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President Joyce Message – Week Fourteen

Good Morning Soroptimist Sisters,

Forgive me if this message seems to be more personal than in recent weeks!

Today, Sunday 28th June 2020, is the day when I should have been celebrating a highlight of my Presidential year – the Regional Afternoon Tea at Whitworth Hall, near Spennymoor, County Durham.

Whitworth Hall is the former home of Bobby Shafto; It belonged to the Shafto family for over 300 years. It is also a deer park covering extensive grounds. 

I was hoping that many of you would be able to join me at this delightful venue, explore the grounds, relax, have fun and help raise funds for the Butterwick Hospice where I have volunteered in Day Care for eleven years. 

The planning had begun 18 months ago when Margaret Wall, my registrar, and I made our first visit; the team was joined later by Maureen and Sue and other members of the Stockton Club; and then by Linda Johnson and Anne Gunning of SI Tynemouth, Whitley Bay & District. 

Linda had designed the table decorations  and Anne, was organising gifts for the guests and bringing some brilliant ideas forward. All were based on a favourite book ‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett reflecting my career as a librarian. 

Programmes and booking forms were printed and in envelopes to be distributed to clubs at the March RC Meeting.    There was so much to look forward to!    Alas, none of this can happen today as we were obliged to cancel the event in March as soon as Lockdown commenced.

I want to thank all those who had joined me on this journey and are as disappointed as I am that our destination could not be reached because of the virus.

But…………….. the weather forecast today is going to be wet and very windy so we are saved from venturing out in that!

As a small compensation, I joined Margaret [I am her Bubble Buddy] for Afternoon Tea in her house a week ago. How we enjoyed a face to face meeting after 100 days of just talking on the telephone!

On Monday of this week, I joined a ZOOM meeting with SI Penrith where I was delighted to see familiar faces, some new members and prospective members..

Those present introduced themselves to me and indicated what programme area they were involved in and it was so great to see their enthusiasm. 

One of their newer members – Roz – described our organisation as – Women with a Conscience! I rather like that description! 

Pat Newsham has been making Jam, Marmalade and Chutney and sold them from her garage for Arthritis Research. 

Jo Laycock made masks from cutting up two sheets – the masks were for people to wear when doctor or hospital visiting and on public transport. Smaller masks have been made for children.

It was agreed that donations for the masks should be used for victims of domestic abuse, an appropriate cause to support currently and £195 has been raised. 

Thank you, Penrith ladies, for your welcome and for allowing me to spend time with you.

COME DANCE WITH ME ZOOM PARTY – what a night! what a spectacular success! Dancing to 26  tracks of Northern Soul classics for an hour! 

Well done to Karen our PA Chair for organising this and raising the amazing total of £897.83 for Educating women and girls in Nepal! Thank you to all who participated and donated.

The graphics were amazing, both for Soroptimist International and for the Nepal Project.

Two participants who stood out for me were two Janes – Jane Inman whose stamina amazed me as she was on her feet for the whole hour with sparkly lights in her background and Jane Katsambis who found a number of unlikely partners, dancing with hats, cushions with hats on, walking sticks, juggling balls, book on her head, a large vase, a shepherd’s crook and a briefcase! She was so entertaining throughout!    

Karen danced in her garden with a large glass in her hand.  Water, I assume, Karen, as it was very hot!

One of those who joined the party was Rayner Rees, the co-ambassador for the Nepal Project.

Jane Inman sent me the photographs,[

Vyvyenne of SI Durham updated me on the ZOOM Yoga event which I highlighted two weeks ago. Over 163 devices were used to link in and more than that number took part as some had shared devices. A magnificent total of over £2,500 was raised for Macmillan Cancer Relief!  Vyvyenne does not yet know if it was the largest ZOOM Yoga class, hopefully, that information will come at a later date. 

Pam Cooper of SI Middlesbrough, submitted an entry to THE BIG STORY and raised £189 for Nepal. Well done to Pam.

Next weeks message will include news from SI Cockermouth, SI Darlington and SI Durham with more photographs. 

My quote this week is from Nelson Mandela written on Robben Island in 1970 – 

 ‘I never dreamt that time and hope could mean so much to one as they do now’

Until next week, stay safe and keep well
In Friendship,