Rochdale Inner Wheel Club

International Inner Wheel at 90

A Celebration of 90 years

The Inner Wheel Club of Manchester, the first club of all) was founded on January 10th 1924.  To celebrate its 90th birthday President Lis and I attended the World Inner Wheel Day Service of Districts 5 & 128 (ours), followed by the 90th Anniversary Luncheon.

Arriving in Manchester a little early for the 11a.m. service we fortified ourselves with coffee before walking over to St. Ann’s Church in the Square of that name.  The service is an annual event which several of us attend regularly and can thoroughly recommend, and we always follow it up with lunch somewhere!  The church was packed with well over 500 Inner Wheelers, mainly from the North West although we sat next to ladies from the Inner Wheel Club of Wakefield who had decided to make a day of it.  One member came all the way from Italy!  Lis and I were fortunate to be “upstairs” in the church, in the gallery, and had a superb view of all the proceedings.  We were welcomed by Revd Roger Scoones, a past Rotary President from Stockport and the Friendship Candle was duly lit by Chairman of District 5 – Astrid Hill and our own Chairman of District 128 Gloria Shepherd.  The service included a series of favourite hymns, all sung with gusto, a poetry reading and several solos sung by students of the Royal Northern College of Music. They were accompanied by a young organist also from the R.N.C.N.  This was a highlight of the service for me – absolutely beautiful.  The address was given by Sister Canon Dorothy Needham of the Church Army, a friend of our Chairman Gloria.  We all joined in prayers and the service ended with the recessional piece Crown Imperial by Sir William Walton.

Literally hundreds of church attendees then trooped across to the Midland Hotel, ably assisted by members of local Rotary Clubs pointing the way and acting as traffic wardens!  On arrival and after finding our seats in the enormous dining room where in fact we had an excellent view of proceedings, we were welcomed to the luncheon by President of Manchester Inner Wheel Club, Mrs Joan Johnstone.  A message of congratulations from the Queen was read out, and followed by the traditional Candle Lighting Ceremony.  The Birthday Cake was cut, grace was said and lunch commenced.  We were served an excellent meal of salmon followed by the Midland Hotel’s speciality Sherry Trifle served in small kilner jars – delicious!  The staff were excellent, dealing with 523 people very efficiently!  Then followed greetings from several VIPs including the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Naeem ul Hassan; President of the Rotary club of Manchester, Councillor Hugh Barrett and Inner District Chairmen.  ‘A Medley of Memories’ were sung by District 5 Choir at which we joined in, after which a toast to the Association of Inner Wheel Clubs in Great Britain and Ireland was given by Immediate Past President Mrs Christine Sivori.  Next the Guest Speaker, a Mr. John Clewlow, a Veterinary Surgeon from Cheshire who regaled us with anecdotes of his life and times with animals – a side splitting half hour!

Final remarks and farewell by President Joan ended a truly remarkable day – one which will have a lasting memory for Lis and myself.

Sue Cannell.

Contact Information

Inner Wheel Club of Rochdale

Meeting times

We meet every 4th Wednesday of the month for a meal followed by the formal meeting, including fund raising planning and often a speaker. 6.30pm for 7.00 pm for a meal then the meeting at the Royal Toby.

We have four Executive meetings a year. A monthly Book Club and a Craft Club.

Secretary  Nichola Helliwell