Lions leave a little present
THEY roared into the region from across the world and left behind better eyesight and charitable donations including a new van for the hospital.
The International Lions, present in 208 countries, spent 10 days in Port Douglas for their annual board meeting and were able to attend the Lions’ World Vision Day in Mossman, providing free eye testing to students and the wider community.
International president Barry Palmer said he wanted to leave something behind, a memento of the Lions, and handed over the keys to a new van to the Mossman Multi-Purpose Health Service, to drive patients without transportation to Cairns for specialist appointments.
Director of Nursing Peter Le Griffon said they have been training drivers in anticipation and will be offering the service two days a week so people can access specialist services.
‘‘It’s great. The International Lions have been really supportive and we have been working really hard with the Lions to find a suitable vehicle for us,’’ he said.
While visiting the region, the International Lions have been out to Low Isles and the Reef, visited Hartley’s Crocodile Farm and enjoyed the warm weather.
‘‘There were smashing scenes at Hartley’s, many people are not used to crocodiles, and they enjoyed the trip to Low Isles,’’ International President Barry Palmer said.
‘‘ All of the Lions and their spouses are rapt being in paradise, they can’t believe how wonderful it is and I like the warmth but I haven’t had a chance to escape for a swim.
‘‘ My personal highlight has been the trip to Kuranda, where we handed over $10,000 to start a project for aboriginal boys to become rangers, give them something to do.’’
Mr Palmer is the first Aust- ralian president for the international club and jokingly said he is based in an aeroplane, rather than his real home in Sydney.
‘‘I feel the weight of Australia on my shoulder, they are expecting so much thinking I can just snap my fingers, it’s a bit daunting but it has been a fantastic ride,’’ he said.
‘‘Being able to represent Australia at something has always been a dream, I am really happy doing this.
‘‘The hard walker is a project I started and has been the highlight of my life with a hard walking device allowing children with cerebral palsy to stand up and walk. We demonstrated one at the opening of the board meeting at the Sheraton with a young Brisbane girl and there was not a dry eye in the room.
‘‘We have helped 1600 children in Australia walk and those walkers are $11,000 each, which the Lions has raised on their own which is a tremendous achievement.’’
HAND OVER: Peter Le Griffith and International Lions President Barry Palmer