Plymouth - Conference Report 2013

I must confess that I was not looking forward to the Conference partly because I had never been before and didn’t know what to expect and partly because I had never been in company of just women for any length of time but I am pleased to report that it was BRILLIANT!!

My daughter had persuaded me to give it a try and I’m so glad I did.  We stayed in a B&B very close to the Hoe travelling by coach from Leicestershire.  Although it wasn’t the most luxurious it was filled entirely with Inner Wheel members attending the conference and the owner Maggie and her team were very obliging providing tea each afternoon when we returned from Conference. Rosemary Jennings who was on our coach and staying at our B&B was in charge of Sheila Halliday-Pegg’s  Potted Presents Stall and had arrived with  many filled jam jars ready for the stall Rosemary needed help to set up and man the stall so me and my fellow Club members offered to help. We set up the stall on the Monday morning before collecting our Registration Packs and then  Jam Jars,  which we and hundreds or possibly thousands of other members had filled and decorated , arrived in a constant stream .  We spent all our free time (when not in the Conference hall) on Tuesday and Wednesday helping on the stall raising  a fantastic £1,810 .32 for the  Brainwave charity. 

In the evening  District 7  teamed up with members of District 11  for an evening of friendship. There must have been about 200 of us in total where in teams we jointly filled in quiz sheets. This got us talking and laughing .

Tuesday began with a Service of Celebration and Friendship conducted by the Venerable Peggy Jackson who was sincere but very amusing too. The Salvation Army Band accompanied the singing whilst District 7’s Choir did us proud with their beautiful performance of 3 hymns.

The International President Carole Young addressed us  speaking of how as an modern  international organisation we should use what ever  methods we can to promote Inner Wheel to help it grow stronger into the future. 

At the end of the First Session we were entertained by Lars Tharp who took us behind the scenes of the Antiques Road Show with some amusing things that had happened to him as a presenter of the show. Lars’s mother, also an Inner Wheel member, is affectionately know to his family as the  “Spare Tyre” !!


The second session of the day began with great anticipation as Sophie, Countess of Wessex was due to arrive.  Sophie who has been Patron of Brainwave for 10years, arrived looking very relaxed and was very interested in all that Inner Wheel achieves in this country and abroad. We were given a presentation by Paul Smith a representative of Brainwave  who showed us a very moving film about brain injured children and their parents who have been helped by the charity and what the children have now achieved.Dr. Sheila Halliday-Pegg presented them with a cheque of money raised so far and promised there was more to come..  

The Countess of Wessex thanked the Inner Wheel members for raising funds and gave a very moving speech – not from a piece of paper but from her heart.

She was presented with a plaque from Brainwave for her 10 years’ service  by a young boy of about 3 or 4years of age. The Countess bent down to him, he cuddled up to her and she hugged him . It was all so spontaneous and very moving. 


Our second quest speaker of the day was Chris Moon, a former army officer who worked for a charity clearing landmines when he was blown up in remote East Africa losing an arm and leg .

He lost a lot of blood and is very lucky to be alive. He believed in being positive not negative. The year after leaving hospital he ran in the London Marathon; also for charity he has done a 135mile Fun Run, he ran a marathon a day for 30 days continuously, covering 1,000 miles and has led a group to climb Kilimanjaro. He talked with passion  and much humour about overcoming difficult challenges, motivation and real achievement. He was an inspiration to all.

The session ended at 4.00pm and we made our way up to the Hoe where the large wheel (like the London Eye) for a large group photograph. This was to start the Wheels Project off for the next Inner Wheel year, our 90th Anniversary year. 

Most of the ladies gathered also took advantage of a special rate to travel on the wheel and see the views across the sea. After a quick bite to eat we returned to the Convention Centre where we were entertained with the Dalla Band (Traditional Cornish Music) and the Exmouth Shanty Men with their rip roaring sea shanties, raucous wit and a good dollop of tomfoolery.


Wednesday morning began with the AGM where we heard of all the fantastic achievements made by Inner Wheel in GB&I. An amazing  £1,269,113 was donated to charities in GB&I though club home service and £697,814 to overseas charities.  

During the afternoon session a cheque was presented to the Overseas charity Sightsavers.  Our 3rd guest speaker was Gail Stuart, Eric Morecambe’s daughter, who entertained us with “Life with my Father”. We laughed so much as she related incidents, which had occurred as, she grew up. As she spoke we could almost see Eric doing or saying these things.

Association President Sheila gave her address and spoke of her year so far and how we can all help to make Inner Wheel grow stronger. 

We were then presented with the new officers voted in for 2013-14. To finish the afternoon session the Military Wives Choir received a cheque from the Service collection ( over £7,000) on behalf of SAAFA. Then they sang beautifully for us and ended the conference with Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia, inviting us all to join in. Everyone stood and sang their hearts out. There were even tears in the eyes of the members of the choir and THEY clapped US!! What a fitting end to a super  conference but it didn’t stop there. We returned to  the B&B to get changed ready for the Association Presidents  Evening. We danced and danced and danced from 8.30pm until 10.30pm all dressed in seafaring outfits from sailors, captains, pirates etc. with music provided by the Flower Power Band (60’s 70,s music) A great evening!!

We certainly had plenty of FUN,  FRIENDSHIP,  and  FUNDRAISING. Conference is well worth trying. See you next year in Telford !!!

Lynn Wood 

Lutterworth Wycliffe Inner Wheel Club



Bournemouth 2012

For the report for this Conference see Archived Articles or click here


2012 Inner Wheel Distict 7 Conference 2013.