District Lions Club celebrates 50th anniversary

2:46pm Wednesday 4th June 2014

"Meeting people and bringing pleasure to people's lives, that's the magic for me."

Sitting down with Malton, Norton and District Lions Club chairman Richard Lukey, it's clear to see just how passionate he is about the club and he says he's proud that the club is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Quite rightly so, as the hard work and dedication of the volunteers is evident as we look back through pictures from the 80's and 90's showing just how much work the group has done.

One photograph shows members of the club presenting a defibrillator to the local ambulance service and another of a blood pressure machine bought through fundraising money.

"It's the kind of thing that we take for granted nowadays looking at that but back then it was a huge thing," Richard tells me.

"The most important thing about the Lions though is that every penny we raise goes to charity."

Since the club was formed back in 1963 by Driffield Lions it has gone on to raise thousands of pounds through various events including the clubs summer lunch and the daffodil run, where members of the Lions pick up elderly residents and take them to see the flowering daffodils.

"It just gives people a chance to get out if they don't have a car or access to public transport so it prevents them from becoming isolated, " says Richard.

"My favourite is when we take Santa’s sleigh out each year. It's just wonderful to go out and to see the children and the magic and excitement on their faces. When we go out in to the villages as well people are always so generous."

The group also take children from Ryedale Special Families out on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway each year providing them with picnic boxes, ice cream and entertainment on the journey home.

Richard tells me: "They absolutely love it and it is such a fantastic day. We invite their brothers and sisters as well because they can sometimes feel left out so this gives them time to enjoy together."

Club members also give up their Saturday's each year from October to April to deliver fish and chips to residents and the annual charity golf day proves a major fundraising each year bringing in between £6,000-£8,000.

Richard said that he feels extremely proud that the club has reached its 50th anniversary and is hoping that as it continues to work in the community younger members will be encouraged to join.

"I think some people can't quite believe that we have made it to 50 years and it's a really major accomplishment, especially as it is run entirely by volunteers.

"We all get involved for different reasons, some people get involved because they want to put something back in to the community and for other people it's the friendship and community element.

"Our youngest member is about 22 and it would be great to get some more younger members. Really the challenge for us now for the next 50 years is to make sure that young members join the club so that when the older members leave the club doesn't die out."

For more information on The Malton, Norton and District Lions visit www.maltonnortonlions.co.uk.


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