LIONS CELEBRATE AT THE PALACE
Congratulation to all the Lions from North East England and Scotland who represented their clubs at Buckingham Palace.
The Countess of Wessex G.C.V.O. as Patron of Lions Clubs of the British Isles held a Royal Reception at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, 28th February to celebrate a ‘Century of Service’. HRH has been its Patron since 2004.
Hundreds of Lions members joined together for the 100th Birthday of Lions Clubs International to celebrate this landmark anniversary with the organisations’ partners.
Lion Phil Nathan MBE, Chair of the Centenary Celebrations for Lions Clubs of the British Isles said “let me begin by saying that during our 1st Century of service, Lions Clubs have touched millions of lives of people that needed us. 100 years of service to the community is a remarkable achievement, made possible by the selfless actions of many thousands of individual men and women, each of whom has sought to make ‘their’ community a better place. As we enter our 2nd Century, the cry for help from those in need will most certainly become louder and we as volunteers are ready to show as Lions, We Care”.
Lions Clubs International focusses through its Lions and Leos members upon major projects that address diabetes, youth, the environment, hunger relief, childhood cancer and sight issues affecting communities throughout the world.
My Day at the Palace – Morpeth Lion President Margaret Trewick
I’d like to say that the day dawned fair but unfortunately we woke to several inches of snow, blizzard conditions and blocked roads. Trains were cancelled or delayed by hours so it was with a great deal of trepidation that we set off for the Central Station. After a hair raising journey, thanks to my friend Dave Walker we did make it in time only to be told by the Travel Assistance people that there was a 3 hour delay. No trains had yet left Newcastle that morning. However, we went over to the correct platform and she sat me in the waiting room with at least 100 other people, many of whom had been there for several hours already. At 10.25 the 7.58 train pulled in to the station and to my utter surprise, back came my Assistance Lady. She grabbed me and my case and raced along the platform to where one of the on-board staff was standing guard over an empty seat. All ticket bookings and restrictions had been lifted so it was every man or woman for themselves. I actually left Newcastle on time!
After checking in to my hotel and getting changed into my posh frock, I took a taxi to the Palace. As I got in the cab, another blizzard started. Because I had a special limited mobility pass to get me into the actual Palace courtyards the poor taxi driver had to put up with a full security check of his cab by armed police. Boot and bonnet open and camera underneath. He was soaking by the time they had finished and not very happy. He had thought it was a simple drop off outside the gates. To my amazement, we were directed by security right up to the glass portico and pulled up at the red carpet leading up the steps and in to the Palace! I felt like the Queen, especially as most of my fellow Lions were trudging through the snow across the two courtyards looking ‘like the retreat from Moscow’ as the Countess of Wessex described it later that evening.
The sheer beauty of the Palace takes your breath away and the number of footmen and staff around to attend to your every need was amazing.
We were taken up in the lift to the Ballroom which has the most magnificent chandeliers, two thrones and a huge pipe organ. Drinks and nibbles were being served by yet more footmen and 350 or so Lions were mingling and meeting up with friends and acquaintances from all over the country.
Unfortunately, because of the weather the Queen herself was not present, but the Countess spoke eloquently about the Lions and their service to the community all over the world. As she herself is a Lion and has taken part in many fundraising events, not the least of which was the cycle ride from Holyrood to Buckingham Palace, Past International Director Phil Nathan presented her with a Melvin Jones Fellowship. She was rendered speechless for a few moments, but then thanked everyone and said that she was honoured to have received it. She then went walkabout and managed to have a word with most of us even if it was only hello, nice to see you. Her Private Secretary is a young man who is 7ft tall and he walked behind her towering over everybody constantly surveying the throng.
At 8 pm we were gently ushered towards the exit but were able to linger in the corridor to admire some of the glorious paintings lining the walls and to take in the lovely surroundings.
Because of my mobility problem, a lovely young Footman named Harry who was from Morpeth, was tasked with getting a taxi to come from the rank outside up to the portico to collect me. He sent an even younger more junior footman out in the blizzard to get the taxi while he waited with me and we chatted about Morpeth and Newcastle. I was the very last person to leave the Palace and it felt very surreal to walk down the steps and get into the cab at exactly the same place that you see on TV when visiting dignitaries or royal brides arrive at the Palace. My cab driver was so chuffed as he had never in his life been beyond the gates. He drove so slowly across the inner courtyard that the Security Police got a bit impatient and waved him on rather urgently.
The next worry was how was I going to get home on Thursday. Rumour in the hotel was that no trains were leaving London to go North. In fact that was true on Wednesday night as the DG and some of our Scottish contingent were stranded, but in the morning I found that trains were travelling as far as Newcastle. Great! Except mine was cancelled! Thank goodness for Travel Assistance. As soon as I reported to the desk, I was whisked away across to Platform 1 where, surprise, surprise, there was a train waiting with a vacant seat being kept for me by the on-board Staff. I actually left half an hour earlier than I should have done. Thank you, Virgin Trains Travel Assistance.
And waiting on the station to drive me home were my dear friends Dave and Christine Walker without whom I would never, ever have been able to get to and from the station.
I would also like to say a huge thank you to my Club for giving me this fantastic opportunity. It was a once in a lifetime day and one I will never forget. In spite of the weather, or maybe because of it, I had a wonderfully adventurous two days,
In Memory of Brenda
Many former pupils of Morpeth’s Abbeyfields School will remember one of their teachers Mrs Brenda Bell who died almost a year ago.
Brenda was the wife of George Bell, himself a former lecturer who was also a Past District Governor and member of Morpeth Lions Club. The two of them were regular attendees of Lions conventions all over the world and so Lions played a large part in their lives.
In Brenda’s will she left £1000 to the Lions Club and whilst not specifying how it should be spent, knew the Club would put it to good use. The Club therefore decided it would be fitting that Abbeyfields School benefited.
Liaising with the school, Lions Les Brindley and Les Sage ascertained that plans were afoot to improve the school playground. In particular it was hoped that a canopy could be attached to the North Hall that would protect both the children when they were playing and the parents when waiting – if the weather was inclement.
In addition, Les Brindley refurbished a public bench that now bears a commemorative plaque in memory of Brenda.
Recently, Lion President Margaret Trewick and other Lions Club members visited the school to present a cheque for £1000 to the Chair of ‘The Friends of Abbeyfields School’, Rebecca Pearson in the presence of Head Teacher Sandra Ford, soon to retire teaching assistant Helen Briggs and a number of the school children who tried the bench out for size.
Lion President Margaret recalled her memories of Brenda and George and looked forward to taking up the invitation to see the canopy once it is installed.
Mrs Ford said ‘The school is extremely grateful to the Lions Club of Morpeth for this donation which will help bring forward the installation of the canopy. Brenda was a much loved teacher here and it is wonderful that her name on the bench will perpetuate her memory’.
Durham Lions ran another successful tombola stall at the Durham Christmas Fair from Friday 1st December to Sunday 3rd December 2017. A steady stream of customers ensured that the Lions and volunteers running the stall were kept very busy and in need of a rest when they eventually got back home. The first photo shows Lion President Bill Foster standing alongside the stall that he had helped set up and the second photo shows two friends of the Lions club, Sue and Elaine, who volunteered their services to help out. Another volunteer helper was ex-Lion John King. Other Lions who took part were Gill Dowson Keith Vear, and Evelyn Lawson. When the amount raised is finalised we will advise that early in the New Year.
Malton Lions’ Big Party – 100 Years
100 years ago in 1917 a Chicago businessman called Melvin Jones looked at the deprivation in his city and decided to enlist the help of the business community to begin to address some of the issues – the Lions were born.
During World War 2, Canadian Lions through their servicemen based with the allies in Britain provided invaluable support to children orphaned in the London Blitz – a gesture noticed by Queen Elizabeth our Queen’s Mother. To thank them, the then Queen sent her equerry Colonel Edward Wyndham (later Lord Leconfield) to Canada. He was so impressed that Windsor (Ontario) Lions Club agreed to sponsor the first London club, with Lord Leconfield as its founding Charter President. The first Lions Club in England (London) was formed on 1st March 1950.
In 1963 Driffield Lions Club sponsored the formation of Malton, Norton and District Lions and 54 years later we celebrated Lions Clubs International’s 100th birthday with a full day of fun starting with a lunch party for Ryedale Carers, Ryedale Special Families and local young people. In total we had over 170 guests to entertain.
On arrival as well as a pride of four lions waiting to say hello to everyone, the Swinton Training Band serenaded folk and a juggler was on hand to demonstrate his skills. The talented dancers from Kirkham Henry entertained and got everyone on to the dance floor.
There was a seven foot high chocolate fountain with a gallon of Belgian chocolate flowing through it as well as plenty of sandwiches, jelly and ice cream provided by the Lions and their partners. Malton School and Norton College had each baked a celebration birthday cake which were judged by Sue Martin the mother of celebrity chef James Martin. The schools had also produced posters for the Lions Peace Poster competition which were scrutinised by acclaimed Thixendale based wildlife artist Robert Fuller.
By a whisker Malton School’s cake was judged best by Sue but both schools won prizes including signed copies of James Martin’s latest book. 12 year old Eliza Zephyrantke Leach was on hand to receive her prize of a book token for winning the younger age group in the Peace Poster Competition and Robert Fuller generously donated a signed limited edition print to be raffled at the evening’s Centennial Celebration Party.
In the evening The Milton Room which played host to both events was transformed for an amazing party attended by almost 170 Lions and their friends with a wonderful Indian Buffet prepared by “India The Restaurant” from Yorkersgate in Malton, all sorts of fruit, marshmallow and doughnuts to be skewered and drenched in the chocolate fountain followed by the raffle and dancing to the small hours to the music of “HUGE“.
Congratulations to Lion Nick Simpson and his team for the tremendous amount of work that went into arranging both events and getting the logistics spot on throughout. It seems everyone had a fantastic time.
We did Melvin Jones proud!
Morpeth Lions Collect a Spectacle…or two!
For a number of years Morpeth Lions Club has been collecting unwanted spectacles that are sent to Lions European sorting centre by way of Chichester Lions Club. At the sorting centre the spectacles are graded and then sent on to clinics in developing countries where they are given to the local people who would otherwise be unable to afford them.
A major source for spectacles is Aaron Optometrists in Ashington. In recognition of their contributions, a Certificate of Appreciation was recently presented to Optometrist Dr Peter Frampton by Lion President Margaret Trewick. In thanking Peter and his team, Margaret emphasised the value of these donations. Peter replied saying ‘It is a wonderful thing that the Lions do this as part of their on-going Sight Programme. Not only is this a great example of recycling, it enhances the quality of life of those receiving the spectacles, who without doubt have experienced many difficulties in their daily lives through not being able to see properly.’
A number of Morpeth businesses and organisations have agreed to be collection points enabling Morpeth Lions Club to continue this valuable work.
The Morpeth collection points are Stait Photography, Newgate Street; Healthhut, Kirkhill; CMDA, Stobhill; Contact Mental Health, Oldgate and Boots the Chemists plus the Gas House Lane and Greystoke Surgeries in the NHS Health Centre. Should any other business or organisation wish to be part of this scheme, please contact Lion Simon Pringle on 01670 513169.
29 Years Of Service To Consett Lions Recognised
Incoming Consett President Neal Waby presenting a Melvin Jones Fellowship to Immediate Past President Jim Alderson. Lion Jim has been a member of Consett Lions since 1988 during which time he has served in several posts including President on four occasions.
Consett Lions Club was formed in 1963. For more than half a century it has served its local community in addition to participating in humanitarian service activities throughout the world via Lions Clubs International Foundation.
The Club’s Annual Town Quiz brings together Lions, their families, friends and other social groups to test their ‘little grey cells’. The Message in a Bottle scheme is actively promoted by the Club. Links with local Primary and Secondary schools are nurtured via Lions Clubs Spectacle Collections and the Lions International Peace Poster Competition.
Morpeth Lions Club’s 1st Lady President
History was made when Lion President Chris Offord handed over the Presidency to the Club’s first Lady President – Margaret Trewick. Margaret also has the distinction of firstly being a Lion, then a Lioness and then again a Lion. This came about when Margaret joined her husband Mike in Wilmslow Lions Club in the mid 1990’s when they moved to that town. However she had been very involved helping at Kidderminster Lions Club when Mike joined in 1977.
On moving to Ashington in 1996 Margaret joined Ashington Lioness Club and during the following 16 years served 6 years as President and 3 years as Secretary. The Lionesses were a very active Club and were a driving force in supporting their male counterparts in Ashington Lions Club. Sadly, both Clubs folded however Margaret still wished to serve the community as a Lion and thus transferred to the Morpeth Club five years ago. Since then she has served on the District Cabinet as Zone Chairman.
Margaret therefore is certainly up to the challenges of the coming year and will also continue as District Physical & Learning Disabilities Officer. She is looking forward to the coming year as the Club’s leader and will be ably assisted by Richard Nash who was elected Vice President whilst Geoff Bushell remains as Club Treasurer and Ian Mills as Secretary.
On being installed as President Margaret paid warm tribute to Chris’s year in office. She said ‘Chris will be a hard act to follow having completed a very full year that included hosting the District Convention held last November. I am hoping to introduce new activities that will concentrate on Club members having fun. It is a great honour to be Morpeth Lions Club’s first Lady President and I will do my best to live up to the legacy of the previous 45 Presidents.’
As for the venue, the Club continues to meet at 8pm on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at the Conservative Club, Newgate Street, Morpeth. The next meeting, following a short Summer break, will be on August 22nd.
Farewell Northallerton Lionesses
Since their formation in 1989 Northallerton and District Lioness Club has been an active club, well known in Northallerton and always participating in their Zone activities. Regretably however 2016/17 marks a sad farewell as the Club disbands. Their last meeting at Rivendale , their presentation evening took place on Monday June 26th.
A very pleasant evening was had by all with lots of invited guests to receive the cheques on behalf of the organisations that they represent – a total of 11 altogether.
Back row from left to right Bill from Chopsticks, Louise from DiabetesUK, Dave and his wife was present for LCIF, Chris on behalf of Cystic Fibrosis,Sheila from Singing Together,Chris on behalf of Tricia who came along with her dog Tiki who was 8 years old from Support Dogs. Front row from left to right Simon from Northdale, Sara from Hospice Homecare Children’s Bereavement Support, Chris on behalf of CLAPA (Cleft Lip and Pallett Research), Jeanette on behalf of Freedom Kits in Nepal, and Angela from Admiral Nurses who are trained especially to deal with dementia patients. Total donations given out that evening were approximately £3,665.57.
The amount represents proceeds from just a few of the Clubs’ activities including Thirsk Racecourse bucket collection, a Fashion Show, Coffee Mornings, the Great Yorkshire Bike Ride being just a selection of activities which the Lionesses are certain they will all miss very much.
And we will miss you all!!!!
A Great Day’s Fishing For Morpeth Lions
On its 22nd anniversary, Morpeth Lions Club’s Fontburn Fishing Festival was blessed with dry but cool weather. Nevertheless some good catches were achieved by over 50 anglers of all ages who entered the competition. This year 116 fish were caught weighing a total of 198.5 pounds.
The heaviest bag in the competition was Les Liddle’s that weighed in at 17.7lb whilst the heaviest fish was caught by George Clark at 3lb 8 oz. Senior runner up was Jamie Dixon and the Junior winners were Shay Gofton, Keiran Bowden and Jake McCormack with Loxley McMutrie as runner up.
Lions Club organiser, Graham Tait said ‘We really have had a brilliant day and are grateful to Northumbrian Water Limited for allowing the use of their excellent facilities. I would also like to thank our generous sponsors J.Barbour & Sons and Frasers Angling & Outdoors of Gateshead, who supplied the prizes. Additionally we are thankful that Wansbeck Angling Association has again assisted by monitoring the competition and conducting the ‘weigh in’. The money raised from this event will assist Morpeth Lions Club to meet some of the many local requests for help that it receives.’
An opportunity for everyone to share their views
Past District Governor Lion Andrew Kerr Sutherland has arranged a series of Zone Summits in May as an opportunity for members across the District to engage in question and answer sessions with Cabinet Members and share views about Lionism. The format will be relaxed and chilled out – as in previous successful summits. We had a great response the last time and Lion Andrew is looking forward to seeing you there!