Tetbury Lions boost Hospitals ophthalmology unit

Lions International is celebrating 100 years of service and throughout this time sight programmes have played a major part in fund raising efforts.  As part of the 100-year celebration, each individual Lions Club was asked to identify their Centenary Community Legacy Project.  Tetbury Lions Club, for its project, decided to make a large contribution to the Tetbury Hospital Trust for the purchase of a new visual fields machine for the ophthalmology unit.

Visual field tests measure peripheral vision and are used to detect blind spots (scotomas), which could be a sign of eye diseases.  The size and shape of a scotoma offer important clues about the presence and severity of diseases of the eye, optic nerve and visual structures in the brain. Many eye and brain disorders can cause peripheral vision loss and other visual field abnormalities.  From 1st April 2016 to 31st March 2017 600 patients have had their visual fields checked at Tetbury hospital.  Without a visual fields machine, the current unit will expire in April 2018, the ophthalmology service is not sustainable and this will impact negatively on current patients, particularly those with glaucoma who need to visit the hospital regularly to monitor their condition.

We are proud to announce that Tetbury Lions has collected enough money to enable the purchase of a replacement, thereby, enabling eye clinics to continue in Tetbury.  This donation of £15,000, one of our largest ever, was presented to Zena Dalton, Chief Executive, Tetbury Hospital Trust, during the Lions Charter Night dinner on 20th October 2017 at the Hare and Hounds Hotel.

In addition, the hospital is also looking to acquire an ophthalmic diagnostic scanner.  With the Lions providing most, if not all of the funding for the visual fields equipment, it has freed up other funds that would allow the hospital to purchase the scanner as well.


Best for Ben Update - September 2017

Having suffered life-changing injuries in a swimming pool accident in Cyprus back in April 2016, Ben Wernham finally moved back into the family home in Avening at the end of July 2017.  The journey has been fraught with problems for not only did the family have to come to terms with Ben’s life as a tetraplegic, they also had to face the challenge of adapting the whole house for wheelchairs use.  Ben’s partner Ella responded quickly by setting up the Best4Ben fundraising campaign which raised over £100,000, and this allowed at least half the work on the house to be completed.  The project, adapting every door in the house, providing wheelchair access throughout and building a suitable extension for Ben and a live-in carer, advanced significantly when the BBC’s DIY SOS team took up the challenge.

Aided by an army of volunteers the DIY SOS team transformed the house and garden in just nine days.  Ben now has wheelchair access from the road to the house and with a lift installed, can also access every room in the house and get out and enjoy the garden.  For the first time in sixteen long months Ben can now sit next to his partner and the two children in his home and be part of family life.  Ben said that he “now feels part of the family” and is relieved that he is no longer “stuck off in a side room.”

The lift to allow Ben full access to the first floor is a significantly sophisticated piece of equipment and as such is a major financial burden.  While this could not be donated free of charge, the company offered it at half price meaning the family had to find £7,000 very quickly.  Tetbury Lions, having been involved with the family for some time, responded by donating £1,500 towards this cost.

Tetbury Lions unite caring organisations - June 3rd. 2017

Early in June, Tetbury Lions, for the first time in the Club’s history, facilitated a workshop for 50 delegates and seven speakers representing 40 caring organisations serving the town. The idea of this workshop was born out of a desire within the Club to find out where the need is greatest in the community so we can better target our efforts ‘to serve’. In short, we aimed to be the catalyst for change, not the patrons or executors of a programme to deliver change. It was made clear during the day that the drive for change has to come from the organisations represented at the Workshop.

Tetbury already has many organisations (some Tetbury based, some from the bigger towns and some from County branches of national organisations based in Gloucester who do extremely good work, under difficult conditions but the consensus is that it is difficult to determine the range of organisations available and how to contact them. This workshop sought to improve networking between caring organisations and establish some form of data base from which caring professionals can prioritise their efforts in serving the community.

Following a series of stimulating presentations by various caring organisations, a very active Q&A session, and a short presentation about the possible creation of a single source website to link together all the Care and Community services in and around Tetbury, the afternoon session was dominated by a series of roundtable discussions; each considering a key issue for the town’s residents including; Family, Long-term Conditions, Frailty and Infirmity; Transport & Communications and Improving Networking. From this it was quickly apparent that Tetbury Lions can support this initiative going forwards by producing and maintaining a database and associated website that draws together all the activities, contact details and links to the various caring organisations serving Tetbury.

Lion Chris French conceived this project and was the driving force in making it a reality. He commented that “the database and web site have already advanced significantly and it is clear that we have provided the catalyst for some enduring change and in addition, have brought to the fore some positive new ideas, initiatives and awareness.” We are wondering if any other club has done something similar?"

Press Release  May 16th 2017

Tetbury Lions supports the Severn Freewheelers

Severn Freewheelers is a group of advanced motorcyclists providing a free out-of-hours courier service for hospitals in Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, North Wiltshire and Herefordshire.  The group deliver whole blood, pathology samples, patient scans/x-rays, human milk - in fact any medical essentials between hospitals in the area.  Some of the riders have full time jobs but still make themselves available to operate the service from 7pm in the evening to 7am the following day, all day at weekends and public holidays.  All riders are volunteers and hold a current advanced riding qualification and all receive extra training in emergency response riding and the transport of goods.  In short, a professional team delivering a professional service, FREE to the NHS at the point of use with a mission to develop and maintain a professional and reliable service to assist the overstretched NHS.

Also known as “Blood Bikes” this group, one of many around the country, was established in 2007, initially covering Cheltenham and Gloucester.  However, demand for their service was so high it necessitated a rapid expansion to cover Worcestershire, Herefordshire and North Wiltshire.  The group run a fleet of six emergency response equipped motorcycles commonly used by police forces and other emergency services throughout the UK.  Each motorcycle completes around 30,000 miles annually and it costs around £45,000 to run the fleet over the same period.  However, it is estimated that this free service saves the NHS, which would otherwise have to rely on private hire taxi companies, couriers etc, some £450,000 per year.  

The figures clearly indicate that this is a huge undertaking for a charity that relies solely on the support and generosity of the general public, local businesses and its own members.  Tetbury Lions recognised the value and significance of this small group of volunteers and presented them with a £300 cheque.  In making the presentation to Peter Johnson of the Severn Freewheelers, Lion President said “I am delighted that the Tetbury Club recognises the immense value of this service, not just to the NHS but also to individuals who often find themselves in a life threatening situation”.

For further information the Severn Freewheelers visit:




Press Release         March 18th 2017                     

Tetbury Lion Tony Sykes to run London Marathon

On Sunday 23rd April 2017 Tetbury Lion Tony Sykes will be running the Virgin London Marathon, one of just 10 Lions Club members in the United Kingdom to secure a Gold Bond place to run on behalf of Lions International Centenary.  These prized places have been made available by Chester Lions Club, the only Club in the country to offer such an opportunity.  All ten members of “Team Lions” will be raising money for Blind Veterans UK, Llandudno.  All proceeds will be used to expand the rehabilitation facilities for sight-impaired and limbless ex-service men and women.  The state of the art facilities will provide essential services to improve the quality of their lives and, when completed, will be used to deliver the “Life Skills for Independent Living” project.

Tony is no stranger to marathon running having previously run the New York Marathon and two London marathons and while these were some years ago, he is making sure he is in good shape to take on this huge challenge.  In addition to building up his distance running, his weekly training regime includes a strict dietary routine, some weight training and cycling to boost his muscle ability and shed the pounds.  He is confident that on the day he will achieve a very respectable time of something over four hours.  Like the other members of “Team Lions” Tony is committed to raising at least £2,500 in sponsorship.  Early indications are very positive as within twenty-four hours he had raised over £500 towards this total.  This was boosted by a very different and hugely enjoyable race night organised by Tetbury Lions that raised a very impressive £1,200, a figure that was way beyond expectations.  With other donations either received or pledged, Tony has now doubled his target to £5,000. If you wish to support him in this huge challenge, please go to his just giving page located at and lets see if we can make him boost his target again.


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Press Release                                 15th February 2017

Tetbury Lions supports the “Bring Ben Home” campaign

When told of the tragic twist to the family life of local man, Ben Wernham, Tetbury Lions quickly rallied to get behind this campaign and hope that others will be similarly inspired.  On holiday in Cyprus in 2016 with his partner and two daughters, Ben sustained life-changing injuries in a swimming pool accident that resulted in three breaks in his neck and consequently, a massive amount of damage to his spinal cord.  His journey back to the UK was both long and fraught with problems and he is now, several months after the accident, receiving specialist care in the Spinal Unit in Salisbury Hospital.  All family members now have to come to terms with Ben’s life as a tetraplegic (complete or partial loss of use of all limbs and torso).  After months on a ventilator, he is now able to breathe by himself and is able to spend time in a specialised wheelchair most days.

For a young and active man, adapting to this new life will be full of challenges and it will be some time before the family can be together again at home.  Considerable funds need to be raised to install appropriate access and to extend the property as in addition, Ben will require the services of a specialist live-in carer.

Tetbury Lions have been moved by the tenacity of this family in the face of such adversity and set about the task of raising funds specifically for Ben, and to raise awareness of the plight of this family in the hope that others can help.  The Lions held raffles and other fundraising events throughout December 2016 and Lion President Alan Cross presented the family with a cheque for £1,500.

Accepting the cheque Ella said she was amazed at the support from Tetbury Lions coming at a time of great need and that “it significantly contributed to family life, which is so important.”  Ben added his personal thanks to the Lions “for what they have done for my family and me.  You have brought us together when we are so far apart.”  


Press Release                                16th January 2017


Tetbury Lions wins second major award

For the second time in two consecutive years, Tetbury Lions has secured a prestigious award, this time exclusively for the Clubs monthly Tetbury Advertiser publication.  This success has come from the 2016 National Parish Magazine awards hosted by Parish Mag Printers, a subsidiary of Sarum Graphics Ltd.  The organisers say that this “free to enter”' award scheme “ for editors and their fellow volunteers all over the country who devote an enormous amount of time and effort, free of charge, to producing magazines that service their communities every month of the year.  It is our aim to give magazine editors recognition for the service they provide, which so often goes unrewarded.”  Out of 40,000 plus print-registered local magazines and more than 600 entries, the Tetbury Advertiser, against a strong short list of finalists, was voted Best Overall Magazine in the A4 Magazine category.  The judging panel considered four criteria in reaching a decision: 1) a focus on artwork, page layout and graphics. 2) the variety of articles, photos and general information, 3) order of content variety, accuracy and interest value, 4) quality of finishing and printing.  By any standard this is a magnificent result for a first time entry and one that, once again, promotes the work of Lions to a wider audience.

In 2015 Tetbury Lions were honoured to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, an award that specifically recognised the impact the Tetbury Advertiser has on all sections of the community.  Tetbury Advertiser editor Richard Smith, who secured the entry into the National Parish Magazine competition, presented the winners certificate to Dave Roberts to recognise his significant contribution to the design and layout of this publication.  At the presentation Dave said “It is a great privilege to accept this award, which recognises the huge and regular contributions of a number of people that make my function much easier and so enjoyable.” 

President's Handover 2016

We gathered at the Shipton Moyne Village Hall on Saturday July 2nd. for the official Handover ceremony to the new Tetbury Lions President, Lion Alan Cross. Complimentary speeches were made by the new President and the outgoing President, Richard Smith as the chain of office was transferred.

We all very much enjoyed a delicious cold buffet provided by the Cat & Custard Pot Inn and were taken back to our mis-spent youth as we competed in a variety of vintage Pub games. I believe Lion Brian Thacker was the overall winner, but we've only got his word for that. Thanks must go to our new President, ably assisted by Lion Robin, for organising this most enjoyable event.

Lion Alan G.

July 2015, The Close Hotel, Tetbury.

Tetbury Lions club were proud to accept the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. Tetbury Lions President, Richard Smith was presented with the certificate and engraved crystal plinth by Dame Janet Trotter, the Lord Lieutenant of Gloucester.

We were very proud indeed to have received the QAVS, representing as it does all the generosity of people in and around Tetbury over the years, toward both our club and the Advertiser.

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