At our June 2017 meeting, President Anita handed over the chain of office to Gay Bligh. Gay and her committee have another great year planned for us to enjoy.
We had a full and interesting programme throughout 2016/17 and Anita's year ended with a visit to St. Mary's Hospice, the charity the club supported. A substantial cheque was handed over, which would help to provide support, which is frighteningly expensive.
We enjoy visiting places of interest, and one of these was to Simply Alpacas not only to hear about the history of alpacas and how to look after them, but we also had the opportunity to feed them. Once the animals had got over their shyness they were soon eating out of our hands. In the shop were many products made from Alpaca fleece and we also had a demonstration of felt making.
Gay's year started off well, and a delightful way to spend a perfect summer's afternoon was when we visited The Real Flower Petal Confetti Company. The fields are only open to the public for 10 days every year after which all the blooms are harvested for confetti. There were acres of beautiful larkspur flowers growing in stripes and blocks of colour, and a special feature was the Union Flag grown from flowers which could be seen to advantage from the viewing platform.
Over the summer, members will be busy baking, making jam and various items of produce ready for our stalls at Rotary's annual Country Music Festival held at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. This is our main fund-raiser for the year, so it is all hands to the pump.
December 2016-Jan 2017
Like many other clubs, we ended the year with various Christmas collections from helping with Rotary's Father Christmas collection, special treats for Christmas going to Ladywood Food Bank and donations to Crisis at Christmas in lieu of exchanging presents. We followed our recent tradition of playing silly games at our December meeting. (President Anita
attempting to blow up a balloon ready to decorate as one of the Three Kings!)
We enjoyed excellent hospitality with January drinks and lunch at the home of joint Rotary and Inner Wheel Presidents Anita and David Tippin, and marked Inner Wheel Day by collecting items for First Night Packs to go to a women's refuge.
The food theme continued in February when several of us met for a relaxed evening to enjoy a Pot Luck Supper. It is always amazing how the food works out with no prior arrangement, and we enjoyed a choice of starters, main courses and desserts - all accompanied of course with friendly chatter .
(Above: Waiting with eager anticipation to enjoy the meal)
At our October meeting we learned about the restoration of the Droitwich Waterways and in particular trips aboard the "Pamela May" a community narrow boat which has hosted groups from care homes, people with special needs and even wedding parties.
Rotary Dragon Boat Racing – 5 June 2016
The Inner Wheel Club of Edgbaston Convention manned a Cake Stall and Giant Connect Four game at the above annual event at Birmingham’s Edgbaston reservoir. The over-riding memory of those present may be how cold we all were for a large part of our time on the stall. Apparently elsewhere had been warm and sunny all day!
Enough of the negative side – our stall looked attractive and was well stocked – the home-made produce attracted many favourable remarks, especially the Chocolate Brownies!
The racing between the 10 competing teams went well and the final had an exciting finish with a tenth of a second between the first (Brewin Dolphin) and the second (Rotarian Damien’s Obillex) team.
The Lion Dance performance was very energetic and was enjoyed by those present.
In April our international fundraising event for School in a Bag definitely included 'fun' and warm Caribbean hospitality. Member Chris Pile and her husband Clyde run the Carib Grill in Moseley, Birmingham, and we learned about Caribbean food and spices with a cookery demonstration by Chris and her son
We enjoyed a real treat at our March meeting when our speaker was IIW Board Director and Past Association President Pam McConnell (also sister of our own member Anita). Pam gave us a 'behind the scenes' account of the day she attended Buckingham Palace to receive her MBE from HRH The Prince of Wales. We saw a short film about the Investiture which was stage managed with military precision, with both recipients and guests being carefully briefed before the ceremony began promptly at 11.00am on 26 March 2015. Pam assured us everyone was delightful and took great care to make the occasion as friendly and relaxed as possible - it was a day that gave lasting pride and pleasure to everyone.
Pam's citation reads: "For services to the community in Chesterfield and to charity work through the Association of Inner Wheel Clubs."
On a very cold Saturday morning in February a group of members and some husbands enjoyed a visit to Birmingham Hippodrome to watch the Royal Ballet's Class on Stage. The theatre was buzzing with activity with many theatrical activities taking place in the foyers including a make-up demonstration with costumes and shoes to see.
The dancers were all on stage and the main reason for the class was to warm up the dancers' muscles which they all did at their own pace, starting with stretching exercises and progressing to leaps, pirouettes and many very graceful movements, ending the class with some excellent individual performances. This was a fascinating visit and well worth the £10.00 fee which goes towards replacing 4,000 pairs of pointe ballet shoes needed every year.
At our December meeting we made donations to Crisis at Christmas in lieu of exchanging Christmas presents and collected donations for Ladywood Food Bank.
President Angela has chosen Fisher House UK, attached to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, as her charity for 2015/16.
Mike Hammond, the charity's charming Chief Executive, was the guest speaker at our November meeting. Fisher House is within walking distance of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and offers 18 spacious en-suite family sized bedrooms for military patients and their families while receiving treatment; not only for injuries sustained in combat, but for cancer care and transplants. It offers a home from home at a time when families most need support, and they are able to take strength from sharing their experiences with others in similar situations.
Club members hope to visit Fisher House later in the year.
In October 80 members and guests celebrated our 30th Charter Anniversary with an excellent afternoon tea at Edgbaston Golf Club.
Speaker Margaret Thrower (daughter of Percy) was a real star performer and delighted us all with stories about her upbringing and family background.
Pictured (l to r) are:
Past IIW Treasurer Muriel Bradshaw,
DC Maureen Buxton,
Club President Angela Hastwell,
Club Founder President Barbara Morgan,
PDC Shirley Janes
District Chairman Pamela has selected Burnaid and Dogs for Good as her Charities for the year.
The District 6 International Charity is Bees Abroad.
The National President, Liz Thomas, has chosen Children's Hospices for her charity.
The International President, Dr Kapila,
has chosen 'Leave a Lasting Legacy' as her theme.