A Charter was presented to Stockton-on-Tees Soroptimists in 1957. The Club was formed by 18 professional women guided by Brenda Fewster, President of Middlesbrough Soroptimists. Links were forged with sister groups locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Friendship links were made and exist to this day with SI Norrkoping, Sweden.
In July 1982 the Club held its Silver 25th anniversary dinner attended by the Federation President, Viola Hewitt. There was a memorable candle lighting ceremony, each candle representing Past Presidents of the Club. The Golden Anniversary was celebrated in 2008 with a well attended dinner, followed 10 years later by our 60th Anniversary.
The Silver anniversary is still remembered as Soroptimist Jean Carter, now deceased, had previously travelled to a Regional Conference in Northumberland and lost her Past President’s badge in a lay-by when she stopped to read a map (pre Sat Nav days)! It was found and sent to Stockton Rotary as the person didn’t know who Soroptimists were. At the 25th dinner John Scaife, President of Stockton Rotary Club handed the lost badge back to Jean!
The Club has been involved in many projects over its 60+ years. Just a few are mentioned here that stand out.
New Start Bags – in 2017 Club members initially provided emergency supplies of toiletries and clothing to aid victims of trafficking until further support could be provided. This is now an ongoing project to provide new start bags in partnership with Cleveland Police Vulnerable, Exploited, Missing or Trafficked victims (VEMT) Team. The Club obtained a grant from the local Police Commissioner to purchase new start bags and members provide toiletries and clothing to fill these bags.
Little Sprouts – the Club has recently supported this small local charity which provides meals and food education to promote health and well being. Club members are providing food and toiletries.
Physically Handicapped Able Bodied – Stockton Club have supported the PHAB suppers for 43 years until 2019 when PHAB ceased to exist. The Club’s involvement was recognised by the presentation of the Connie Dawson Sustainability Award.