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Highs and Lows of Lockdowns.

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

2021 brought us new experiences- some happy, some sad:

A group of members from District 5 were looking forward to the trip of a lifetime - a visit to the spectacular, pink city of Jaipur - to attend the 18th. Triennial International Inner Wheel Convention.

Sadly this was not to be, due to the pandemic, but the organisers, undaunted, staged an epic performance in great style- by Zoom!

Lalita Unnithan, Club Correspondent of the Sandbach Club, was “there” and tells the story:

Friendship goes Digital

International Inner Wheel Convention 2021, Jaipur, 17th, 18th. May

The largest two-day virtual convention, attended by 4,700 members from 65 countries, was a great achievement- at the time of the pandemic.

It was a unique experience to participate digitally in the comfort of your home.

Set in the pink city of Jaipur in the northern state of Rajasthan (the Land of the Kings), where the Maharaja was instrumental in painting the city terracotta pink

(representing welcome and hospitality)-in honour of the visit of Prince Albert.

Jaipur is notably a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Convention opened with the traditional lighting of the lamp of Friendship.

This was followed by a welcome dance to Lord Ganesh - invoking “blessings and the removal of obstacles” during the two day proceedings.

LEAD the CHANGE was the theme of the Convention. IIW President Bina Vyas

spoke of the need for Inner Wheel to embrace change, accelerate growth and, collectively, work for the upliftment of the under privileged. She also spoke of the need for health education for women and girls and for the care of the elderly.

The keynote speaker, Ms. Vinita Balji, emphasised the need for technology to reach out to members.

Inner Wheel delegates from around the world talked about their work in their respective countries - bringing about positive changes in people’s lives. They emphasised the need to make Inner Wheel relevant in a changing world.

Business sessions, involving proposals, debates and voting, were a big part of the convention. One proposal to change the name and logo of IW was not carried!

Inner Wheel is represented on the UN Commission on the status of Women and Girls.

We heard that contributions from IW members worldwide helped to re-equip the hospital in Lebanon, damaged by the tragic Beirut explosion in 2020.

Attending members could navigate to many attractions

- including virtual tours of the splendid cities of Jaipur, Agra and Delhi - or a visit to the kitchens of the Prestigious Hotel to watch chefs prepare Royal dishes.

A visit to the bazaar provided a chance for shopping or a stroll to look at crafts and ornaments

International dances were vibrant and colourful. Folk dances from France, Philippines, Malaysia and Bangladesh were entertaining.

Finally, a lucky winner from France won a free visit to the Taj Mahal.

Two other members of my Club, Alison and Jackie, participated in the Convention and agree that it was well organised and well worth attending.

The IIW Convention in 2024 is to be held in the Mother City of Manchester.

A brief video of Manchester was shown to the audience.

On the 23rd. April I received a “thank you” text from the organisers - thanking me for my participation in the Convention.

In June 2021 came the sad news that two valued clubs were to close.

The Inner Wheel Club of Glossop was chartered in 1949 - seventy two years of true friendship and personal service.

President Ann Scott with Christmas goodies for the Glossop Foodbank

Amazing fund-raisers, their Fellowship events were never to be missed- first class speakers and AMAZING food. Wanda`s salmon and Ann`s meringues were famous!

One speaker, Dr. Paul Whittaker OBE, became addicted to Ann`s meringues - repeatedly joining the queue for “seconds”!

At an Association Conference in Bournemouth, Dr. Paul was the keynote speaker.

The Glossop Club sent him a tin of Ann`s meringues - a gift he never forgot.

A happy time.

Sadly, in 2021, two much loved members passed away. In March, Shirley Hampson - a member for 40 years, and in May, Wanda Bains - a member for 25years.

So many years of friendship and service.

The good news is that two Past Presidents - Ann Scott and Pat Castle, have successfully applied for Membership at Large and will remain in the Inner Wheel Community.

Another blow to District 5 members came with the news of the closure of the Inner Wheel Club of Poynton.

Over the years, two members had held the role of District Chairman. In 1989-90. Mrs.M. Hewitt and in 2001-2, Anna Bissell - known and loved by many present day members.

Past President Gwen Dale pays a tribute to her Club:

"It was a very sad day for all our members when we made the decision to disband our club after 38 years - with several founding members still involved .

Friendships have been made and we have shared the happiness and sadness which have made us a very strong supportive group.

Over the years we have raised thousands of pounds for charity, worked closely with Rotary and supported our community - whilst having lots of fun.

Members of the Poynton Club Supporting Rotary with Refreshments at a Fundraiser.

We found ourselves in a position where we found it difficult to fill Officer posts - with some posts being held for several years

Since we have disbanded, we have all continued to meet socially on a regular basis

to continue our long friendships and support.

A COVID EXPERIENCE - with a happy ending!

I have lived next door to my neighbour for 20 years.

During that time I think the most contact we had was a

“good morning” over the car and an enquiry about our husbands - who were both in poor health.

6 years ago we were going on holiday - and we both agreed that when we came back the four of us would get together.

Well, I came back alone and after the condolences we went back to our old ways.

Eventually, she was on her own, too.

Then came Covid. We decided that we would probably need each other and we began walking every day. Of course, there was plenty of talking, too and we found out that we almost led parallel lives - even to travelling - of which we had both done a great deal. Sometimes we had just missed each other in various places and even stayed at the same hotels!

Our families have got to know each other and have become friends.

It is good to know that, out of so much sadness and heartbreak in the last 18 months, something good has come out of it and I think I am not alone in having this experience. It is wonderful to know that just next door there is someone who will always be there for you.

Just a pity we waited so long.

Dorothy Flacks, CC, Manchester.

Let`s always remember that-

we can be kind - we can take care of each other. - Ed.

And finally..

At the September meeting of the Manchester club , Muriel Berman, our Welfare Officer, recited this poem which she had composed. It was written to CELEBRATE being………….

Together again …..

Just wanted to say..

Hip Hip Hooray !

We`re finally back together

It`s been a long haul

So let`s have a ball

No matter the inclement weather

There`ve been stories to tell

But,thank goodness, we`re well

Never thought we`d be able to meet

But we`re made of strong stuff

Now we`re here and raring to eat

There`s not much to say

My plea for the day..

PLEASE let me know if anyone`s ill

I can always get in touch

I know it`s not much

Though a chat may help to heal

So now that we`re back

To discuss this and that

Let`s enjoy all the hours of today

The Club`s back in its glory

Just the start of the story

So that`s what I wanted to say.

MURIEL BERMAN - IW Founder Club of Manchester

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