Morpeth Lions assist local food bank
Recently, Richard Nash, President of the Lions Club of Morpeth had pleasure in presenting a cheque for £1000 to Linda Fugill, Project Manager of Wansbeck Valley Food Bank. This took place in the Food Bank’s new premises at Northgate and gave some of the Lions the opportunity to see how this valuable facility works. Lion Margaret Trewick was put through her paces by making up a bag containing three days supplies.
Richard said to Linda ‘For many years, Morpeth Lions has collected donations in Morrisons, Morpeth in December – for which the Club is very grateful. We then arranged for food parcels to be made up and delivered just before Christmas to numerous households in the area. Wansbeck Valley Food Bank undertakes a similar role throughout the year and with the benefit of its many professional contacts are able to identify the most needy. We felt that in anticipation of this December’s Lions collection from the ever generous Morrisons’ customers, money raised would be best put to use by supporting the excellent work you provide for the less fortunate in our communities. By making the donation now, the food bank should be able to stock up before the Christmas rush’.
In thanking the Lions for this donation, Linda said ‘Your cheque will enable us to cater for 500 meals for local needy clients. Each year the Food Bank provides over 4000 parcels of food which is the equivalent of 13500 person days of meals and makes a huge difference to those receiving them. This would not be possible without kind donations of food that are left at numerous collection points such as Morrisons and the Town Hall in Morpeth. By receiving donations such as yours we can purchase items that might be in short supply in the Food Bank; thus ensuring there is a correct balance.’
Meeting Morpeth Lions
The Lions Club of Morpeth recently held its annual ‘Meet the Lions’ event for local residents. Over one hundred and ten elderly or disabled people from the area were entertained with tea, bingo and music (there was dancing in the aisles) and left with an early Christmas box. The big change was that the event took place in St.George’s URC church which involved Lion members speedily getting the church ready for the party once the Sunday service was over. A challenge efficiently conquered.
Lion President, Richard Nash and his wife Fiona were on hand to greet the guests together with Morpeth Mayor Jack Gebhard and Mayoress Ann Guy. At the interval the Mayor said ‘I am pleased to be here with you as it gives me the opportunity to wish you all, in advance, a very Happy Christmas. I would also like to pay tribute to the Lions Club of Morpeth for having organised this happy event and for all they do in our community.’
‘Morpeth Lions Club is profoundly grateful to St.George’s Church for allowing us to hold this popular event in the lead up to Christmas. Particularly as our previous venue had double booked. I would also like to thank our Lions Ladies and members for providing the food who with local Guides have so elegantly served it, the outstanding entertainment that came from Lewis Denny with Dave Pope on piano and the humour that was provided by the Master of Ceremonies, Harry Cone. We are also indebted to the St.John’s Ambulance for attending and who fortunately had no emergencies to deal with.’
So as the guests departed with their boxes of chocolates all that was left was to clear up and start planning for the 2019‘Meet the Lions’.
36th and final District 105NE Convention
The final District 105NE Convention took place over the weekend 16th to 18th November 2018, hosted by Thirsk and Northallerton Lions Club at the Golden Lion in the centre of Northallerton. District Governor Lion David Wilson had put together a changed agenda for this meeting as much of the usual business of appointing officers for the future was being handled by the new larger District 105N which roughly covers the whole of Yorkshire, North East England and Scotland.
Convention was opened by the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire Mrs Johanna Ropner in this her first official engagement since being confirmed in post by Buckingham Palace earlier in the week.
Convention was attended by International Director Lion Geoff Leeder and Past International Director Lion Phil Nathan. Lion Geoff spoke of both the successes of Lions Clubs International and the challenges it faces. Lions Clubs International Foundation is raising $300M to empower service where it’s needed most. We’re building sustainable solutions through generous support and the service of Lions around the world.
The guest speaker was the inspirational Angie Stewart who spoke about “Osteogenesis Imperfecta, the Brittle Bone Society and Me!” Despite not being expected to live beyond infancy Angie has devoted her life to promoting an understanding of the condition, raising funds to research it and working with others who have the condition to help them focus on all that they are capable of achieving.
In the afternoon Mr Motivation himself kicked off the session getting everyone including many of this year’s Council of Governors out of their seats and taking part in a peculiarly Scottish type of “aerobics” that tested their stamina.
Convention is largely about fun and fellowship and on the Friday evening our hosts, Thirsk and Northallerton Lions Club had arranged a “Good Old Days” cabaret which went down well with everyone who attended and included a number of sing-a-longs!
The formal dinner took place on the Saturday evening and was very well attended with two or three clubs sending parties of members and partners to enjoy the excellent food followed by dancing until late.
But the final word must go to Thirsk and Northallerton Lions Club whose organisation of the “Convention Weekend” was second to none and they were duly honoured by District Governor Lion David Wilson.
Morpeth Lions Help Deliver Indoor Sports Day
For many years Coca Cola Enterprises has organised an indoor sports day involving employees from the Company’s factories in Morpeth, East Kilbride and Wakefield and Special Olympics GB athletes.
This year the event was recently held at the Riverside Leisure Centre in Morpeth with Dave Hunt as the local organiser for CCE. As there is a need for referees and raffle ticket sellers, it has become a tradition that the Lions Club of Morpeth is asked to help. This year was no exception and a very happy and enjoyable day was had by all.
The photo shows Dave Hunt (back row left), Morpeth Mayor Jack Gebhard (centre middle row) with Morpeth Lions and CCE participants.
Morpeth Planters Feature Lions Club
Earlier this year, Morpeth School pupils were asked to enter designs for the planters in the town’s Market Place. The theme for the paintings was ‘Morpeth Heroes’. The entries were displayed in the Town Hall and a variety of them were categorised as Winners or Runners up and these were the ones selected for the planters.
Two of the entries featured the Lions Club of Morpeth and one of them is proudly positioned on a planter. Lion Simon Pringle noticed the planter and on notifying the Club Members it was decided that the artists should receive a small token to encourage their artistic endeavours. The funds, however, are not from the Charity Account but from monies the members contribute themselves for administration purposes.
Accordingly, with co-operation from Town Hall staff, it was established that the two artists – Eleanor Banks and Grace DeCosta – had transferred from Abbeyfields School, where they had painted the entries, to Newminster School. On making contact with their parents, it was arranged that the tokens would be presented next to the planter bearing Eleanor’s design. In the meantime, when getting the tokens from local art supplies shop ‘Lateral Arts’ and explaining the background, the owners, Steve and Fiona Greenaway, generously agreed to match fund the awards.
When the presentation was made, Lion President Richard Nash said ‘As a Club we do our best to help our community. It is gratifying that you, Eleanor and Grace, have recognised this by making us the subject of your paintings. It gives me great pleasure to present you with these vouchers, on behalf of the Lions Club of Morpeth, and hope they will encourage your artistic talents’.
It would seem, however, that Grace is not the only artist in the family as a design by her twin sister Freya appears on another planter.
PHOTO: (L-R) Grace DeCosta, Lion Les Brindley, Eleanor Banks and Lion President Richard Nash.
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.