Lions regrouping following ‘setback’
O ld Perlican-based ser vice club working hard to restore trust
A prominent service club in Old Perlican is attempting to rebuild trust among its supporters following allegations that a longtime member embezzled funds.
An RCMP spokesperson confirmed recently that an investigation into alleged theft of funds from the Baccalieu Lions Club had been launched, but that no criminal charges were laid.
A veteran member of the club verified last week the group has endured a “setback” in recent months, but emphasized that the club remains very viable and will continue its efforts to support communities from Brownsdale to Job’s Cove, and beyond.
The member asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.
“All of the members have really pulled up their socks,” he said.
Speculation has run rampant in recent months about financial irregularities in the club, with sources confirming that a longtime member was recently dismissed.
Members have been tight-lipped about the situation, since efforts are ongoing to recover their losses. It’s not clear how much money is missing, or how long the alleged theft was taking place.
The Old Perlican-based club is widely regarded as one of the strongest service clubs in eastern Newfoundland, having donated some $350,000 to charity since it was founded 24 year ago.
Though many Lions Clubs are teetering on the brink of collapse, the Baccalieu Club boosts 30 active members, and supports a wide array of causes and community events.
The unnamed member said the setback has sparked a renewed determination to restore faith in the club.
“If you don’t do anything, people will start to lose trust,” he said. “So we haven’t slacked one bit.”
Currently, club members are busy preparing to host its annual public speaking competition Feb. 16 at Baccalieu Collegiate in Old Perlican.
Principal Roger Gillingham heaped praise on the club, saying it has done “great work” in the school, and routinely makes a difference in people’s lives.
Whether it is gas vouchers for people driving to St. John’s for medical appointments, or sponsoring a guide dog for a visually impaired person in Tilton, the club has a proud reputation to uphold, said the member.
For instance, club members still cut firewood for an elderly woman in Old Perlican whose husband passed away a couple of years ago. “It is a tireless effort,” said the member. Next summer, the Lions Club in Old Perlican will celebrate its 25th anniversary, he said, adding that there will better days ahead for the club.