Change Over - July 2013
Sunday 7th July saw the new Lionistic year arrive. Lion President Graham thanked all for attending his retirement do, wishful thinking. A great day spent with friends. Outgoing President Graham handed over the reins saying he knew they were in safe hands. It had been an enjoyable year and he thanked all for lovely gift which were most appropriate.
Towards the end of 2012 I was asked if I would stand for club President. After a lot of soul searching I agreed. This made me feel very honoured to be asked as I have not been a member of the club for very long, just under two years in fact.
I know that the club has been in some very strong hands before me. Can I do the club proud? I hope so, I have dreams and ambitions for the club and hopefully with the support of the club these could come to fruition.
I have a very good social team who have already set the wheels in motion for an ex-citing year of activities, along with our Charter event in June 2014- A river trip! I Plan to have a good social year and really keep Dartford on the map.
Thanks to everyone for their good wishes and support.
Spring Forum - May 2013
Several of the clubs newer members attended this year’s event which covered training for Club Presidents, Secretaries, Treasurers and Trustees. There were changes to the Charities legislation which we all needed to know about.. All Lions are welcome to all sessions. New Lions, Zone Chairmen, Region Co-ordinators come and see what’s happening in the South East. The morning session was finished off with a fine meal.
Charter Anniversary - February 2013
The Masonic Hall, Dartford played host to the 44th Charter Anniversary dinner for Dartford Lions Club. Hosted by President Lion Graham Illsley, with honoured guests including her worship the Mayor of Dartford, Cllr. Ann Allen and her escort Kim Cooper and Cllr Avtar Singh Sadhu MBE was also in attendance in his role as a Lion. The event was well attended by members of the 105SE Zone 4A which covers Dartford, Northfleet and Ebbsfleet, Gravesend & District, Swanley & North Downs, Bexley & Sidcup, Woolwich & Greenwich and Darent Valley. Joining them were family and friends along with 2nd Vice District President Terry Mason and his wife Sue.
During the day we recounted some of the local charities which we have raised money for during the year. Our main fund raiser is the fireworks held in Dartford Park, which was supported by over 40 volunteers from across the zone, without these people and the St Johns Ambulance, the local Police and Dartford Council, the event would not be possible. Thanks to the local people of Dartford we raised close to twenty thousand pounds. Some of which has been spent on good causes including £1000 to the Mayors charity, £3000 to Darenth Valley Hospital, £500 to 5th Dartford Scout group, £2000 to the Royal National Lifeboat Institute, based at Gravesend- to purchase new life jackets, along with local nursery groups.
Lions Clubs do not only concentrate on local charities, and with this in mind we have supported LIBRA, Lions International Blood Research Appeal, which raises funds for the Haematology Department at King’s College Hospital in London. Founded in 1976, it is the only appeal which solely campaigns for these world-renowned laboratories.
The seventy Lions Clubs in the South East have been a major supporter of the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance service for many years. In a new and ground breaking partnership with the South East Lions Clubs pledging an extensive amount, the Charity is now able to take forward in 2013 its plans to extend this vital service into night flying and 24 hour operations.
Lions Clubs International is recognised worldwide for its service to the blind and visually impaired. This service began through a challenge issued in 1925 by Helen Keller, the great advocate for the blind, for Lions to become "Knights of the Blind in the crusade against darkness". In 1930 Lions introduced the White Cane, still universally used by the visually impaired.
The Lions Eye Health Programme (LEHP) is a community based educational outreach programme that enables Lions Clubs to raise awareness of the leading causes of preventable and reversible blindness in the British Isles and Ireland - diabetic eye disease; glaucoma; macular degenerative disease; and all low vision diseases.
Dartford help Northfleet and Ebbsfleet Lions Club - December 2012
Northfleet and Ebbsfleet Lions club always look forward to their annual Santa carol collections round the local villages. Seeing the faces of the children makes all the planning and suffering on the night with rain, ice, cold wind, (and the unwillingness of some people to open the door!), all worth while. But it was a close call this year because Santa had no sleigh!! Dartford Lions came to the rescue and allowed them to use our van. The result was a whacking collection of over £2,900 for the EllonerLions Hospices, an increase over previous years.
Bike Around Brands - August 2012
On the evening of Friday 17th August 2012, in fine weather and encouraged by recent sporting success, a record 337 cyclists including several wives of Dartford Lions, gathered at Brands Hatch Motor Racing Circuit to take part in Swanley & North Downs Club's annual 'Bike around Brands' event. It was being run for the seventh time to raise funds for EllenorLions Hospices, and took place on the famous racing circuit that is not only revered amongst the motorsport community, but has been described as the 'best ever' Paralympic cycling venue. Riders came from as far afield as Birmingham, Royston in Hertfordshire, Margate and Shoreham-on Sea to take part. 108 of the riders had supported the event in previous years and 77 of them were under 14 years of age.
Unfortunately, due to failing light, the ride had to be terminated half an hour earlier than advertised, but assuming that all outstanding pledges are honoured the sum raised after expenses, with Gift Aid, will be around £4,000. Club President Bryan Harris and the members thank all those who took part, and are indebted to Jonathan Palmer and the staff of MotorSport Vision Ltd., for their support and assistance in running the event.
The Clubs of Zone 4A donate to the RNLI - July 2012
Zone 4A recently voted to support a project involving the supply of new life jackets to the RNLI Lifeboat crew at Gravesend. Their original lifejackets had reached their life expectancy and RNLI nationwide launched a campaign to replace all aged lifejackets. The lifejackets are of a new, lightweight design and should have a life expectancy of about twenty years. Lion District Governor Frank Lees thanked the members of RNLI for their unswerving duty to all those who use our capital river, either for business or leisure and praised them for their selfless care on behalf of the river community. Each club pledged £300.00 and today, DG Lion Frank presented a cheque for £2,100.00 to the Station Manager, Ian Dunkley and some of his crew. The Zone was represented by two members from each club, namely, Dartford, Bexley & Sidcup, Gravesend District, Swanley & North Downs, Woolwich & Greenwich, Darent Valley and Northfleet & Ebbsfleet. The presentation took place on the jetty below Royal Terrace Pier, Gravesend and the weather was kind enough not to rain but the wind did it's best to ruffle a few hairstyles.
Hounds for Heroes - June 2012
On Friday 22nd June 2012, Lions from Dartford along with others from the District visited the Headquarters of the Charity “Hounds for Heroes in Ramsdean, near Petersfield in Hampshire. The idea was to give the Lions the opportunity to meet Allen Parton and his assistance dog EJ and to learn more about the work of this young but rapidly growing Charity. There were excellent photo opportunities for all Clubs present. The occasion was organised by Deputy Centre Manager Claire Dowling and District Governor Frank Lees.
We also met “Puppy Parent” Judy and Red 4, one of the current squadron of trainee pups. Red 4 is named in honour of the Red Arrows pilot who lost his life at the Bourne-mouth Air Show last year. Allen and Claire gave us illustrated talks about the Charity’s progress to date and said a big “thank you” to all the Lions who are supporting them. DG Frank and Judith presented Allen with a cheque for £10,000 on behalf of 105SE Lions’ Clubs.
DG Frank said that 35 Clubs have already donated and that money is still coming in. Judith said this was a magnificent response for a great cause. The purpose of "Hounds for Heroes" is to provide specially trained assistance dogs to injured and disabled men and women of both the UK armed forces and civilian emergency services. A best-selling book about Allen Parton’s first assistance dog, “Endal” was published in 2009, and a movie is currently being planned that may star Colin Firth and Kate Winslet!
Honouring Local Man - May 2012
Dartford Lions Club decided to honour a local man, Alex Finlay, for many years of dedication to fund-raising and awareness for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. His sister Nina died of MND some years ago, and Alex and his late wife, Eileen, helped establish the North Kent branch of MNDA, which Alex has served as Chairman for more that twelve years. At age eighty, he is tireless in his fundraising and organising skills and is a very special person indeed. We awarded a Melvin Jones Fellowship (MJF) award to Eileen posthumously in 2010 after she died following a short illness. She took on many roles in MNDA and was a power house of energy in all she did for the organisation until her death. It was our wish that they should both be acknowledged as MJF's but the system does not allow joint fellowships. The presentation to Mr Finlay was made to him in the presence of many of his colleagues from MNDA alond with family members celebrating Alex's 80th birthday at the Chislehurst Golf Club.