She’s back after 18 days and 203 miles …

Welcome back to Bideford Hilary – what an amazing achievement

Well done Hilary – you finally finished your April Foolery Walk getting back to Bideford on Good Friday as planned.  Welcome home from all your fellow Bideford members and just in case there is anyone in District 17 who doesn’t know of her achievement, Hilary walked around all the 15 clubs of District 17.

In her own words, “The walk went pretty much as anticipated and although the weather was fantastic for most of the walk there were a few days where the weather posed challenges.

The first day provided plenty of sunshine and Bideford Inner Wheel turned out in force to see me off on my first stage to Meeth and the sun and support turned out again for my return. I was able to meet up with some, but unfortunately not all the clubs along the way and I received a very warm welcome from all.

Despite a fall on a very rainy day of the walk between Dartmouth and Brixham, I managed to get around the entire 203 miles with nothing more serious than a small blister and a bruised hand. Unfortunately my phone and glasses didn’t come out of the fall as injury free!

So far the fundraising looks likely to be near the £4000 mark and “School in a Bag” is looking at using all the money on one project which is hopefully to be in Madagascar. It is hoped that the bags can be made in country, which will mean that more children receive a bag, and there will be the additional benefit of local employment. District 17 will be up-dated on how the money is being spent as soon as it is all arranged. Working in Madagascar is a challenge.

I would like to express my apologies to Brixham and Sidmouth clubs where meeting up arrangements got a little muddled and my thanks also to all that welcomed me, particularly my hosts, Moncia Highnam and Joan Denning, to my co-walkers and the individuals and clubs who helped her achieve such a fantastic total amount.”

To see a larger photo, cllick on the thumbnails below.

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Totnes Inter Club celebrates St George’s Day …

We had a lovely day here in Totnes when President Anne Boyle and Totnes Club held an Inter Club to celebrate St. Georges Day.
64 ladies attended from Brixham, Dartmouth, Sidmouth, Teignmouth, Torquay Clubs, The Mayor of Totnes and her Escort (Husband), Townswomen’s Guild, Probus and Tangent.
The dress code was red/white. Our Speaker showed pictures on a large TV of  ‘Saucy’ Postcards – right from early 1800’s until the present day.
Afternoon tea was an abundance of tea and cakes all prepared by Totnes Club. This was followed by a sing-song including Jerusalem and Land of Hope and Glory and lots of flag waving.
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Annual Conference through the eyes of Betty Skelly of our Bideford Club …

The Annual Conference was held at Telford this year. This is a new venue for Inner Wheel, being middle England with easy access by road and rail from all parts of GB & I. It had a purpose built arena which was very functional, but characterless, but it was near to a large shopping area, the access to which will be a lot better when all the road works around it are completed. In his welcoming address, the Mayor of Telford kept apologising for the disruption!

His welcome came after our Service of Friendship, conducted by the Chairman of District 129, who was excellent. We had a Salvation Band Corps to play for the hymns, and the Inner Wheel prayer and the readings, all poems, were delivered by members from the 4 countries in GB & I. A break with tradition was the choir, which came from a local Primary School, about 40 children, who sang without music or words, about friendship, hope and care.

The soloist, a Welsh Bass was wonderful, with eyes closed it could have been Bryn Terfel. His final song, “My living has not been in vain” had us reaching for our hankies. We had them to hand before, when the last soloist in the choir, a small boy, had dissolved into tears because he had made a mistake. We all we all wanted to give him a hug. This was a very poignant service and the collection raised £8,566. for Hope and Homes for Children.

We continued after the break with the Italian President of International Inner Wheel, who kept her address fairly short, but reminding us that the rules of IIW should be obeyed. I’m not sure what she meant, but as she was talking to us in GB & I, I wondered if perhaps we are guilty of not doing so. The first guest speaker, Caroline Wilkinson, had a very interesting job in the field of emergency nutrition, dealing especially with malnutrition in children caught up in conflicts and famines, but her presentation skills were not good, and her talk was more of a travelogue, and information about the make-up and efficacy of the “food” we see on our televisions being fed to severely malnourished babies would have been more enlightening.

The afternoon session was amazing, we heard first from the President of Rotary in GB & I, who is a woman, and a member of Inner Wheel, and who must be a breathe of fresh air through Rotary. This was followed by a very moving presentation from Hope and Homes and then the “Wheels Project” committee showed us a well presented and slick DVD of what we had got up to all over GB & I. Under this title, the ingenuity of some clubs was amazing, and the reactions of men, women and children who were the recipients of all this effort was heartwarming. There were more tears when the inventor of a wheelchair, a “Wizzybug” developed especially for very small disabled children, expressed his thanks, and we saw how the tiny children enjoyed being in them. This was also a “Wheels Project”.

The afternoon ended with Jan Leeming, who admitted she had a hard act to follow, but we did hear about what it was like to be one of the first women to read the news on television which was another male bastion overcome!

Next day was the AGM. On the whole the meeting went well. The reports from the Officers started with the Treasurer. We are okay financially, so there was no proposal to raise capitation which was good news. The Editor told us that the website was now live, but it is still ‘work in progress’. Then we had the Home Service Report, as usual highlighting the way some clubs find new ideas for raising money. ‘Come Dine with Me’ parties seemed to be popular, and a pyjama walk sounded like fun. Troughout the 4 countries in GB & I, we raised £1,150,289.31p had been raised. What an amazing achievement.

The Overseas Report was also inspirational with a very good DVD of Trish Douglas in Africa with Sight Savers doing their most valuable work and this brought on more tears. She told us that £72,500 had been given to that charity. The other statistics were impressive; £45,555. 80 for the Indonesian typhoon, 30 Aqua Boxes, 23 Shelterboxes, 9,949 Christmas boxes went to Eastern Europe, and 750 kilos of used stamps were collected. We watched another DVD with ‘My Heart was Broken’ as its theme music which brought out more hankies, but it highlighted the fact that we should all be very proud of what we do achieve for overseas projects.
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The proposals to change the constitution were dealt with; most went through on the nod, and the only one changing the word ‘Overseas’ to ‘International’ provoked some discussion. This proposal was carried, as was District 17’s proposal for Day Tickets to Conference.

In the afternoon session, we had a very good address by Association President Gill who introduced next year’s Executive. The Golf Trophies were presented, and as the golfers had played in torrential rain on Monday afternoon, they all deserved a trophy. Monty Don, the final Speaker, was very entertaining, and his message was that if we love our gardens they will flourish.

The Gala Dinner went with a swing. Most people had dressed up for the occasion with feather boas of all colours shedding feathers everywhere, as did the variety of feathers worn in the hair. We ate, and drank talked and danced and left to calls of “See you in Bournemouth”.

In all, 2001 members attended this 2014 Conference, and if you have never attended one before, do come next year – it is an amazing experience and each one is different to the one before.

Otter Valley join Hilary on her Aprilfoolery Walk …

Eight members of Inner Wheel Club of Otter Valley joined Hilary on Monday 14 April, on the last week of her mammoth walk. She has now completed 200 of the 250 miles round all the Inner Wheel Clubs in Devon.

The sun was shining and we had a glorious afternoon stroll along the river Otter from Tipton St John to Ottery St Mary. We encountered local wildlife in the form of swans and egrets as well as many ducks on the river and marvelled at the myriad of tiny fishes swimming in the shallows. Hilary told us of the challenging conditions she had encountered both geographically on some of the coastal paths and meteorologically with the varied weather earlier in the month.

At journey’s end, for the day we made our way to Sainsbury’s where a cheque was presented from the Otter Valley Club for School in a Bag.

Hilary and her husband, Stephen, who has been supporting her along the way, was accommodated by Monica Highnam, while staying in East Devon and she was wined and dined by Monica and joint president Eleanor who both invited other members to meet up.

Hilary’s Aprilfoolery Walk – Progress Update …

On a fine day, Tuesday, 1st April, Hilary (Bideford Club) set off from the Quay to start her mammoth walk around all 15 Clubs in District 17 to raise funds for her chosen charity, School in a Bag.  What a challenge and hopefully the good weather will stay with her for most (if not all) of her journey.

Today I received an email from Ann Frances of our Totnes Club: “Some of Totnes Club welcoming Hilary to The Royal Seven Stars Hotel yesterday, 4th April. It was lovely to welcome her and I hope other Clubs will do the same”.  Also in the photo are her husband Stephen and her two dogs.  As you can see, Ann looks remarkable fit but I’m not too sure about the dog!

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The Beautiful Ladies of Exmouth Inner Wheel …

Exmouth Raleigh Rotary held a fashion show which was organised with John Lewis. Marcia and Sue of our Exmouth Inner Wheel joined forces with 4 other ladies and 3 men to help make this event a huge success which was very well supported. Around £2,400 was raised and this will be shared between Hospiscare, Exeter, Mid and East Devon and the rest will go to will go to Rotary charities. What a fun way to raise funds for such a worthwhile cause.  Click on the the thumbnails for a full view (I did not chop off their heads – it just looks like it).

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