President 2020-21

I have been president twice before and am looking forward again to the challenge of leading our very friendly and active club. I was a member of Bailgate Inner Wheel when I lived in Lincoln in the 90s and have been a member of the Okehampton club since 2005. I am, with quite a few others from our club, a regular attendee at conference. My husband Allenton is a member of The Okehampton Rotary Club to which we have an excellent relationship.

We have eight children, 12 grandchildren and three great grandchildren so we are kept fairly busy on the family front.



A new year and hoping to get back to normal, we unfortunately had to cancel our January meeting due to a large increase of Covid cases in the area.

As we had several events coming up our February meeting was mainly about business and the organisation of these events, however we agreed to donate £200 to Everything Okehampton for the wonderful display of Christmas lights which they put on every year, £200 to the 1st Okehampton Scout Group to cover the purchase of blackout curtains for the Scout Hut, a new Camp Cooker and the balance to go towards some walkie talkies and £200 to Okehampton Community Transport.

Our March meeting was a lunch meeting held at the White Hart in Bridestowe. Once again, lovely food, good company and lots of laughs!! As several of our members had attended a Coffee Morning for Ukraine in Okehampton it was decided to donate £300 to buy items for the Children’s Gift Bags which are being sent out to the refugees. Not forgetting the problems here at home we also donated £200 to the Okehampton Foodbank.

Our Coffee Morning was very well attended and added approximately £480 to our Charity monies. 7 members attended the District Meeting & Skittles at the Waie Inn where we firstly enjoyed a game of Skittles and Darts, sadly we did not do very well in either, and a quiz in which we faired much better coming 2nd. This was followed by a superb lunch and lots of chit-chat and laughter.


At our November meeting we celebrated the 80th Birthday of one of our members, with a lovely cake made by our President Jean. Following the business side of things we had a talk from a representative of F.O.R.C.E Cancer charity explaining what they did and how they had coped through the pandemic. President Jean then presented a cheque for £300 which was gratefully received. At the meeting we also agreed to support Okehampton Community Transport in view of the sterling work they had continued to do and are still doing in this very difficult time.

Also in November we held our Coffee Morning in the Charter Hall, Okehampton the first for 2 years. Despite the awful weather the hall was full by the end of the morning and it was so lovely to see everyone chatting and socializing again. We made around £350 which will be given to local charities.

6 members travelled to Tiverton for the District Christmas Lunch. Each Club had a Christmas Stall, ours consisted of jewelry and books, which kept us all occupied until lunch was served. Lovely food, lots of laughter and friendship.

Our Christmas Lunch was held at the 2 Rivers Restaurant in Okehampton. Excellent food, lots of chatting and our infamous Chinese Auction to round off what has been a very difficult year. We also celebrated the 92nd birthday of one of our long standing members with a mound of cup cakes made by our President Jean.

May we take this opportunity to wish all District 17 Members a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.


We were delighted to be asked to provide the refreshments to help celebrate A Journey Back to 1871 when the railway first came to the town, and after a gap of 50 years, confirmation that the railway is being re-instated from Okehampton to Exeter, the first to be restored under the Government’s Restoring your Railway Programme. In true Inner Wheel style we rose to the challenge. Dressed in Victorian Costume and armed with cakes galore we set about our task. Despite the awful weather it was a tremendous success that at times people were queueing up to get in. Needless to say we were extremely busy and were certainly ready to go home at the end of the morning. How many times the cups and saucers were washed we have no idea and virtually all the cake had gone!! Having said that, it was most enjoyable and we were delighted to each receive a commemorative mug as well as raising £188 which will be given to local charities.

We held our October meeting at Crossways, Folly Gate, enjoying a lovely meal and Halloween based treats provided by President Jean. Our District Chairman Gay Ross was guest of honour and regaled us with stories of her past life and how she came to join Inner Wheel. President Jean presented her with a beautiful handmade giraffe which will accompany her own giraffe called Margo which she is taking with her to all Inner Wheel meetings.

Five members attended the Autumn District Meeting. It was a shame that there weren’t  more members there but it was a good meeting and a lovely meal. Hopefully it will be a better turn out for the District Christmas Lunch.


Thankfully President Jean and all the Committee have agreed to remain in their posts for another year. Our main charity for this year will be FORCE Cancer.

In July we held our first proper Committee Meeting for 18 months. Several of our officers attended the District Assembly on Zoom and 7 of us enjoyed a trip to Barnstaple for the District Rally. Much Fun and Friendship plus a super meal and on a lovely sunny day.

August found us all enjoying a lovely tea party in President Jean’s conservatory. It was so lovely to meet up with everyone again. Once again several of our members helped man the gates at the Okehampton Show. Bank Holiday Sunday found us organising and running the Tea Tent at the Rotary Summer Fair. We were blessed with lovely weather and once we had acquired a tea urn that actually worked we thoroughly enjoyed the day as well as raising much needed funds for local charities.

In September, 4 of our members helped with the refreshments at the Rotary Golf Day held at Ashbury, and our first proper face to face meeting went ahead in our usual venue. Several members attended District Chairman Gay’s get together at the Waie Inn. Lots of chatter and a fabulous meal. In the same week we also enjoyed afternoon tea at Bow Garden Centre.

Having survived the last 18 months we now feel able to plan for the future with a little more certainty.


Eleven members enjoyed an afternoon out at Bow Garden Centre. Once again the theme was food, notably a delicious afternoon tea which was enjoyed by all. It was lovely to catch up on everyone’s news in what was a secure Covid 19 venue.

We have managed to have one face to face Committee Meeting since lockdown which was held in the comfort of our President’s conservatory, socially distanced of course, not that there was too much to discuss!!! It was agreed at the meeting that we should make a donation to Okehampton’s Christmas Lights as these would be appreciated more than ever this year.

Finally we have at last inducted a new member, namely Angela Hammond, who has been waiting since March to become an official member. The induction took place at a member’s house where the ‘Rule of 6 ‘ was adhered to. We welcome Angela and we know that she will be a great asset to our Club.

We continue to regularly communicate with all our members and look forward to when we can all be together again.

JULY 2020

The pictures show our outgoing President Yvonne Potter handing over the chain of office to our new President Jean Fisher who unfortunately has broken her arm, hence the sling!! The handover was held in Yvonne’s back garden suitably distanced in accordance with government guidelines!! Jean also presented Yvonne (accompanied by her dog ) with a beautiful rose to thank her for her sterling work over the last 2 years.


Our one and what turned out to be our only event in March was our Spring Lunch which we held at the Bratton Clovelly Inn. Sadly the numbers were somewhat depleted as some members had already decided to self-isolate following the Coronavirus warnings. We called it the ‘Last Supper’ which was quite apt as we were already in Lent!

Photo from L – R, Pennie Church, Joan Essex, Lesley Harman, Muriel Hutchings, Margaret Thomas, Sheila Box

Once the lockdown came into force we knew that everything would have to be cancelled. We have however given a donation to Hospiscare which would have been the recipient of funds raised at what would have been our March Coffee Morning which of course had to be cancelled.

We feel very privileged to live where we do, the South West being the lowest region in the country for Coronavirus cases. Our members are regularly in touch with each other sharing their experiences and tips on how to keep busy and trying to keep up moral. In true Inner Wheel style we are ‘keeping calm and carrying on’!!!

We would also like to convey our very best wishes to all Inner Wheel members who have been affected by Covid-19, not only in this Country but all around the world. Keep smiling, we will get through this.


At our January meeting we welcomed our District Chairman Jeanette Dommett who gave a very interesting talk about her background and how she came to be a member of Inner Wheel. After the usual business we enjoyed a talk from Joe Rice a Trustee of Oke Pads the charity responsible for installing 10 more defibrillators in Okehampton and have so far trained 250 people in 18 months on how to administer CPR and use the defibrillators. No mean feat!!!! Cheques were presented to both Jeanette and Joe for their charities.

In February 4 members once again provided liquid refreshment and homemade cake at the Rotary Primary School Quiz which was much appreciated. At our February Meeting President Yvonne provided us with a General Knowledge Quiz which certainly taxed most of us. The eventual winner was Mish Flexman who received a prize for her efforts.

We now look forward to the Spring District Meeting & Skittles, our Coffee Morning and our Spring Lunch. A busy time!!!


Several members attended the South Zone International Rally held in Aylesbeare Village Hall and hosted by the Otter Valley Club. Having enjoyed mouth watering cakes and scones, we then had two very interesting talks, one focusing on the ‘ Fight against Malaria ‘ and the other regarding Christian’s Response’s work with poor families in Moldova. Very thought provoking!!!!

Our November Meeting had an International flavour. Members of Rotary, the current Lions President together with the Mayor and Mayoress of West Devon joined with us to here about the Sri Lankan adventures of Sandra (one of our members ) and her husband John, which included a visit to the school which received a large donation from the people of Okehampton and District following the 2004 Tsunami. All of those organisations mentioned above and more were involved with helping to raise this money. A further donation was sent to Shelterbox to reflect the theme of the Meeting.

In December our Christmas Lunch was once again held at The Tors in Belstone. We enjoyed the usual festive fayre, but this was followed by a lovely cake made by Cynthia Gelder as a surprise for Lilian Rattenbury who was celebrating her 90th Birthday. Our lunch ended with our usual ‘Chinese Auction’.

Seven members attended the District Christmas Lunch held at the Tiverton Hotel. Once again we enjoyed a lovely lunch as well as participating in the many raffles and other interesting stalls which each of the clubs attending had put on.

We now look to the new decade. On behalf of the Okehampton Club I would like to wish everyone a Happy, Healthy and Successful New Year.


At our September meeting we agreed to help with funding towards a new wheel chair for the Granddaughter of one of our long standing members. The Kiva Project which is ongoing is going from strength to strength. So far we have lent £1000 and helped with 21 Loans in 11 different countries. As our speaker had to pull out at the last minute President Yvonne and Secretary Cynthia stepped up to the mark. Yvonne brought along her beautiful quilt that had been entered in the Birmingham Quilting Show last August and Cynthia gave a short talk on cooking tips which she had learned over the years of being a Domestic Science teacher.

Right: President Yvonne and Cynthia Gelder with the beautiful quilt

In October we enjoyed a lunch at The Fountain Inn, Okehampton. Lots of chatting, laughter and friendship followed by a very short meeting! 4 members attended the District Meeting. Once again lots of fun and friendship and also a stall selling gifts and clothing etc. which was much appreciated.

We held a Coffee Morning in the Charter Hall, Okehampton on the 1st Saturday in November. Despite the appalling weather and the Rugby World Cup final (a double whammy!!) we did amazingly well. All proceeds will be going to support Local Charities. 


We welcomed our new Rotary President Hugh McPhillips to the first meeting of the new Inner Wheel year. He gave a very interesting talk about his past life and what he hopes to achieve in his year as President. He also thanked us for all the help that we give Rotary throughout the year and this included the manning of the refreshment tent at their recent Golf Day. At the end of the month several of our officers attended the District Assembly at Tiverton.

August saw us manning the gates at the Okehampton Show and luckily for us it turned out to be a lovely sunny day!! We do not have an official meeting in August instead we normally have some kind of tea party. Although planned for August it actually took place in early September with virtually all members attending a lovely Cream Tea coupled with a ‘Knit & Knatter’ at the home of Joan Essex who kindly provided all the delicious refreshments. Members brought their knitted squares to be sewn together to make blankets which will be taken to our South Zone Rally in November. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable and productive afternoon!!

Photos – all names left to right:
1 – Hugh Mcphillips (Rotary President) with President Yvonne
2 – Lesley Harman, Cynthia Gelder & President Yvonne Photo
3 – Joan Essex, Sheila Box, Jean Fisher, Pennie Church, Mish Flexman

MAY – JUNE 2019

May started off with a visit to Exmouth for the South Zone Rally, where 4 members enjoyed pasties and salad followed by some delicious homemade desserts. Once we were all replete we enjoyed a talk by Dr. Rosa Matheson of Freedom Kit Bags, a charity providing period education and sanitary ware to women and girls in Nepal. This was a charity which we had brought to the attention of District 17 members following a donation which we made to them last September.

Our May meeting was followed by a talk about the work of West Devon Safe Haven (WDSH) who provide help and support for Syrian Refugees that have been homed in West Devon. A few days later we celebrated our 54th Birthday with a Lunch at Okehampton Rugby Club attended by District Chairman Margaret Kempton. A cheque was presented to Margaret for her Charity, The Calvert Trust.

Bank Holiday Sunday saw has manning our usual refreshment tent at the Rotary May Fair held in Simmons Park, Okehampton. Despite the inclement weather a healthy sum was raised for local charities. A lot of hard work but very worthwhile!

At the beginning of June President Yvonne and members attended the Rotary Club’s President’s Dinner in the Charter Hall, Okehampton where we were thanked for all the help and support we had given them over the last year.

Birthday Lunch: Members with District Chairman Margaret Kempton
Rotary May Fair: Refreshment Tent – L-R Sandra Moppett, Cynthia Gelder, Muriel Hutchings, President Yvonne, Lesley Harman, Joan Essex, Sheila Box
Rotary President’s Dinner: Members enjoying the evening

At our June Meeting donations were made to one of our local Thai Boxers who is representing England in a Championship Tournament, the Ockment Centre where we hold our meetings and it was agreed to purchase 2 family tickets so that our 2 local Syrian families can attend the Okehampton Show in August. The AGM followed which included the annual reports giving an overview of what our Club had had done and achieved this year. Our Officers and Committee for 2019/20 remain the same as last year with President Yvonne taking on the role for a 2nd consecutive year.

To finish off the month 3 members attended the District Meeting/AGM in Tiverton.