Harwich and Dovercourt

Where do we meet?

Harwich and Dovercourt are part of Inner Wheel District 24, and we meet at: Rainbow Cafe CO12 3TA

When do we meet?

Meetings are held at 6 for 6.30pm on the fourth Tuesday of every month except August and December.

History of our club

The Inner Wheel Club of Harwich & Dovercourt was inaugurated on 29th September 1959 and our Charter was presented at The Phoenix Hotel, Dovercourt on 29th March 1960. The President at that time was Mrs Boalch. A dinner and dance was held for the presentation and the price was 15 shillings per head; 119 people sat down to dinner and the profit made was sent to the World Refugee Effort. The President of our local Rotary club, Mr Howlett, presented our founder President with our Badge of Office. When we received our charter, we were in District 8, now Norfolk, Suffolk and parts of Lincolnshire; we moved to District 24 when it was formed in 1975.
Over the years, our club has met at over five different venues; having to move as places shut down.
In 1966 a link was made with a club in Ringkobling, Denmark; a special banner was made for them and sent over that Christmas – in 1975 they presented our club with a giant red piggy bank. In 1971 our members, with the help of their Rotarian husbands, greeted and supplied lunch to 70 Danish Inner Wheel members; they were also taken to various IW functions at Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge. Seven club members visited Denmark in 1977 and we went on exchange visits to Holland and Germany, organised by Rotary. On one visit some of our ladies met up with others who they thought were German; however, they were from Walkden in England and a great relationship was formed there too.
In 1981 the club members were involved in helping Vietnamese families settle into the English way of life. Also, our club became involved with a steering group to support the ‘Save the Lighthouses’ appeal when it looked as though we may lose these landmarks.
We have been involved in many Rotary organised activities over the years and have been involved in our local ‘Guy Carnival’, walking with collecting buckets and also counting the funds raised. A senior citizen party was held every year at our local Holiday Camp (where Hi De Hi was filmed). Free tickets were given to any seniors who wished to attend this entertainment filled event. There was always a free raffle too. Rotary always invited the IW President to their ladies night, which was always an opportunity to don our very elegant dresses and suits.
We helped the Green Goddess Soldiers in 1997/8, who were, apparently, short on rations – our members baked mince pies and Rotary provided whisky. We also helped the Clacton club run a holiday club for children.
There have been so many worthy causes supported over our 60+ years, in fact too many to mention but anything and everything that it is possible to help with, we have done it. We have baked cakes for sale; taken part in sponsored walks; held evenings with speakers for the general public and had raffles; attended Christmas fair etc. etc. As well as concentrating on fundraising and helping local people and those further afield, plus overseas, we have also had some fun times together, team building. Outings to shows, boat trips, meals out, visiting a gin brewery and many, many more.
Over the years, we have had four ladies serve on District as Chairman, Treasurer, Overseas Organiser and Secretary. Since our founding date, we have had a total of 50 different Presidents, 38 ladies served as President for one year, 11 members did two years and one is now on her third year. We currently have members who have been with us for 40+ years. Our current membership in 2022 totals 27 and we have continually welcomed new members into the fold which is keeping the club very active in both fundraising, assisting causes and of course some fun time too. As a club, we continue to support local and national charities and offer our help as and when required in various places. We also support international causes and are currently regularly sending funds to “Lend with Care”. This enables people in poorer countries to set up a business that will benefit not only themselves and immediate families, but also provides for their local services and enables the locals to enjoy a better life. When their loan is repaid, the money is then re-invested in another person so that another enterprise can be started.  We continue to be a very successful club, regularly welcoming new friends to our fold.


Club President

Our President this year is Kathryn Russell.  This is her fourth time as President in the last five years.  She recently celebrated her 20th year as an Inner Wheel member of Harwich & Dovercourt.  Our club has been in danger of not finding officers and luckily Kath stepped in and volunteered to do another year as President in order to keep our active club running
She is married with a daughter and son and recently welcomed her first Grand daughter.  Kath is a retired teacher of 6th form and GCSE English students.  She took on last year’s Presidency in the year of her retirement, but also covered the roles of Secretary and ISO.  This year she can focus on being just a President as others have stepped up to the mark to take on roles within the club
Kath’s named charities for this year are Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.  It is a real pleasure for our members to have Kath as our leader for the 2023/24 year. She has certainly proved that she  is definitely President material

Inner Wheel Day 2024

“This may be a first for a venue for our special day.  We held it in what was previously a  public toilet which has been refurbished and turned into a very nice restaurant overlooking the North Sea.  Some of us were wearing symbols of other countries and of course we had our usual toast to all Inner Wheel members worldwide.  Our local Deputy Mayor joined us and congratulated us on 100years and on the work that Inner Wheel does.  She continued her talk with a bit of history on how women have begun to be recognised in all walks of life and how our Association has also helped our recognition.  We all enjoyed a super lunch and the icing on the cake was that our Deputy Mayor is now coming to our next meeting with a view to joining our happy and friendly group”


Committee Members

President is Kathryn Russell,

no Vice

Secretary: Kathryn Russell

Treasurer: Teresa Walker

ISO: Gill Bridgewater

Correspondent: Beryl Whittingham

Minutes Sec: Kathryn Russell

Membership Officer: Beryl Whittingham

Exec Members: Maureen Bull and Moira Arthy

District Delegates: Kathryn Russell and Valerie Shrive


Who do we support

Some of the charities we have sent donations to over the years are:

  • Canine Partners
  • Hearing dogs for the deaf
  • Essex Air Ambulance
  • Butterfly Foundation
  • Coping with Cancer & Breast Cancer Awareness
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Macmillan
  • Salvation Army
  • Cardiac Risk in the Young
  • Parkinsons Society, both local and national
  • Search & Rescue Dogs
  • Sight Savers

What do we do?

This picture is of an art tutorial held by Harwich and Dovercourt club recently.  The paintings are the result of the lesson.  This was a fundraiser for our charities and a really fun and enjoyable way to boost the charity fund
Harwich holds a guy carnival every year, organised by the local Rotary club where street collections are made during the parade of floats etc.  This results in a mammoth job of counting all the coinage that is donated to the various charities chosen for the year.
The ladies of our Harwich and Dovercourt club went along the next day to help with the counting of the cash

District 24 latest news

Congratulations Eileen

Congratulations Eileen

  We are pleased to announce that Eileen French was awarded an MBE in the King’s birthday honours list.  This was awarded to her as founder trustee of Essex Council of Voluntary Youth Organisations, services to young people in Essex.  Eileen is currently...