I have been married to Rotarian John for 62 years; we have two children and four grandchildren.  

I have been a member of Inner Wheel for 40 years and in that time I have been a member of 3 Clubs – York Vikings, Gillingham (Dorset) and Bideford.   I have held most offices, including having been President of Bideford Club three times;  this will be my fourth attempt or, to be more accurate, my third and a half!   I am pleased to say that this time it will be a joint venture with Wendy Lea.

I have belonged to Inner Wheel for over 25 years, solely with my lovely Club of Bideford.   This will be my fourth stint as President, but this time in a shared role.  I have also been Club Secretary and Treasurer.  

I served on District 17 as Chairman over the Millennium, also as Treasurer, Member of Council and briefly as Editor.   I also spent four enjoyable years on Conference Committee.

With six siblings, four children and ten grandchildren, I love spending time with my large family and have recently welcomed my first great-grandchild. I enjoy playing skittles and bowls, attend Pilates and exercise classes.

Hilda and I hope to make this Inner Wheel year one of fun and social activities to recover from the many months of lockdown!



It was with much sadness that we learnt on 24th April 2020 of the death of our dear friend and long-standing member, Joyce Derrigan, at the wonderful age of 96 years.  She was born in Barnstaple where she attended the local grammar school, retaining many of the friends made there throughout her life.   She trained as a nurse and, en-route to South Africa to take up a position, she met her future husband Terry who was the ship’s engineer.  After their marriage they moved to Bideford where they owned and ran an extremely successful and popular butcher’s shop in Mill Street.

Joyce was a very involved and active member of Inner Wheel for several decades, jointly re-forming the Club with Jo Smith in 1962 and serving on the committee prior to becoming our President in 1981/2.   She loved to join in our fund-raising and social events even until recent months.  She was an excellent golfer and won our District Trophy at Dawlish in 1999.   She became Ladies’ Captain at the prestigious Royal North Devon Golf Club and a trophy in her name is presented each year at their awards ceremony.    She was an avid bridge player and a formidable opponent!

Unfortunately, with the current situation, we had been unable to visit her latterly but did keep in touch regularly by telephone.  She was a special lady and will be much missed.

MARCH 2020

The Inner Wheel Club of Bideford met on Thursday 5th March for their monthly meeting at the Royal Hotel.   After a Business Meeting, they welcomed Rachel Greenland to speak to them about the charity, Mercy Ships.

Rachel, who is a nurse, has worked intermittently for Mercy Ships for many years.   The charity owns large ships that have been converted into huge Hospital Ships which  moor off the coast of Africa;  these they use as a base for many life-changing operations for people with severe health problems who, because of poverty (and a lack of an NHS) are unable to receive treatment.  

These ships are staffed by volunteers with many skills – ranging from ship’s engineers to surgeons and cooks to nurses. Staff must finance themselves whilst on board these Mercy Ships, receiving only basic food and board;  their travel and day-to-day living must be paid for themselves and with money being raised by some church organisations and by charities to fund the cost of operations.   They have on board three operating theatres and wards equipped to care for  patients requiring  post-operative rehabilitation.

Operations such as goitres, cataracts, cleft palates and lips, club foot, removal of tumours and re-construction surgery on malformed limbs are performed and the patients queue up to take their turn to receive treatment.   Many patients have been ostracised  and driven out from their villages, being told that they are possessed of devils which have caused their afflictions and deformities, so they are overjoyed when they receive surgery to alleviate their conditions and improve their appearance.   Rachel showed photographs of smiling, happy faces after the operations.

People working on these Mercy Ships are extremely dedicated to their work in Africa and may spend  numerous years, if not most of their lifetime working for the charity;  It has even been known for a volunteer surgeon to marry a project nurse, and then raise two children on board ship.   Indeed, Rachel decided initially to give up a year of her life to the work and ended up working there, on and off, for eighteen years.   


At their monthly meeting on 6 February, at the Royal Hotel, Bideford, President Lesley Croslegh inducted and welcomed a new member, Joan Wadey, to the Club. Members then listened to a very illuminating talk on the work of the Devon Air Ambulance by Brian Chapman. This was followed by the presentation of a cheque for £500 towards the work of the charity.   Devon Air Ambulance is the President’s chosen charity for her year of office.

Despite gale-force winds, another most successful Quiz Night was held on Monday 10 February, at Abbotsham Village Hall, raising £527.50 in aid of the  Devon Air Ambulance .  Rotarian Morris Pool was once again the Quizmaster and thanks are due to him for the brilliant skill and fun he injected into the evening.

Club Members are looking forward to the Inner Wheel District Spring Meeting on  Friday 13 March which will be preceded by skittles and lunch at The Waie Inn.

A new event taking place every two weeks will be a Social Afternoon which will be held at Kenwith Castle in Abbotsham.   Here, several of the Club’s senior members live, with support, and the idea is that, as they can no longer get to the meetings, members will come to them for tea, board games and a good deal of natter!


Inner Wheel Day on 10 January 2020 saw members gather for a Knit and Natter morning at one of our members’ lovely ‘upside-down’ home overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at Northam.   The sun shone gloriously and we really felt we should be out walking on the beach, however, we valiantly stuck to knitting woolly hats for various projects!   Some will be retained for filling shoe boxes next Christmas, whilst others will go to a local charity for the homeless in Bideford.  Any excess knitted items will be passed on to another local charity that sends containers full of warm clothing to European refugee camps. 

The next fund-raising event for the Club will be a Valentine’s Quiz on Monday 10 February at Abbotsham Village Hall.  The cost is £7.00 each with tables of 6, to include a light supper of home-made soup with roll and butter.   Reservations need to be made by e-mail with either Lesley Crosley or Erica Malone.   Doors open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start.  Proceeds will go to the Devon Air Ambulance.

This quiz has become a very popular and friendly annual event with Morris Poole as Quizmaster.   There will also be an excellent Raffle.


On Saturday 12th October, Inner Wheel members and friends foregathered at Clovelly Village Hall for a Curry Lunch, cooked by Rotarian Robin Croslegh, husband of this year’s Inner Wheel President, Lesley Croslegh. Robin and Lesley are no strangers to Far Eastern cuisine, Robin having served in the Army in Singapore for many years and being a keen cook. The event was a great success and raised a substantial amount for President Lesley’s chosen charity which is the RNLI.

Wednesday 30th October saw 11 members get together to pack shoe boxes to send to the charity, Link to Hope. These boxes include Christmas gifts and goodies for a whole family and are sent to needy families in Eastern Europe. Although aiming to pack eight such boxes, there were enough items to pack thirteen, with such things as woolly hats, mittens, toothpaste and toothbrushes, soap, sweets, pencils, notebooks and crayons.

At their monthly meting at The Royal Hotel on 7 November, 17 members met for lunch and a talk from their District Chairman, Jeannette Dommett who spoke about how she became a member of Inner Wheel. This was followed by a most enlightening talk by a local paramedic who has been in the service for 25 years (working nights all that time) and she spoke most interestingly about how the work had changed over those years. When she joined the Ambulance Service, she was little more than a ‘stretcher-bearer’, but nowadays, new paramedics entering the profession, must do a 3-year university degree course and quite sophisticated medical skills and knowledge are required.

Sunday 10th November saw President Lesley represent the Inner Wheel Club of Bideford at the Service of Remembrance in Victoria Park, Bideford where she laid a wreath on behalf of the Club.

In December, the Club will be sending off the fruits of their efforts at their Knit and Natter sessions during the past year. They will donate knitted garments to the charity, Open Hearts Open Borders. At the beginning of December, this charity will be sending, from this area, a 40 foot container of warm winter clothing to a refugee collecting point in Lesvos, Greece.

Some of the items donated by Bideford Inner Wheel to the Refugee Charity, Open Hearts Open Borders. These 81 hand-knitted hats are over and above those sent off in the 13 shoe boxes to the Link to Hope Charity for needy Eastern Europeans for Christmas.

Club members are looking forward to their usual Christmas celebrations in December – the Bideford Rotary Carol Service to be held at Abbotsham this year and the Inner Wheel Christmas Lunch which will be held at the Royal North Devon Golf Club at Westward Ho!


On Thursday 3rd October The Inner Wheel Club of Bideford, meeting at The Royal Hotel, heard an interesting talk given by Lesley Holland about the Charity, Noah’s Place.   

Lesley and her husband started working with Adults with Learning Disabilities when they lived in Reading, finally moving to Higher Clovelly in 2016. Here, they set about creating a place where people with disabilities could experience and learn basic skills in a safe, secure and nurturing environment.  

Many of the thirty or so adults who attend Noah’s Place three times a week, are autistic, have Asperger’s or Down’s Syndrome and are unable to hold down a job of any sort.   Here they help to look after animals and learn basic woodworking and maintenance skills and, importantly, learn to interact with others.   They also learn gardening, and Sue (a volunteer who came along to the meeting and spoke about her involvement with the charity) is a very keen gardener herself and has managed to impart some of her knowledge and enthusiasm to those who come along to Noah’s Place.   Together, they have cut grass, put up fencing, cut hedges, created concrete paths and dug out endless quantities of stones!     

This summer they have grown and sold fruit and vegetables at the gate, making money for the charity.   They have been given a polytunnel which will make it easier to grow plants and vegetable on their rather windy terrain.   Their projects for the coming year are to create a Sensory Garden, to construct a soft-fruit cage and also to re-create their vegetable gardens into more manageable and user-friendly plots.

Noah’s Place has a swimming pool that can be hired for use by local families;  it offers a fine venue for children’s parties and is happy to receive visitors to see the facilities on offer.      

If you would like to volunteer to assist in any way,  if you have any contributions to make in the way of plants or tools for the garden, they would be gratefully received, as would donations for their frequently-run Tombola Stalls.   To contact Noah’s Place, ring Lesley on 01237 431511.  

JULY 2019

The AGM of Bideford Inner Wheel Club took place on 4 July at the incoming President’s home in Hartland.  Eighteen members attended on a beautifully sunny day and were treated to afternoon tea in the garden

At the conclusion of the meeting, outgoing President, Hilda Caldwell, lit a blue candle to represent the past year and incoming President, Lesley Croslegh, lit a yellow candle to represent the coming year. She also received the Chain of Office from Hilda.

New President Lesley announced that her chosen charity for the year would be the Air Ambulance.  The first event – a bottle stall –  would be held at the Rotary Water Festival in Bideford on Sunday 28 July.

JUNE 2019

On Tuesday 4 June, Bideford Inner Wheel Club held a Garden Party and Cream Tea in aid the North Devon Hospice.  Through the kindness of Trevor and Christine Stanbury, owners of The Milky Way Adventure Park at Higher Clovelly, members were able to use their lovely wedding venue, the Old Barn, to entertain friends to an enjoyable and friendly afternoon out.   An entry ticket entitled attendees, not only to a cream tea and cake, but also to a glass of prosecco upon arrival (served by members’ Rotarian husbands).   There was a huge hamper to be won in the Raffle and a Voucher Tree from which people could purchase a donated voucher.  The biggest attraction was, of course, free entry into any of The Milky Way’s many attractions.   Visitors enjoyed Merlin’s amazing Magic Show and an impressive Birds of Prey display, quite apart from such entertainments as the Milky Way Railway, the Dodgems, Jumping Jupiters and the Roller Coaster – to name but a few.   Thanks go to the Stanbury family for their generosity and help in making the event such a resounding success.  

Photos L to R below:
Hostess Christine Stanbury with Wendy Lee and Erica Malone selling raffle tickets
Rotarians John Caldwell and Tim Malone serving Prosecco

On Wednesday 19 June, Bideford Inner Wheel Club held a luncheon at the Yacht Club in Instow which was well attended by 60 members from various Inner Wheel clubs within the Inner Wheel North Zone.

The club welcomed Rotarian Robin Garland from York who spoke about the charity he had founded in India for the education of poor children.   During his working life, he had discovered that there were under-age children working in the manufacture of carpets that he imported from Mala in India.   Alarmed by this situation, he travelled to India and founded this charity, finding that it was not only necessary to pay for the education of these children but also to pay compensation to the parents for the children’s inability to earn a living whilst in school.   The charity has put 10,000 children through school in 30 years and several have now, passed through university.  A boy is attending Repton School in the UK at present. Bideford branch sponsors a girl called Swarupa about whom the club receives regular reports.

Bideford Inner Wheel Club were able to make a handsome donation to Robin for the work of the charity – which included donations also from a few other clubs in the Zone.