Morpeth Lions Club
It is all change at the top for Morpeth Lions Club as it continues into its 44th year. Taking over the Presidential duties from Stuart Lewis is former Club Social Services Chair, Ian Brown who has been an active member for 3 years. Ian is married to Lorraine and works as Sales Manager for N2 Limited a company specialising in barcoding and data capture.
Ian’s Senior Vice President for the year will be Chris Offord, a post he has held on two previous occasions. The Junior Vice President is Margaret Trewick, the Secretary Ian Mills and the Treasurer Geoff Bushell.
On being installed as President, Ian paid a warm tribute to Stuart Lewis. Ian said ‘Stuart has worked tremendously hard for the Club and pushed forward a number of ideas to ensure the continuing success of Morpeth Lions. It has been a year of continuing growth in membership which bodes well for the future.
Ian added that he promised to ensure Morpeth Lions would continue to serve the community to the best of their ability but it was important that they enjoyed doing so and had fun at the same time.”
Last year, under Stuart’s Presidency, the Club was able to distribute over £12,000 to numerous individuals, charities and other organisations – mostly local. This has been helped by organising facilitating events such as Dickens of a Draw and the Lion Swim; where other groups are able to fund raise for themselves. Stuart was presented with an album highlighting the activities of the Club during his year of office.
Ian said that plans for several activities and fund raising for the new Lions year were well advanced and he announced that the President’s charity is to be the Bubble Foundation. Funds for this event will be raised at two Chinese Banquets to be held at the Mulan Restaurant on the 28th September and 5th October. Anyone wishing to attend these events should contact David Armstrong on 01670 512000
Morpeth Lions were chartered in March 1972 and have been active in the community ever since. The profile of the Club has always been high but it increased further following the Morpeth Floods in 2008. Our work involved fund raising for flood victims and helping them to move belongings, to clean up and find replacement furniture and fittings. This partly led to the Club being nominated for and awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
All Club members are assigned duties though some more than others depending on availability and physical demands. There is a Social Services Committee which advises on where money raised should be spent and deals with any urgent hardship cases. The Ways and Means Committee plans out and implements a variety of fund raising activities. Other club members take on responsibilities for membership and recruitment, publicity and press liaison, fellowship, twinning with a Dutch Lions Club and environmental matters.
Meetings are held twice a month on Tuesday evenings. Most of these are straight forward business meetings but around 8 each year involve a speaker, often from a charity which we are considering supporting. Twice a year, at Christmas and year end, we have informal Dinner Meetings.
Each year we give financial and other support to between 20 and 30 charitable bodies and organisations. These are mostly within the local region but we do give sums to Lions International Funds, particularly in the case of natural disasters. Through one of our members, we support a school in the Philippines in an area which was badly affected by a volcanic eruption in 1992. We have a link with Morpeth and Wansbeck Chernobyl Children’s Life Line and provide entertainment and support for around 10 children on their visits. Among last year’s donations were St Oswald’s Hospice, the Bubble Foundation, the Grace House Children’s Hospice, the Sick Children’s Trust, Northumberland Hospital Radio, Great North Air Ambulance, Northumbria Blood Bikes, Daft as a Brush and North East Cystic Fibrosis. Charities which give services locally were supported. These included Barnabas Safe and Sound, Dawn Advice, Contact, RNLI, Age UK, Drout (Dry Out/Drink Out) and Samaritans.
Each year the President names his charity for the year and events were held at the Mulan Chinese Restaurant to raise funds. This year President Stuart Lewis has nominated the Bloomers Gardening Club which is part of the Northumberland County Blind Association.
Donations to individuals also feature but sums are usually modest and a strong case has to be made. Last year we bought a rowing machine seat for a disabled rower, so enabling her to compete and win World and European titles. Another individual receiving financial help was a boy suffering from cerebral palsy because he needed to have major adaptions to the family home.
We treat the elderly to a pre-Christmas tea and show and at Christmas we do Christmas parcels of toys and clothes to disadvantaged families.
We do rattle the occasional can for fund raising but most funds come from events such as the Lions Swim, Chinese Banquets, a Casino Night, bag packing at Asda, a fishing competition, concerts and food tasting evenings. This is much more fun. We have been lucky recently to receive money from a will and donations from local organisations.
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