Member Spotlight – Joanna Dingle



Joanna Dingle
VP, Marketing Manager
Junior Member 

Joined: 2016
Born: Cambridge, U.K.
Lives: West Village

What brought you to New York? After a few years in Miami, I went back to the U.K. to spend time with family. When thinking about my next move, New York (having always felt like a second home) was the standout contender! For me, this city has always been somewhere to meet new people, discover hidden gems, and to find inspiration to take on new challenges…exactly what I was after!

What do you enjoy about being a member of St. George’s Society? Like many members, my introduction to George was through the pub quiz, and over the course of a year I have morphed into quite the quiz superfan. And of course, a special mention must go to the people of George! A complete cliché, but undoubtedly the best part, I just adore everyone I have met so far through George and embrace all the excuses you give us to get together.

What is your favorite New York place or pastime? (1-2 sentences) So much to choose from! But sometimes there is nothing better than spending a cosy afternoon at my local, Hudson Clearwater, after a day of outdoorsy adventuring around the city. Last summer I also discovered how easy it was to rent sailing boats to take friends, family, and out-of-town visitors out on a little sunset sail (complete with a Whole Foods picnic)—highly recommended!


President’s Appeal


As the holiday season approaches and we look forward to spending time with our loved ones, please consider making a year-end contribution to help New Yorkers for whom this time of year is particularly difficult and lonely.

One of the things which makes our charitable program so unique is that we prevent seniors from losing their homes.  Many of our beneficiaries are referred to us from housing court in a desperate attempt to stop an eviction. For our beneficiaries, once they retired, they faced the struggle that their income was not sufficient to pay their rent so once all savings were depleted, the terrifying prospect of losing their homes becomes real. Most are unable to work and so without financial assistance, they could indeed be forced into homelessness.


ENID’S STORY: Enid was referred to St. George’s Society because she could no longer afford the rent for her apartment where she has lived for 38 years.  Enid is battling two kinds of cancer and so it is important that she maintains her health insurance. However, after paying for the insurance and medical supplies essential for her care, she has barely enough for rent. She struggled daily with the dilemma of whether to pay for her housing cost or her medical costs and could not afford even the most basic essentials she enjoyed — “a cup of coffee and a daily newspaper”.

St. George’s Society now pays part of Enid’s rent every month and for some of the medical supplies which were not covered by insurance. Despite Enid’s rather dire health situation, she remains so grateful to St. George’s Society for lifting the financial worry of either losing her home or not receiving proper medical treatment. So grateful in fact, that she has offered to volunteer once she feels stronger again after her chemotherapy is complete.

Sometimes, for literally the cost of an electric bill, we are able to provide our elderly beneficiaries the safety and dignity to live out one’s life in their own home. I hope I can count on you to make a donation and help us continue to provide life-changing support to people in need like Enid.  I urge you to contribute as generously as you are able.

With my two-year tenure as President of our unique Society nearing an end, I thank you in advance for your past support and extend my best wishes for the festive holiday season.



Gunpowder, Treason & Plot

The 5th of November marks Bonfire Night. The annual event celebrates the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot, when a team of conspirators were stopped from blowing up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. Guy Fawkes was the group’s explosives expert. On the morning of 5th November, it was him who was caught in a cellar underneath the Houses of Parliament preparing to light the fuse to the explosives intended to blow up the building and kill King James I.

Here’s 10 Interesting Facts about Bonfire Night:

1. Up until 1959 it was illegal not to celebrate bonfire night (That’s a mere 56 years ago!)

2. Even today, before a new session is opened in Parliament, the Yeoman of the Guard will ceremoniously search the basement.


Yeoman of the Guard – State Opening of Parliament

3. In 2002, Guy Fawkes was named as the 30th greatest Briton in a BBC poll.

4.The cellar that Fawkes tried to blow up no longer exists. It was destroyed in a fire in 1834 that devastated the medieval Houses of Parliament.


A cellar underneath the Houses of Parliament in 1605

5. When Fawkes was captured he gave his name as John Johnson.

6. Queen Elizabeth I loved fireworks so much she created a ‘Fire Master of England’ title.

7. The very first fireworks display in England took place at the wedding of Henry VII in 1486.

8. You see the explosion of a firework before hearing it because sound travels at 761mph, but light travels at 671,000,000mph.

Fireworks over Palace of Westminster

Bonfire Night Fireworks over Palace of Westminster

9. Fireworks were invented by a mistake in a kitchen. They were invented in the 10th century by a Chinese cook who accidentally combined 3 everyday kitchen ingredients. The cook then realized that burning the concoction in a hollow shoot of bamboo led to some explosive results.

10. One of the most popular Bonfire Night treats is the toffee apple, which was also invented by accident when candy-maker William W. Kolb was creating a red Christmas themed concoction and dropped in an apple by mistake. The results were delicious!


Toffee Apples

Click here if you’d like to read more about the history of Bonfire Night and see below for our favorite British Bonfire Night recipes.

Top 5 British Recipes for Bonfire Night

1. Toffee apple
2. Bonfire Toffee
3. Mulled Wine
4. Parkin
5. Chilli & Rice

Th Join us on November 3rd (yes we’re celebrating on the 3rd) at the Barleycorn as we enjoy some extended happy hour, complimentary appetizers and the best fireworks that we can legally enjoy in New York (AKA sparklers!)


Annual Beneficiary Tea Party

On October 24, the Society hosted its fifth annual Shadwell Beneficiary Tea Party thanks to a bequest from the late Wendy Shadwell who wanted to encourage social interaction and foster friendship between beneficiaries confined to their homes.

edit-6The event took place at The House of the Redeemer on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and guests enjoyed afternoon tea with musical entertainment provided by Concerts In Motion. The program also included a reading of a memoir written by St. George’s beneficiary, Tina Smith, recounting her experiences in a London orphanage during World War II.


The gathering provided a welcome opportunity for some of the Society’s beneficiaries to enjoy a social outing as part of an ongoing initiative to encourage social activity between lonely and housebound seniors to enhance their quality of life.



We asked some of the attendees what St. George’s Society’s support means to them:


“St. George’s Society came to my rescue at a time in my life when I felt “lost” – not enough money to find a place to live and no savings. I am blessed to be part of this wonderful Society and send thanks every day to all.” Murial C. 

 “I found out about St. George’s Society when I became ill with cancer. I had no relatives or family in New York and no insurance. This Society has been helping me for over 15 years and I wish there were more organizations like this, helping people in need like I was.” Amoy L.

“St. George’s helps a lot of people that are really in need. I, for one, am very thankful that I receive help from them, it helps me so much. I really look forward to the tea party & enjoy attending every year.” Lester H.


November Membership Perks

This month we have discounted theater tickets for The Gallery Players production of the classic farce The 39 Steps and the American Premeire of Poison with Origin Theatre. Plus, members receive further discounts to a variety of events including the Choral Society’s annual Holiday concert, The Pipes of Christmas and a Reception with The English-Speaking Union, welcoming Her Majesty’s Consul General in New York, Antonia Romeo.

To request discount codes or for more information about how to redeem any of the offers below, please email

The 39 Steps

39-stepsGallery Players of Park Slope invites the members of St. George’s Society and their guests to join them for The 39 Steps. A comic thriller sure to delight! Part spy story, part romance, part homage to music hall and Alfred Hitchcock, The 39 Steps is a fun romp through London and the Highlands of Scotland.

This production is conceived of as a troupe of actors who have been left and are trying to put on a show with only found objects. Full of references to both Hitchcock, English Music Hall and the American Musical theater, all will enjoy its mad-cap pace and suspenseful end.

Gallery Players is in its 50th season and is Brooklyn’s premier Off-Off Broadway theater. The 39 Steps was the winner of the 2007 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy and the 2008 Tony Award for Best Lighting and Best Sound Design.

Date: Oct 29 – Nov 13,
Venue: 199 14th St. Brooklyn, NY
Special Offer: Tickets from $18 (normally $25)

Reception hosted by The English-Speaking Union
Honoring & Welcoming the new British Consul General in New York


Antonia Romeo was appointed Her Majesty’s Consul General in New York and Director-General Economic and Commercial Affairs USA in July 2016. She is responsible for promoting the UK’s economic profile, foreign policy, and national security priorities in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut’s Fairfield County. In addition, Antonia directs the economic, business and prosperity work of the UK Government across the whole of the United States, including oversight of the North American operations of the Department for International Trade (DIT), the foreign commercial arm of the UK Government. She is also Her Majesty’s Government’s Special Envoy to the US technology companies.

Date: Nov 3, 5:30 pm

Venue: The English-Speaking Union, 144 East 39th Street
Special Offer: Tickets from $25 (normally $35)


poisonIn Poison words are used to conceal the truth and maintain boundaries as a couple meet again after a painful separation. Try as they might to avoid speaking about what happened and what has happened since, their fragility and doubt seep in through the cracks and wounds are opened anew.

The international smash hit has been seen in French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Chinese, Russian, Danish, Swedish and now into English. It was staged all over continental Europe, Russia, South America and Mexico and will be premiered in China and South Africa in the coming year.

Date: Nov 10 – Dec 11

Venue: The Beckett Theatre, 410 West 42nd Street

Special Offer: Tickets from $35 (normally $65)

Choral Society’s 2016 Holiday Concert 

choral-societyThe Choral Society and Orchestra of Grace Church in New York, under the direction of John Maclay, will present its annual Holiday Concert.

This year, the program features works by Mozart, Palestrina, Handel and Tavener, and the group’s enduringly packed-to-the-rafters audience carol sing with organ.  The seldom-heard “Missa longa” (KV 262) (which is not long at all!) is the most accomplished of Mozart’s Salzburg masses.

Date: Dec 2, 8:00 pm & Dec 3, 3:00pm
Venue: Grace Church, Broadway & 10th Street
Special Offer: Tickets from $25 (normally $30)

Victoria Wood: As Seen in The Big Apple

vicwood2016hiA one-off Comedy tribute event to celebrate one of Britain’s favourite comedians, Victoria Wood, who died unexpectedly in the Spring. The OPTimistiks’ production, directed by Origin Theatre Company’s George C Heslin, will feature live stagings of favourite characters, sketches & scenes from the multi-award winning actor, comedian, musician & writer. Includes Acorn Antiques, Two Soups, Kimberley & the Ballad of Barry & Freda [aka the ‘Can’t Do It’ song]. All proceeds to Victoria’s nominated charity, Jessie’s Fund, to provide musical therapy for seriously ill children.

Date: Dec 3, 3:00 pm
Venue: 158 West 72nd Street
Special Offer: Tickets from $20 – with 2 drink minimum (normally $30)

The Pipes of Christmas 


From the bold sounds of the pipes and drums, and the harmonious blending of brass, strings and percussion, to the poetic and lyrical words that complement them, The Pipes of Christmas is a festival for the soul. The concert features the music of Christmas accompanied by a selection of readings taken from the Celtic literature of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.


Date: Dec 17th, 2:00 pm & 7:00pm
Venue: Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, 921Madison Avenue
Special Offer: $10 off general admission tickets (book before Dec 1)



Member Spotlight Melissa Gibbs

234Melissa M. Gibbs
Chair, Beneficiary Committee
Life Member

Joined: 2002
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
Upper West Side

What brought you to New York? I have lived for over fifty years on West 81st Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue. I came to NYC when my family’s business decided to open a sales office for one of their divisions here.

What do you enjoy about being a member of St. George’s Society? It has been amazing to see the growth of St George’s Society from the days when the office was at General Seminary. I love being a part of the Beneficiaries Committee. The Committee and the Society’s social workers, Mary and Julie, are all so amazing in the care and concern that they take with the people that we serve to help make their lives as full and full-filled as possible.

What is your favourite New York place or pastime? I do not own a television as my passion is for live performing arts, especially theater, opera, ballet and classical music – we are out most nights of the week doing one or another. I love to volunteer and among other things, I volunteer several days a week at Roosevelt Hospital. I adore travel and read voraciously. A wonderfully talented Romanian classical pianist, Matei Varga, has lived with me and our three rescue cats (Poopster, Sister Susie and Preston) for ten years.


The History of Bonfire Night

“Remember remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot. We see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot!”

guy_fawkesThe story of Guy Fawkes and his foiled plot to blow up Parliament and assassinate the Protestant King James I is well known, but some of the historical facts sometimes go untold. Read on to learn about the history of Bonfire Night, Guy Fawkes and how we as Brits celebrate.

The gunpowder plot was planned for the State Opening of Parliament in 1605 when King James I would be in attendance. Guy Fawkes is the most well-known criminal of the attack however, he worked alongside 13 others and their leader was a man called Robert Catesby. The catholic group hatched the plot as they grew increasingly frustrated with their treatment by the law of the land at the time. After 45 years of persecution by Queen Elizabeth I, King James I was expected to be lenient on those practicing the Catholic religion, however, this was not to be.

list-political-conspiracies-guy-fawkes-173287905-hGuy Fawkes was an explosives expert and had been entrusted by his co-conspirators with the task of deploying the 36 barrels of gunpowder. However, he was caught and arrested as he guarded the explosives that lay beneath the House of Lords. The plot was rumbled when one of the co-conspirators, thought to be Francis Tresham, wrote to Lord Moteagle (William Parker) his brother-in-law, who worked in parliament with a warning to stay away from the Opening of State on the 5th of November.

guy-fawkes-signature-confession-tortureOnce taken to the Tower of London, Fawkes was tortured until he gave up his counterparts and then sentenced to a traitor’s death of hanging. In true rebel nature, Fawkes jumped from the gallows breaking his own neck and avoiding the horror of being cut down while still alive. He was drawn and quartered with his remains being sent to the four corners of the kingdom as a warning to others.
After Fawkes’ arrest on November 5th, the public celebrated the King’s survival by lighting bonfires, with Parliament passing the ‘Observance of 5th November Act’ aka ‘Thanksgiving Act’ in January 1606. The act was proposed by Puritan member, Edward Montagu who suggested that the King had been afforded a type of ‘divine intervention’ which deserved official recognition of thanksgiving. He also made attendance at church mandatory on this date and a new form of service was added to the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer.

pennyfortheguyIn modern day the occasion’s religious ties are infrequently practiced. However, the celebrations have continued to bring together friends, families and communities who huddle round the blazing fires, enjoying seasonal food and watching spectacular firework displays. We still share the tradition of burning effigies of Guy Fawkes and in the past, children would make their own Guy Fawkes dummies and busk on the streets, asking “Penny for the Guy”.

St. George’s Society celebrates Bonfire Night every year and you can join us on November 3rd (yes we’re celebrating on the 3rd) at the Barleycorn as we enjoy extended happy hour, complimentary appetizers and the best fireworks that we can legally enjoy in New York (AKA sparklers!)