This is the question many people have asked me since I joined the SI Torquay and District recently. Not a surprising question really as I had asked the same to a work colleague who has also joined within the last 12 months. The only person who really knew what a Soroptimist was is my father-in-law, himself an active member of the Normandy Veterans. If I can do half as much fund raising as he has done I will be very happy.

I was invited to attend the first meeting which just happened to be the talk at St Matthias Church by Miss Anne Widdecombe and what struck me from that first night was the sincerity and friendship that was shown, it was a brilliant evening and confirmed to me that I wanted to join.

Last month along with five other members from Torquay I travelled to the Regional Meeting in Taunton and what an enlightening day that turned out to be. Several presentations took place all with such enthusiasm and commitment to their cause. The afternoon session was by far the most impressive with talks on ‘Creating opportunities in the Media’ by Sheila Manchester – Editor The Soroptimist, and Caroline Righton – Freelance Journalist (and a Soroptimist!) I came away from the meeting having met some new people, made new friends felt truly ‘inspired’ and now ready to be a global voice for women.

I now regularly attend meetings and functions on a Tuesday evening at Rosegarth. I have joined the House Committee and am hoping to take a more active role during the forthcoming year.

To my family and friends I explained that I had joined a world wide organisation for professional ladies who are committed to improving the world for women and children, so that they can achieve their full potential – something that I have always strived to do. I am sure that they are very proud of what of what I hope to do, and with their support they will help me to ‘make a difference’.

Cheryl Rider