SI Thames Valley is supporting the campaign Soroptimists Orange The World 25 Nov for 16 Days of Action to End Gender Based Violence, by wearing orange on 25 June. Club members plan to continue wearing orange on the 25th of each month up to the start of the 16 Days of Activism which leads up to Human Rights Day on 10 December. The Global Orange the World Campaign is 16 days of activism to end gender based violence from 25 Nov to 10 Dec 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence. The club is planning a range of activities locally to support this campaign.
Since SI Thames Valley launched the appeal, it has received funds from other Soroptimist clubs and individuals. Their generosity has enabled the club to start to build a memorial orchard in Kori in memory of our dear sister Johanna Raffan who sadly passed away in June 2021. She was a founding member of SI Thames Valley, and Federation President at the time of her death. The land has been ploughed and cleared, and different fruit trees were being planted towards the end of May. We will continue to post updates. Our sincere thanks to all who have made this possible. The appeal will close at the end of June 2022. If anyone wishes to donate before then, please contact SITV Treasurer for bank details at email@example.com The Kori Development Project Ltd. https://koridp.org/
Cooperation for the Jubilee! Soroptimist International of Thames Valley paused our AGM (in April) to do a Jubilee Photo for Target. Since we didn’t have a large Union Flag, a talented member made a stream of Jubilee bunting and was helped by children at the Flackwell Heath Library. The photo was taken in the Bourne End Library thus combining many communal aspects of Jubilee life in the area. How lucky we are to live here! If you want to find out more about what Soroptimists are and what we do, come along at 7.30pm on the third Tuesday of the month to the Bourne End Library. You’ll be very welcome.
After talking to a Polish friend, one of our members contacted SI Krakow to ask how we could help. She learned that the main reception centre for Ukrainian refugees in Krakow is at the Bus Station. Thousands of mainly women and children are arriving hungry, thirsty and literally in the clothes they are wearing, without luggage. Every day, members of SI Krakow are in attendance and providing a welcome and refreshments at the Bus Station. To support this work, we are sending a donation from SI Thames Valley.
Our speaker at our March 2022 meeting was Richard Poad, from Maidenhead Heritage Centre. He gave a very informative talk on the women and men involved with the Air Transport Auxiliary in WW2 entitled ‘Grandma Flew Spitfires’. We were surprised to find out the there were 2 air pool stations totally run by women (at Hamble and Cosford). Out of approximately 1255 flying staff there were only 168 women (ratio of 1:6). By September 1939 there were over 1000 men signed up for the ATA, but the first women were only signed up in January 1940. It was not until 2008 that the ATA personnel were given a commemorative badge. They couldn’t be given a medal as they were civilians and not in the air force. For more information, visit the Maidenhead Heritage Centre website or go straight to the Air Transport Auxiliary website. https://maidenheadheritage.org.uk
In their on-going support of their local Women’s Refuges , SI Thames Valley have recently responded to a new request for toilet rolls and teabags. The photo shows the current car load for the latest delivery to the Wycombe Women’s Aid Office. Contributions are always gratefully received! https://www.wycombewomensaid.org.uk/
Featured in the photo above are SI Thames Valley’s four new recruits who officially joined the club in a special tea party in February 2022 at Bourne End Library. . Two were completely new to Soroptimism and had been attracted to it by the club’s Kori Project in Sierra Leone. As to the third member, SI Thames Valley offers a welcome back to a former member and a keen Girl Guider with whom SI Thames hopes to organise a Programme Action partnership. The fourth member is a recently retired accountant who already deals expertly with the Kori Project’s accounts. The Club’s hard-working Membership Officer (third from the left) now already has a healthy total of recruits for this year. To celebrate we held a very sociable afternoon tea, that was organised by the Membership Officer and the Secretary of the club. https://koridp.org/
Three club members planted a Conference pear at Blind Lane Recreational Ground mini orchard in Bourne End, Bucks. This is local to where we hold our meetings at Bourne End Library.
First planned for 30 March 2020 and after several postponements, we finally celebrated the Pearl Anniversary of our charter on Sunday 21 November 2021. Many Soroptimists and other friends from London Chilterns Region and further afield joined us at the River & Rowing Museum in Henley, looking out over the Thames on a sunny day. Pictures of Johanna Raffan were projected throughout the afternoon. These brought many memories of Johanna, one of our founder members, who sadly died in June 2021 part way through her year as SIGBI President. Proceeds from the raffle have been donated to the Diamond Education Grant, a SIGBI charity dear to Johanna. Much of the day had been planned by Johanna, and we were delighted so many friends joined us to support our club and to honour Johanna’s memory.
David Whitaker was introduced to the club by Anne Arton. David gave a lively talk, about his long career as a travel agent overseeing arrngements for many well-known clients. He entertained members and visitors with a host of anecdotes. The business section of the meeting took place before and after David’s presentation.