Soroptimist success

Thursday 14 April 2016

Bedford College is helping the Soroptimist International organisation celebrate its 85th anniversary in 2016.

The College has links with the local branch of the society dating back to its earliest days. Now it is keeping that connection alive with modern activities to support women at home and abroad.

Illustrator Sara Sayer is the latest female student to benefit from a £1,000 Bursary from the late Peggy Holgate via the Soroptimists of Bedford. Sara is a second year HNC 5 Fine Art student who promotes her work under the brand kookymagpie.com She used her bursary to attend an illustration summer school at Central Saint Martin’s in London and then ran a community course at a pop-up art event in Bedford. She is photographed with Soroptimists Rita Beaumont, left, and Pauline Panter, right, at the South Bank Arts Centre at Bedford College.

On 12 May Soroptimists will be joining the College Hair & Beauty Show at the Bedford Corn Exchange to ask local salons and spas to support their Bedford Bloomers campaign, to help young women in Sierra Leone.

President of the Bedford branch Pauline Stewart JP says: “Ours is an organisation which has included amongst its past members some of the most inspiring women from the county, who had influence at national and international levels. We want to pass that baton on to the next generation who are currently starting out on their lives and careers.”

Bedford Soroptimists will be hearing from Bedford College Hair & Beauty lecturer Melissa Peacock at a special workshop on 17 October and on 23 October 23 they will be celebrating the 85th anniversary lunch at the Bedford Corn Exchange.

Bedford College in Cauldwell Street has been independent for 20 years, but before that was part of Bedford College of Higher Education which included the world-famous PE and teacher training organisations (which are now part of the University of Bedfordshire). The link between the College and the Soroptimists includes names like the late Eileen Alexander, after whom the sports hall is named in Bedford. She was President of the Bedford Soroptimists in 1978-79.

More recently long-serving Bedford College governor Miss Paddy Barratt was President from 1998-99.

Melissa Peacock from Bedford College: “There has been some great work going on between the Soroptimists and the College and we thought this anniversary year would be a good time to wave the flag for both organisations.”

Bedford College is the largest provider of post-16 education in the county and offers apprenticeships, advanced and degree-level learning / Higher Education. www.bedford.ac.uk

Bedford Soroptimists http://sigbi.org/bedford

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