2022 News/Events

Help for Ukraine

Gas cookers, sleeping bags, duvets, food, medicines and warm clothes are now on the way to Ukraine care of PUMA (Plymouth Ukraine Medical Aid).  The 70 bags and boxes of items were kindly donated by Plymouth Soroptimists and their friends and have been collected over the last two months.

These bags and boxes are now on two transit vans and a coach en route to four hospitals in Ukraine for distribution to doctors, patients and those in need.

At our supper meeting in February the speaker will be a member of the PUMA team who has already completed five trips to Ukraine.  She will be joined by an English speaking Ukrainian lady who fled her village ahead of the Russian tanks and now lives in Plymouth with her children.

President Lorraine Gillings (left) loading items destined for Ukraine

Christmas meal

A lovely festive meal, games and good company proved to be a great combination for the last club meeting of 2022. Even though some members were absent due to holidays and sickness, those that were there dressed in Christmas sparkles and enjoyed themselves .

Warrior Women

In October, Plymouth based charity Trevi launched its very first Warrior Women’s Walk and two of our members joined and raised money for them through sponsorship for this event.  Over 250 women came together to walk 10k and raised over £20,000 for Trevi in their objective of supporting women and their children affected by domestic violence and abuse.

Elle Vuitton (centre) & Karen Evans right)

Remembrance Sunday

A group of Plymouth members attended the Remembrance Sunday event on Plymouth Hoe. President Margaret Parkinson laid a wreath on behalf of the Plymouth club.

Remembrance Sunday on Plymouth Hoe

Dress a Girl Around the World

Over 100 little girls in developing countries will be getting their first ever new dress thanks to the sewing skills of Plymouth Soroptimists, their friends and families.  The beautiful dresses in different styles are made from a range of fabrics including pillowcases, duvet covers and curtains and will be sent to the international charity ‘Dress a Girl Around the World’.  This charity to date has distributed dresses to 38,000 girls in developing countries such as Uganda. Cameroon, Nigeria, Syria and Ghana.  

Each dress has a Dress a Girl label sewn on to the front to help protect these vulnerable girls from potential predators as it’s an indication that an organisation is looking after them.

Wendy Wood has co-ordinated this project for the Plymouth Soroptimist club and is thrilled with the outcome: “I am absolutely delighted with the response from everyone who has sourced materials, cut out the dresses and sewn them up.  It’s been a real team effort.  To have made 100 lovely dresses which we know will make such a difference to these girls who will never have had a new dress is just heart warming.  The fact that it’s going to bring a smile to their faces and also protect them from predators makes it so worthwhile.”

Embellished with pockets, frills and bows etc the dresses are individual and eye catching and will be sure to delight the recipients.

The dresses will be sent to Jaqui Onslow who is the UK contact and co-ordinator for the Dress A Girl charity which is affiliated to the Hope for Women International Campaign set up in 2006.

For more information on the Dress A Girl charity visit their website https://www.dressagirlaroundtheworld.com/

A few of the 100 dresses made by Soroptimists, friends and family

New Club President and Peace Day

At the September club supper meeting the club Insignia was passed from outgoing President Margaret Luscombe to incoming President Margaret Parkinson. This year the Presidency is being shared by three members taking a third of the year each in office. After the change of Presidency there was a minute’s silence to mark the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, followed by the lighting of a candle to commemorate International Day of Peace. A peace plant was then raffled which raised £44 for project funds.

Outgoing President Margaret Luscombe hands Insignia to new President Margaret Parkinson
Lighted candle and peace plant to mark International Day of Peace

International Literacy Day

A team of Plymouth Soroptimists marked International Literacy Day by giving away books to members of the public. The team manned a stand at Plymouth’s Frankfort Gate for the big book giveaway when hundreds of used paperback books were given away. Adults and children alike were delighted to choose books that were donated by members and friends of the Plymouth club. The initiative aims to encourage the joy of reading and is a popular annual event for club members and the public.

International Literacy Day big book giveaway

Afternoon tea fund raiser

Over £318 was raised from an afternoon tea and a raffle at a member’s home in Cornwall. Members, partners and guests were generous with donations of raffle prizes, cakes and scones which resulted in the amount raised for project funds to support the local and international women and girls charities that the Plymouth club supports.

Members, guests and one grandchildren at the afternoon tea

Summer fund raising lunch

Plymouth Soroptimists and friends gathered in July at a member’s house for a sumptuous lunch provided by the hosts and members.  A total of £476 was raised from the lunch and raffle with local charities and projects we support benefitting from the funds raised.

Nepal school toilet blocks completed

This project is now complete with building work finished and the toilets in use. Below are some photographs of the development. One block has separate toilets for boys and girls and the other for girls only has a changing room and incinerator which means that girls will no longer have to miss out on their education while they are menstruating.

Fantastic fund raising event!

Over £1,000 was raised by Plymouth Soroptimists from a monster raffle and tombola stand at Plympton’s historic lamb feast in June.  The funds will go to local charities that the Plymouth club supports, helping women and children.

Sue Miller organized the event for the Soroptimists, persuading businesses to provide raffle prizes, with club members donating prizes for the tombola stand.  Sue said: “We are so grateful to the businesses that supplied prizes and for the pubic who so generously supported us by buying tombola and raffle tickets.  It was a wonderful team effort and a brilliant day with a fantastic amount of money raised for the local charities we support.”

Team Plymouth Soroptimists!
Club President Margaret (left) with event organiser Sue Miller
Winners of the star £100 prize Brittany Ferries voucher
Birthday celebration for oldest member!

Joan Trethowan was joined by several members of the Plymouth club to celebrate her 99th birthday. Joan is the oldest and a very long standing member of the club and was delighted to celebrate a milestone birthday with friends from the club.

Joan Trethowan

Tea with the Lord Mayor of Plymouth

Plymouth members were delighted to be invited to take tea with the Lord Mayor Councillor Terri Beer at Nancy Astor’s house on Plymouth Hoe in April. Ten members attended and were thrilled to be able to hold the famous Astor Diamonds.

Plymouth members with Lord Mayor Terri Beer
and her husband and consort Colin
Astor Diamonds
Afternoon tea

Change of Insignia/New President

At the Annual General Meeting outgoing president Mary McNaughton handed over the chain of office to incoming president Margaret Luscombe. Margaret is the first of three presidents who are sharing the office for 2022/2023.

Mary was thanked for her hard work during a difficult year and was presented with a garden plant and card.

New President Margaret Luscombe wearing the Chain of Office

A new vice President, Elle Vuitton, was presented with a badge and was thanked for stepping forward to take up this role for the forthcoming year.

Vice President Elle Vuitton (centre) with incoming and outgoing Presidents

Queen’s Green Canopy for Platinum Jubilee

Mixed wintry weather did not deter a team of Plymouth Soroptimists getting together to plant saplings as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy for her Platinum Jubilee.  The intrepid group were joined by the Queen’s representative Deputy Lieutenant Brigadier Simon Young.

The mixed saplings now form a copse, dedicated to the Plymouth Soroptimist club, near the Silver Jubilee Hall at Down Thomas.  A plaque with inscription will soon be placed in the copse to mark the event.

Club President Mary McNaughton said: “In spite of the mixed weather conditions we all enjoyed the experience.  We were very pleased that Brigadier Young joined us and were extremely grateful for the help provided by Keith Rennells and his team from ParkLife South West.*  They very kindly provided stakes, tree guards and barks which will ensure that the saplings thrive.”

A number of oak saplings will also be planted nearby where they will have more room to develop into mature oak trees.

Tree planters with Queen’s representative
Deputy Lieutenant Brigadier Simon Young.

* ParkLife is a not for profit Community Interest Company set up in 2019 to support community environmental volunteering in Devon and Cornwall. The organisation undertakes tree and hedge planting, wildflower meadow creation, wildlife habitat management etc. They work with volunteers of all ages, with the health and well-being benefits of being physically active in the great outdoor

Charter Lunch

Plymouth Club’s 92nd Charter Lunch was very well supported with 64 members and guests gathering on 27th February at St Elizabeth’s House.  The speakers were Lord Mayor Councillor Terri Beer and Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Maddie Bridgeman.  Guests included Soroptimist Regional President Jackie Collins as well as 23 members and partners from other regional clubs.

President Mary McNaughton (centre) with guest speakers

Help for domestic abuse survivors

Domestic abuse survivors are getting help from Plymouth Soroptimists, Plymouth Citybus and Barnardo’s.  These organisations are working together to help abused women on their pathway to recovery.

Barnardo’s contacted the Plymouth club to ask for help with transport costs so a single mother can complete a series of courses aiding her recovery from an abusive relationship.

A request went to a contact at Citybus who quickly agreed to provide a short-term bus pass so the woman can get to the courses run by Barnardo’s in Plymouth.

Mary McNaughton, President of Plymouth Soroptimists, said: “We were delighted that Plymouth Citybus generously agreed to provide bus travel for this woman while she is attending the course.  These specialised courses for abused women really help them recover from their ordeal, but practical matters like physically getting to them can be a challenge and a barrier. We are looking forward to working with Bernardo’s on practical projects in the future.”

Richard Stevens Managing Director from Plymouth Citybus said: “We are pleased to support women in our community who have suffered domestic abuse. Helping them access these courses that are supporting them, and their children lead a safer and happier life, is the right thing to do.”

Barnardo’s run three courses: the first takes women through the process of gaining self-esteem and confidence; the second empowers them to take control of their lives and the third supports them in understanding how domestic abuse affects their children.

Richard Stevens presents
President Mary McNaughton and Lorraine Gillings with the travel pass