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Supper Meetings

21/05/24 Cervical Cancer Prevention

Dr Julia Palmer gave a superb talk on national and global challenges of eradicating cervical cancer, she certainly sparked off a long and lively discussion.

Thanks to Sheila, Hilary and Group to for organising such an enlightening event.


The topic for the evening was the Prevention of Cervical Cancer and our speaker was Miss Julia Palmer, Consultant Gynaecologist in Sheffield.   The focus was the current situation here and the especial challenges in Africa, where the incidence and mortality are the highest in the world.  This cancer affects women of all ages and exacts a terrible toll on women with young families. The cancer is accessible and potentially preventable and awareness of the  causes, means of early diagnosis and treatment has increased greatly.   The challenge now is to apply this to populations.

The key advance has been the recognition that a basic cause is infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV).   This virus is widespread, easily acquired and particularly causes cancer in the cervix and in the mouth and throat of men and women.  There is a vaccine against it.   Vaccination of young people (both girls and boys) offers hope for the future but will have to be accompanied by surveillance, early diagnosis and full treatment facilities of early cases to make an impact.

WHO has set out ambitions and targets even aiming at eradication though these are acknowledged to be aspirational rather than practical.   Even in S. Yorkshire, vaccination of youngsters is only a little over half. The Covid pandemic has had a large negative effect and early diagnosis and treatment by smears and follow-up have taken a hit especially in deprived populations.  Efforts have been made with some success in some areas (e.g. Barnsley) to take the facilities into the community by mobile units in shopping centres but this has not been successfully pursued in Sheffield.   The resources required get diverted from other needs.

In Africa, the challenges are immense, ranging from attitudes to women’s health and needs, to lack of infrastructure for early surveillance and to the wide circulation of harmful myths and beliefs.   Education and, of course resources, are the key.   Our speaker mentioned some of the ‘outreach’ expeditions that professional groups had made.

Our talk was most informative and provided many items for discussion and understanding.

By-Line Sheila

16/04/24 Trafficking

Pat Dale M.B.E.; a fellow soroptimist; gave an interesting and informative talk covering both People Trafficking and her career in the Home Office.

21/11/23 Temple Spa Evening

Fun and fund raising at November’s supper evening. Thanks to  Nicola and Louise, great ambassadors for Temple Spa, who ensured that we all enjoyed the test kits.  The raffle raised £92  for Mums in Need.

Congratulations to the organisers

17/10/23 Purple Party

In Aid of Lost Chord, a nation wide Dementia Charity.

Everyone was resplendent in purple to celebrate our fund raiser for Lost Chord, a charity that raises money to enable musicians to meet with sufferers of dementia and through music entertain and enable them to enjoy music. Luke came to talk to us about their work but instead of speaking got us involved in exactly what they do when they go into care homes. We shouted out, sang, waved our arms and even composed our own song which was great fun but showed very clearly the work that Lost Chord does. We held a raffle, all themed in purple, a present tree and we rounded off the evening being entertained by Cait Gregory; granddaughter of one of our members who is at Wakefield University studying production and music. So a fun evening and we raised about £300 for the charity.

Report by Hilary.

Pictures by Sally.

16/05/23 Supporting Aid Water

Supporting Water Aid

Who would have expected that the history of drinking water could be both absorbing and amusing. Jennifer Stephenson, a local doctor, has researched her subject thoroughly, written and self published books to raise money for Water Aid. Her talk included several examples of Sheffield water fountains and history of the reservoirs. We were so pleased to able buy her Sheffield  based book – she raised £200 for Water Aid.

20/06/23 Beckie and the Military Wives Choir.

Beckie, now working at Tapton Hall, explained her experiences with supporting wives and families during the the Afghanistan war. The audience all felt the poignancy of informing families of deaths in action.

During this time Catterick formed the Military WAG’s Choir. Gareth Malone inspired by this decided to include a Military Wives Choir in his television series (The Choir – Episode 4 ). Beckie found herself as the co-ordinator between the selected bases; Plymouth and Chivenor; both in Devon but at opposite sides of Dartmoor;  and  the production team. This motivated Chris Evans to start a campaign to win the Choir Number 1 Christmas record which was achieved with the single ‘Wherever you are’ written by Paul Mealor using extracts from letters between wives and their husbands who were serving in Afghanistan

The Choir then went from strength to strength  performing at many occasions incuding the 2012 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the RoyaL Gala Performance in addition to other awards.

The Choir members live up to their motto – Stronger Together- and know that the camaraderie between the them will last a lifetime.

More 2000 women (wives, mothers, sisters, daughters etc.) of military personnel now participate in a Military Wives Choir  of which there are over 75 across the world.

Thanks to Beckie for the story of her involvement; it was touching, impressive and often amusing.