GALASHIELS Inner Wheel, which marked its 50th anniversary last year, has continued to work tirelessly throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Open exclusively to women (and originally only welcoming the wives of members of the Rotary Club), Gala Inner Wheel has supported international projects, as well as those closer to home.

When asked why the group is so passionate about the work it does, Violet Romanis, president of Gala Inner Wheel, told the Border Telegraph: “We just realised that we’re so well off, our lives are nice and comfortable and warm.

"We’ve got clothes, we’ve got houses, we’ve got food.”

The 71-year-old added: “Being part of an international organisation, you become very aware of people in under-developed countries, or countries where there’s war and things like that, just how hard life is.

“We’re so aware of how much need there is in the world, we’re quite passionate about it.”

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In May 2020, Gala Inner Wheel was supposed to celebrate its 50th anniversary, but the group’s plans were scuppered by lockdown.

However, Violet is hopeful the group will be able to invite members from neighbouring clubs to join the anniversary celebrations in 2022 as large gatherings may not be possible in May.

As part of their work in the Borders, Gala Inner Wheel members have collected crisp packets and milk bottle tops to be recycled, raised money for the Doddie Weir Foundation, and have supported the talking newspaper.

The Inner Wheel COVID-19 disaster and vaccination fund aims to raise money to help provide coronavirus vaccines to disadvantaged people around the world where it may be difficult to access the jab.

In Britain alone more than £21,000 had been raised for the fund.

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Members of Gala Inner Wheel have donned their thinking caps to come up with ways to raise money for the appeal.

Violet, who worked as a nurse for 40 years, said: “We thought we could have buckets or something at central points.

“Usually we’d go to a shop and say, ‘Could you help us fundraise’ – but the shops aren’t open.

“We’re really just starting to think how are we going to do this.

“[We could go to] health centres or vaccination centres – we never want to put pressure on people to give money.

“I’ve made 500 masks. Another member, she’s made chutney and jam – it’s anything we can think of to make money.”

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Through making masks, Violet has raised more than £400.

The Inner Wheel has supported local and international causes – whether that be appeals from natural disasters such as tsunamis, or aid for the Hawick flood group.

“Whatever’s happening, we try and have money in the pot that we can then send that on,” Violet said.

Under normal circumstances the group would take part in coffee mornings and sponsored walks, but due to lockdown, many of these activities are off limits.

Gala Inner Wheel would welcome new members – and further details can be found on the group’s Facebook page.