Hexham and Newcastle Diocesan Branch – Founded 1911
President: Mrs Elizabeth Dixon
Treasurer: Mrs Anne Roberts
Secretary: Mrs Pat Biagioni
Spiritual Director: Father Pat O’Connell
Birtley, Consett, Fenham, Morpeth, Stockton (St. Cuthbert’s), Stockton (St. Patrick’s), Sunderland (St. Cecilia’s)and Whitley Bay.
Branch meeting and Christmas Social on the 6th December at St. Joseph’s Gateshead 11:00am
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Hexham and Newcastle’s Catholic Women’s League chose Saturday the 7th May as the day to commemorate their centenary with a Mass of thanksgiving in St Mary’s cathedral in Newcastle. Over 150 members and friends came to the cathedral to share the holy Mass, which was con-celebrated by Father Pat O’Connell the Branch Spiritual Director and seven other priests. The music for the Mass was lead by the cathedral choir under the directorship of Howard Baker.
There were several dignitaries in attendance including the Lord and Lady Mayor of the City of Newcastle and the Lady Mayoress of the City of Suinderland. We also had the pleasure of the company of the National President Mrs Margaret Richards, Past President Mrs Doreen Pooley, the National Secretary Mrs Jean Clarke and the National Treasurer Mrs Margaret Valentine. The Region 1 Branches were represented by Mrs Sally Hamp President of Leeds Branch and Mrs Lillian Finch President of Middlesbrough Branch. There were also other Officers and members from Leeds and Middlesbrough in attendance.
The Mass began with the procession of Priests lead by Mrs Norrie Baister carrying the Branch Banner. The Branch secretary Mrs Kathleen Lucas delivered the readings of the day and Mrs Pat Biagioni the Branch Treasurer read the bidding prayers which she had written specifically for the occasion. The Offertory Procession consisted of Mrs Rosemary Duffy, Mrs Nancy Anderson both Past Branch Officers and Mrs Jean Ward and Mrs Catherine Martin Direct Members. In his homily Father Pat gave an account of the history of the League in Hexham and Newcastle from their first meeting in the Marie Reparatrice Convent on the 15th May 1911 through to the present day.
Following the Mass members took the short walk to the Newcastle Assembly Rooms where the staff warmly greeted the ladies with the choice of a glass of Bucks Fizz or orange juice. The members then had time to chat and reminisce about the league, whilst watching a slide-show of past league events before Neil the MC invited everyone to take their place in the Chandelier Room where lunch was served. After a beautifully prepared lunch the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Newcastle left to go onto other engagement. However, the Lady Mayoress of Sunderland and a Member of St. Cecilia’s Section stayed with us and spoke about women’s role in society at the AGM which followed the meal.
During the AGM Mrs Elizabeth Dixon retired from the position of Branch President and Mrs Margaret Valentine was installed into this position by the National President. In addition Mrs Pat Biagioni retired as Branch Treasurer with Mrs Anne Roberts taking over this position. Before the vote of thanks that was given by Mrs Bernadette Lawson the members were presented with centenary badges by the National President. After the close of the Meeting the Celebration cake was cut by the two Margaret’s, Richards and Valentine and it was served to the members with a welcoming cup of tea. Our grateful thanks go out to everyone involved in making this day such a great success.