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President Joyce Message – Week Sixteen

Good Morning Soroptimist Sisters

Today we should have been watching the Wimbledon Men’s Singles Final; on Friday next, the BBC Proms should have had their First Night and the following week our athletes would have been competing in the Tokyo Olympics. All, sadly, cannot take place, although there are some signs emerging of a slow recovery. I actually returned my library books on Friday, although I was not allowed into the library; the books had been borrowed in February!  I imagine, many of you, like me, were pleased to be able to visit your hairdresser this week!

On Tuesday last, I was privileged to join over 50 participants at the online launch of Poems in a Pandemic.

SI Sunderland member, Angela Richardson and her company ‘Alliance for Care and Education’ [ACE] who deliver vocational training and personal development for staff working in the Care Sector, predominately in the North East, requested support from Soroptimists for the Project. 

Our Programme Action Chair, Karen Alexander, approached SINE Officers for support, and then took the plan to UKPAC and it is now endorsed by our Federation.

Poems in a Pandemic is a poetry and art competition for staff and workers in Care Homes. Some front line workers will be suffering mentally and will need support now and in the future due to the trauma faced in their working lives. Knowing that poetry and art can be therapeutic for many, the end result, it is proposed, would be the winning entries published in a book of poetry, 100 in total.

The virtual launch featured some of the poems submitted so far and most were read by their authors, from Leeds, Liverpool, Chesterfield, Cardiff and London, etc, expressing their feelings and thoughts and sharing them with us. I found them to be very moving; subjects covered were Loss, Reflection and Hope.

The project had the backing of celebrities Anton du Beke, Denise Welch and Chico all of whom recorded messages of support.

It was a most impressive launch of an inspirational project and Soroptimists are proud to be associated with it. So my message to you is to promote it in any way you can, share, if you see it on Facebook, spread the word as Karen has done, by bringing it to wider attention.

There is a video recording of the launch available – Poems in a Pandemic   it lasts one hour and is well worth watching.



As you will be aware from my previous messages, members of SI Cockermouth were a team within the Scrub Hub in the early days of the Pandemic.

This amazing local response resulted in:  1512 sets of scrubs; 1072 head bands; 600 expanders; 1138 scrub caps; 168 ponytail caps; 139 bouffant caps; 786 plastic elastic expanders; 270 splash visors; 3224 scrub bags; and 2252 masks and other items!   Now, that’s impressive, Cockermouth ladies, well done!

Amazing Women Awards 2020. I hope that all clubs received the message from Vyvyenne Mack of SI Durham, circulated this week by Secretary Joan, about one of the nominees of the Amazing Women Awards being from our Region? She is Linda Kirk, founder and Director of ‘Just for Women Centre’ in Stanley, County Durham. This centre has supported over 3250 women who are victims of domestic abuse. Some of you may have heard her speak in your clubs. Linda is an inspirational woman who is worthy of our support. 

Please, if you have not already done so, vote for her at: before 31st July, and thank you, if you have already responded.

More news from Jane Katsambis of SI Durham who has five bags of essential items, only one pictured here,  ready to deliver to their local Women’s Refuge. Jane and Sue Percival are Link Members for the Refuge, which has recently taken in a mother in her 60’s and her daughter in her 30’s who had lived together with their Domestic Abuse perpetrator husband/father. The Manager of the Refuge was delighted that they had come in together to offer each other support, but awful that it has taken them years to feel able to leave. I found this to be profoundly sad.

I received a lovely message this week  from Rosemary Webb of SI Tynemouth, Whitley Bay and District. Rosemary seems to be endlessly, working for various causes and told me that whilst clearing out drawers [isn’t that what we all planned to do during Lockdown?] she has been stockpiling and collecting bras from members and delivering them to a local repository for Breast Cancer Research. Rosemary asks that if you have found any bras which are surplus to requirements, during your clear outs and do not have an outlet for them, save them until we can meet again and Rosemary will deliver them for you.

Another suggestion came my way from SI Durham that you may like to collect foil lined crisp packets [Like Kettle Crisps] for Girl Guiding Durham South. Would you believe that these can by made into blankets and sleeping bags after being backed with thin plastic? Wash your crisp packets and save them in a roll to be given to Judith Stirk when meeting up will be possible. It takes 400 packets to make a sleeping bag and these could be used by homeless people, who may presently have shelter that will not last beyond the lifting of restrictions. The County Commissioner has offered to run workshops on how to manufacture these.  [When such activities are possible, of course!]



If any member is a subscriber to the Soroptimist 2000 Club – the lottery set up to raise funds for Number 63, our small hotel in Bayswater Road, London – you should be aware that it is closing and if you have a Standing Order to the lottery, you should cancel it as soon as possible. You may have received the same letter as I did and if you have already complied, then I apologise. Contact me if you need further information and I will happily forward the letter to you.

Over 20 years the 2000 Club has donated £130,000 to Number 63.

I wish to send greetings to two ladies who read my weekly messages but are no longer Soroptimists. 

Anne Bennett – who was formerly a Regional Secretary and Elizabeth Murphy, a member of SI Morpeth for many years until it closed. We miss you, ladies, but I am pleased to hear from Patricia Gatherum, that you are keeping up with our activities.

With the absence of further photographic contributions this week, I find it necessary to show you my Afternoon Tea photographs with my Bubble Buddy, Margaret! 

I am also happy to include a photograph of Margaret Alderson [4] taken by President Louise of SI Tynemouth, Whitley Bay and District when she delivered the news to Margaret that she had been included in 100 4 100 #WhoisShe?.

My quote this week is from former US President, Lyndon B Johnson –

Yesterday is not ours to recover but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.

Until next week, Stay Safe and Keep Well

In Friendship