Women Serving the St Albans Community Since 1957
a blog by Jane Slatter, SI St Albans and District
“The highlight of our weekend celebrating the 60th anniversary of SI St Albans and District, was the glittering diamond gala dinner on Saturday night at Aldwickbury Park Golf Club, Harpenden. Guests of Honour were Countess Verulam, Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire and Ann Hodgson, President of Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland.
We were delighted to welcome visitors from all of our Club’s Soroptimist Friendship Link Clubs: Warsaw Poland, Chico USA, Muenster Germany and Osaka Japan. We welcomed Soroptimist dignitaries and members of Soroptimist Clubs from across the UK, including Brixham, Bedford, Cambridge, Cwmbran, Glasgow, Southport, Widnes, Winchester, and from many of the clubs in our Region including Bedford, Hertford, High Wycombe, Oxford, all three of the London Clubs, Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead and Thames Valley. Of course we are also being supported by the families and friends of our own members, who are from St Albans, Harpenden, Hatfield, Watford, Welwyn Garden City and all of the surrounding areas. There were 140 people in total at the gala dinner!
Our friendship link Soroptimist sisters plus partners and other members of our club, enjoyed a diamond-themed friendship weekend from Friday evening right though to Sunday lunch – before heading home for a well earned rest!
On Friday we were treated to a fascinating talk, ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend through the centuries’, given by Beatriz Sampson, jewellery historian (SI Winchester, formerly SI St Albans and SI Muenster). We were also served with a delicious pot luck supper at St Mary’s Church in Redbourn.
On Saturday we had a trip to London to explore its history and connections with the Diamond Trade, followed by a lovely lunch. The afternoon was for more exploring or preparation for the glittering diamond gala dinner to be held that evening.
On Sunday we visited Roman St Albans, including the Roman Theatre in Verulamium. Our talented Soroptimist club member Hilary Ratcliffe and her husband David, were our multi-faceted guides in both London and St Albans!
Our ‘Friendship Weekend’ was rounded off with more food, drink and great conversation at a lovely English pub in Redbourn. Over the weekend friendships were renewed and new ones cut – just like diamonds. We are looking forward to lots of communication and many more reunions before our next anniversary celebration!
We were delighted to receive generous donations from all of our Friendship Links as a fitting tribute to our anniversary instead of gifts. Donations were made to the SIGBI Diamond Education Grant and the club’s charities: the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge and International Peace Initiatives in Meru Kenya.”
Lead image: Ann Hodgson, President of Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland, pictured at the gala dinner with Denise Powell, Soroptimist International St Albans and District Club President and Lady Verulam, Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire.