“Croeso I Gaerdydd” were the opening words for the The National Inner Wheel Conference which was held in Cardiff this year. It was attended by the President of International Inner Wheel, Chris Kirkby, born and raised in Sydney, Australia, who had made the long journey to be there. Her theme for the year called on members to ‘Empower and Evolve’. Our British Association President is Ann Acaster from the York Vikings Club. She encouraged members to share friendship and to spread the message of Inner Wheel, to give service to those most in need and in a world where you can be anything, be kind.
As with many associations, numbers of members are falling as people’s lives become busier with work and modern life. However, the inspiration of Inner Wheel’s founder in the 1920s and her innovative ways still serve today and new members will always find a welcome in the Retford club.
The Reverend Kate Bottley led the service, which opened the conference and gave a meaningful address, tinged with humour. Later in the service, a passage was read about Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore and Piglet, which illustrated so well, the importance of friendship.
There were a number of interesting presentations by people speaking about various charities to include The Silver Line, a helpline for the elderly. Another was Hope and Homes for Children, a group in the field which helps to deinstitutionalise orphanage children and support them into loving, stable families. A most touching account!
Members attending were very impressed by two people in particular. The first was Lesley Schatzberger, who founded Jessie’s Fund. Lesley, a trained musician lost her nine-year-old daughter to a brain tumour. Lesley was made aware, in visiting her daughter in the children’s hospice, of the number of children unable to communicate verbally in similar situations and it became clear that music enables such children to express themselves and so the fund was started in memory of her daughter.
The second ‘star’ presentation was given by Ed Pratt, who set off alone, at the age of 19, to be the first person to ride a unicycle round the world. Three and a half years later he returned after his 22,000 mile journey, having faced many challenges, having learned a lot about himself, having achieved his goal and having raised £300,000 for School in A Bag, the only charity to take him up on his offer to fund raise through this event. He documented his travels in film and used them in his lively talk.
Of course, there were other forms of entertainment over the three days, but an entertaining florist, Andrew Grisewood, won the day with his amusing presentation and amazing floral displays. The arrangements take shape magically amidst hilarious stories and tales from the Ritz to Tiffany’s.
Meanwhile back in Retford, life goes on. On 29th June the club will be having a stall on the market to fundraise for their Baby Bundles which will be packed up in July. Any knitted items will be gratefully received. They are short of little knitted cardigans if anyone would like to offer their skills or items. Thank you for all help given. New members are always welcome. Visit the club’s website for information.