Club History


HOW THE CLUB BEGAN

by Edith Base –  Founder Charter President

-written in 1942

One Saturday afternoon in November 1936, a small party of Newcastle women met at a house in Osborne Road to hear about Soroptimism.  The invitation to the meeting was a missionary enterprise on the part of Yorkshire Soroptimists.

 

A fortnight later, those Yorkshire women came North again, addressing a larger meeting of Newcastle business and professional women in a room at the Y.W.C.A.,  and as a result the Soroptimist Club of Newcastle was formally inaugurated on 10 March 1937 at a meeting addressed by Mrs Moore, President of the York Club in the Rendezvous Cafe in Newcastle.  The National President Miss Elizabeth Hawes, presented us with our Charter at the Club’s first Annual Dinner on 10 November 1937.

 

Mrs Moore emphasized the fact that Soroptimist is international – a world wide movement for fuller co-operation and friendship among women; and the Newcastle Club has kept that wider vision.  We have grown up in times of rapidly contracting interests.  The coming war was a heavy shadow even as our first meetings were being held;  in our second year we struggled under the dead-hand weight of the 1938 ‘crisis’.  Then war broke, and much that we had hoped and planned had to be laid by while members directed their leisure and energy to national work.

 

But we have kept our vision.  As far as possible that vision has still been translated into action.  We have welcomed refugees from other countries to our club;  we have sent our contribution to the women of Ethiopia; we have studied recent political history and international trends, in the faith that when the war is over our ideal world of sisterhood will be of value in the reconstruction of the world.

 

The Club began an active life with 20 members and unlimited enthusiasm, and at the end of 12 months membership had grown to 75 and the Club was well established in the life of the town.  In our second year, we had attained a position from which it was possible for our Club to organise, enlisting the co-operation of 20 women’s organisations in the district, a public demonstration in connection with international celebrations of ‘Status of Women Day’.

 

And so, in spite of the war, we have gone on.  Twenty years ago there was only one Soroptimist Club in the world.  Now there are hundreds of clubs and we trust that when peace is established in the countries now under Nazi domination will be able to raise their heads again.  We have abundant evidence that their spirit is still undimmed.   In the near future lies…..PEACE.  Until it comes, we mean to go ahead cheerfully in enjoying our social meetings and picnics and the friendly intercourse of the Club – and earnestly, taking our part as citizens as far as we may.  When it comes, we shall be needed.  We must be ready to help in building that secure edifice of international goodwill and service in which all overpast tyrannies can be forgiven and each member walking with us can look forward and go on.

 

 

PAST PRESIDENTS OF S. I. NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE

 

1937 – 39   Miss Edith Base

1939 – 41   Dr Dorothea Sinton

1941 – 43   Miss Olive Hicks

1943 – 45   Miss Alice Curry

1945 – 47   Mrs Evelyn Lambert

1947 – 49   Mrs Lina Biltcliffe

1949 – 51   Mrs Harriet Pearey

1951 – 52   Miss Ethel Attwood

1952 – 53   Miss Helen Wadsworth

1953 – 54   Mrs Ethel Adams

1954 – 55   Mrs Alice Topping

1955 – 56   Miss L Frossell

1956 – 57   Mrs Doris Young

1957 – 58   Mrs Agnes Malcolm

1958 – 59   Mrs Harriet Pearey

1959 – 60   Miss Aldyth Heywood

1960 – 61   Mrs Alice Topping

1961 – 62   Miss L.Frossell

1962 – 63   Mrs Anne Forsyth

1963 – 64   Mrs Mary Summers

1964 – 65   Ms N E Sponton

1965 – 66   Mrs Kathleen Bodey

1966 – 67   Mrs Helen Staig

1967 – 68   Mrs Catherine Webster

1968 – 69   Miss Marjorie Godtschailk

1970 – 71   Miss Doris Graham ( Chapman)

1971 – 72   Miss Elizabeth M Watts

1972 – 73   Miss Sheila Stephenson

1973 – 74   Dr Mary E Elder

1974 – 75   Miss Catherine Russell

1975 – 76   Miss Mary Thompson

1976 – 77   Mrs Mary Bland

1977 – 79   Mrs Diana Stewart

1979 – 80   Mrs Monica Ryan

1980  – 81  Miss Dorothy Ross

1981 – 82   Mrs Nina Hannaford

1982 – 83   Mrs Nancy Avery

1983 – 84   Miss Florence M Kirkby MBE

1984 – 85   Miss Dorothy Dowie

1985 – 86   Miss Mary Thompson

1986 – 87   Miss Anne Thom

1987 – 88   Mrs Mary Stephenson

1988 – 89   Mrs Grace Kinghorn

1989 – 90   Mrs Jean Lovie

1990 – 91   Miss Christine Tarling

1991 – 92   Miss Dorothy Sisterson

1992 – 93   Mrs Olive Kaer  MBE

1993 – 94   Mrs Ann Powell

1994 – 95   Mrs Christine Tomkins

1995 – 96   Miss Lisa Kaer

1996 – 97   Mrs Vivienne Graham

1997 – 98   Ms Catherine Waller

1998 – 99   Miss Margaret Ayton

1999 – 00   Mrs Heather Niven

2000 – 01   Ms Christine Lowthian

2001 – 03   Mrs Christine Cottingham

2003 – 04   Miss Margaret Ayton

2004 – 05   Mrs Margaret Elliott

2005 – 06   Ms Christine Lowthian

2006 – 07   Ms Christine Tarling (Lumsdon)

2007 – 08   Mrs Janet Heal

2008 – 09   Ms Jill Smith

2009 – 10   Ms Catherine Waller

2010 – 11   Ms Joan Macbeth

2011 – 12   Ms Maggie Stewart

2012 – 13   Mrs Kath Shearer

2013 – 14   Ms Doreen Huddart

2014 – 15   Ms Jill Smith

2015 – 17    Ms Christine Lowthian and Mrs Kath Shearer

2017 – 18     Ms Jill Smith

2018 – 19     Vera Baird Q.C.

2019 – 20      Ms Chris Jones