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Presidents Message and Newsletter – Number 75


Good morning Sister Soroptimists,

I was delighted to see Associate members and so many clubs represented at my first Regional Council Meeting a couple of weeks ago.  Unfortunately, some of you were unable to attend as there was a clash of dates with important club activities.  However, I hope these were a success and you are able to join us next time on 19 March 2022.

For the second half of the meeting, we had an excellent speaker, Huffty McHugh, Coordinator of the West End Women and Girls Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne.  The work that she does with the women and girls and their communities is amazing.  She was so inspirational which has been shown by the many positive comments I have received.

After Huffty,  my second Exceptional Woman is Mandy Coppin, the Chief Executive Officer of Streetwise and a Soroptimist.  Streetwise is an organisation that provides a range of health and wellbeing support services for young people aged 11 – 25 years.  It offers quick and easy access to professional help through its drop in provision,  NHS Relationship and Sexual Health Clinics, detached youth work teams backed up by their group work and specialist counselling and mental health services.  The detached team delivers the Streetwise services from their Youth Van to young people in the neighbourhoods where they live, on the streets and in the parks.

Mandy is responsible for the day to day management and overall direction of the Streetwise services.  The support that is provided for these young people by everything she and her staff do is admirable.  She also organised the “Oranging” of the Millennium Bridge so that Streetwise and Soroptimists could demonstrate together on the first day of the 1tt days of Activism against Gender-based Violence. ( see the photograph below).  The Global theme this year is “Orange the World: End Violence against Women now”.

Like many of you, I’m sure, I was dismayed and horrified at the number of refugees who died trying to get to a better life last week. The loss of 27 lives including 7 women, one of whom was pregnant, and 3 children is not acceptable.  Whilst I accept this is not an easy issue to resolve Governments need to get together to ensure that such tragedies do not happen again.  As I sat in my warm house protected from the elements of Storm Arwen I thought about the refugees in the rough ‘camps’ in France and hoped there was no-one on the seas that night desperate to escape.

Good News  –  however I will end my message with more cheerful news.  Malala Yousafzai, the young student who was shot by the Taliban after campaigning for girls to be educated, graduated at the end of November from Oxford University with a Philosophy, Politics and Economics degree.  She was accompanied at the Graduation Ceremony by her proud parents and newly married husband.

I hope you have all escaped damage from the Storm Arwen.  Stay safe and well as the new COVID variant comes to the UK.

Best wishes  –  President Pam


Members from S.I.Durham  and S.I.Newcastle upon Tyne joined together with members of Streetwise on Wednesday 24th November to mark the beginning of the 1tt days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence.    As the evening light faded, they walked together across the Millennium Bridge that spans the Tyne while attired in orange hats, scarves, orange masks, hi-vis jackets, glow bracelets and hand waving flags.  As it grew darker, the bridge turned a magnificent orange in front of a back drop of an orange sunset.  It was good to be able to stand together to protect against violence targeted at women and girls.  ( see photos of the members from both clubs ).  The event was covered by local press and drone.

S.I. Middlesbrough  sent this photograph of members at a club meeting on 18 November when they all wore orange to mark the 1tt Days of Activism.


S.I. Stockton-on-Tees  succeeded in lighting up Stockton Town Hall and other places in the High Street in bright orange lights.  This is the third year that they have achieved this and it certainly bought a glow to the Town Centre to highlight the start of the 1tt Days of Activism. (See photo of the Town Hall ).   

S.I.Darlington and District have sent in a report that describes their hard work and success in  their campaign during the 1tt Days of Activism which started for them on 25 November.

“The best thing about our Orange days has been that the whole club was involved.  Over many weeks members prepared getting on for one thousand orange ribbons.  The Orange Working Party, led by one of our newer members, Carol Marchant, made contact with individuals and businesses around town, asking them to participate.  Two keen and skilled  photographers volunteered to record all the proceedings and this was a huge help. A great coup was getting the support of the Town Crier, who made proclamations in the town centre,  the South Park and the Railway Station.   He started with ‘Oyez – oyez – oyez and continued with ‘Darlington is turning Orange!’ and a number of rallying cries to encourage the public to visit our information stands and to help ‘reduce the violence and increase the peace’.  The message was that everyone has their part to play.

Shops and cafes decorated their premises with our bunting and posters, as well as giving out our ribbons and information flyers.  Some went above and beyond: adding their own balloons to their displays and dressing in orange for the day.  Our displays at the Library ( where the staff supplied relevant books ),  the Hippodrome and the the South Park cafe have remained in place for the 2tt days.  The LNER staff used our materials and some of their own to make a stunning display on one of the platforms at the main station.

Club members talked to the public at our two town centre information stands where we gave out ribbons, oranges (donated by a local fruit stall holder ), balloons and information leaflets sign posting where help is available.  Our own flyers describe the different forms of VAWG.

An anonymous donor sponsored two new pop-up banners which incorporated the poster designed by our member, Sylvia Roberts.  We were given invaluable assistance in the banner production by the husband of our newest member, Liz Hayward.  He became a Soroptimister before she was even officially inducted!

The Mayor gave an hour of her time to help launch the campaign and always speaks very highly of Soroptimists, saying we are inspirational!  Another of our newer members, Yvonne Oakes, wrote to the Duchess of Cornwall to inform her of what we were planning and received a very warm, grateful, and encouraging response.  This gained a lot of attention on Facebook !  

On the evening of 25th November, there was a full council meeting, so two members were on hand at the start to ensure that each councillor received an orange ribbon.  The Mayor had agreed to explain – using our short script –  what it was all about. (see  photo showing the Mayor, the leader of the Council and the new Orange banner with two members.)

The Town Clock and the Hippodrome both turned orange that night and fished the day off in a golden glow of success.   Carol and her team felt pretty satisfied with how things had gone but have learned that it is never too soon to start planning and are full of ideas for 2022.”  ( as Editor of this Newsletter,   I have to apologise to S.I.Darlington for not including more of their fantastic eye catching photographs –  but I fear that this Newsletter file size will become too large to send ! )

S.I. Penrith and District  members have been raising awareness of Gender Based Violence Against Women by staging this orange coloured display in Penrith Library.  ( see photograph ).   The Library is also being lit up in Orange lights for the 1tt days of activism and this was achieved by the Eden Forum Against Domestic Violence where a number of members are involved in supporting their activities so they feel that they can claim some the recognition for the initiative.  

As we approach the festive season,  I have been sent a couple of items that might interest you as gifts for families and friends :

Tree planting in Spring 2022 :  The West End Women & Girls Centre is now offering to provide a voucher to send as a gift for a tree ( or trees !) to be planted next Spring at their new small holding in the Harwood Forest in Northumberland.   £25 for 1 tree;  £tt0 for 4 trees or £125 for 10 trees  –  read all about it at:   


S.I. Newcastle upon Tyne’s  club secretary and friends have produced a little Booklet of Poems which are personal and light hearted experiences which have the aim to bring a smile to the reader’s face.  The proceeds will be split between their club’s Soroptimist mental health projects and Alzheimer’s Research.   This could provide a little stocking filler in exchange for a small donation.  Contact Cris Young with your details for your order to be posted to you :    

Lastly –   S.I. Tynemouth, Whitley Bay & District  have sent a date for your new 2022 diaries.

“  We would like to invite you to join us for afternoon tea at 2.30pm on Sunday 27th February 2022  to celebrate our 75th Birthday.  The venue is the St. Mary’s Site at the iconic Spanish City in Whitley Bay,  overlooking the sea;  you can explore the venue at  https://       There will be music and a chance to find out about some of our work.  Your guest speakers will be members of the North Shields Heritology Project,  a charity which works touring the area’s rich heritage to life using new techniques.  The cost is £25 per head.  Friends and family are welcome too –  an ideal Christmas present !  More details and a booking form will be circulated soon.  We would love you to join us for this very special afternoon – so please save the date !  “

I still have lots more new club news to write about.  Thank you for everyone who has sent in a contribution.   I have decided to send you an EXTRA Newsletter on Sunday 19 December which will feature the theme of Festive Giving and welcome news about new members for a New Year !   

I have concerns from some members that not all your news items and emails are gettng through to me, particularly if they contain document attachments.   This seems to be due to my iMac ’s Google privacy settings which have not presented a problem until now.  If your mailing to me bounces back,  then I suggest you re-send the attachment in pdf format.   If this still doesn’t work, then please telephone me on xxx  for a suggested different email address which is not g.mail but bt.internet  which should work better.     I do aim to reply to all submission on the same day or the next so if you have waited longer please do contact me.   Apologies for this technical hiccup  –  not my best forte !

With very best wishes for the festive season –  and hopes that Storm Arwen has not left you with any great lasting difficulties.  We think of those whose lives have been extremely disrupted in the past week and wish them safe return to normality. in friendship      –  your editor and JIPP

Christine  Lumsdon