President’s message 2017 – 18


Pres. Jill Smith, Pres. Elect Vera Baird, Q.C. and Immediate Past President Kath Shearer

Pres. Jill Smith, Pres. Elect Vera Baird, Q.C. and Immediate Past President Kath Shearer


I’d like to start my report with a big thank you to our outgoing Presidents.  The last two years have been a very successful experiment.  Our Joint Presidents Christine and Kath have provided excellent leadership to the club and have worked together to provide a cohesive, well developed and supported model which has been explored by other clubs.  We are not the only club who sometimes struggles to fill club officer roles and this job-share model has worked very well.

I am sure we will be able to build on the strong foundations laid by President Christine and Kath.  Christine’s offer to become Programme Action Officer on relinquishing the President’s role is very welcome and will ensure that we are able to build on in our new way of team working.  Her offer to continue this during her current period of ill-health is very much appreciated.  I am sure that it won’t be long before President Kath’s skills in accounting are utilised by the club once again!  The offer of support from them both (and of course from Christine Lumsdon and the other club officers) to me for the coming year is very much appreciated.

I hope the club will continue to work together on the projects we have been supporting through Programme Action.  We will continue our work supporting the Joseph Cowan Healthcare Centre, providing refreshments and clothing for some of the city’s most vulnerable people.  At this time of austerity and government funding cuts our work is ever more needed.  The New Start bags initiative developed through our partnership with Northumbria Police to help people affected by Human Trafficking has been enthusiastically embraced by club members.  I hope that this will continue.

We have seen success with our club’s support for Project Choice and the Education in Nepal – projects which make a real difference to the lives of those benefitting from it.  We have some interesting speakers lined up to talk about a number of very interesting projects that we will have the opportunity to become involved in.

This coming year is an exciting one for the club, when we will be celebrating our 80th year.  I look forward to working with you all in the planning of our celebrations and our Charter Lunch on 11th November.

I’d like to end with another big thank you to our outgoing Presidents.  Their ongoing support has been exceptional and I look forward to working with them, other club officers and club members over the coming year.

Jill Smith

President 2017/18