A golden Lions celebration

A golden Lions celebration

The Lions Club of Bairnsdale celebrated its golden anniversary last Friday at the Bairnsdale RSL Function Room.

Fifty-year service awards were presented to Brian Andrews, an original charter member and still active in the club, and Marie Lewis.

Marie was the partner of an original member, Peter Lewis, and has been involved for the entire period in the women’s auxiliary and later as a Lioness Club charter member.

Marie also remains an active member.

Two current members were presented with Lions’ most prestigious award – The Melvin Jones Fellowship Award.

Karl Henderson and Kim Ainsworth were taken by complete surprise at the presentation. Karl has been involved since 1991 and Kim since 2000. Both have served multiple terms as president, secretary and treasurer over the years.

Fifty years ago, the Lions Club of Sale invited 25 members of the Bairnsdale community to charter their own club. This occurred on October 11, 1969.

Lions originated as a community service organisation in 1917 and is now present in 200 countries and 47,000 individual clubs worldwide.

Across Gippsland there are 65 Lions clubs, that’s one in every town, with each providing support to their communities through service projects, fundraising and supporting those in need.

Currently 24 Lions in Bairnsdale Lions Club run a busy schedule of activities.

Over the past year, activities have included: sale of Lions mints, Christmas cakes and Christmas trees; recycling of spectacles and postage stamps; numerous barbecues.

A major raffle with a first prize of a trailer filled with garden power tools is always held with ticket sales between January to May each year. Other activities include letters to Santa, assisting at the Christmas Carols, and sponsorship of a cabin at Lions Licola Village.

Last year the Bairnsdale Lions Club made donations totaling $36,500. Over the 50 years, donations have far exceeded $1 million and hundreds of thousands of hours given in voluntary service.

Around 80 invitations were sent to past members for the dinner. Among those present were a number of the original charter members.

The Bairnsdale Lions Club meets on the first and third Thursdays of the month to plan upcoming activities or enjoy a guest speaker. They meet at the Bairnsdale Bowls Club at 7pm.

PICTURED: Kim Ainsworth, Val Martin, Marie Lewis (front), Peter Martin, Helen Gidley and Chris Ainsworth at the Bairnsdale Lions Club’s golden anniversary celebrations at a packed Bairnsdale RSL last Friday night.