Circle of Northern England








Saturday  12 August 2017 CANCELLED UNTIL 2018           Circle Meeting    Annual Circle Subscription £5  Cheques payable to ‘Soroptimist Circle’

Venue – To be confirmed


I am indebted to the unknown author of “Notes on the Circle” which I discovered enclosed in the Minute Book, most of which is repeated here with some additions.

The Circle is made up of Officers, past and present of the Region of Northern England, formerly known as the Northern Divisional Union.

The inaugural meeting of the Circle was held on 23rd June 1962. Mrs Biltcliffe as founder President of the Northern Divisional Union took the chair in its first year. At this first meeting, the members were asked if the Circle wished to meet for any special purpose or as a friendly gathering only. It was agreed that the meetings should be mainly for friendly purposes but that as ‘elder statesmen’ they might make suggestions or observations which the Divisional Union Council might welcome.

Initially interclub meetings were arranged and other meetings with Club Secretaries and Treasurers. A small dinner party was held for Club Presidents in September 1964 and again in 1965 and 66. 1967 saw the newly elected Club Presidents meeting again at Bainbridges Restaurant and it is interesting to note that the main subject of discussion was that there was a lack of leadership in the Federation and that many clubs worked as separate entities. There was vigorous discussion on membership and it focused on the need for more and clearer explanations to new members.

From 1968 the current format of meetings has operated and continued, to meet annually with incoming Club Presidents, to discuss common problems and share the expertise of Circle Members and gain their combined support. Circle Members pay a small annual subscription and in the past this money has been put to good use.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Region of Northern England in 1998, the Circle commissioned two day badges, one for the Regional President and one for the Regional Vice President. These are of unique ceramic design on silver mounts.

Charitable donations have also been made over the years, to Marie Curie Cancer Care, Wear/Surma Clinic, Golden Jubilee Fund, Dewode Project, Sage Conference, Soroptimist Benevolent Fund.

The annual Circle meeting is chaired by successive former Regional Presidents, at present there are 39 members of the Circle. Collectively they have a wealth of experience at all levels of Soroptimism, Club, Region, Federation and International.

To conclude, a quotation from the early years of the Circle Minutes:

“We need the past to appreciate the present and plan the future. From time to time, look back, but live in the present and find confidence in the future to deal with a changing world.”

Those words were spoken by the late Molly Wright, an outstanding Soroptimist, who is remembered with great affection by many of the Circle.

October 2015:-

As the present Secretary/Treasurer I will try and update this document, although I know there is a lot of missing information and I would appreciate any information which I could add so that we have a more up-to-date information document for the future.

At the meeting in 2015 the members expressed their concern that Clubs were finding themselves in the position of no elected people in the Presidential roles and therefore unable to send anyone to the meeting.  It was discussed and noted that a lot of Clubs wished to operate in a different way as far as elected officers was concerned, as all Clubs are autonomous their views are to be respected and accepted by us all.  In conclusion of the discussion it was decided that all Clubs be notified of the next Circle meeting and invite them to send 2 representatives to the Circle meeting which would now be an afternoon meeting at the Beaumont Hotel in Hexham and the time of year would be August. It was emphasized that the Circle was a benefit to all Soroptimist old and new and was there to provide help, support and information to all the Clubs in Northern Region.

Hilary Clavering November 2015

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