ILKLEY Soroptimists have decorated a tree in the town's main car park with orange to mark the United Nation’s day to work to eliminate violence against women.

This year’s theme for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!”.

Like in previous years, this year's International Day on Wednesday, November 25, marks the launch of 16 days of activism that will conclude on December 10, 2020, which is International Human Rights Day.

Ilkley Soroptimist President Jo Thornley said: “Orange is the colour chosen by the UN as it’s cheerful and bright and warns us that there is work to be done with regard to the violence too many women endure. Every week two women are killed by their partner or ex partner.

“The tree will remain decorated for 16 days in the orange decorations we have made as a reminder of what women suffer. We shall take it down after 16 days of Soroptimist activism which will be happening across the world. That date will be December 10th Human Rights Day - a fitting time to remind the world that women have a right to live without fear of intimidation or violence.

"Please look for our tree outside the Ilkley shoe company and draw it to the attention of family and friends.

"Conditions have been very hard for some women during lockdown. Women in England and Wales made nearly 9,000 applications to the courts for domestic violence remedy orders during April and June 2020. That is the highest number ever recorded by the Ministry of Justice in a three month period. Twenty-four per cent higher even than for the same quarter in 2019. Even one case is one too many.”

Soroptimist International is a women’s organisation with 80,000 members spread over 132 countries. It works at local, national and international levels aiming to enable, empower, and educate women and girls. Ilkley has its own club with about 30 members.