Remembering the Inner Wheel Australia Conference Warringah, 2016

“Linger in Warringah” 48th Annual Conference, 19-23 October, 2016

Day 1 – Welcome Party “Art meets Fashion: Artistic or fashionable but definitely loud”.  This was held in the Grand Ballroom at Miramare Gardens and was a very colourful, casual and friendly affair, giving members a chance to catch up with old friends and meet new ones, including members from New Zealand and Madagascar.

Day 2 – Breakfast for District, Vice and Junior Vice Chairmen, and Opening Ceremony

The breakfast gave these District Executive the opportunity to meet and talk with IIW President Yemisi and the IWA Executive.

The Opening Ceremony was held at Miramare Gardens and it gave us the opportunity to experience, firsthand, the elegance and poise of President Yemisi.  District Chairmen represented their Districts in the Banner Parade, and the banners were presented to IWA President Marilyn and IIW President Yemisi before being hung at the side of the room, where they remained until the end of the Conference.

The report from our newly installed Cord Blood Project Coordinator Susan Parry brought us up to speed with the latest happenings with our researchers – the fact that human trials have now begun with the growing of tissue from Cord Blood is amazing.  These trials are largely funded by IWA – what a coup for us and what benefits will be reaped by mankind from this work.  To date we have raised $2,404,720.21.

Guest speaker Sue Heins, a local from the Northern Beaches area, has poured her heart and soul into, amongst many other things, helping the local youth find a suitable career path for themselves.

Day 3 – Council Meeting, Tours and Gala Dinner

While the IWA Executive and Council Members were working, many members and partners took advantage of the many tours on offer around Sydney and further afield.

The Gala Dinner was a very glamorous affair with its “Diamonds are Forever” theme.  Gentlemen channelled James Bond while the ladies donned their diamonds and sparkled their way through the evening.  The decor was appropriately stunning and the food delicious.

Four $65,000 Cord Blood Research Grants were awarded to four very deserving researchers:

Dr Alla Dolnikov, Sydney Children’s Hospital;

Dr Courtney McDonald, Richie Centre, Monash Institute Melbourne;

Dr Mike Doran, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, University of Queensland (award accepted by Dr Kathryn Futrega in Dr Doran’s absence);

Dr Sylvie Shen, Kid’s Cancer Centre, Sydney Children’s Hospital.

Each researcher thanked IWA members for their hard work and generosity in making these grants available, and spoke a little in layman’s terms about their respective projects.

IIW President Yemisi proposed the toast to International Inner Wheel, Past IIW Board Director Margaret Sansom presented a heartfelt ‘Toast to the Gentlemen’ and IWA President Marilyn’s husband Roy responded on behalf of said gentlemen.

Musical entertainment was provided by award winning entertainer Maggie Scott and her Rhapsody Band, with many members dancing on into the night.


Day 4 – Business Session & AGM, and Friendship Dinner (Theme – 30s ’til Now)

Following the usual formalities, protocols and reports, the proposal (that nominees for IWA Vice President submit a 2.5 minute video outlining their aspirations for the year) was voted on and defeated.  IIW President Yemisi spoke on her work within her country, Nigeria, particularly the issues with education which is a vital tool to equip the young people of the nation to cope with the rigors of life.

There were two guest speakers – Gloria Hill spoke of her son’s fight against Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, and how it was successfully treated with a transplant of 30ml of Cord Blood. Helen Shao spoke on her experiences after fleeing to Australia from China in the late 1980s.  Now a successful financial planner, Helen story definitely proves that ‘tough times never last, but tough people do’.

The Friendship Dinner was a very casual and fun event, held in the Crystal Palace at Luna Park.  Many costumed members enjoyed a delicious dinner and the dance floor was full of people dancing to the music of country singer Dwayne Elix, who had a seemingly endless repertoire of music appropriate to the theme ’30s ’til Now’

Day 5 – Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance

As has become the custom at the end of our Conference, we have a chance to honour those members who have passed away since our last Conference.  IWA Media Administrator Susan Chisholm read a short biography of each member being honoured, as a representative of that person’s Club or District came forward with a beautiful long stemmed red rose and placed it into a vase.  Although an emotional time for those participating, it is also a time of celebration as we remember these beautiful members, the times we spent together, and the contributions they made to our Clubs and Districts.