Soroptimists International's new event to pioneering Harrogate woman who helped change the world

Soroptimist International are to hold a new event dedicated to the life of a remarkable Harrogate woman who pioneered work to improve the lives of the most disadvantaged around the world

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 10:10 am
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 10:12 am
A remarkable woman - The new plaque in Harrogate installed by Harrogate Civic Society and the Soroptimist International of Harrogate & District.

So popular was a previous commemoration of Dr Kathleen Rutherford MBE coinciding with International Women’s Day, Soroptimist International of Harrogate & District have decided to repeat it next week.

Called The Life & Work of Dr Kathleen Rutherford MBE - Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future, the Zoom presentation will include Yorkshire TV programme from 1970 where she talks her exploits across the globe fom the 1930s to the 1970s.

Valerie Hills, president elect and communications team leader of the modern day Soroptimists in Harrogate, said: "Since our March event celebrating International Women’s Day and the unveiling of the heritage plaque in Harrogate commemorating Dr Rutherford, we have had numerous requests to be able to hear about her amazing life and work.

Born in 1896 at time before women had the vote and very few became medical practitioners, Kathleen went on to work in medical practice with her father and brothers at their home on York Road in Harrogate.

A life-long pacifist, in 1933, Dr Rutherford became one of the founding members and first president of Harrogate’s Soroptimists Club.

Such was her international stature for humanitarian activities, Dr Rutherford was invited by Hitler to a Nuremberg Rally in her bid for peace before the Second World War even though she had she helped organise the relocation of Basque children fleeing the Spanish Civil War.

Her work transformed lives across the globe, working in the slums of Naples and in leper colonies in Africa, as well as helping refugees in Europe and Palestine.

Valerie Hills said there had been a fantastic reaction to the Harrogate Advertiser's last article on Dr Rutherford's achievements, prompting people to contact Soroptimist International with their memories of her.

Next week's event will take place on Wednesday, April 28 8th April at 7pm with the Zoom line opening at 6.30pm.

To book: email Club Secretary, Pat Shore MBE on [email protected]

For more information, visit

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