Fond farewell as club closes after 74 years

July 27 2022
Fond farewell as club closes after 74 years

IT was the end of an era in July when the Inner Wheel Club of Wells held its final event.

The club has come to an end after 74 years due to the difficulty of attracting new recruits willing to take on the running of the organisation. The final function was a Jubilee-themed Friendship lunch in the garden of President Liz Hamblin. There was balloons, bunting and bubbly, food provided by members – including a Jubilee trifle and coronation chicken – and a cake marking the 74 years of the club’s existence.

Liz, who has been President for two years, said: “We are all very sad that the club has had to close after 74 years of friendship and providing service to the community. Covid-19 has not helped and times have also changed. As our meetings have always taken place at lunchtime, we are unable to attract younger members to carry on as many people now have to work and have other responsibilities. It is hoped that a new club, meeting in the evening, may be formed by others in the future.”

The President’s chain of office will be kept safe at Wells Town Hall in case the club is restarted by new members at a future date.

The Inner Wheel is an all-female organisation with three objectives: to promote true friendship; to encourage the ideals of personal service; and to foster international understanding.

The inaugural meeting of the Wells club was held at the Bekynton Cafe on April 26, 1948. There were about 21 members and the subscription for the first year was 12s 6d.

The Charter was presented to the club on May 16, 1949, at a dinner at the Star Hotel, Wells.

The club had been meeting more recently at The Britannia Inn on Bath Road until the pub’s closure, and then Wells Golf Club.

Over the years it has raised thousands of pounds for good causes through its fundraising activities.

Many members have knitted items including blankets, baby clothes and hats for premature babies in special care baby units, and Teddies for Tragedies, and have sown cushions given to women to use after breast surgery. They have also helped School in a Bag, and collected stamps for Oxfam, spectacles for Vision Aid, unwanted coins for Save The Children Fund, unwanted clothing and knitted squares for Refugee Aid, and pre-loved bras that have been recycled and sent to Africa.

Club member Sue Leworthy and her husband Richard spent two weeks with overseas organiser Ann Clarke and her husband, and Wells opticians David and Sandra Millican, aboard The Amazon Hope boat in Peru helping the medical team on board with medical, dental and optical care for the people living in the villages along the Amazon tributaries.    

Charities nearer to home supported by the club in recent years include the Connect Centre and The Lawrence Centre, Wells.