HEREFORD LIONS CELEBRATE CENTENARY
Hereford Lions Club celebrated the centenary of its parent body, Lions International with a display in High Town on Saturday (August 26) and one hundred ladies were presented with a single rose to mark the occasion.
The organisation was founded by a Chicago businessman to encourage people to put their talents to work improving their own communities. His vision created a modern worldwide army of volunteers working in 46,000 clubs across 200 countries. The Hereford club was set up 57 years ago and Lions Clubs are also active in Ross-on-Wye, Kington and Black Mountains.
The city club is renowned for its fund raising events and the wide range of charities and community projects its supports, along with its much valued community transport service. Said publicity officer George Thomas: “The High Town display was a thank you to the public for their generous support over the years and to make even more people aware of the vital role Lions Clubs play in their communities worldwide.”
Club president Ian Foster presents a rose to Helen Richards
HEREFORD LIONS HELP MARLEY GET ON HIS BIKE
Marley George has cerebral palsy and can’t walk, but the 18 year old is able to ride a specially designed trike and Hereford Lions Club has bought him one as an early Christmas present.
The £3,000 machine will not only help him strengthen his leg muscles and stamina , but give him the opportunity to go for bike rides like other youngsters. Said Marley: “ I could not have wished for a better present. Its cool.”
Club president David Hartland said: “It is our privilege to help Marley achieve one of his ambitions and seeing the happy smile on his face when he took his first trial run made it all the more worthwhile.”
Picture: Marley ‘gets on his bike’ watched by Lion David and his mum, Vanessa
LIONS HELP TACKLE MENTAL HEATH CRISIS
The club has responded to a shocking report that 1 in 10 children and teenagers are risk of suffering from mental health issues by giving MIND, the local mental health charity a £5,000 grant to set up a therapy service in county schools and youth clubs to tackle the crisis.
Club president David Hartland said: “The report made grim reading and we wanted to help the 500 county youngsters believed to be at risk.”
Richard Kelly , Executive Director of MIND said: “This grant from Lions Club could not have come at a better time. There is no public funding for early intervention in the field of mental health. We had already recognised the need for a support service in schools and youth clubs to help young people showing signs of mental health problems but lacked the financial resources to set it up.”
BEST EVER BALL
An Autumn Ball staged by the club, including a charity auction raised £10,000 for St Michael’s Hospice. The ball at Lyde Arundel was attended by 200 guests and was declared to be the best ever organised by Lion Mike Hughes and his team on behalf of the club
The 23rd annual edition of Hereford Lions Festive News, a 48 page full colour newspaper distributed free to 30,000 homes in and around the city was published in November which also saw the start of the club’s Santa Sleigh run and its Santa’s Grotto at Wyevale Garden Centre which attracted 10,000 visitors last year As usual the club ends the year on a high with a sell-out New Years Eve party. Contact Lion Keith Martin (01432 358362) for tickets. Festive News is available here
DUTCH HONOUR LION TONY
Forty years ago Hereford Lion Club stalwart Tony Cole organised the first Lions sponsored trip for local schoolboys to an international youth football tournament in the Dutch city of Vianen – and never missed a tournament for the next 39 years.
But he was missing from the 40th anniversary event earlier this year when the Mayor of Vianen, Wim Groeneweg announced Tony, a retired accountant who was recovering from cancer treatment, had been made a Freeman of the City in honour of his outstanding contribution to international youth football.
The Mayor of Hereford, Councillor Jim Kenyon on behalf of the Mayor of Vianen, presented Tony with his Freeman’s medal in a ceremony at the Town Hall attended by fellow members of Hereford Lions Club. Over the four decades 2,400 local lads have had the experience of playing against other European teams thanks to Lion Tony’s initiative all those years ago.
Mayor Jim Kenyon presents Tony Cole with his Freeman’s award.
FAST CAR WISH GRANTED
Ten year old Christopher Gibbons loves fast cars but will never be able to drive one because he suffers from muscular dystrophy and relies on a wheelchair to get around. But his wish to go for a ride in two of the fastest cars in the world - a Lamborghini and a Ferrari -has just been granted by Hereford Lions Club.
Christopher lives with his parents Colin and Clare Gibbons and his brother Ben, 9, in Bartestree and last Christmas when the Lions Santa Sleigh arrived in the village he mentioned his passion for speed. One of Santa’s helpers, Lion John Edmunds decided the ideal present would be a visit to a racing circuit near Cowbridge in South Wales which boasts a collection of Top Gear style motors . Said dad Colin, a Hereford fireman: “Seeing his smiling face when he got out of the cars was priceless. We can’t thank the Lions Club enough for such a wonderful kind gesture”
Christopher ready for his spin in a Lamborghini
TEDDIES FOR CHILDREN'S WARD
A soft cuddly toy works wonders for youngsters facing treatment in the children’s ward at Hereford County Hospital and Hereford Lions Club has just answered a plea for more with a delivery of 100 little teddies.
Sister Lynne Butler said: “Coming into hospital can be quite upsetting for babies and young children and we have found that giving them the opportunity to choose a cuddly toy helps settle them. We were running low and are grateful to Lions Club for their donation which will delight 100 of our young patients. Gifts of soft toys are always welcomed.”
Said Lions Club president Colin Smith, “Lions has a long association with the children’s ward, especially on Christmas Day morning when we escort Santa to deliver presents to those children in hospital over the festive period. Seeing the smile on their faces when Santa walks in is very special and I am sure these teddies will also help turn tears into smiles.”
Colin and Sister Lynne Butler present the first of the teddies to seven year old Harry Rees and three and a half month old Dexter Read, both of whose families live in Hereford.
LIONS CAR BOOT SALES RESTART - SATURDAY 30TH APRIL
The region’s most popular car boot sale staged by Hereford Lions Club restarts for the new season on Saturday, April 30 on its convenient site on Roman Road, opposite Bookers and South Hereford Garages. (subject to weather conditions) Since the launched its charity car boot sales five years ago the club has raised £26,000 for the local charities it supports
Brisk trade at Lions car boot sales
SUPPORT FOR YOUTH
One of Hereford Lions Club president Colin Smith’s projects for the year was to support young people, saying : “The youth of today are our future and we must ensure they have all the opportunities to achieve their vision of what the future should be.”
The county’s Young Carers Association, which provides lots of support for youngsters caring for parents or a family member was one of the first to benefit. The club helped fund a holiday break for six young carers and organised a series of fun events, including skating parties so they can socialise with other carers.
The latest is a £500 donation to the Herefordshire Performing Arts Festival in which 2000 take part, the majority of them young people from schools and colleges. The 82 year old festival was at risk after the county council axed its annual grant. Said Colin: “We did not want the many hundreds of young people who take part in the festival to lose out on the opportunity to enhance their skills in music and other art forms. Who knows one of them might one day be another Ellie Goulding, one local girl who has become a star performer!”
Colin with festival organisers Carol Thompson and Anne Ellis
RECYCLING FOR THE DISABLED
Hereford Lions Club has launched a new project to help those handicapped by mobility problems and unable to afford a wheelchair, mobility scooter or other aids. The community service club is asking families who might have one of these aids lying unwanted in the garage to consider donating it to be refurbished and passed on to someone who needs one.
Said Mike Hughes, the club’s welfare officer: “We are occasionally offered one of these aids and find a good home for it, but now we believe we can help a lot more people with mobility problems and unable to afford these aids by setting up a scheme on a more formal basis.”
To either donate or to apply for a mobility aid write to Simon Swancott, Secretary Hereford Lions Club, 16 Moor Park Road, Hereford, HR4 ODJ. The club would also like to hear from anyone who might be able to spare some time to help with refurbishing the machines.
Lion Neil Jenkins with a selection of mobility aids currently available.
LIONS FIX DISNEY HOLIDAY FOR BATTEN DISEASE FAMILY
A family devastated by the news that three of their four children have been diagnosed with the life limiting Batten Disease are creating a ‘Memory Bank’ for the youngsters – and Hereford Lions Club has launched it with a £3,800 family holiday to DisneyLand, Paris.
When club members read in the local paper of the tragedy facing the Penn family who live in Hereford they quickly decided to help and booked the trip to the famous French resort full of all the Disney characters loved by children.
Now parents Jody and Denise, twins Toby and Corey, 12, Izzy, 7 who are each affected by the deadly disease and Amber, 11 are excitedly going through the DisneyLand brochure to plan each day of their dream holiday in April. The twins are already losing their eyesight, one of the first of the Batten symptoms, a disease affecting just 64 children in Britain.
Mum Denise said: “This is an unbelievably kind gesture by Lions Club and will create wonderful memories which will last forever”
Said club president, Colin Smith: “Everyone in the club wanted to do something special for these youngsters who face a very uncertain future and a Disney holiday was the obvious choice.”
It is the first project to be funded by the club’s new Community Support Foundation set up with the proceeds of selling the club’s former Holiday Home in Burnham-on-Sea which for 40 years provided free holidays for those in need, but closed two years ago.
Denise and Jody with (l to r) Toby, Izzy, Corey and Amber in front check out the DisneyLand brochures.
LIONS HELP FLOOD VICTIMS
The 200 revellers at Hereford Lions Club’s annual New Year’s Eve party in the city helped raise almost £1,500 to aid the victims of the disastrous floods in Cumbria over the Christmas period.A raffle for a wheelbarrow full of festive drinks raised £745, an amount doubled by match funding from Barclay’s Bank.Said Colin Smith, club president, “We have all been shocked by the terrible tragedy which has hit Cumbria and other areas in the North and everyone at the party wanted to support all those families whose homes and possessions have been ruined in the floods.”
DANNI’S PERFECT CHRISTMAS PRESENT
Last Christmas Danni Clarke, a 32 year old mum of four suddenly paralysed by a rare brain condition faced a bleak future. But this Christmas the future looks much brighter.
Not only has her wish for a super off-road pink wheelchair been granted so she can go on family rambles with husband Si and children Charlie, Hallie, Phoenix and Summer Raye, but she has also regained some movement in her legs.
Hereford Lions Club, playing the role of Santa delivered the £3,300 life-changing all terrain wheelchair they bought for her and she is looking forward to lots of family outings to the woods and seaside trips to the beach in summer.
Said Danni at her home in Burmarsh near Bodenham : “This was the best Christmas present I could possibly have wished for and I am grateful to the Lion s Club for such a generous gift and to all those people who have kindly supported me and my family through the trauma of the last year.”
Lion Mick Harmon spotted Danni’s story in the Hereford Times On-Line earlier this year and asked his fellow club members to help and as the guy who sparked off the project, he was given the happy task of delivering the wheelchair to Danni’s home .
Mick gives Danni a test ride.
Danni surrounded by her family
SANTA CASH WILL HELP THE NEEDY
Hereford folk contributed in true Christmas spirit to the efforts of Hereford Lions Club to keep alive some of the great festive traditions by donating over £7,000 to the club’s charity fund.
The money was donated at the Lions Santa Grotto at Wyevale Garden Centre, during the visits of the Santa Sleigh to city streets and local villages in the weeks before Christmas Day and on the day Santa and his sleigh was in High Town to wish shoppers a Merry Christmas in 2015
Said club president, Colin Smith, “Yet again Herefordians have showed their great spirit of generosity and Lions Club will ensure that this wonderful gesture will be put to good use helping those in need in the community.”
NATHAN IS CHOSEN AS A YOUNG AMBASSADOR
Sixteen year old Nathan Priday from Leintwardilne is Hereford Lions Club’s candidate in the 2016 quest to find the national winner of the organisation’s ‘Young Ambassador’ award. For the regional winner there is a £500 bursary and the winner of the national Ambassador title the bursary is £1000..
Nathan , a student at Wigmore High School where he is Head Boy is also the carer for his disabled mother and a member of Herefordshire Carers Association which supports those youngsters caring for a family member.. And, if that is not enough, he helps elderly neighbours with their chores and shopping and is a big fund raiser and ambassador for the carers association. Nathan plans to study at Herefordshire College of Technology to become a Chef.
CASH FOR COPTORS
The region’s Air Ambulance service has been given a £5000 donation by Hereford Lions Club to help keep its life saving helicopters flying. The club’s president, Colin Smith is pictured with Susie Godwin of Midland Air Ambulance at the Lions annual charity golf tournament at Wormsley when he handed over the cheque.
Lions Club has previously supported the vital service with Colin presenting £10,000 when he was president in 2003 and David Barrett also giving £10,000 during his term in office in 2003. Said Colin: “Air Ambulance is a life saving service which relies entirely on public donations and without which many lives would be at risk. I, and my fellow members firmly believe it is a charity we should support.”
The service started in 1990 with one helicopter and now has three, one each based at RAF Cosford , Tattenhall, and at Strensham, which covers Herefordshire. To date it has flown over 44,000 mercy missions, 35% involving car accidents. Each mission costs £2,500.
LIONS SET UP NEW COMMUNITY SUPPORT FOUNDATION
Hereford Lions Club has sold the Holiday Home at Burnham-on- Sea which for almost 40 years provided free self - catering holidays for thousands of local people and families who would not otherwise get a seaside break.
The seafront property sold for £250,000 at auction and the proceeds of the sale will be invested in a new Hereford Lions Community Support Foundation which will enable Lions to increase the work it already does supporting local charities and community projects in the city and surrounding villages.
The Holiday Home, bought by Lions in 1977 closed down two years ago after dwindling applications for free holidays and the rising costs of maintaining the property made the charity service unsustainable.
Terry Williams, chairman of the Holiday Home trustees said: “ Many thousands, especially , the elderly and the handicapped enjoyed holidays at Burnham over four decades and ending the service was a sad and difficult decision. But the new Community Support Foundation will allow Lions Club to use the assets raised by the sale to support a much wider range of charities and community projects here in Hereford, including grants towards holidays for those most in need.”
LIONS BOOST EYE CARE WITH £14,000 NEW DIGITAL CAMERA
The Victoria Eye Unit at the County Hospital will be able to improve their service with the gift from Hereford Lions Club of a £14,000 highly specialized digital camera used to diagnose patients’ eye problems.
Stephen Scotcher, clinical director of the unit said: the equipment was ‘the workhorse’ of the Eye Unit which deals with some 27,000 patients a year and the extra camera would greatly improve the service he and his team provide. “We could not have wished for a more useful Christmas present. It is a very generous gift from the Lions Club.”
Lion Mike Poole, Club President said: “There is increasing pressure on our health services and anything we can do to ease the strain will greatly benefit those whose eyesight is at risk” It is the third camera the Lions Club has bought for the unit over the past 30 years.
Picture: Lion Mike Poole (left) gets a quick eye check with Stephen Scotcher
Latest News : City Lions send aid to Phillipines
Hereford Lions Club has sent £1000 to the Lions International appeal fund to help the victims of the typhoon disaster in the Philippines. The money will help buy water filtration equipment for families left homeless in the wake of the worst ever typhoon to hit the islands.
A club spokesman said: “As part of a worldwide humanitarian organization Lions Clubs are able to respond very quickly to disasters which cause such traumatic devastation by organizing the delivery of direct aid.”
Special Gift for Ruby
Four year old Ruby Watkins has cerebral palsy and can’t play with dolls or toys like other little girls.
Now, thanks to Hereford Lions Club, Ruby has her own very special playthings to make her smile.
Lions Club has bought her a set of eight specially designed electronically controlled sensory ‘toys’ she can activate with a simple touch or sound giving her the same tactile experience she would get playing with standard toys,
Lion David Barrett who delivered the equipment to her home in Frank Owen Court in the city: “Seeing the look of delight on Ruby’s face when she played with the first piece made the whole exercise worthwhile.”
Her mother, Jemma, added: “This will allow Ruby to enjoy the tactile interaction other children get from playing with their normal toys. We are grateful to the members of Lions Club for their generous gift.”
Lion President David with Ruby and her mum.
Lions £5000 gift for Acorns
Hereford Lions Club has again supported the Acorns Hospice, which cares for terminally ill children, with a grant of £5000. Back in 2003 the club chipped in £34,000 to the original appeal fund to build the hospice in Worcester and which has since been a great benefit to those Herefordshire families with a life limited child.
Former Lions president, Ron Williams chose Acorns as one of his projects during his term in office and recently visited the hospice to present the £5000 cheque to Caroline Crowe, its community fund raising manager said: “There is an increasing demand for the services freely provided by Acorns, and their newly introduced service of care and support at home, and on behalf of Lions Club, and everyone who supports our fund-raising activities, it was a privilege to help this very worthwhile project.”
Ron Williams with Caroline Crowe at the hospice.
Tess's Gift for Soccer Boys
Two schoolboy football teams representing Hereford in an international youth soccer tournament in Holland were both wearing smart new kit thanks to city grandmother, Tess Forder.
When Tess celebrated her 80th birthday with a party at The Green Dragon Hotel she told guests not to bring presents but if they wished, to make a donation to buy new shirts and shorts for two of the four teams Hereford Lions Club take each year to the tournament in Vianen. This was the 37th anniversary of the Lions youth project, of which her son Martin, a former county referee, is one of the organisers. It is estimated that over 2000 local schoolboys have played in the tournament, which Hereford has won on several occasions.
Said Tess: “People were very generous and we raised enough to buy two sets of new kit for the boys.. Playing against other European teams is a wonderful opportunity for them.”
Tess is pictured presenting the under 16’s team with their new strip at a training session at Lads Club before leaving for Holland.