Historic link continues with college and Soroptimists

Bedford College student Sara Sayer with Soroptimists Rita Beaumont, left, and Pauline Panter, right, at the South Bank Arts Centre.
Bedford College student Sara Sayer with Soroptimists Rita Beaumont, left, and Pauline Panter, right, at the South Bank Arts Centre.

Bedford College is helping the Soroptimist International celebrate its 85th anniversary in 2016, continuing links with the organisation which date back to its earliest days.

Illustrator Sara Sayer is the latest female student to benefit from a £1,000 bursary from the late Peggy Holgate, through 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 pictured with Soroptimists Rita Beaumont, left, and Pauline Panter, right at the South Bank Arts Centre at Bedford College.

On May 12 Soroptimists will be joining the college Hair and Beauty Show at the 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, said: “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 College in Cauldwell Street has been independent for 20 years, but before that was part of Bedford College Higher Education which included the world-famous PE and teacher training organisations, 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 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.”

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