GILLINGHAM, MERE & SHAFTESBURY LIONS
Little Giants in Gillingham.
“Little Giants” is a voluntary youth club that runs once a month on a Saturday morning. It caters for children and young people with a variety of special needs.
The Lions recently held a coffee morning supporting the Macmillan Largest Coffee Morning in the Grove Buildings, Mere. This raised £116.00, made up to £120.00 by the Lions, so thank you to all those that supported the event. Any surplus cakes were donated to Fives Court, Angel Lane.
The Lions have recently contributed £400.00 to the Mere Playschool which has been used to purchase and lay a new carpet. We are also arranging to buy a new portable blood pressure monitoring system???? for Mere Surgery once the specific details have been finalised.
Christmas will soon be here and of course for the Lions this means organising their largest fund raising event which is the Christmas Float. It is too early to say on which days it will visit Mere but is likely to be three consecutive sessions of evenings and afternoons, as usual. Evening collections are usually from 6.30pm to 8.30pm and afternoons 2pm to 5pm. Unfortunately because we are a small club and attend Gillingham, Shaftesbury, Motcombe, Zeals and Bourton as well as Mere throughout December (1st to 23rd), we rely heavily on volunteers to help as collectors or indeed as Father Christmas. So if you would like to volunteer for the Christmas Float or indeed any of our other fund raising events, such as the MacMillan coffee morning please contact us on 0845 833 7521 or email Deborah Clarke at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your local Lion’s Club regularly raises £4 -5000 annually of which the majority is distributed to needy causes throughout our area. The remainder is used to support national and international projects and disaster relief (most recently to supply clean water equipment to Haiti following Hurricane Mathew). If you would like to learn a bit more about us and what we do then visit http://www.e-clubhouse.org/sites/gillinghammereshaftesbury/ alternatively if you belong a group or club locally we can come along and give a short presentation about Lions and GMS Lions in particular. Our motto ‘We Serve’ most aptly describes our raison d’être.
Lion David Rose
GMS Lion President
60 SECONDS: New 105D District President is David Taylor
As GMS Lions favourite son David Taylor returned from being sworn in as the new 105D District President Fukuoka Japan on 1 Jul 2016,GMS Lions Alastair McKechnie grabbed sixty seconds of his precious time so you can get to know David a little better.
Q: David where do you come from and how old are you?
A: I was born in Brixham, Devon, raised in the East End of London (that's why I'm a West Ham supporter!) and I am aged 65.
Q: David when did you become a Lion and what inspired you to be one?
A: I joined 20 years ago in 1996 in Preston, Lancashire when a friend invited me to join the local Lions Club.
As an ex-serviceman it gave me a chance to become involved in my local community.
Q: What has been the most fun thing you have done as a Lion?
A: Some of the social events we organise have been great fun, especially the anarchic Charter Dinners our Club is famous for.
However, without a doubt the most rewarding time was the week working with the GB Special Olympics in Bath for those athletes with learning difficulties; Lions Clubs have a long-standing agreement working with the Special Olympics organisation worldwide and my involvement led to my son volunteering at the International Games in Los Angeles last year.
Q: What makes you give up your time day after day and year after year to be a Lion?
A: Simply put we really do make a difference - not just locally with the scores of people and organisations we have supported, but also worldwide.
As part of our 100th Year celebration we were challenged to affect the lives of 100 million people by the middle of 2017 - our 1.4 million members have already touched the lives of 93 million people with a full year to go! As we say, "Where there is a need, there is a Lion".
Q: What did you do before you became a Lion?
A: I served in the RAF as a logistics officer, retiring as a Wing Commander after 25 years. When I moved to this area I also worked as a Press Officer for Wiltshire Police before taking over the running of the voluntary-staffed Tourist Information Centre in Shaftesbury.
Q: Where do you live and what do you like about that community?
A: I live in Ludwell, just outside Shaftesbury. It's a small community and, just like the people throughout our area, it has a wonderful lifestyle in a rural community with so many things to do within a 30 mile radius.
Q: When did you decide you wanted to be the Governor of District 105D, and how did you feel when you were elected?
A: I never made that decision, it was not something I sought to do; however, so many of the 1,250 Lions throughout our District asked me to consider the position and encouraged me to stand. When I was elected it was very emotional and I felt incredibly honoured to have been chosen.
Q: What are your objectives during your tenure as 105D District Governor?
A: We need to increase our membership, we could achieve so much with more members; we are not business related, so anyone with a desire to serve their community can join.
We also need to celebrate everything our organisation has achieved in 100 years and continue to provide help wherever it is needed: Locally, Nationally and Internationally.
DG David's tagline is "Celebrating a Century of Service" as the Lions are now in their 100th year and looking forward to the next 100!
See no evil, Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil
It has been a while since I put pen to paper so I have a few things to mention in this short round up of what has happened in our little Lions Club, here to serve its triple community of Gillingham, Mere and Shaftesbury.
In April the club completed its annual glasses collection for the charity SPEKTREK which collects used spectacles and recycles them, before sending them off to less fortunate countries. Gillingham, Mere & Shaftesbury Lions Club hosted Clubs from Warminster ( also brought specs from Westbury), Bradford on Avon, Trowbridge, Salisbury, Blandford, and Blackmore Vale, to a collection lunch. Club collectively handed over a total of 26,332 spectacles + 698 sunglasses + 23 hearing aids to Petersfield Lions club who took them all into the regional collection centre for onwards processing. A big thank you to all the local opticians and surgeries in our areas who kindly allow our collection boxes to be placed into their stores so a huge thank you. (Shaftesbury -Robert Friths, Harrolds opticians, Eye Style; Gillingham - Eyes Right, The Barn Surgery, Peace Marsh Surgery, Robert Friths; Mere - Surgery, Chemist, Brainwave charity shop and news agents; Wincanton - Eye Centre, Robert Friths; Sherborne - Vision Express, Scrivens and Matthews Opticians).
A lot of people will be familiar with the wonderful work that Guide Dogs for the Blind do. Less have probably heard of the equally fantastic work that Hearing Dogs for the Deaf also do. Well at a recent club meeting we were privileged enough to have a presentation on what a life changer they can be. Many people are curious about what Hearing Dogs can do for people who are deaf or hard of hearing when they're in public. The most important thing a Hearing Dog provides a person in public is an increased awareness of his or her environment. A Hearing Dog isn't specifically trained to alert to sounds, such as a siren or honking horn, in public. But, when a person who is deaf or hard of hearing takes a Hearing Dog into public, he or she will gain an awareness of the environment by paying attention to whatever the Hearing Dog is reacting to. When the dog hears something and looks, the person will notice and turn to see what's happening as well. This can be life changing and is why the105D Lions District that GMS Lions club are trying to raise the £15000 it costs to train one of these dogs; GMS Lions has contributed some of its charity fund towards achieving that target.
On 20 May the Club hosted a quiz night at the Grove in Mere which was a great success raising £450. Thank you to all of you who attended and supported it was a great night. But that was eclipsed by another brilliant, brilliant 'Gillingham in Gear' Classic cars show on the meadow in Gillingham on 4th June. The GMS Lions who once again co-hosted this event were show casing their brand new Gazebo, which was hard to miss. Our friendly lion in a suit was there to entertain the kids, who may not have been as interested in the cool cars as their dad was. We also had our new lion Tombola raising cash for our charity fund, but also producing plenty of winners benefitting from a flutter. Of course there was a huge array of and newer cars, bikes, fire engines tractors and the kids favourite, the bouncy castle. And as if that was not enough the local brass band was on hand to provide a musical back drop to a glorious summers day in Gill. With Hidden Pizza, burgers vans and an ice cream van keeping everyone fed keeping everyone few, what was there not to enjoy. It really was a "triumph" ...roll-on next year.
Every Penny Counts
Whilst presentationally quiet, the Gillingham, Mere and Shaftesbury lions cogs have been steadily turning since the last report. The Christmas Float is the principal fund raiser for GMS Lions and every January, the committee consider and grant the first round of donations to local causes that have caught their eye. This year at the end of January the club considered and agree to make the donations to the following organisations who all provide excellent services to the Youth and the Needy in our community.
- One Shot, One Life
- Air Ambulance Dorset & Somerset
- Carnival Club (Shaftesbury)
- 2nd Shaftesbury Guides
- Hip Bones Youth club
- Gillingham Junior Angling Club
- Dementia Awareness
We have added to our charity fund from a couples of sources: firstly we received a cheque for £50 from an ASDA collection, a huge thank you to them for promoting our cause. The club has also been raising monies from our annual raffles of Giant Easter Eggs in local venues (still awaiting final tally of monies raised for charity). Thank you to all who have taken part, remember our motto 'Every Penny Counts'.
Members of the club have been helping out with the Marie Curie Daffodil collection and are currently busy preparing for the SPEKTREK big count on 17 April where clubs from across the UK gather together to handover thousands of used but useable spectacles.
In the slightly more distant time frame, plans are underway for a quiz evening to raise funds for the charity fund on Quiz Evening at the Grove Building on 20 May, for another spectacular Gillingham in Gear which is on 4 Jun 16. Oh and we are busily training our soon to be club President David rose, exciting times ahead.
Pigs and Posters
It is hard to believe that we have already passed the school half-term in this first quarter of 2016. So much has happened. Firstly GMS lions held their traditional function to say thankyou to all of the people (well as many as we could on the night) who helped us out with the Christmas float. The night consisted of food - cooked by the fair hands of our club President Denise Stenner and her two able assistants Janet Godden and Janet Davies, a couple of table top quizzes and then the pièce de résistance the racing of electronic pink fluffy battery operated pigs that 'oink' and waggle their curly tails. Yes you really did have to be there to see it but it was hilarious seeing seasoned club members urging their inanimate pigs to move their proverbial behinds a tad faster was a sight that will stay with me for some time to come. GMS Lions have also been helping out in the 24th Annual Blackmore Vale Half marathon which raised nearly £4000 for local charities and good causes, and will take part in the Gillingham Rivers meet fundraising quiz on 26 Feb. They are raising funds for a new defibrillator.
Good news has been tinged with some really sad news for GMS Lions, in particular Shaftesbury community. For over 30 years Gillingham, Mere and Shaftesbury Lions have provided both drivers and escorts for a minibus every month on a Friday evening to transport members of the Shaftesbury Disabled Group to their monthly social meeting. The bus was provided by Dorset council and parked at Trinity Hall in Shaftesbury. Sadly a decision was made that the bus will now be stored in Sturminster Newton; this makes it near impossible for our one minibus driver to collect it before and return it after the meeting. The difference just one night a month made to some of the Shaftesbury Disabled Group was summed up by one member who said, “the only time I can go out in the evening is when the Lions escort helps me onto the bus and brings me here to the Disabled Group. I have a lovely evening with a cup of tea that I don't have to make myself, listen to the entertainment, chat with friends and then get taken home safely again. I would pay double the amount to keep my night out."
On a lighter note it is peace poster contest time. This is something GMS lion have dabbled with in the past, but something that local schools should really consider. With a theme of the 2016-17 Peace Poster Contest is "A Celebration of Peace" young people – ages 11, 12 and 13 years old – are encouraged to express their visions of peace through art in the Lions International Peace Poster Contest. Lions clubs around the world proudly sponsor the contest in local schools and youth groups. ART Participants use a variety of mediums, including charcoal, crayon, pencil and paint, to express a different theme about peace each year. The works vary greatly and reflect the young artists’ life experiences and culture. GLOBAL Judges from the art, media, youth development and humanitarian communities select 24 international finalists representing the more than 350,000 children who participate annually. Posters are shared globally via the Internet, social media, news outlets and travelling exhibits. Find move information here http://www.lionsclubs.org/EN/how-we-serve/youth/peace-poster-contest/
And finally a look forward to an event of one of our partners the Weldmar Hospicecare Trust. They are organising a six mile sponsored walk between Weymouth and Portland is being held on Saturday 19th March 2016 at 11am - starting and ending at Osprey Leisure Centre, Portland. Come and get your walking boots on it is a walk for all of the family to enjoy and there is no minimum amount of sponsorship required.
GMS Lions bring Santa to a Doorstep near you raising nearly £4000 for local needy
Christmas should be a community affair, and the Gillingham Mere & Shaftesbury Lions Christmas float is our embodiment of that, trumpeting the commencement of the Christmas season, it pulls the community together in a number of ways.
Firstly, it brought Santa to a doorstep near you in Mere, Shaftesbury, Gillingham, Motcombe, Zeal and Bourton. We wish we could have serviced a wider community, but for the 22 days Santa had a fairly tightly choreographed schedule that called on favours from a lot of people – more of that in a moment.
Secondly, the float raises money for the Lions Charity fund. This in turn will go on to help lots of local needs throughout the year, and we will write and let you know more in due course. This year the total monies raised, after the administrative costs for running the float were deducted (fuel, refurbishment etc) is a whopping £3821.12, not quite £4000 but we will get there next year I am sure. So a huge thank you to all those people who contributed their ‘smarty tubes’ of savings and those who dipped a bit deeper. ‘Every penny Counts’ is a Lions strap line and it really does.
Thirdly, the float provides the opportunity for businesses, organisations and members of the public to help out. As a club of 20 persons we could not do this without their help. We should mention a few of those organisations but the list cannot be exhaustive and we are indebted and grateful to all who helped:
Johnsons Removals; Waitrose, Asda and Lidl’s in Gillingham; Crockers Hardware; Shaftesbury Christmas Lights committee; Abbey and Shaftesbury Primary schools; Strattons Carpets; Pip Newland Photography; Allen James Hay & Straw; Tony Adams and colleagues; Pearce Fuels; Shaftesbury Guides; Revellers Carnival Club; David Webber; Richard Coward (Mere Down Farm); and all the volunteers such as Jean Young, Sue Jeans and friends, Mike and Alan (Santa duty), Gillingham WI, and Charlotte, who answered a call from us on Facebook last year and came back again this year, who all gave up their evenings and came and helped.
Forthly, none of this would be possible without the concerted efforts of the GMS Lions who gave up all their evenings and spare time to deliver, beginning with the rejuvenation of the float itself ahead of the season, led by Lion Paul.
Finally, there were a number of Lions Christmas Number Grids for Chocolate Santas in the pubs and bars around the villages and towns. For those pubs who allowed us to use their venues to raise charity funds, thank you, and for those of you who bought a number thank you. We hope these will raise at least another £500.
From our Club President Lion Denise Stenner and all of us at GMS Lions a very big “THANKYOU” to everyone who helped out and worked as a team to make this such a memorable and fun time, and hope you all have a terrific Christmas and prosperous 2016.
'I know it's Christmas when I see the Lions Christmas Float'
Well that means one thing then folks, it must be coming up for Christmas. Denise Stenner and her team from Gillingham, Mere and Shaftesbury Lions Club have been working hard to give Santa's local taxi ride a face lift.
So let's not all their hard work work be for nothing. Come and see Santa with your children, or on your own if you like out and about. His dates are tight this year, but he, and the local charities the funds raised from this years float, need your support.All are 6.30pm starts unless otherwise statedWeds 2nd - MotcombeThurs 3rd - MereFri 4th - Zeals and BourtonSat 5th - Mere ( 2.30pm start)Sun 6th - Gillingham: ( 2.30pm start)Fernbrook/Kingfisher EstatesMon 7th Gyllas Way etcTues 8th Marlot Rd/ Wetherby RdWeds 9th Rolls bridge and points offThurs 10th Milestone Way/Deane Ave/BroadrobinFri 11th Maple Way/Freame WaySat 12th Lidl (10.00- 3.00 )Sun 13th Asda (10.00 - 3.00)Mon 14th - Shaftesbury : Heathfields / Sweetmans road areaTues 15th Great Ground estatesWeds 16th Pound lane/Imber rd/Gower rd/Burton closeThurs 17th Fairlane/Mampitts/Linden Park/St.Georges Rd and points aroundFri 18th Greenacre Way/Allen Rd estates ( we will only be stopping at certain points in these estates - will let you know where shortly )Sat19th/Sun 20th - Waitrose (10.00 - 3.00 both days )
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside....
‘Saturday, 19th September, saw the 36th Charter celebration of the Gillingham, Mere and Shaftesbury Lions Club. Lion President Denise Stenner with a 100 members and guests enjoyed an evening entitled a ‘Day at the Seaside’. With its usual eccentricity, the Club members staged an hilarious skit on such a trip with ‘Kiss Me Quick’ included. Unlike the guests, members of the Club came fully prepared for the typical summer weather and produced unfurled umbrellas at the appropriate time.
After this initial play acting the event got off to short speeches and a truly excellent meal prepared by the Olive Bowl in Gillingham accompanied by music provided by Paco Read. The guests attending included the District Governor Alan Chapman and his wife, Anne; the Mayor of Gillingham, Cllr David Walsh accompanied by his fiancée, Cllr Belinda Ridout and Mr Gavin Cooper, the Garden Centre Manager of Orchard Park Garden Centre, and his wife, Verena.
A notable event of the evening was the presentation, by the District Governor, of the Melvin Jones Fellowship to Lions Janet Davies and Richard Penson. This award is the highest recognition of service and respect that the Lions Clubs International Foundation can give. To Lion Janet for her services to the Club as Secretary over many years and to Lion Richard for his service over 36 years.
The evening continued to go on with dancing and the usual good quality raffle. All in all the event went with a swing and was enjoyed by everyone.
Summer time and boy has we been busy
What a summer it has been for GMS Lions. Firstly and selfishly I - the web/media bloke - have moved to Lille in France with my job, and in the few month I have been away and getting connected to internet etc so much has happened. So sorry to you all for the delay in getting the news to you. But here goes.
The summer began with our club President changing to new President Denise Stenner taking the baton on from Lions President Helen Littell. A huge thankyou to Helen for all that she did over the past year and welcome to Denise who has come back for her third time as Club President. She brings a lot of experience and a seemingly insatiable will and sense of fun.
Roll back the clock then to 6th July on a sunny day in Shaftesbury an GMS lions helped out the Rotary club on their annual Gold Hill Fair. The atmosphere was terrific and the fair was awash with people enjoying themselves. There was a wonderful programme of music, folk dancing and much merriment was had.
Keeping in Shaftesbury on the 15 July GMS Lions Chris hosted an extremely informative event at Shaftsbury Abbey site and gardens which was extremely well received by all who attended. Did you know the former Shaftesbury Abbey was founded in 888 by King Alfred and became one of the richest religious establishments in the country, before being destroyed in the Dissolution in 1539. King Canute died here in 1035, though he was buried at Winchester and in more recent times Ridley Scott 's used Gold Hill which is adjacent to the abbey site as the perfect setting for his television advertisement for Hovis bread.
Shortly after this we received the bad news that Gillingham Town Council could no longer provide us with a storage capability due to restructuring. Thankyou to them for their support over the years but an even bigger thankyou to Johnsons in station yard, Gillingham. They have already helped out in previous years by allowing us to park our Christmas float in there yard. They have offered us a large wooden container to store things in. This really is fantastic news for us.
GMS Lion David has previous highlighted the plight of Zest Cafe in Sherborne, a community wellbeing centre for people with mental health. In July he teamed up with Blackmore Vale Lions to fund a much needed new printer for the cafe.
The club has continued its association with Hippbones Youth Club, which has been running now for 9 years providing a much needed outlet to local youth in Gillingham fortnightly on a Saturday morning. Specifically GMS Lions has partnered it Youth Leadership Training Scheme with their Hippbones Youth Club Youth Development Trainee Scheme (YDT) which provides an opportunity for teenagers, aged 14 plus, to gain invaluable life skills and experience and gain invaluable training and accreditation. Go and check it out.
Next in what turned out to be atrocious conditions the GMS Lions were out in force stewarding at the Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show today cattle lines. It was not too wet however to prevent a previous GMS Lions President and current District Lions Vice President from indulging in a Steak Bap which he rated a 9/10, a strawberries & Cream Pancake which he rated as 8/10 and an Ice Cream which he rated as 8/10. As for the general public wow they got 10 out of 10.
Towards the end of August the club was approached by a local carer group for families of mentally ill people, and we were pleased to be able to give a donation of £150 towards this worthy cause.
Right now as I write this the GMS Lions are preparing for their Annual charter dinner, planning a date to get together to refurbish the Christmas float, Date to be arranged for painting the Christmas float, planning a fund raising quiz for Friday 23 Oct 15 and looking for volunteers to help marshal the Shaftesbury Gold Hill 10k run on Sunday October 11th.
I think there is someone out there in the environs of Gillingham, Mere, Shaftesbury who would make an excellent Lion. So if it is you go along to one of the meetings at 1930 on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month at the town hall in Gillingham. Go on surprise yourself.
Car, Motorbikes, Life savers it is all about the community!
June is a fantastic month for Gillingham, with music festival, a beer festival and a car and bike festival and it is also a busy month for the Gillingham, Mere and Shaftesbury Lions. Their role out of Young Leaders in Service has gathered a bit of momentum with Port Regis school and Hipp!!Bonescysn Youth Club both signing up their youngsters to the cause of doing good deeds for the community. The Young Leaders in Service (YLS) award scheme is open to all 11-18 year olds and it is aimed at encouraging young people to firstly recognise that they do good things for their community. YLS is a Lions international award scheme implemented in local communities. It uses metrics of hours of voluntary community service and leadership activity completed over a year period to recognise the youngsters achievement with an internationally recognised certificate and a letter from the Lions International President.
The other big event for GMS Lions was Gillingham in Gear (GiG). GMS Lions have been supporting GiG at the Town Meadow for three years now and GiG 2015 was been the biggest yet. With an array of classic and more modern cars, motorcycles, fire engines and tractors there was something for everyone. After an overcast morning we were blessed in the afternoon with glorious sunshine, drawing in the crowds. The bungee bouncy castle and hunt for the dinosaur kept the children amused, local bands rock and silver provided a fine ambiance, and Hidden Pizza kept the food rolling. GMS Lions were promoting two lifesaving bottles at the event.
The first was the Lions' 'Message in a Bottle.' This simple idea encourages people to keep their basic personal and medical details including a list of the medication they are taking or a repeat prescription form in a plastic bottle that is kept in the fridge – the last thing that burns in the event of a fire. On the fridge door a green sticker is placed which alerts a medic / para medic to its presence. You don't have to be old or infirm to be unwell so this is a scheme for all, in fact a lot of the bikers at GiG thought this was a brilliant idea they would extend to their cycle panniers. A paramedic with access to a 'Message in a Bottle' in a patient's can be a real lifesaver. A patient is in pain or distressed often hate being quizzed whilst stroke and heart patients often have reduced ability to speak. This little bottle can allow a patient access to treatment quicker. If any patient has a condition that we need to know about and is not in a position to tell us having a 'Message in a Bottle' can be the key to saving their life; they are free from your local Lions Club and medical centre.
The second lifesaving bottle is the LIFESAVER® jerrycan. Costing about £200 each, they use exceptional, patented filters to protect individuals from all water borne diseases. Water can be accessed from any puddle, well, stream, once it passes though the LIFESAVERS filters it is turned into filtered, clean, pathogen-free water. 1.1 Billion People are trapped in water poverty a Lifesaver jerry allows a family to escape that poverty for 5 years, LIFESAVER® systems was founded by Michael Pritchard in 2007. He was inspired after seeing the tragic waste of life and serious problems caused by the lack of safe drinking water in the wake of the tsunami in December 2004, and in August 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. 18 months later LIFESAVER was invented.
Thank you to the GiG team for partnering with us once again for a fantastic event.
A recurring truth is Lions club international have, and do, improve peoples’ sight, it is one of the four pillars of Lion Club International Foundation. Gillingham, Mere & Shaftesbury Lions Club has participated in SpecTrek for over 25 years, in addition to supporting Lions Clubs International’s SightFirst II Campaign, this year was no exception.
In the UK the SpecTrek Project is run by the regions Lions annually with collection in April by Petersfield Lions club, who travel around the region collecting every Club’s donations at a number of designated pick-up points including a lunchtime stop-over with us in Gillingham. GMS lions have been collecting steadfastly since last April and managed to collect a staggering 12,443 pairs of used glasses. GMS lions hosted nine other local clubs: Blackmore Vale, Blandford, Bradford on Avon, Salisbury, Trowbridge, Warminster and Westbury at Gillingham town hall on Sunday 19 April 15 for a buffet lunch and collectively presented 28,260 pairs of used glasses to Petersfield Lions club who move them on to Midhurst Lions in Sussex for processing.
To participate, GMS Lions collect used spectacles from lions-labelled boxes we have placed in local opticians and other stores throughout our area, in addition to those passed on to us by individual members of the public.
· Gillingham: Cancer Research; Frith’s Opticians; The Barn Surgery and Eyes Right opticians
· Mere: Surgery; Post Office; Brainwave Charity Shop
· Shaftesbury: Eye Style Centre; Frith's Opticians; Harold Opticians; Cancer Research shop; British Heart Foundation shop
So what happens to the specs after Midhurst? The Midhurst Lions have a regular sorting and packing session. They go through the specs discarding the junk, breakages etc. Where gold is present in the frames, they arrange for its extraction to raise money for the Southampton Hospital Eye Department. Midhurst also have a regular cases and sunglasses stall at the local community centre. The repacked specs are passed on to Chichester Lions. Chichester Lions store the packages and twice a year make up a large transit van load and cross the channel to Le Havre. Here, with the assistance of Le Havre Lions, the specs are taken to a small charity, Medico de France. This body, run by a few nuns and manned by a number of disabled people, then grade the specs and prepare them for the last leg of their journey to sight projects in Africa and Asia. Any money collected en-route or donations received from other clubs, is donated to eye camps in Africa. But when one looks at the outcome it is one of the most rewarding things we do. In these days of green issues the Lions spectacle collection project is more than recycling; it is reuse of a costly asset. We have collected over 2 million pairs of specs over the last 27 years; a significant saving in today’s world. More importantly, the collection brings hope to many families in the developing world who have been blighted by loss of sight.
Congratulations to our first winner of the Lions Easter Egg prize draw, with number 43 it was Phoebe, who I have to say was incredibly excited when she received her egg today.
Remember you can still win an egg at fantastic 1KG belgium chocolate egg at the following venues; squares cost £1 all profits go to the charity fund to provide more of the above:
- Gillingham: The Buffallo, The Olive Bowl Venue
- Mere: The Sprout and Flower, the George Inn, The social club,
- Shaftesbury: the rising Sun, the Ship, the Mitre, TIC
- Hindon : Angel
- Sherborne: TBC
Please do support generously.
First Vice-District Governor
It gives me great pleasure to announce that long-serving member of member of Gillingham, Mere and Shaftesbury, David Taylor, was voted at the 105D District Lions convention as the next First Vice-District Governor for the Lion year 2015-2016. This mean that providing there is no issue during his tenancy of that appointment in the 2016-2017 Lion year he will be the District President.
Also GMS Lions Veteran and ex-Club President 92-3, 97-8 and 07-08 Tony Taylor has been rewarded for his long term service with an invitation to visit her Majesty the Queen on 28 May 15 at one of her official garden parties. We are all incredibly pleased for him.
Gilingham, Mere and Shaftesbury Lions Pay out and Raise the bar
Having spent 2014 fund raising Gillingham, Mere and Shaftesbury Lions club confirmed who they intend to donate to:
- £100 - Wateraid: An international non-profit organisation set up in 1981by the UK water industry as a charitable trust. It works in 27 countries worldwide to provide people with clean water, safe toilets and hygiene education.
- £100 – Dentaid: An influential UK oral health charity which has supported around 260 projects in 60 countries by supplying refurbished dental surgery equipment, engineer training, school oral, health programmes and dental volunteer missions to fulfil its aim of improving the world’s oral health.
- £100 - Loomba 1-2-4 Foundation: A charity that provide sewing machines to widows in India enabling them to make a living. This is a particularly important donation for every £1 donated, Lions club international double it, and the Loomba foundation double it again making this £100 worth £400.
- £120 - Lions 105 District Youth services: This supports grants towards Young Ambassador Projects and Young Leaders in Service awards. This year GMS has already got three organisations on board with YLS, and is hoping to get its first nominations for the district Young Ambassador Final.
- £104 - Wiltshire and Dorset Air Ambulance Services: Each area receives a quarterly donation of £13 from GMS lions. The services provided 24/7 365 days a year response for seriously ill or injured people.
- £125 - Gillingham and Mere Food Banks: In 2014 about 1500 people received 3 day emergency food and support from the Gillingham food bank which services both Gillingham and Shaftesbury area, whilst the Mere equivalent serviced a proportionately similar amount of people. We decide to spend split the £125 75:50 on a shop of foods that the respective food banks need.
- £100 - Shaftesbury Scouts Trinity Hall Project: Last year the Bimport Trinity Hall project was launched, a £300,000 project to regenerate Trinity church community hall, GMS pledged at the time to contribute to the endeavour which will improve lives for many in the area and bring life back into a landmark building.
- £200 - Gillingham Read Easy Project: Easy Read recently establish in Gillingham to provide one on one voluntary tuition to adults who cannot read – there are a surprising amount of people with the reading age of a six year old or lower. The course book alone cost £168. Imagine how debilitating not being able to read a sign or a text message can be in today’s society.
- £50 - Shaftesbury Girl Guides: Provide us with the PA system every year for the lion’s float and also provide the daughters of Shaftesbury with a valuable outlet to learn to serve their community.
- £250 - Shaftesbury Reveller: We would have been unable to achieve the Lions Christmas float every night over December if it were not for the support of the Shaftesbury revellers volunteers. Quid pro pro; they in turn raise terrific amounts of money for charity whilst at the same time providing entertainment through the carnival to many.
Future Fund Raising
The GMS lions have made a pledge this year to diversify its fund raising activity. Previously it has been principally focussed on generating funds from the Christmas float this year we aim to do more activities. These include in concept:
- 1 May - The Spring Quiz – Grove Building Mere
- 30 May - A race night at Gillingham Football Club
- 6 Jun – Mere Church Fete
- 18 Jul – A barn Dance at Motcombe Village Hall
- August - Vintage Afternoon tea TBC
- Easter Christmas Eggs following on the theme began last year we will be raffling 1KG Easter eggs at the following venues; squares cost £1 all profits go to the charity fund to provide more of the above:
- Gillingham: The Buffallo, Olive Bowl, and on 28 mar 10am- 2pm at Waitrose and Asda
- Mere: The Sprout and Flower, the George Inn, The social club,
- Shaftesbury: the rising Sun, the Ship, the Mitre, TIC
- Hindon : Angel
- Sherborne: TBC
Please do support generously.
GMS Lions take stock and start again 2015
It has been a busy start to the year for GMS Lions. Firstly we had a bit of a stock take to identify what went well and those areas we can improve on our Santa Float. Things can always go better and it is really important to learn from experiences so the same mistakes are avoided, as best as possible in the future. Our club treasurer confirmed that after expenses had been paid - fuel for the generators, the sweets the children get etc. - the GMS December Christmas Santa Float had made a fantastic £4102 profit for charities. Over the coming months GMS Lions will be considering what worthy local organisations, causes and needs we should support and we provide them with grants … watch this space!
The Social Team under the stewardship of Janet Godden organised a thank you supper for about 25 local people who helped us with the float over the month of December. Without their support we would not have been as successful so we really owed them all a big thanks. Held at the Shaftesbury British Legion on Friday 30 January, we also held a raffle on the night and raised a further £48 for charity.
We have already bagged our first new member of the year, new Lion Brenda Littell, the mother-in-law to our current Club President, was formally badged to our club by District 2nd Vice President David Taylor on 28 January.
Over the Christmas period Lions placed 2KG Belgian Chocolate Father Christmas’s in 'The Ship'. 'The Mitre', 'The Rising Sun' and the 'TIC' in Shaftesbury, 'The Buffalo' in Gillingham, 'The Angel Inn' in Hindon, and the 'Weaver CIub' in Sherborne. The purchase cost for each 2 kg Santa was £40 (it was a lot of chocolate!). They were raffled at £2 a square and we made a whopping £391 profit for the charity fund. A huge, huge thank you to the seven establishments mentioned above and everyone who took part by buying a ticket. An even bigger thank you must go to the winners of the eggs at the Mite and Ship who then went on to donate the eggs to a further raffle doubling the charity effect. Awesome!
Six GMS Lions helped out at the Blackmore Vale organised charity Half Marathon in Bishops Caundle on 1 Feb 15. On what was crisp but sunny Sunday morning GMS lions manned the 4 mile and half way water points, whilst District Second Vice-President’s dulcet tones could be heard announcing the finishers. What else would you want to do on a Sunday morning?
Lions Young Ambassadors of the 21st Century
Have you heard of the Lions Young Ambassadors of the 21st Century scheme; the Youth Leader from GMS Lions Alastair McKechnie had not until last month. He is now in total awe having attended the 105D District Finals in Bournemouth last weekend. The aim of the Lions Young Ambassador of the 21st Century scheme, which operates throughout Europe, is to recognise, encourage and support young people who are actively involved in the welfare of the community, supporting the best of our Lions’ ideals. In previous years, candidates have been involved in helping young and older people, disabled, able bodied and disadvantaged and have organised projects in conservation, crime prevention, promoting healthier lifestyles, hospital radio and other initiatives.
This year's final had no entrants from North Dorset and so no representation at candidate level from Gillingham, Mere and Shaftesbury which is a real shame. There is undoubtedly talented young ambassadors out there, working hard in the community there are exceptional youngsters doing exceptional things, they just probably don't realise they are such inspiring people.
This year's final was won by Jenna Volpert, a charming and articulate 18 year old girl from Jersey. Jenna's numerous accolades include being a befriender for Autism journey, teaching the piano to less fortunate children 'Many kids in my school did not have adequate piano practice facilities – so I arranged practice sessions for the beginners at my house. My piano and flute playing was quite advanced, so by working with them I could help them get the most out of practice time' and cycling 500 miles to raise cash for the stroke association.' Jenna won £750 to be spent on charities of her choice and a place in the Multi district final with a £1000 prize.
The runner up Peter Marcus from Cosham was equally impressive - a member of the Portsmouth Youth Parliment, scout leader and multiple charity information technology and social media guru Peter gave up so much of his time help needy, doing Web pages and media feeds, and helping the mental challenged.
Wow.... all this with a combined age of 35...
The thing about all award ceremonies is the winners have to be found. The likes of Jenna and Peter do so much for their community because they want to, not for the reward, but they do deserve the recognition and the reward. They also benefit from meeting likeminded people and sharing ideas.
The scheme is open to Candidates of either sex within the age limits set out below.
To be eligible, candidates must have reached their 15th birthday, but not their 19th birthday, on or before 30th June in the year in which the MD Final is to be held.
GMS lion Al says, 'I know you are out there, and I know the people of Gillingham, Mere and Shaftesbury are bidding you. But I want your fantastic achievements to be known, you deserve it. So if you know a 15-18 year old who is a doer let me know and enter them for next year’s competition. Email me on email@example.com.”
“Now I know it is Christmas, the Lions Santa Float is here …”
The amount of times GMS Lions heard: “Now I know it is Christmas, the Lions Santa Float is here”!
This Gillingham, Mere & Shaftesbury Lions Santa Sleigh Float Season has been amazing - it reinforces that the GMS Christmas Santa has become a local tradition, it is looked forward to, adds a touch of magic to Christmas and as a by-product makes money that is used to support local needy causes. All in all it is win, win.
Now, no one said it would be easy. The first day we were taking the float out was Saturday 29th November. This was the daylight dress rehearsal, and thank goodness we had it because disaster struck; the tractor we were going to use to tow the trailer was broken. Luckily a local superman, Dave Webber from Shaftesbury a local driver instructor and Carnival enthusiast amongst many other skills, stepped in and loaned us – free of charge – the use of his tractor for a week; brilliant and thank you so much Dave.
So, GMS Lions Alex and Al set off from Mere at 10am with a car full of speakers, sound systems and CDs and headed to Shaftesbury to collect the loaned tractor. We had to then head back towards Longbridge Deverill to pick up the Sleigh from its winter store, hitch the tractor to the trailer and then head back to Port Regis – the location for our dress rehearsal. At this point Alex realised that the amplifier was not with the speakers, help!
Okay I have a Bose portable sound system at home and an MP3 player with Christmas tunes on that will have to do, so we arrived at Port Regis at 12.23pm. Father Christmas was there waiting along with Lion Janet and we were ready to go by 12.30pm as if nothing was wrong.
Port Regis were having a Christmas themed weekend for their boarders, so the arrival of the man in a red suit really was the perfect start. The children from Port Regis were both excited and polite and our dress rehearsal in daylight for the next three weeks was invaluable. In addition the Christmas GMS Charity fund had its first earning of £130. Brilliant.
From then on it was full steam ahead beginning with Shaftesbury Christmas lights on Monday followed by a week in Gillingham, a weekend in Mere, then Bourton, Zeals, more Gillingham including Lidl and Asda, onto Motcombe before a week in Shaftesbury and culminating in two days at Waitrose. We owe a big “Thank You” to all the supermarkets for their assistance.
GMS Lion Al – in his first year as a lion and relatively new to the area – said: “I can really see that this is a fabulous tradition, it raises money that is going to be used on great local causes – over forty local causes were serviced from lions funds last year - and the look and excitement on the faces of children, parents and the elderly as the lions float went around made those made dashes back from working in Bristol worthwhile. The £4000 we have raised this year is a fantastic testament to not only the Lions and its volunteers who have given up their time, but more to the generous nature of the wonderful people from the area. Every penny really does count”.
It does not seem very much time when it is put like that; however it requires a determined effort from helpers and volunteers like Charlotte, who answered a call on Facebook for helpers and loyally turned up to Gillingham, ‘to swing a collection pot’; for dedicated drivers, Lion Alex, Paul Franks and Dave Webber, for our Santas Lion Jim, carnival club Jim and St John member Mike who entertained so many children, and all the other helpers.
From our Club President Helen Littell and all of us at GMS Lions a very big “THANKYOU” to everyone who helped out and worked as a team to make this such a memorable and fun time, and hope you all have a terrific Christmas and prosperous 2015.
GMS Lions help Local Dental Nurse Give Zimbabwe a Winning Smile
On 14 September 14, Rosie Sheaf, a Dental Nurse from the Gillingham based ‘Winning Smiles’ dental practice, used two weeks of her annual leave, to join fourteen other volunteers flying the 7,485 miles from London to Harare to join the Dentaid Zimbabwe Mission. DENTAID, a Salisbury based charity, provides exciting opportunities for dental professionals to volunteer to serve the oral health care needs in developing countries and use their skills to provide some dental care and oral health education to those communities.
Upon her return GMS lions invited Rosie to give a talk on her experience. She explained to an interested audience about the poor state of Zimbabwe’s health system which appears to be in near collapse apart from in key central area. By the end of November 2008, she explained three of Zimbabwe’s four major hospitals had been shut down, along with the Zimbabwe Medical School, and the fourth major hospital had no operating theatres working. Due to hyperinflation, those hospitals still open are now unable to obtain basic drugs and medicines. This has been compounded by the 'brain drain' that has seen the emigration of many of the medically trained staff, medical knowledge and treatment in rural communities is rudimentary at best making Zimbabwe an ideal location for a Dentaid focus mission.
'Dentaid volunteer missions are delivered in partnership with local oral health care providers or NGOs. My primary role as a Dentaid volunteer was to assist the local health workers who do a terrific job but just do not have the capacity to outreach to rural communities to deliver oral care services to the local community. Oral hygiene is essential but for many of the children we saw, it had clearly not been a priority. That was so humbling but equally hugely inspiring. Human beings can experience so much hardship, but at the same time be so stoic and happy. Every day without fail we saw children and adults alike whose teeth are literally rotting, who were in agony, and yet there suffering regardless of the debilitating effect it must of been having was silent and uncomplaining. I feel so privileged, it was so rewarding to see the relief that basic yet essential pain-relieving dental treatments we offered gave, who would have thought the transforming effect applying a simple fluoride treatment or being given a toothbrush would give; it was bitter sweet. It would be interesting to return in a year’s time and see if our work has been continued and made a long-term positive difference. There are fundamental problems for example the fact sweets are used as a currency being cheaper and more abundant that fruit and basic essentials. We have provided practical oral health education to hundreds of disadvantaged communities and in schools and orphanages during our stay which was really rewarding. I really would recommend this once in a lifetime opportunity that UK dental workers can offer to anyone.'
Whilst the majority of the trip was all work, staying in some very rudimentary accommodation with temperamental basic provisions, there were some benefits. The volunteers were treated to a short but thoroughly memorable trip to the unspoiled Victoria Falls.
Lions clubs throughout the UK have been supporting Dentaid since a partnership began in 2001. Support ranges from collecting dental care equipment that can be reconditioned and reused, and sponsoring special projects including those in Cambodia, Zambia, Colombia, Mongolia, Uganda, Cameroon, Nepal, India, Romania, Bangladesh and of course Zimbabwe. 'With the promotion of charitable health care being one of the four Lions International Pillars, GMS Lions were happy to be able to sponsor 10% of the £2500 Rosie needed to secure her place on the trip. The specialist skills and enthusiasm Rosie had for promoting and helping genuine need for dental hygiene is absolutely admirable,' said Denise Stenner Vice President of GMS Lions
November We Remember
Blessed with good weather members of GMS Lions attended parades and services in Gillingham, Mere, Shaftesbury and Sherborne on Sunday 9th November 14 to commemorate, those'Who gave their lives for our today,' from the Great war. This year remembers 100 years since the dreadful losses of life in that war. This year though as we call to an end a thirteen year conflict in Afghanistan, it is poignant that we remember all those who have been sacrificed in wars for out country.
GMS Lion Major Al Mckechnie (RE) prepares to lay a wreath at the Gillingham Remembrance Parade
October Breast Cancer Fishing and Gold Hill
GMS held a sixties Quiz night on 24 Oct in the Gillingham Church Hall that had be given a psychedelic makeover by David Rose and son Robert. GMS Lions Quiz master David Taylor had those old brain cells being truly exercised with a fantastic set of questions with something for everyone that ranged from the easy 'Published in 1964 who was the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? ' -'Roald Dahl' to the more obscure 'On 21 Mar 1962 which was the first animal to be ejected from a supersonic jet?' - 'A bear'. I suspect even Harold Wilson would have had even scratching his head. The winning team 'The Quizzical' managed successfully to navigate their way through the intellectual challenge beating all the home teams. Debbie coordinated a fantastic spread of hot food for the 69 participants, whilst the entertainment committee coordinated an awesome raffle which achieved a £200 donation to Breast Cancer research which was the chosen charity for the evening’s proceeds.
GMS Lion Club President Helen Littell made good on a promise made at our Lions Club Charter and presented a cheque for some £300 to the Gillingham and District Angling Association in October. The club which GMS have sponsored this year has an active youth section. This money will be used to help fund the starter kits new youth members need to take up the sport.
Also in October GMS Lions got up on an unseasonably warm October morning to help marshall the Gold Hill run.
GMS Lions Sail through its 35th Annual Charter
The Gillingham, Mere and Shaftesbury Lions club celebrated its 35th formation anniversary with its annual charter dinner/dance aboard the SS Olive Bowl on Saturday. The evening began with a welcome to the honoured guests that would have befitted the launch of the Titanic with full streamers and fanfare accompaniment to 'A Life on the Open Waves'.
GMS Lions Club President Helen Littell welcomed a total of 109 people to a fun event including a top table of the 105D Lion District Governor - Lion Mike Hendy, the Mayor's of Gillingham and Shaftesbury and the District Nurse Team Leader Diana Warner, along with their partners. Also present was a 1st Vice District Governor, a 2nd Vice District Governor, six past District Governors, two District Officers, a Lion Zone Chairman, seven Lion Presidents, four Lion Vice Presidents, a Rotarian, along with Lions and friends from 17 Lions Clubs - Andover, Bracknell, Bradford on Avon, Burnham, Blackmore Vale, Hart, Isle of Weight Cowes Branch Club, Isle of Weight Newport, Isle of Weight Sandown & Shanklin, Newbury, Salisbury, Trowbridge, Warminster, Westbury, Weymouth & Portland, Wimborne & Ferndown.
As always the Olive Bowl delivered an excellent venue and meal, whilst the entertainment ranged from a brilliant saxophonist, novel and entertaining toasts and speeches, a raffle, a disco and a pair of pirates, also known a Lions Al Mckechnie and Jim Godden, who kidnapped and then ransomed the District Governor for Gold - clearly for charity.
The raffle raised £315 for the GMS Lions charity account whilst a number of donations were made by GMS Lions on the night. These included: a £50 donation to the District Governor's wife's chosen charity - the Lions Clubs International Measles Initiative “One Shot, One Life”; a £10 table present pledge to the charity of choice of each top table guest; and a £275 donation to the GMS Lion's chosen youth organisation the Gillingham and District Angling Association which will be used to fund an equipment starter pack for new members.
A Zest for Charity in Sherborne
Lion David Rose from the Lion’s Club of Gillingham, Mere and Shaftesbury along with his son Robert and two other GMS Lions Janet and Jim Godden made two generous donations this week. The first was for £500 to Zest Café. Caz a Zest café volunteer receiving the cheque explained to David Rose that “The project is a local community resource centre run by its members in the heart of Sherborne. It provides supported employment, volunteer opportunities, informal training and social facilities. Zest café was previously known as the Four Leaf Clover Club, and re-launched in 2010 as the Sherborne Centre for Wellbeing, incorporating the Four Leaf Clover Club and Zest Café and provides a service for people recovering from mental health problems, providing inclusive access for the community. Its ethos is to promote social, emotional and mental wellbeing for our local community. Your donation is heart-felt and will help us continue this great work”
The second £500 donation was to the Sherborne and District Citizens Advice Bureau which is an independent service providing free, confidential and impartial advice to everybody regardless of race, gender, disability, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, religion and belief. Our funding comes from a mixture of local authority funding and other sources which are listed on the bureau pages. We are here to help and advice on a full range of issues and problems and we are impartial, independent, confidential and free. Receiving the cheque, Advice Services Manager Diana Hensher & a member of the trustee board thanked GMS Lions saying, “They were extremely grateful, it will benefit many clients”
When Alastair Mckechnie, from GMS Lions, asked, “Why Sherborne?” Jim Godden replied, “When the four of us joined GMS, when Sherborne Lions closed, we brought the money raised by the citizens of Sherborne with us. We have been looking for a worthy course to donate that money to and in Zest and CAB we have finally found it.”
The sky's the limit for GMS Lion David Taylor
Veteran GMS Lion David Taylor carried out an exhilarating fundraising activity for Lions in August. He carried out a sponsored skydive from 13,000ft during the Joint Services Skydiving Championships at Netheravon with the Army Parachute Association.
In his own words: "A short time before jumping and we were shuffling down towards the exit door. Swing legs I cannot describe the feeling of the first 2 seconds! Every emotion and adrenaline rush - you have to experience it, it cannot be adequately described.
Where did the time go? Suddenly another tap, grab hold of the shoulder straps and the parachute is deployed.From sheer exhilaration to 4 minutes of absolute ecstasy as we slowly descended around and down towards the airfield. Feet up for the last 20 seconds and a smooth landing on our backsides.
"Well, would you do it again?" My thanks to those who sponsored me - over £500 for our Lions Charity Fund". Congratulations David, another one to add to the 'bucket list'.
Holy Lion Cars Batman! - Become a Lion
Gillingham, Mere and Shaftesbury Lions teamed up with the organisers of the Gillingham in Gear Classic Car and Bike show on 7 Jun 14.
It was a great success all round, despite the threat of a wash out the initial cloud burst did not deter the populace of Gillingham. By 11am the venue, the meadow in Gillingham behind the Red Lion was packed full of enthusiasts admiring the car and bikes, eating ice cream, bouncing on the bouncy castle or guessing the name of our Lion.
Our man in a Lion suit took a few trips around the local Waitrose, Asda and shops surprising a few people and drumming up more customers.
Despite having a go the Mayor of Gillingham was not one of the three lucky people who correctly guessed the names our prize Lions. Finley correctly guessed the large lion was called, ‘Dayo’, whilst Amy correctly guessed, ‘Esi’ and Dillon correctly guessed, ‘Chike’
Additionally Samuel guessed the correct number of sweets in the jar at 389. Lion’s also managed to issued over 40 ‘message in a bottle’ packs. This fantastic Lions initiative which has been rolled out nationally can be a real life saver in an emergency.
A simple pot you place in the fridge contains medical information and personal details of a patient leading to safer and speedier First Aid by first responders short cutting time consuming fact-finding enquiries about the patients. GMS Lions recently spent an evening preparing "Message in a Bottle" containers and loading them into dispensers for distribution to local medical centres, dentists and pharmacies.Please take a look at our club donations page to see some of the worthy causes your local Lions Club GMS has been supporting.
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If you are interested in helping out or becoming a Lion Please Contact:
Lion President Helen Littell firstname.lastname@example.org
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