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Regional President’s Message November 2020

My Presidential year started in earnest at the National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas on Sunday 8th November 2020.

Photo of Soroptimists from the Three Midlands Regions at The NMA 8th November 2020
Soroptimists from the Three Midlands Regions at The NMA 8th November 2020

At a very orderly, well run and socially distanced event I met Elaine Clarke, SI Midland Arden President and Kam Britland, SI Midland East President to represent the Three Midland Regions. SIGBI’s Immediate Past President Isobel Smith also joined us to lay a wreath on behalf of Federation President Johanna Raffan MBE.

People were ushered into Heroes Square where we could unmask and converse more freely before going to the Soroptimist Plot. There the SIGBI wreath was laid by Isobel and the Three Regions wreath by Kam firstly at our memorial plaque and then again by Elaine at the Three Regions plaque. I read out Our Peace Pledge.  Elaine’s husband Marshall took photographs and videoed the event for us.
The Service of Remembrance was held in the open air, below the steps leading to the Memorial Wall. The Arboretum Director opened the event and the Reverend Vic Van Den Bergh, Honorary Chaplain at the NMA, conducted the service with the bugler and all other officers and personnel socially distanced on the steps.
Twin teenage girls sang a capella, first of all the National Anthem and later ‘Amazing Grace’. Isobel was delighted that we could show our support, having been invited to enjoy front row VIP seating
It was a sunny but windy day and afterwards we had time to drink coffee and exchange thoughts for our year together. Both Elaine and Kam are keen for us to create a Three Region Project to publicise and improve membership for each of our regions. Isobel felt we should aim to achieve more national recognition for Soroptimism wherever we can.
We’ve also held our first regional Executive Meeting this month and started to set out how the new team will work together for the benefit of the Region and all its clubs. The Exec has also been preparing for our first quarterly Regional meeting to be held via Zoom on 5th December – hosted by SI Tamworth.
Regional President's Message - Image of families living and working on a manila waste dump
I attended a very interesting online presentation on the Purple Community Fund at the kind invitation of SI Sutton Coldfield, and was hugely impressed at the wonderful work being carried out in Manila. The clinic set up using the legacy from SI Sutton Coldfield member Rita Caswell, is clearly going from strength to strength despite the restrictions created by the CV-19 pandemic.
My theme this year is “Be Bold and Mind The Gap” and I am looking forward to hearing how each Club would like to interpret this in its activity and to attending your Zoom meetings by invitation.
In friendship, Margaret