Column: Wonderful time had by all at memorable event to mark 100 years of Inner Wheel

Guest columnist Yvette Thomas is District 22 editor for Inner Wheel. District 22 takes in the whole of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.Guest columnist Yvette Thomas is District 22 editor for Inner Wheel. District 22 takes in the whole of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.
Guest columnist Yvette Thomas is District 22 editor for Inner Wheel. District 22 takes in the whole of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.
​Every three years, International Inner Wheel (IIW) has a convention when the members of IIW gather together. 2024 being extra special and marking the centenary of IIW, it was held in Manchester, where it all began in 1924, writes Yvette Thomas, editor for Inner Wheel’s District 22, covering the whole of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

​Thanks to the vision of Margarette Golding, then known as Mrs Oliver Golding, Inner Wheel began.

With little money, the first meeting was held in the Turkish Baths, where a free room was available.

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That initial meeting has now become an International organisation with over 120,000 members in 4,000 clubs worldwide.

2,300 IW members from 39 countries, ranging from Australia to Zambia, congregated at the Manchester Convention Centre recently, an impressive location, being the original Midland Railway Station.

Over 600 members from GB&I were in attendance with 72 there from District 22, covering Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

It seemed that everywhere you went in Manchester, you came across groups of IW members with their “Shine A Light” bags.

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There was a real buzz to the air. Numerous events were planned by the local convention committee, led by D22 member Pam McConnell MBE.

"2,300 IW members from 39 countries, ranging from Australia to Zambia, congregated at the Manchester Convention Centre recently, an impressive location, being the original Midland Railway Station.""2,300 IW members from 39 countries, ranging from Australia to Zambia, congregated at the Manchester Convention Centre recently, an impressive location, being the original Midland Railway Station."
"2,300 IW members from 39 countries, ranging from Australia to Zambia, congregated at the Manchester Convention Centre recently, an impressive location, being the original Midland Railway Station."

There was much to see at the centre: a local marketplace of stalls of interest to IW; the House of Culture, with details of the support given by IW in different countries and the projects they take part in; opening and closing ceremonies with entertainment and speakers including Margarette, looking amazing for 100 years old, who later time travelled to become Anthea Tilsley our Association President.

Friendship dinners took place on the Wednesday in different iconic buildings. Me and 699 others were in the Cathedral.

On the Thursday, a gala dinner was held at the Convention Centre, with everyone together, many in 1920s dress. There was no choice as to where you sat. I was on tables with members from Italy, the Netherlands, Cornwall, Kent, Belgium, Bangladesh, Croatia and India.

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It was not all play. Much business was conducted over four business sessions lasting a total of 11 hours. Guided by the IIW Executive Committee with IIW President Trish Douglas (GB& I, District 1) in the chair.

​”There was a real buzz to the air. Numerous events were planned by the local convention committee, led by D22 member Pam McConnell MBE (pictured)”.​”There was a real buzz to the air. Numerous events were planned by the local convention committee, led by D22 member Pam McConnell MBE (pictured)”.
​”There was a real buzz to the air. Numerous events were planned by the local convention committee, led by D22 member Pam McConnell MBE (pictured)”.

Reports from the officers showed the complexity of the work they do, including a report on the work of the officers with the United Nations.

Finer points of the constitution were discussed and then voted upon. Over 3,000 votes were cast online by the voting delegates with the results given in minutes.

Many skills were displayed – organisation, management, innovation, planning, debate and all by volunteers.

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A special thanks must go to Pam and her team who have worked tirelessly since putting together the bid in 2020 for the convention to be in Manchester. You all did brilliantly. Thank you ladies.

"Over 600 members from GB&I were in attendance with 72 there from District 22, covering Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire (pictured)"."Over 600 members from GB&I were in attendance with 72 there from District 22, covering Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire (pictured)".
"Over 600 members from GB&I were in attendance with 72 there from District 22, covering Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire (pictured)".

If you want to know more about Inner Wheel or are interested in joining to make a difference, contact a membership officer at [email protected] or me Yvette Thomas, District 22 Editor, via [email protected]

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