The instigator of the Swindon Soroptimist Club was Isabel Diment. She was introduced to Soroptimism while attending a function at Weston-Super-Mare as Swindon’s Mayoress.
The Inaugural Meeting of the Club was on 6th November 1959 with Marion Stallard (Extension Officer for the Southwest Divisional Union) in the Chair and 16 women holding executive positions in the professions and business life of the town in attendance (including solicitor Jeanne Perons who has remained a member of the club throughout its more than 50 years)
Isabel Diment was the first President. The Club’s boundary was fixed as a 12 mile radius of Swindon to encompass the outlying small towns and villages. Cirencester Club was to be our “mother club”.
The Presidential Badge design was chosen to incorporate the Coat of Arms of the Borough of Swindon with the Insignia of Soroptimist Internatonal. It was made of gilt and enamel on metal at a cost of £20 [Insert photograph ]
The Charter Dinner was held at the Goddard Arms Hotel Swindon on Saturday 8th October 1960 when the Charter was presented to President Isabel Diment by the Federation President, Kathleen Halpin CBE. Guests included the Mayor, Councillor Miss ECM Millin, representatives from several organisations in the town, officers of the South West Divisional Union, and Presidents and members from 12 clubs in the D U. In all a total of 118 guests. To commemorate the occasion President Isabel Diment presented a leather-bound visitors book to the Club, which is still in use today.
The initial annual subscription was three Guineas (which included the capitation fee of one pound five shillings) Within a few months membership had increased to 26. The Kings Arms Hotel became the headquarters of the Club and we still meet there (in 2013)
[To be continued]