employees. ‘A quietly formidable force in the male dominated organisation’.
Following a brief period of introduction after moving from England in 1959, in 1971 she became Manager of Trade Missions. She organised visits to over 20 countries and made full use of the opportunities provided through these missions to link up with Soroptimists in countries all over the world.
In 1977 she was awarded an MBE for services to Scottish exports.
In her non-working life she was a staunch member of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral and supporter of the English Speaking Union. She enjoyed a wide range of interests, one of which was researching her family, which included Dr Joseph Bell who inspired Arthur Conan Doyle.
Susan Murray MBE – SI Sheffield
Sue Murray died on 15th February 2022 at the age of 98. She was a long standing member of SI Sheffield joining in the mid 1970s and serving as President 1985/6.
Her Soroptimist category was voluntary social worker and she was awarded an MBE for voluntary work, setting up and running a school clothing service, in 1995.
She was Mistress Cutler alongside her husband Graham who was Master Cutler in 1974. Sue and Graham had 3 daughters – one of whom Jane – is also a member of SI Sheffield.
She was a private person in many ways but very kind and generous and always willing to help.
Sue exemplified a life of service to others and was involved with many different Sheffield charities throughout her life.
She will be sadly missed.
Vivien England – SI Sheffield
Vivien England died on 10th December 2021, the day before her 93rd birthday.
She joined S I Sheffield in 1964 and with 57 years as a member she was one of our longest-serving members.
As a young member when she joined, some older members had been club members from its very early days. So she was a living link and had seen many evolutions within the organisation.
She was a physiotherapist and became the supervising physio for the rehabilitation unit for head injuries in Sheffield.
She was an active person, particularly managing and enjoying her large, sloping and work-intensive garden.
She gave sterling service to our Club in the care and organisation of our house in Rundle Rd. It was used for meetings for several organisations and a great deal of attending and trouble-shooting was required.
Her loyalty and reliability led to her election to Honorary Membership of our Club, an honour that she much appreciated.
She was a self-sufficient person who rarely complained despite sight and hearing problems in her later years.
We will remember her as a caring person, attentive to others.
Our members are proud to have known her.
Dr Mary Gerrard – SI Sheffield
Mary joined SI Sheffield in March 2020 just as the country went into lockdown so we never got to know her, rarely meeting face to face apart from on a summer visit in 2021.
She was born in 1951 in Hull the eldest of 9 children to an Irish mother and a Scottish father. She followed in her father’s footsteps and studied to be a doctor at St Andrews. She also studied for an Hons degree in Biochemistry and finished her studies in Manchester in 1977 after which she became the first female House Officer at the Manchester Royal Infirmary.
She loved children so it was no surprise that in 1988 she became a paediatric consultant at the Sheffield Children’s Hospital. She was a pioneer in child cancer services and was very well thought of by her colleagues and former patients – the family received 1000 tributes in 2 days many from former child cancer patients she saved, now grown adults.
Away from work she was a good badminton player, cook, and dressmaker and had a lifelong love of music, history, art and literature.
She married Derek in 2004 but was widowed in 2010. She did not have any children.
She tested positive for Covid and died 3 days later at home before the ambulance arrived.
Her memorial service on 25th March was at Aston Hall followed by a woodland burial.