GB & I WELCOMES IIW PRESIDENT CHRIS TO THE ANNUAL CONFERENCE 8th-11th April, 2019
It was a huge honour and privilege to extend a very warm welcome to IIW President Chris and her husband Robert to Great Britain & Ireland where they joined Association President Ann Acaster and 1,767 Inner Wheel members, Rotarians and guests at the Annual Conference in Cardiff, capital of Wales, celebrating 95 years of Inner Wheel.
After the opening Celebration of Service & Friendship, in the first session delegates were addressed by The Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Cllr. Dianne Rees, The Rev. Kate Bottley, Eileen Hammond on behalf of The Silver Line which provides a free confidential helpline to older people. President Chris herself made a thoughtful and thought-provoking speech, using her theme “Empower & Evolve” which was much appreciated by the delegates. The second session featured presentations by the President of Rotary International in GB&I, Rtn, Rev. Debbie Hodges, by Lesley Schatzberger for Jessie’s Fund, explaining how music helps children with serious illness and complex needs communicate; she received £6,017.90 donated by members so far this year. Ed Pratt described his adventure unicycling round the world to raise funds for School in a Bag, a UK based charity providing school equipment for disadvantaged children all over the world. The brilliant children’s choir, Cor y Cwm, ended the session. The evening’s entertainment was provided by Andrew Grisewood and his stunning displays of floral art. A raffle raised a further £2,300 for Jessie’s Fund.
During the breaks, President Chris was able to visit the stands representing the 25 charities present at the Conference and talk to many of our members who were delighted to meet her.
The Association’s Annual General Meeting took place on the following morning. A proposal was passed allowing members whose club has disbanded with no other conveniently located club to apply for Membership at Large GB&I status, thus retaining their Inner Wheel membership. The third conference session in the afternoon heard a moving presentation by Rukhiya Budden from Hope and Homes for Children who received a cheque for £7,992.24 donated at the opening service. The highlight of the session was the address to Conference by Association President Ann in which she expressed her pride in Inner Wheel and its objectives and urged delegates to work hard to recruit new members. This was followed by the introduction of 2019/20 Association President Elect, Enid Law, and the Executive Committee. This final session closed on a high note with hilarious musical y entertainment by Rainer Hersch. That evening, members, “Dressy for Jessie with a hint of pink”, danced the night away to The Amazing Blues Brothers and the Amazing Soul Revue.
The next day we were sorry to have to say goodbye to President Chris who left for a few days rest with friends in Somerset before she and Robert joined their daughter in London. It was a delight to have Chris with us if only for a few days. We thank her for all her hard work for Inner Wheel and wish her safe travel for the rest of her presidential year.
Liz Thomas, National Representative, GB&I