We marked Inner Wheel Day by collecting items for a women's refuge which were very gratefully received, and we hope to visit later in the year.
January also found us enjoying another meal - this time a Pot Luck Supper. We never plan who should bring what, but always seem to get a good balance of starters, mains and desserts, and especially appreciate the opportunity to relax together and chat.
In the next few months we are having some interesting speakers at our meetings, including the District International Service Chairman to hear about progress with the Batwa Project supporting Bees Abroad. In April we will hear from a Dementia Ambassador, and we will welcome the manager of the Food Bank to our May meeting.
If you would like to join us you can be assured of a very warm welcome.
Christmas is always a busy time and we had a very successful stall at the November District Meeting selling home-made decorations, preserves, and edible Christmas goodies. We also helped Rotary with their Christmas collections, adding further to our Charity Account.
On a cold and snowy evening, with our Rotary partners and friends, we visited Baddesley Clinton for a fascinating guided tour of the house. The beautiful decorations had all been made by volunteers and candlelight made the house very atmospheric. The relaxed and warming supper afterwards was most enjoyable. Our members also enjoyed good food and conversation at our Christmas lunch at The Ewe and Lamb in Hanbury.
We are looking forward to our two Christmas celebrations - a guided tour followed by supper at Baddesley Clinton, and Christmas lunch at a local pub.
Our speakers have included an inspirational Neurological Physiotherapist, and one of our Rotary club members, a solicitor who shared her passion for helping Asylum Seekers and Refugees.
Our latest outing was to the Pen Museum in Birmingham's historical Jewellery Quarter where we learned about the history of the pen (nibs to most of us). At the height of the trade three quarters of everything written down in the world was with a Birmingham Pen. There were fantastic displays of artistically arranged pens, blotters, inkwells, braille and everything imaginable connected with writing. We were invited to use the 19th Century machinery to make our own pens and learned that women made approximately 18,000 pens a day!
Our main fundraiser in September at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, as part of Rotary's Country Music Festival, was cold and wet - not blessed with the sunshine we had become so used to over the years. However we worked hard to provide a delicious array of cakes and produce for our stall, and raised a very respectable amount for our charity account.
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.
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.