Soroptimist International of Gore on Sunday celebrated 40 years since the organisation was chartered.
About 40 past and present members gathered at the Hawthornden, near Maitland, for a high tea.
According to the organisation’s website, Soroptimist International is a global volunteer movement with a network of about 72,000 club members in 121 countries. Founded in 1921, it advocates for human rights and gender equality, “ensuring that the voices of women and girls are heard”.
Gore president Maree Gentle said the focus of the group was to make life better, particularly for women and girls.
It was recognised that people who served others were healthier and happier than those who did not, she said.
“Let us continue to be the best we can be educating, empowering and enabling women and girls and encouraging those people who have no voice.”
In between speeches, members Anne Gover, Kathi Baird, on behalf of Nola Affleck, Jeanette McIntyre and Deborah Wood outlined key events in the four decades of the organisation.
Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks said in 2005, when he was first appointed mayor, he attended the 25th anniversary of the organisation and beforehand was warned by one of his councillors the Soroptimists were “fairly strident ladies”.
“I soon learned some people I take advice from and some people I don’t, and that the ladies that make up the Soroptimists were far from strident but incredibly passionate about what they do and why they do it,” Mr Hicks said.
One valuable contribution the group had made was sponsoring a category in the Gore District Community Awards and youth awards.
“Recognising people that are overcomers, people that are striving to be the best in our community is something we need to do more of and you’re very much part of that.”
Long-service awards were presented, including to two members, Anne Gover and Doris Gee, who were founding members of the group.
Mrs Gover was also presented with a life membership.
“Anne has not only contributed tremendously to our local club but is also well known nationally and internationally for her sage advice,” Mrs Gentle said.