Club closes after many years of helping others

The remaining members of Soroptimist International of Morpeth and District.
The remaining members of Soroptimist International of Morpeth and District.
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In the home town of Emily Wilding Davison, a renowned organisation for women has closed after 68 years.

Soroptimist International of Morpeth and District was chartered on March 25, 1949. The remaining members held their last meeting on April 25.

Soroptimist members and invited guests, including the then Mayor and Mayoress of Morpeth, at a club event in the early 1960s.

Soroptimist members and invited guests, including the then Mayor and Mayoress of Morpeth, at a club event in the early 1960s.

Professional and business women of Morpeth were invited to join and the first charter dinner was held in what was then the Newcastle House Hotel in Castle Square, which was owned by founder member Ada Mark. The majority of the club’s meetings took place at this venue.

In the early years, efforts were mainly targeted on local needs. In 1974, the organisation contributed to the cost of the building of flats for older people.

As a result of this, there was a Soroptimist flat in St Christophers House, Kirkhill.

As time progressed, the international side of the organisation raised members’ awareness of the needs of women and girls worldwide.

Club members on the steps of Morpeth Town Hall at an event in the 1990s.

Club members on the steps of Morpeth Town Hall at an event in the 1990s.

Many varied events were well-attended and enjoyed, including several Celebrations of Christmas in Morpeth Town Hall. They raised money to benefit women and girls.

Members have contributed to the town in many ways such as providing seats, planting oak trees, daffodils and two cherry trees and regularly helping with clean-up days.

They also supported flood victims in 1963, 1968 and 2008.

All of the women’s organisations in the town, including Morpeth Soroptimists, contributed to the provision of a sculpture in Carlisle Park to mark the Millennium.

Over the past 27 years, members have assisted local girls financially to expand their life experiences through travel and to help people in disadvantaged areas around the world.

They have also been supporting the education of a girl in Uganda, Dianah Apio, for the last six years and although the club has closed, they intend to continue to do so for the next four years.

Members were involved at the beginning of the Morpeth Talking Newspaper recordings and intend to continue to help out even after closure.

The club had friendship links with Soroptimists in the USA (Tiffin, Ohio), Mumbai, India, Vervier in Belgium and Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead in England. The intention is for these friendships to continue.

Two Morpeth members have given service to the international organisation. Sheila King was chairman of a conference for 2,000 members in Glasgow and Patricia Gatherum is currently the project liaison for an international project based in Meru, Kenya.

The remaining Morpeth Soroptimists said: “It is with heavy heart that we agreed to close this April. We are sad, but also very proud of the legacy we leave behind.”