Any Soroptimist getting married is a cause for celebration in her club; but when it’s your Immediate Past President (IPP), it’s something else again! Eleanor Reakes (President of SI Stockport and District) therefore decided to organise a ‘surprise’ bridal shower for IPP Ingrid Whiteman to celebrate her forthcoming wedding. Regional President Margaret was invited as the club’s special guest. To say that Ingrid was speechless to be faced by a group of club members wearing ‘wedding hats’ is an understatement. She thought she was going for coffee with a friend! A wonderful evening was enjoyed by all.
Soroptimists from South Lancashire attended the conference organised by our neighbouring region, North West England & the Isle of Man. “Change Me for We” enabled delegates to consider the strength of collective effort, of co-operation and of shared goals. Speakers included: Ann Hodgson, Federation President, Soroptimist International (Great Britain & Ireland) who challenged delegates to promote active involvement – of club members and of the wider community – in all Soroptimist projects. Emily Rose Yates, adventurous wheelchair user, Paralympic gamesmaker and outspoken advocate for access-for-all. Mike Hagen of ‘Classrooms on the Clouds’, a charity supporting education in remote areas of Nepal. Sharon Smith, a police officer with responsibility for adult safeguarding and the investigation of so-called ‘honour-based violence’. Victoria Whitaker of ‘War Child UK’, working on child protection and the reintegration of former child fighters and forced ‘wives’. Sarah Brook, from the Sparkle Foundation, currently supporting vulnerable people in ten
Soroptimist bowlers from South Lancashire Region met recently for the annual pre-season supper. It was organised by Dot Massey (SI Widnes), who co-ordinates the regional competition. Five Soroptimist clubs are participating in the forthcoming season: Crosby, Leigh & District, Liverpool, Southport and Widnes. After a fine meal, courtesy of SI Southport, the bowlers discussed the current rules and agreed minor revisions. Region President Margaret Molyneux made the draw for matches, which must be played by the end of August. The team results will determine the winners of the President’s Trophy. Finals day – the individual bowlers’ competition for the Tricia Fahey Cup – will be on Sunday 3rd September. Dot Massey said, “The current holders of the team trophy, SI Leigh & District, will be keen to defend their title; the other clubs will be equally determined to win. So here’s hoping for an enjoyable,
Soroptimists and friends recently enjoyed a fundraising quiz night. Organised by SI Bolton, and held in the local Masonic Hall, the event attracted over 60 participants. These included teams of Soroptimists from Bury and Leigh & District. Jane Hemingway, who set the challenging questions, was delighted that £500 was raised on the night for Soroptimist charities. Midway through the evening a welcome ‘Pasty & Peas’ supper helped to sustain the quiz teams in the lead-up to a tense finish. And the worthy winners? Four members of SI Bolton – Eileen Watson, Frankie Hahlo, Eveline Bridge and Jennifer Hindshaw. They were presented with wine and chocolates by the quiz organisers. South Lancashire Region President, Margaret Molyneux, attended with her Leigh Club colleagues. “It was a great evening”, she said. “Friendship and fundraising – with that ‘edge’ of competitiveness adding to the atmosphere.”
The purpose of the day was to learn how to strengthen Soroptimists’ voice and influence, and achieve our ambition to be the leading international organisation for today’s women. Speakers: Ann Hodgson, Federation President, with her theme ‘Step and Lead’. Jasvinder Sanghera, CBE, the founder of Karma Nirvana the UK charity that supports victims of ‘honour’ crimes and forced marriages. How she got her voice heard and how she works in partnership with other organisations to achieve the change she wants to see. Workshops: Understanding our relationship with the United Nations and strengthen our voice Getting our voice heard – media training (radio/TV interviews) Make your Club a success – new ways of enriching members’ experience A packed day – valuable to all and in particular to officers, or those thinking about taking office, at Regional and Club level.
Soroptimists in Leigh recently celebrated 70 successful years of service in their community. The Club was chartered on 17th February 1947, with support from the existing clubs in Bolton and Wigan. At this year’s Charter Dinner, Region President Margaret Molyneux spoke of her pride, as a Leigh Club member, in celebrating on the exact same day, 70 years on. The event was held at Haydock Golf Club and guests included local MP Rt. Hon. Andy Burnham, who proposed the toast to Soroptimist International. Principal speaker was Warren Smith, Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester. He spoke of his fond memories in his formative years of being a ‘Leigh Lad’ with school and church being central to family and community life. Former members of the club were able to recall memorable projects undertaken by the club in past years. Leigh Soroptimists have always been proactive in networking,
Southport Soroptimist Diana Beldam celebrated her 100th birthday in January 2017 with a party put on by her fellow members. Diana – who was a beautician by profession – joined the club in 1974 and has been a loyal, hard-working member for all of those 43 years. An amazing lady, Diana still attends club meetings and events. Understandably, people who meet her for the first time are astounded when they find out her age.
For several years Leigh & District Soroptimists have provided transport for people attending the local Park Tearooms on Christmas Day. Volunteers at the Tearooms provided lunch, food hampers and gifts for approximately 30 guests of all ages who would normally spend Christmas Day alone. All the items for the event were donated by businesses and residents in the town. Even the turkeys were cooked at the local Fire Station kitchen. It was a real team effort. South Lancashire Region President (and Leigh club member) Margaret Molyneux said, “Our members stepped into this role because there were no appropriate public services. We have found that the pleasure, companionship and merrymaking make the commitment so worthwhile. “We are proud to be able to help people in our own community.”
South Lancashire’s Soroptimists welcomed guest speaker the Reverend George Thomas, founder of the charity Life NoW, to December’s Regional Programme Action Meeting. Life NoW seeks to bridge the gap between children’s and adult hospices for young adults with life-limiting, life-threatening and end-of-life conditions. The charity aims to build a purpose-designed hospice to provide respite and palliative care for people aged 18-40, living in North West England and North Wales. They are the ‘invisible generation’ – no one ‘expects’ them to be seriously ill. Currently in the North West, when young adults get too old for children’s hospices, their only option is to go into an adult hospice. These really cater for elderly people and, despite staff best efforts, cannot meet the needs of young adults. This is a major gap in palliative care: Life NoW want to bridge that gap. Life NoW envisages a hospice
Soroptimists in Southport have undertaken a pre-Christmas project to help people who are homeless. Club members made up 55 packs of toiletries – and parcels of warm clothing – which will be given out at the local Alchemy centre. Alchemy is part of Parenting 2000 in Southport; the centre opens during the festive period. Volunteers and staff serve hot meals and beverages to the homeless community and those who have financial problems. SI Southport member Dorothy Lee-Ogden said, “Donations to Alchemy of toiletries and clothing, as well as food, are vital at this time of year. There are many local families and individuals who need support, so we feel it’s important to contribute to this community enterprise.”