Skip links


Immediate Past President Barbara Watts
Immediate Past President Barbara Watts

As Regional President of Southern England, having taken over only at the end of October 2020 from Barbara. I was looking forward to working with Barbara as my Immediate Past President. In light of the sad events of this week this will not be possible.

We heard that just a month after stepping down from two inspiring years as Regional President, Barbara passed away in her sleep. It is with much sadness that we heard this news.

Barbara joined Soroptimist International Epsom club in 2000 and throughout her twenty years as a member held several roles including President twice, Programme Action Officer, Secretary and Communications/Website co-ordinator. She became Region President in 2018, and due to no-one being President Elect she continued for two years. She finally transferred to SI Woking and District in March 2020.

Barbara has been a committed Soroptimist and will be greatly missed by Region and her club. She had an unshakeable ‘can do’ attitude, passion and great enthusiasm, which can be seen in the VIP project which we continue to move forward in her absence. The Volunteering in Pretoria project was featured in our last region meeting, and I am so pleased that she was able to participate in this and talk to the girls involved along with SI Tshwane. We will continue this project as much in her memory as in progressing the development of the girls’ education. Club members and close friends will miss her dynamism and passion.

Her most recent challenge was to start looking at setting up a club in Sutton, since the closure of SI Reigate some time ago, the area lacks a local club and Barbara saw this as an opportunity. Our Regional Membership Officer Liz Batten will follow up on this.

Our thoughts are with her husband and family at this very sad time.

Julie Blackwell

SI Winchester

President Southern Region