THE Ashton branch of global volunteer movement Soroptimist International has celebrated the achievements of its longest active member in the South Lancashire region.Rochdale-based Eunice Garside joined in 1960 and has maintained a proactive presence as a ‘Soroptimist’ for the past 60 years, advocating for human rights and gender equality.
With a network of around 72,000 active members in 121 countries, Soroptimist International aims to transform the lives of women and girls through education, empowerment and enabling opportunities.
Programme Action Officer Jill Dewsnap said: “Eunice initially joined the Oldham branch of Soroptimist.
“She is a remarkable lady and has done so much for our cause over the last six decades.
“She is one of our oldest members, as well as our longest-serving member. She has travelled the world attending Soroptimist conferences and events and is extremely supportive of all our club projects.
“She is an excellent knitter and makes little baby hats for the premature baby unit at Royal Oldham Hospital, and has been president of the Ashton group on four occasions since 1971.”
Soroptimist Ashton is one of 12 clubs within the South Lancashire region, with Manchester the ‘Mother Club’ which has been active in the community for more than 100 years.
And while it is not a charity in and of itself, the movement does help raise vital funds for many worthy causes, both locally and around the world, through its charity work.
Jill continued: “We are not a charity, as such. We aim to raise awareness of the plight of women and girls from around the world who have been affected by things like trafficking and domestic violence.
“Each year, we elect a new branch president who will choose a charity for which we will raise funds. Right now, we don’t have a president, so we are raising money for different charities.
“We’re currently fundraising for The Christie, and on April 5 we’re hosting a ‘baby shower’ event at the Broadoak and Smallshaw Community Centre to raise money for a Denton charity called Cascade.
“They collect children and baby items, like clothes, toys and supplies, and make up little Moses baskets that they then send to low-income families to help cushion the financial impact of raising a child.
“We will also have tea, coffee and lots of cakes, and we hope to see as many people as possible there!”
If you are interested in joining Soroptimist International, or if you’d like more information about what they do, contact Jill Dewsnap on 07866 723965, or email firstname.lastname@example.org