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Soroptimists Celebrate 90 Years in Manchester

Soroptimists, special guests and friends gathered to commemorate SI Manchester’s 90th anniversary. This milestone event in South Lancashire regional history was held at The Monastery in Gorton. SI Manchester is the oldest club in the region.

Sue Underwood, the host President, welcomed over 170 people to the gala dinner celebrating 90 years of service. It was an opportunity to acknowledge the hundreds of Manchester Soroptimists who have shared their talents for the well-being of women and girls in the city, the county and far beyond. [new_royalslider id=”10″]

Soroptimist guests included Margaret Emsley (President, Soroptimist International Great Britain & Ireland), Ann Garvie (Immediate Past President of Soroptimist International) and Yemisi Opaneye, President of SI Greater London, which is SI Manchester’s mother club.

Regional Presidents Sandy Taylor (SI South Lancashire) and Margaret Hammond (SI North West England & the Isle of Man) were also present – SI Manchester has daughter clubs in both regions.

The Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Paul Murphy and the Lady Mayoress, Mrs Anita Murphy, were honoured guests. The High Sheriff of Greater Manchester, Sharman Birtles, attended in her capacity as a member of SI Ashton-under-Lyne.

Martin Smedley, CEO of the charity Act4Africa, proposed the toast to Soroptimist International.

President Sue later had a surprise in store for Martin and his staff when she announced the launch of SI Manchester’s 90th anniversary project. Club members will be working with Act4Africa on a HEAL Malawi programme to change the lives of women and girls living in extreme poverty in the Mchinji district.

The Club’s Project HEAL was a contender for the Soroptimist International (GB & I) Federation long-term project, but was defeated in the final vote. Manchester’s Soroptimists will, therefore, ‘take up the baton’ and focus on their partnership with Act4Africa over the next year. They will, in the words of Ann Garvie, “…articulate the voice of those who have no voice”. The Manchester Soroptimists will make a difference.

President Sue launched Project HEAL in style with a bottle of champagne and a cheque for £5,000.

[new_royalslider id=”11″] From the glorious harp melodies that welcomed everyone to The Monastery (appreciated especially by the members of SI Anglesey), to ‘carriages at midnight’, this was a memorable event. Many congratulations to SI Manchester.