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Presidents Message and Newsletter Number 86


Good Morning Sister Soroptimists,

The funeral of Elisabeth Elders,  a past Regional President,  was held on Thursday 5th May 2022 at St George’s United Reform Church in Morpeth.  Unfortunately I was unable to attend but I understand that the church was filled with family and friends.,  including a large number of Soroptimists.   The Service of Thanksgiving was a wonderful celebration of Elisabeth’s life with members of the congregation recounting serious and humorous tales which were a real tribute to a well-respected and admired lady who will be greatly missed.

At S.I. Newcastle upon Tyne’s club meeting, we had a most interesting talk from Rie Pearson who has written a book entitled “Be Kind, No Excuses” for 14 year old girls.  It outlines stories about women who have suffered from domestic abuse but is aimed at recognising potential abusers such as stalkers to prevent domestic abuse in the future.  Although the book is focused primarily on young girls,  Rie hopes that schools may use it with girls and boys to discuss the issues and bring boys into conversations.  There have been various spin off projects from the book such as ‘Buddy Bags’ for the children of women in refuges;  WASH ( Women are Safe Here ),  an Instagram for women to raise awareness of potentially abusive men.  Rie believes that ‘by making society safe for women – everyone will be safe’.

A few weeks ago I mentioned in my Message that girls in Afghanistan had turned up to their secondary school expecting to start school again but were turned away.  They are still not in school and life for women and girls is becoming more difficult.  In the past few days the Taliban regime has stated  that ‘women should only leave their homes in cases of necessity and then, with their faces covered in public’ and that any violations will lead to the punishment of male relatives.  This recent decision is of concern to the United Nations as it contradicts previous reassurances that the human rights of all Afghans, including women and girls, will be respected and protected.

From 16 – 22nd  April,  the Invictus Games were held in The Hague, the Netherlands,  which showcased the remarkable achievements of wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women.  These games use the power of sport to inspire recovery,  support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for these participants.  More than 500 service veterans took part in 10 different sports  e.g.  wheelchair  basketball;  wheelchair rugby; sitting volley ball; swimming and athletics. The Invictus Games is an event to inspire opportunity and honour achievement and, although medals are awarded, they do not produce competitive national medal tables as in the Olympic Games.  However Team UK did exceptionally well in swimming and indoor rowing and great respect was shown by all towards Team Ukraine.  It was wonderful to see women participants excelling along with their male counterparts.  The captain of Team UK was Rachel Williamson who won 3 Gold Medals and 1 Silver medal in swimming  –  an Exceptional Women .

With the lovely sunny weather recently and time to work in the garden, I was reminded of another Exceptional Woman,  Gertrude Jekyll.  She was an excellent British horticulturalist and was renowned as a garden designer.  However she was also a talented cragswoman , photographer,  writer and designer.  During her life she created over 400 gardens in the U.K., Europe and the United States .  She is described as a ‘premier influencer in garden design’ and often worked in partnership with English Architect Edwin Lutyens.  A local example of their work is the garden at Lindisfarne Castle.

Our thoughts are still with the people of Ukraine,  particularly in Eastern Ukraine.  However, it is pleasing to hear that many of you are offering help and support to Ukrainian families who are being housed in our region.  If you have any stories about the difficult lives the Ukrainians have had to face during these last few weeks, please send a written note to Christine, our Newsletter Editor,  obviously with the permission of the people concerned or couched in an anonymous account.

I am looking forward to meeting some of the clubs in the coming weeks.  On Friday 10th June I will be attending S.I. Durham’s Platinum Jubilee Dinner and have also been invited to S.I. Sunderland’s club meeting on Wednesday 13th July.  I always welcome the opportunity to meet with other Soroptimists, so I am delighted to be invited to these events as well as looking forward to seeing a number of you at my President’s event in Carlisle on 25th June. Take Care and look ager yourselves –


SINE  Regional President



As it seems that more and more clubs are now returning to face-to-face meetings and social occasions,  there seem to be far fewer reports coming in for this Newsletter.  Ager discussion with Regional President Pam, we have decided to reduce the frequency of these Newsletters to ONE per MONTH.    So our next Edition in our new timetable will be on Sunday 5th June and on the first Sunday in the month thereafter.

We believe that this form of communication still has a purpose in our Region to enable clubs to share experiences and reports of deeds done and to maintain links between clubs and members.   So –  please –  do send me your news and photographs to include and share.



The next Regional Zoom Coffee Gathering  will be on Saturday 11 June from 10.30am for about one hours.   If you would like to attend and join in the chat then please ask Margaret Ayton for a Zoom link to be sent to you (  )

Look ager yourselves and I await your activity reports !      In friendship

Christine     (Your Editor at  )