Lion Jim receives his Melvin Jones Fellow award
Jim Reilly joined Lions in 1983 as a member of the then Redcar Lions Club which unfortunately closed due to lack of members in 1994. Lion Jim, with 2 other ex Redcar Lions, transferred to Middlesbrough Lions Club which was subsequently named Middlesbrough Teesside Lions Club.
Lion Jim was, and is, a canny Scot having been born in 1922 in Blair Drummond. During the war, Jim trained in Canada with The Royal Canadian Air Force before transferring to 7AFU in Northern Ireland for Advanced Training then on to 16OTU for the training as a member of bomber crews before being finally posted to 218 Squadron RAF Bomber Command at RAF Chedburgh. Flying Officer James Reilly served as an “air bomber” (bomb aimer) in RAF Lancaster bombers during the bombardment of German industry from November 1944 until he finished his first, and only, Operational Tour on 20th April 1945 having completed a total of 32 sorties. Until 2 years ago, Jim and 2 or 3 fellow aircrew met on an annual reunion near their base in Suffolk – sadly, as age has taken its toll, it is no longer possible for the ex-colleagues to meet.
After the war, Jim joined the explosives division of ICI in Ayrshire – he obviously enjoyed the “BIG BANGS” – before transferring to the company’s factories on Teesside. In his spare time, Jim continued his lifelong interest in athletics (he had been the coach for the Ardeer running club and his wife, Anne, was a Scottish sprint champion) by joining Redcar Running Club where he still marshals at weekly runs in the local park and half and full marathons which take place in the area.
As a Lion, Jim was very active and when fund raising, obviously has a way with the ladies – Jim’s bucket always had more money in it than anyone else!
At a recent Club meeting Lion Jim was presented with his Melvin Jones Fellowship Award by District Governor Elect David Wells – an award well deserved. Lion David congratulated and thanked Lion Jim for all his work as a Lion. All Club members also expressed their appreciation of the work Jim has done for Lions in the community.
Lion Jim’s celebrations were not over at the Club meeting – a week later he was celebrating his diamond wedding with his wife Anne at Redcar Cricket Club with family and friends and some of the Middlesbrough Lions.