SISEE Celebrating 60 years

1959 was the time of the Vietnam war, the electric fire and washing machine came on to the market in the 1950’s as did the mother’s friend – the fish finger. The Barbie doll was also launched in 1959. The average house price was £2,500. All this was going on at the time when the London and South East Counties Division of Soroptimist International was formed. As the membership of SI continued to grow the counties of Dorset, Hampshire and Surrey were split from our Division into other regions.

The Diamond Anniversary lunch was not only to celebrate the SE Region but also to mark the occasion of SI Maidstone being formed. We were delighted to welcome Federation President Sue Williams and her husband who had travelled from Glasgow to be with us. It was a lovey day, the weather held fine and warm so guests could have pre drinks on the terrace. We were beautifully entertained by harpist, Jane Lister who played while guests had drinks and throughout the lunch. After lunch Federation President Sue Williams gave an inspirational speech congratulating the Region and the Club and looking forward to the future and the SI Centenary. President Carol McKeough from SI Maidstone spoke about the achievements of the club over the past 60 years.

Then followed tea/coffee and birthday cake which had been commissioned specially for the occasion.
The Region received two birthday cards on the day from the Federation President and SI Bromley.

Our guest speaker was Amanda Cottrell, OBE Patron of Visit Kent. Amanda is an excellent speaker; entertaining, full of interesting facts and humorous. She has Freedom of the City of Canterbury and City of London, she has driven her sheep across London Bridge. She speaks French and Spanish and has travelled the world promoting Kent and Canterbury Cathedral.

We had some wonderful raffle prizes which had all been generously donated by the organisations below. The lucky winners are also listed against their prize.
Bills Restaurant, Maidstone A bottle of pink lemonade, a bottle of apple juice, chocolate and brazil nut cookies and other edible goodies – Wanda Wright
Café Rouge, Maidstone A meal for two with a glass of Prosecco each – Jean Allen
Eastwell Manor A spa day for two – Jacalyn Wood
The Lemon Tree, Tenterden Cream Tea for two – Carol McKeough
Tankerton Flowers - Flowers – Julia Search
Tudor Park Marriott Hotel and Country Club, Maidstone Afternoon Tea for two – Margaret Ambrose
SI Maidstone £60 John Lewis Vouchers – Susie Forbes
Notcutts Garden Centre, Maidstone – Bird feeder for the garden – Valerie Randall-Webb.

The raffle raised £430 and the lunch raised £2,599 which is donated to the Meru Project by the London Beach hotel. This takes the SISEE donation to over £26,000 for the MWGP. We are proud that it exceeds funds raised by other regions!

We had the best ever attendance for a regional event, 79 members and guests. Thank you to every one for coming and joining in. It was a very special occasion.
Thanks also go to Jane Barnes for the wonderful slide show running throughout the event and to Carol Reed for her excellent organisation.

Carol Infanti
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