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Regional President’s Message – October 2022

I cannot believe that it is already October and that this will be my final Regional President’s Message to you all. Thank you for reading my words and for supporting me during my year as your Regional President.

Regional President's Message
Summer Garden Party – President Judith

The next Regional President’s Message will be from Lyn Shiel and I wish her all the very best for her Presidential year. She will officially take over from me at the Belfast Conference followed by our own Change of Insignia on Friday 18th November.

My theme of ‘Progress not Perfection’ has been referred to many times during my year as Regional President.

Has our region achieved ‘Perfection?’ Have I achieved ‘Perfection?’

The simple answer is of course ‘No,’ because this is unattainable, no matter how hard we try. At the beginning of my year my message to everyone was to keep moving forward with Progress being at the heart of everything.

So have we made progress as a region and within our nine clubs? 

The simple answer to this is a definite ‘Yes.’ I would encourage every club to celebrate their many successes and feel a sense of pride at how much progress has been made. My monthly reports have highlighted so many of these achievements. Our region is full of the most amazing women – well done Midland Chase.

We have been given opportunities to reconnect with each other, especially after such a very difficult two years with the pandemic. I certainly appreciated the chance to meet in person most recently AGM on 10th September which was well attended. This gave us a much needed opportunity to support each other as we remembered and gave thanks for the life of our late Queen.

Mel Wardle Woodend the Staffordshire Poet Laureate was there to present prizes for my poetry competition. She also read her specially written poem on the Queen’s death before our two minutes silence. At Bilston’s recent Charter Lunch I talked about what  Queen Elizabeth II did for us as women and how much we can learn from her. Putting this into context she was born 5 years after the very first Soroptimist club was founded in Oakland, California. You can read my speech at the end of this Blog.

We received thirty extraordinary poems linked with ‘Progress not Perfection’ which we plan to publish.

Please watch out for further details as we will be taking orders ready for you to purchase in time for Christmas. 

My year started with a photographic competition and comes to its end with these wonderful poems. Both competitions have engaged members with Region in a different way whilst thinking about my theme.

Our Regional Conference, my Garden Party and the Three Regions Picnic also provided us with this opportunity not only to socialise but to share our ideas. We look forward to our regional day out at Wollerton Old Hall Gardens for a chance to meet up too. I honestly believe that the more we get to know one another across our region, the better we can connect and help each other to achieve our goals and to make progress.

I hope members feel they know more about Modern Day Slavery through our inspirational speakers and free training offered by ‘Voice of Hope‘ the local charity we are supporting. As a three year initiative we want to see if we can actually make a positive difference rather than just talking about it. The £1,500 raised at my garden party will certainly help ‘Voice of Hope’ in their work with victims of MDS.

I have stressed so many times about the importance of communication, kindness and respect for every single member within our clubs. No one is more important than anyone else. Let’s value the wonderful diversity of our members and very importantly please keep listening and keep talking to one another.

One of my aims was to make region more open, honest and transparent and to encourage members to become more involved in all regional events. I believe progress has been made here too. 

Regional meetings have become shorter and more streamlined to encourage more members to attend and to make better use of our precious time. 

We all have an important part to play to ensure that Progress and not Perfection remains at the heart of everything we do, but let’s continue to always focus on the word Progress.

As Soroptimists we really can continue to make a difference to the lives of women and girls.

In friendship, Judith


Queen Elizabeth swore in 15 Prime Ministers, three of them women – Margaret Thatcher, Teresa May & Liz Truss. She wasn’t vocal about political matters but more importantly she led by example. During those 70 years she realised that she needed to adapt to our ever changing culture and she embraced change in order to make necessary progress.
Having a female monarch wasn’t enough on its own to create a strong legacy for women, but Queen Elizabeth showed us what was possible. Regardless of how you feel about the monarchy the Queen was a trailblazer for women. Women could hold powerful positions and do so with unquestionable skill.
Just to put this into a Soroptimist context , five years before Queen Elizabeth was born something very significant was taking place in California. In 1921 the very first Soroptimist club Almeda County was formed. There were over 80 business and professional women from around the city of Oakland. Violet Richardson was their first President. It met weekly and changed its name to SI Oakland in 1928 when our late Queen was two years old. Most of us already know about their first project to “Save the Redwoods” which they believed were being felled unnecessarily. By taking on powerful lumber companies and winning public support, they were successful in making sure that a large part of the forest became a protected area of land.
As Soroptimists we can learn so much from our late Queen. Through our Programme Action work we can continue to do our best to improve the lives of women and girls.
When Queen Elizabeth died, Maureen Maguire President of Soroptimist International said,
“We have lost a remarkable woman who extolled the essence of what we as Soroptimists stand for – equality and human rights for all, and peace and security in our time.’’