Morpeth Lions at work before Christmas
Early to mid-December is always a busy time for Morpeth Lions and 2015 was no exception. Activities in December include the “Tin in a Bin” collection at Morrisons, the delivery of food parcels to the needy and the Christmas clothes and toy parcels for children of families in often desperate circumstances through no fault of their own.
For seven days in early December we held a cash collection at Morrisons. We are extremely grateful to Morrisons in allowing the Lions to collect in their busiest time of the year and to many of their customers for their generous support. The December collection was again a success with over £2,100 being collected. The money was not allowed to rest in the Lion’s bank account but immediately put to good use.
The Lions gave a cheque for £1,500 to the Food Bank which operates in Morpeth and the Wansbeck Valley. Food Bank manager Linda Fugill put this to good use by purchasing food for around 100 families and so ensuring they had nutritional fare for the Christmas period. The other £600 was spent on a small treat for 100 elderly identified through Age UK. Each received a parcel supplied on a discount by Ringtons Teas. Lion Richard Nash coordinates both the collection at Morrisons and the distribution of the Ringtons’ parcels. The middle of December was spent delivering these in Morpeth and surrounding areas in South East Northumberland.
At the same time the Lions were “adopting” families or collecting toys for families in crisis. The Club, through Lion Robin Cooper and his wife Joan, works closely with local professionals to target needy families. The toy collection was greatly helped by Asda Ashington who set up trolley collection in the store, by Morpeth St George’s URC toy service and the Sage Academy. Together with toys and clothes purchased throughout the year by the Lions, their partners and friends, Christmas parcels were sent to 51 families totalling 87 children. The parcel wrap took place in the Function Room at Morpeth Riverside Lodge courtesy of Liz Durning.
In spite of all this activity the Lions had time to agree and set in motion two donations of £500. The first of these was to agree £500 for the Lions Multiple District Disaster Fund to help communities who have suffered in the recent floods. Lions Clubs in Tynedale, Cumbria and Dumfries are all fully involved in clean-up and other work following the devastating floods and, to help this work, they are able to draw on funds from Lions Multiple District. Indeed, within 24 hours of the flooding, Multiple District had already committed £34,000 to Clubs helping in the affected areas with more financial aid to follow.
The second donation was to help Syrian refugees in a camp in Lebanon. Lion Geoff Bushell has been in close contact with a Norwegian Lions Club which is setting up a medical centre at the camp and also the provision and funding to fit prosthetic limbs to youngsters who have lost limbs in the Syrian conflict. Following Geoff’s initiative, Lions Clubs throughout the United Kingdom are helping with this project. Any members of the public who would like to make a donation can do so through Morpeth Lions (01670 504904).
Lion President Ian Brown said “It has been a tremendous effort by Club members, their helpers and many local organisations. We are very much indebted to those giving us their support. The Lions look forward to continuing their work with your help in 2016.”