100 Lions roar onwards
The Lions Club International has been celebrating a special anniversary this year, helped by Norfolk members
IT WAS a century ago that a Chicago insurance salesman started an organisation that was to spread across the globe, bringing support and service to millions.
Melvin Jones’s vision reached Norfolk in 1953, when the first Lions Club opened up in Great Yarmouth, followed soon after by others across the county. Now there are more than 20 clubs in Norfolk, supporting their communities with fund-raising and other activities.
They have been marking the international organisation’s centenary in a range of ways; clubs in north east Norfolk joined together to fund equipment in the cancer wards at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kings Lynn while Lions in the catchment area of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital also joined together to fund a sensory room and an adjoining family room, at the NNUH, and Wroxham and Hoveton Lions Club funded an inflatable vessel for Sea Palling volunteer lifeboat.
Wymondham Lions Club, with the town council, have provided two decorative planters near the Wymondham Heritage Museum.
“We have also helped the celebrations nationally,” said Lion Jim Cawte, who has been co-ordinating the celebrations in the eastern region. “For example we have supported the Special Olympics in Sheffield – we had 18 members there for a week as part of the nationwide Lions support.
“There will also be a national concert in Leeds this month and Norfolk members will be attending that.”
Jim and his wife Jennifer made their own personal contribution when they took their restored ex-Royal Mail van, which previously did the rounds in South Norfolk, on an eastwest challenge from Lowestoft Ness Point to St Davids Point in Pembroke, raisng over £1,000 for Chapel Road School, Attleborough.
Jim said that Norfolk has a strong membership, but that they are always delighted to see new faces at any of the clubs around the county.
If you’d like to get involved as a Lion or Lioness there is a full list of county clubs on the Lions’ website.
Bottom left: Melvin Jones
Above: Jennifer and Jim Cawte
Lions Club International logo from 1918 and the Lions Club centenary logo