President Sandra Frier with chain in foreground with Sylvia Purse (L) & Sue Williams (R)
President Sandra Frier with chain in foreground with Sylvia Purse (L) & Sue Williams (R)

Handover of presidency for Soroptimist International of Harrogate and District

Lockdown and social distancing has made it nigh on impossible for Harrogate and District Soroptimist's President Sandra Frier to receive the chain of office in April.

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Lockdown and social distancing has made it nigh on impossible for Harrogate and District Soroptimist’s President Sandra Frier to receive the chain of office in April.

Being able to meet in gardens with up to six people meant that the handover of the Harrogate & District Soroptimist’s presidential chain of office could finally take place last week.

A broom handle came in very useful to ensure that social distancing was maintained, when Immediate Past Presidents Sylvia Purser and Sue Williams were passing over the chain of office to President Sandra Frier.

Soroptimist International of Harrogate & District work in partnership with other Soroptimist Clubs and organisations to make a difference to the lives of women and girls locally and worldwide.

Recently appointed Club President Sandra’s theme for the year is focussing on People, Partnership and the Planet. Both speakers and events have been planned within this theme.



Her chosen charity is Just ‘B’ and St Michael’s hospice, a charity that has been an amazing support to so many families, friends and colleagues.  Just ‘B’ is a charity that as well as bereavement support, offers an invaluable service to schools and the community for those needing emotional support at a particular time in their lives. Their Hear to Help phone line is a community support helpline available to children, young people and adults across the Harrogate District.

President Sandra Frier with chain
President Sandra Frier with chain

The Harrogate & District Soroptimists’ main fund raising event for Just ‘B’, will be a Fashion Show planned for November which will showcase outfits created from recycled clothes and accessories from the Hospice Shops around the district. Pre-loved and upcycled clothes create a completely individual look as well as having a positive impact on the environment.

Giving us an opportunity to work with others in our community, the Fashion Show will also be supported by Harrogate Grammar School and Harrogate College who are planning for some students to create outfits from recycled clothes.

The event also links with the Soroptimists’ Yorkshire President’s theme of ‘Not a Write Off’ and the Soroptimists of Great Britain and Ireland climate change initiatives.



Speakers at the Harrogate & District Soroptimists’ meetings will very much focus on empowering, enabling and educating women, children and supporting vulnerable people.  This will include: Just ‘B’, Harrogate & District Community Action, Smart Works and The Avalon Group.

Past Presidents Sylvia Purser and Sue Williams with chain on broom handle
Past Presidents Sylvia Purser and Sue Williams with chain on broom handle

Harrogate & District Soroptimists have a reputation for combining fun and friendship with hard work.

Whilst some members have continued to work, others have worked together virtually to assist the community during these very difficult times. Making scrubs in conjunction with the Harrogate Scrubbers, making laundry bags from pillow cases for Ripon hospital and care home staff, providing pamper bags for NHS front line staff, knitting hearts for patients and carers with COVID, supporting the local Food Bank and providing bedding sets for our local Refuge.

Support for projects further afield has involved raising funds to support a school in Malawi to build a library and enable them to have computers. The most recent international project is one which will tackle the problem of the abuse of young women and girls in Nepal by providing security, rehabilitation, education and training for vulnerable young women

Looking after Club members and staying in touch, during these unprecedented times is a priority and our buddying system is making sure none of our members feel isolated.

Like other organisations, Zoom has become a familiar way to enable us to have a weekly coffee morning, and speaker meetings. When our Club meetings can resume again, our venue will be the Crown Hotel, Harrogate where we will meet every 1st and 3rd Wednesday at 7.30pm. We are always looking for new members to join us.  Contact sihandd@hotmail.co.uk for more information.




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