So much for wishing you all best wishes for the New Year. No one could have known that, within ten weeks of the New Year, a pandemic would affect all of us in such a devastating way.

I had been waiting to prepare a blog at the end of March reporting on a relatively quiet three month. That is not unusual for the Winter quarter. However, things have happened so quickly over the last few days and urgent decisions have been made that I now prepare this blog, as much for the sake of club members as for you faithful followers of this ranter.

First, some good news! Our latest defibrillator is to hand and has been presented to our friends at the Flint Golf Club. Again, in many respects we trust it will not be needed, but experience shows it will be. The Golf Club are very good friends of the Lions. They are our hosts, looking after us very well at their clubhouse.

The second piece of good news also involves the Golf Club. Two years ago, they donated monies raised by their Captain to our Prostate Cancer Awareness campaign. They have now, very generously, repeated the exercise with a donation of £2,555. This gift really does underline to us the seriousness of this campaign and the need for it within the community. This gift goes a long way towards the cost of our next exercise.

Speaking of which, we hope the next clinic will be on Tuesday 6th October at the Flint High School.

The school have kindly agreed to make the facilities available for us, as they have on the last four occasions. Our strategic partners, the Graham Fulford Charity Trust, have introduced a new system this year, requiring all who wish to be tested to obtain an appointment online. This will be a major change for the first clinic. No "drop-in" patients can be catered for. Things will be a lot easier in following years but we have to get the publicity in place early to ensure our patients are aware of the changes and go online or find a friend who can do it for them. Look out for posters and keep an eye on our Facebook pages. As I write this blog, the Graham Fulford Charity Trust, who deal with the test results once received from the laboratory, send out the results and deal with the appointment system now being introduced, have advised that all activities are suspended pro-tem: this is because of present advice from the authorities and having regard to the age of the anticipated patients and of the members of Lions Clubs throughout the UK who involve themselves with these clinics. At least we have some time to monitor this particular problem: hopefully, the clinic can proceed: the worst case scenario is a postponement. It will proceed as soon as we can safely hold it. We owe that to our regular patients, to those who walked for us in Wepre Park last year and to our friends at the Golf Club.

Where we do not have the luxury of waiting to see is in relation to this year's plant sales campaign. There is every likelihood that schools are about to close. This means that our operating base, so kindly provided by Flint High School, would be unavailable to us. The great majority of the club members are in the age group being advised to self-isolate. We have reluctantly concluded that we have no option other than to cancel this year's sales It will mean a great financial loss - it is our principal fund-raiser. It will be a great disappointment to nearly four hundred customers who have come to rely on us for the delivery of extraordinarily good quality plants. We are in the process of writing to all our regular customers explaining the position, hoping they understand and that they will come back to us next year. Geoff Mitchell has spoken to Stuart, our nurseryman: he graciously acknowledges our decision and wishes good health to all the Lions. We look forward to continuing our long and happy relationship as soon as possible.

A concert had been planned for the Spring with the Holywell Band. A date and venue had not been fixed but, clearly, that will also have to be put on the back-burner.

Our 48th Charter anniversary, was scheduled for May 22nd. We have felt obliged to postpone that for now and may have to have a joint Charter Night and President's Handover celebration when it is safe to do so. I only hope we do not have to link those with our Christmas Dinner!

We have decided not to hold a meeting in April and will keep the following months under review as time progresses. Our AGM will take place in April but like all other business matter it will be conducted on the internet. Club Officers and Committee Chairmen will be asked to submit their reports by email. Members will be deemed to agree to any recommendations/resolutions unless they say otherwise within 3 days of the meeting date. If there is an objection, we shall debate by email and proceed eventually to a vote. It may work pro-tem but it cannot replace the fun and camaraderie we enjoy at our meetings. I only hope we can revert to normal procedures soon.

If the above does not persuade you of the seriousness of the times, I have to confirm that our very successful breakfast club is suspended!

I want to reassure our members and those who follow these ramblings (not necessarily the same people!) that those of us who have had to make these decisions have not made them lightly. In particular we should thank Geoff and Bryn who have been at the sharp end of talking to contacts and cancelling bookings etc.

Whatever decisions have been taken are intended to protect the health of our members, wives, ladies, families and our supporters.

At our next meeting, on the net, I will propose a raffle. It is bound to be a success and we will need the funds. First prize will be a toilet roll!

Take care all of you: don't go taking any risks.






Hello faithful reader. Someone tells me my ramblings have been missed. Perhaps it's really the exciting story of our club's progress that has been missed. I can't write a President's Blog anymore so I have had to consider what to call it.

Ex-president's blog?    Too negative

Past president's blog?  Too final.

Erstwhile president's blog?     Too regal..

So, I have settled on "Not the President's Blog".

I shall try to update you on our first six months of this Lions' year and then, from time to time, but not necessarily monthly, I shall let you have further updates.

First, let me tell you about the Defibrillator campaign. We have placed the three I mentioned in the June blog in Flint Mountain, Lixwm and Bagillt Boot End. We have also placed one outside the Yacht Inn at Oakenholt and Lion President Peter's project for his year has been fulfilled with the presentation of one in his community of Argoed. Training in the use of these vital machines continues. There are always plenty of volunteers at these sessions. We have been delighted with the responses we have received from some of the communities that have received defibrillators from us. This year, we have received donations from the community of Lixwm and Flint Town Council. With other donations received last year, we have received enough funds to buy an extra machine. We hope to place six more in the next few months. Lion Bryn Jones started this campaign in his presidential year: true to form, this meant the club appointed him as the defibrillator coordinator. Thanks for all you do Bryn.

The Prosate Cancer Awareness campaign continues. We had a clinic in October with over 300 attending. As always, we are grateful to the headmaster and staff of Flint High School who, so readily, make facilities available for the event. With experience, we have been able to improve our performance. Waiting time has been reduced significantly by having the assistance of ten phlebotomists. This year, about twenty of our clients received urgent letters from the Retired Consultant, who reviews all results, advising that they consult their Doctors about the level of their readings. We are aware that many of those are now in receipt of treatment that , we hope, will be successful. What we do know, for certain, is that they would not be in receipt of treatment had they not attended our clinic. We hope to continue this vital, life-saving work. Although the bulk of the club members attend the clinic to ensure its smooth running, we have to thank Lions Mike Emslie and Peter McCracken who, from the first year of this campaign, have master-minded the organisation.

There is no cost to those who attend the clinic: many, however, do make a donation at the time. Lion Terry Withington suggested that a sponsored walk might be a good way of raising awarenes of the clinic and raising funds for the next clinic. Terry liaised with the staff and volunteers at Wepre Park, Connah's Quay. They could not have been more helpful or encouraging. On a cold but dry day in October, we held the event. Members and their wives raised funds via sponsorship and we were grateful and delighted to have support from some of our patients. One gentleman raised £200 from his friends.Not only did the Friends of Wepre Park attend the event to act as guides, they also donated funds to the cause. We are extremely grateful to them for their support and also to the Park Ranger. We are also grateful to Terry for all his work in putting the project together. In all we raised about a quarter of the likely cost of our next clinic.

We have continued the Environmental Photographic competition. Like last year, pupils from St. Richard Gwyn High School swept the board, taking both age groups: the winners received gift tokens for £100 each  and the school received the school awards totaling £400. I never cease to be amazed at the quality of the photographs and the imagination and ingenuity applied by the pupils. The degree of novelty that goes in to some of the entries has made me reapproach my own thoughts on environmental matters. Lion Roy Swinburn has looked after this competition since I was able to introduce it in my year of office. I thank him for his genuine interest in the project and the time he takes in organising it. I hope Roy will continue with this competition: he is the only Lion member who knows which end of the camera to point at the subject..

We continue our contacts with local schools. This has become a two-way relationship. Flint High School is very generous with facilties made available to us for various events. We get invited to the various schools' award evenings. We obviously support school projects, especially those of the special schools. We felt that we had achieved the right level of relationship with the schools when we learnt we had been nominated to receive part of a collection being made at the end of an event that was hosted by the schools of Flint - for which, we are truly grateful.

In recent times we have supported youngsters taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, to assist them with their travels: we also assisted a young man to raise funs to travel to a scout jamboree. At the younger part of the spectrum, we have provided a computer to a pre-school group in Caerwys and funds for equipment for such a group in Mold.

Following the youth theme a little further, we recently supported Holywell Band: they were seeking support to assist the youth section. They kindly visited one of our meetings and provided us with excellent entertainment. Part of the performance involved plastic musical instruments that are used by the band for youth training.Even some of the club members experimented with the plastic instruments. They are unlikely to be asked to repeat the exercise.  As a result of some support we were able to provide to the youth section, the Band helped us to hold a pre-Christmas concert at Flint Parish Church. They attended with Phils Harmonic, a local choir with three age sections. The event, a first for us, was a great success and we hope to be able to work with the band and choir again. In the meantime, we are extremely grateful to the band, the choir and the Rector of Flint for allowing us to hold the the church.

I wrote, last year about the three Armistice Centenary benches the club bought to mark that centenary. I am pleased to say that, after the placing of two of them at Holywell and Deeside hospitals, as reported in my blogs, the third has now been placed by Flint Town Council in the new Centenary Field created by the council in Chester Road (opposite Croes Atti School). This brings an end to the President's project I introduced last year. Late autumn is not the easiest time to commission a small park like this but I can see there is enough scope there for a very attractive feature within the town. I was moved by the number of poppy crosses in place in the garden within six days of the Field's Dedication.

That brings us up to Christmas. We have been busy, as usual. We took Santa to see the children at the Daffodil party, to see the pensioners at the Autumn Club and to meet customers at Asda, Queensferry and Sainsbury's, Flint. We have been delivering our hampers to worthy causes. We have held our annual Christmas Dinner, organised as usual by Lion Geoff Mitchell - another successful event.

So dear reader, if you are still awake, that brings us up to date. It only remains for me to wish you a Happy Christmas and all best wishes for 2020. (It only seems like yesterday that we saw in the New Millennium!!!)

Watch this space!

John Gregory


President's Blog

Click the relevant months for that month's blog:

June 2019

Dear reader, all one of you (two on a good day), I embark upon my final president's blog. It only seems like yesterday that I started this series of ramblings. I want to thank all the club members for their support during the year. Without it, we could not have achieved all that we have. We also owe a sincere thanks to our wives and ladies: they have also been there to help us when asked. 

Last month was a busy one and June promises to be as busy. 

May 11th saw the culmination of all the patient and thorough preparation my colleague, Past District Governor Geoff Mitchell, puts into our annual plant sales campaign. It is our major fund raiser. On that Saturday, using seven vans, we distributed 20,000 plants, 73 planters and 281 hanging baskets. The packing operation started at 6.00 a.m. and was virtually complete by 9.00 a.m. The longer distance deliveries went on into the afternoon. We were helped by our wives and ladies, children, grandchildren, members of the Bert Mason Internet Lions Club and a group of teachers from Ysgol Pen Coch. I want to thank them all for an incredible effort: Of course, the members, acting as drivers and crew, also deserve a sincere thanks. There was almost a disaster before we started. The highlight of all our plant days has been the arrival of hot pork pies: who gave Hulson's permission to go on holiday? There has never been a clash of dates before! The near disaster was averted by a supply of Greig's sausage rolls!

I was invited to attend the Flint Town Council Mayor's Inauguration. Marian and I attended. I believe it is an acknowledgement of the work we do and how much we are regarded as part of the community.

Our 46th Charter celebration took place at Springfield Hotel on 24th May. I thank Geoff Mitchell and Bryn Jones for the thorough way in which they made the arrangements. It was a brilliant event. During the evening I was able to present a cheque to Viv and Eifion Williams, the driving force behind Flintshire War Memorials. This presentation brought to an end my President's Project. As my year of office coincided with the Centenary of the Armistice, with the club's consent, I chose to purchase the three Armistice Memorial Benches referred to in earlier ramblings and to make a donation to assist the brilliant work put in by the volunteers of Flintshire War Memorials. If you have not come across them before, have a look at 

On June 7th, the club will visit the Community Hospitals at Holywell and Deeside to formally present the benches. I know they have been gratefully received. I hope they will be used by patients and visitors in the hospital grounds and that they might also engender enquiy and interest in younger people. When Flint Town Council hve been able to finalise the new Centenary Field at Croes Atti, I hope we can formally present them with the third of the benches.

I am hoping that before end June, I will have seen three more defibrillators installed: these will be in Bagillt (Boot End), Flint Mountain and Oakenholt. This will mean that seven devices will have been purchased in my year of office . We hope to acquire another six in the next year. It was a pleasure to attend Libby's Community Cafe in Connah's Quay on 30th May. We had placed a defibrillator at these excellent premises. The volunteers there had held a fund raising event and presented the club with a donation towards further defibrillator purchases.

It was at training events for the defibrillators that we came across Bradley Williams. You will recall he became the club's Young Ambassador of the Year. He went on to win, to tremendous acclaim, the District Award. It was my pleasure to attend St Johns Ambulance at Queensferry on 30th May, to present Bradley with his monetary award. I was also able to present the St Johns with a cheque to purchase hoodies as part of their uniform. I know these will show the Lions Logo: I hope both organisations will have pride in the work these young people do.

We shall have a Presidents Handover Dinner on 20th June and I shall then take the Chain of Office back for a week as I will be attending Wrexham Charter Night before end June. I will also, with colleagues, attend a meeting of GPs from Flint and Holywell: it has been convened by the Health Trust and relates the Prostate Cancer Screening. I understand the  meeting wants to know more about our experience in this field. 

So, end of report: thank you for your patience in reading these blogs. I wish my successor, Lion Peter Leach, every success and happiness in his year of office.



May 2019

So, my faithful reader, we come to my penultimate blog. As a special reward for your loyalty, I shall keep this one short. It has been a quiet month and I have been away on holiday. Next month, there will be a lot to report on what seems to be an extraordinarily busy May and I shall have some valedictory remarks to make.

I have colleagues very busy, just now, getting everything ready for our annual, major fundraiser, the bedding plant sale, involving delivery of plants throughout the area, using seven vans to do so. It is a difficult logistical exercise and we rely heavily on some of the club who do the same job year in year out. Without their knowledge, experience and dedication, the venture would fail. It is not possible to name all of them but it would be remiss of me not to thank, publicly, our Secretary, Past District Governor Geoff Mitchell who is the mastermind behind the planning. He is so thorough, that on delivery day, he goes out on one of the vans leaving the packing, loading and general organisation on the day for others to deal with, based on the thoroughness of his preparatory work.

After an embarrasing delay, our suppliers have delivered bottles for our Message in a Bottle campaign. We are up and running again and I shall arrange for our strategic partners to have supplies as soon as possible. We enjoyed a convivial evening packing the bottles!

The defibrillator campaign moves on apace and I hope to see two others fitted by the end of my term of office: these are likely to be in Bagillt (Boot End) and Flint Mountain.

I promised you a short report, so I'll leave it like this. See you next month!


April 2019

Last month, BBC held the Comic Relief event. Whatever you may think about the entertainment they put on (you will have gathered I don't think much of it), it has to be acknowledged that the generous British public rise to the occasion. In recent years, Flint & District Lions Club have assisted Sainsburys in their fund raising for Comic Relief and Sports Relief. On 8th March, we held a bucket collection at their Flint Store: after the collection, the buckets are handed directly to the store management and the funds collected form part of the twelve million pounds or so that Sainsbury's customers and staff put into Comic Relief. The company, of course, is a main seller of the red noses. It leaves us with a good feeling of satisfaction that we played a small part in such a great charitable achievement.

This March, we held the last District Convention for the old district 105BS. It was a strange affair: all usual business had been conducted earlier at a meeting to set up our new district. Nevertheless, those attending were enthralled by guest Lion Past International Director Phil Nathan. One of his presentations was about an eye camp and the way new equipment and old spectacles are bringing sight to those who were blind or thought themselves so. New equipment is available: it is called a spot camera: at £6500 +vat it is not the sort of item that can easily be bought. The call has been made for clubs to contribute to a fund to enable cameras to be purchased for the use of all clubs via the District. These machines are being used in schools. I was not aware, until now, that schools no longer carry out eye tests: this is exposing many youngsters to potentially serious eye problems that should have been picked up by the old eye tests. Unfortunately, not all parents are able to pick up on these points and seek medical assistance. Following the success of American Lions using these cameras in schools, Lions here now hope to be able to help prevent some of these issues.

I wrote, last month, about the young man from Deeside who won the District Youth Ambassador Award. At the District Convention, Bradley Williams received the award and was asked to address the two hundred or so Lions at that meeting. He addressed them for twenty minutes, telling them about his outreach into the community, the reasons for his involvement in the various organisations and his hopes for future participation. The audience were mesmerised: they gave him a standing ovation: one Past District Governor approached him to play a part in one of her projects: another, on Facebook, described his speech as "wonderful". Having met this young man, I was not surprised that he wowwed the Lions but what did greatly impress me was the fact that his twenty minute, well thought out, well presented speech was delivered without any notes!. I spent my career addressing one audience or another, but I still could not do it without some notes. I greatly respect Bradley for being able to do so.

Members of the club are in the process of distributing bedding plant order forms. This is our principal money raising event of the year. We rely heavily on the success of this venture to fulfil our outreach to the community. If, as a resident of our district, you receive an order form, do, please, give the Club your support. I have no doubt you will be pleased with the quality of the plants you will receive.

I am now going to get my garden ready. I hope to write again next month. That will be my penultimate blog!



March 2019

During my time as president, I have from time to time blogged about young people who achieve so much for their communities but who rarely get recognised. This month's blog is no exception. As a spin off from our defibrillator campaign, members of the club became aware of a young man who was actively involved in the training sessions. As a result we appointed him as our Youth Ambassador for 2019. He has recently represented our Lions District as the District Youth Ambassador. He is Bradley Williams. Amongst other things, he is a cadet with St John's Ambulance, he attends events to give medical cover and is involved in training others. He works with Welsh Heart to provide CPR training. He works with Online Watch Link via North Wales POlice to assist in crime reduction. He attends local leisure/sports centres to help in reducing anti-social behaviour.He has many other commitments including assisting Round Table with their Santa float. What really impressed us was his observation "I volunteer because I can make a difference.and I do it because I can change lives. I do it because I care. Volunteering, for me, is not about rewards, it is about change."  He is, indeed, a worthy winner and we are proud to have sponsored him in this competition.   

February, in some respects is a quiet month and most of our work as Lions is currently involved in preparation for events later in the year. We have, however, had a successful fund raising collection at Lidl in Holywell. We thank the management, staff and customers for their support.

As a Lion, for the past 46 years, I do, sometimes get frustrated that members of the public do not always recognise us for what we are. I have often been asked if we are a rugby club. I have noticed in recent times that people are more likely to approach us and talk about our Prostate Cancer Awareness campaigns or the defibrillators that we are fitting in the area. They clearly touch lives in more senses than one and the public's reaction is reassuring that we are on the right track.

Our Armistice memorial benches have been delivered and some are on display I hope the public will approve our homage to those who fell.

Our Message in a Bottle campaign has stalled recently because of supply problems. This has now, in part, been overcome. We hope to be able to distribute supplies to the public and our strategic partners shortly.

See you next month!



February 2019

So, here we are: it's February. They say that, the older you get, the quicker time seems to run. I'm amazed that this is my eighth blog and that I only have four months, after this one, until my year of office ends. 

January, after a hectic December, with all its Christmas projects to see to, was a relatively quiet month, but things were ticking over and the club is geared up for some important events. We won't be delivering our bedding plants until May, but the planning is already under way. Geoff Mitchell, our plant supremo, called us to a planning meeting: the order form has been drafted and is ready for printing. We even know who will drive each of the eight delivery vans and who will accompany the drivers to deliver the plants. The actual packing becomes more of a problem as the years tick by: none of us get any younger: bending and lifting become more of a challenge. We will need to seek out help with this part of the project and I hope our outreach to the local schools may bear some fruit in this regard.

My President's project for my year is an unusual one and is inspired by the Centenary, last year, of the Armistice. I will write about the second part of this project in May, when a donation will be made. The first part, however, has now come to fruition. The club has purchased three commemorative benches to present to the community. One has been delivered to Deeside Community Hospital, where it now stands in the courtyard. A second is at Holywell Community Hospital, where it will be placed in the Garden of Remembrance. The third is presently being held by Flint Town Council: it will be placed in the Centenary Field to be developed in Chester Road, opposite Ysgol Croes Atti. I hope they will be respected by everyone, used as they should be and serve as a reminder to us all of those who made the final sacrifice.

The club was invited to the Achievements Award Evening at St. Richard Gwyn Catholic High School, Flint. We have had a long association with the school and the club presents an award each year to the pupil, deemed by colleagues, to have achieved success in charitable work within the community. This year, there were joint winners who have both worked tirelessly to raise funds for the Marie Curie charity. They each received a £50 voucher. We had the chance to meet with these young ladies after the event. They impressed us greatly and are a credit to their school.

These Award Ceremonies are very different to those I remember so many years ago! Now, the school presents some of its talented pupils to perform music, dance and song. A lot of hard work and planning goes into the event and the six of us thoroughly enjoyed the evening. We are grateful to the school for allowing us the extra tickets for an event that was so very well attended.

During January, I attended a dance class held in Bagillt by Popstarz. With two colleagues, we watched the second of four age groups rehearsing a new dance routine. They were very good and obviously thoroughly enjoy what they do. I felt a little sorry for them in that two weeks into the Easter Term, they were rehearsing "Schools Out for Summer"! They've got a long wait. In all seriousness, though, the club is very impressed in the work Paula and Steve Duncan do for these children. Some 140 children attend in four age groups: they raise their own funds by performing at various venues (they will be at Theatr Clwyd later this year). We were pleased to be able to give them a donation that, I understand, will be used to buy some new microphones.

I had a go at Donald Trump last month! He's not come back and accused me of "false news": I hope it means that he agrees with my comments!

Hopefully, I will blog on next month!


January 2019 - Happy New Year!

Yes, like the heading says HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Christmas is behind us. For Flint Lions, this last Christmas has been a happy and busy time and we all met together with friemds and families to celebrate the season and all of the hard work at our annual Christmas dinner.

A lot of our events involved Father Christmas. Some Lion purists might say I am now touching on "partisan politics": to my mind, I am not - it is just good Welsh common sense and the truth! In the USA, someone let Donald off his minder's leash and, in, what I regard as a faux pas,. he suggested to a seven year old that, at that age, there may be doubts about the existence of Father Christmas. For once, the BBC got it right and gave the World reassurance that Santa does exist. If Don really has doubts, he should follow Santa about our area with our club. He would then have no doubts about the existance, importance and love for this remarkable old man.

At the beginning of December, we went with him to the Daffodils Club in Deeside and he handed out presents to about 200 children who patiently queued up with their parents for individual photo opportunities. The pleasure on the faces of an extremely wide age range and the comments of children and parents reminded us of the need to continue this visit: after all, we have made this visit for very many years..

We attended two supermarkets to collect monies for our future projects during the month: it should be said that both venues kindly gave us permission to make those collections, but, only if we took Santa with us. Again the presence of the old man brought pleasure to all ages: we saw countless smiles, children wanting to have a chat, older people stopping to pass the time of day. Whilst writing about these collections, let me sincerely thank all those who generously donated.

Santa was with us again when we visited the two local hospitals and a couple of old peoples homes: all we do is go around with some chocolates and wish the patients and residents a happy Christmas. Sometimes, an over-enthusiastic Lion would get ahead of Santa and distribute some sweets. If ever there was proof that Santa existed it is in the response of those recipients - they were grateful, but, "I hope Santa will come and se me": the old man did pay them all a visit. The smile on the faces of the patients, residents and their visitors should have been enough to prove the existence of Santa to Big D and all party-poopers.

Enough of my rant! What else has happened in the last month? A lot!

We had a visit from our District Governor, Steve Talbot. He presented long service awards to four of our members. In our club, achieving long service comes easy! Getting new people on the ladder to achieve any length of service is the challenge: my colleagues on the Membershio Committee are considering new ways to recruit new members and, hopefully, I can return to this issue in another Blog.

During the month, we distributed food hampers to families in the area. Individual members deliver these to people they regard as deserving such a gift  because of their circumstances at that particular time. We try to get a balance between "essentials" and traditional Christmas fare. I am pleased to say that they were well received.

The County of Flint has two special needs schools. Our club has a good relationship with both. For example, they have a joint "eco" project that we have assisted this in the past. Last month, we were invited to the Christmas Concert at Ysgol Pen Coch. Members attended the event held for and by the younger section of this special primary school. It was uplifting to see the support of the parents, the pleasure they and the children obtained from the event and the dedication of the staff to their pupils. I know that my colleagues join me in saying how glad we are to be involved, in a very small way, with this and its colleague school, Ysgol Maes Hyfryd.

Our defibrillator project continues apace. During the month, we presented one to the community of Bagillt. I want to thank all those involved in setting up the project, especially the landlord at the Stag Inn who allowed the unit to be fitted outside his premises. As before, I make the point that we hope it might never be needed but our research into the earlier units proves they are needed and the public and the authorities know where to find them.

So, here we are: the end of 2018: the half way stage in my presidential year! Despite working in this area for over 50 years and being a member of this club for 46 years, I have learnt a lot about "our patch" in the last six months and I am sure there is more to learn. Across the "Pond", Big D is halfway through his Presidency. I hope he is learning! I wonder.........?

Happy New Year to you all!  I hope to blog again next month!




December 2018

Have you noticed how often reports about young people in the press are usually about them getting into trouble? It's all very negative. One of the wonderful things about being a club president is that you come across young people doing good in their community, playing part in their school's affairs, representing school and club in sports and, generally, putting the case for decent, respectable, sensible youngsters.

I have written before about pupils at Ysgol Maes Garmon, Mold receiving Young Leaders in Service awards from the Club to acknowledge the charitable work they perform in their communities. A grandson of one of my Lion colleagues has also received this award.

I recently visited St Richard Gwyn High School, Flint, to present prizes to pupils taking part in a photographic competition we had arranged. The number of entries submitted and the interpretation of the environmental theme showed just how much they think of their environment and the pride they have in their communities and countries.

I met many pupils at Flint High School at their awards evening and came away amazed at their extramural activities and their commitment to school projects. It really does get very humbling. I went back to the Flint High School with colleagues to attend their Armistice Centenary event. The drama department depected scenes from many wars that have occurred over the last century. It was cleverly prepared and performed. It had an impact on members of the audience that would remain with them for a long time. It was not just the pupils that learnt from that experience. I told the Headmaster "they did you proud": I could tell from his reaction that he agreed. A nice touch of inter-school cooperation at this event was the very moving Last Post performed by a pupil from St Richard Gwyn School. 

Writing about "Armistice", I am pleased to confirm that three sites have accepted our invitation for the placement of commemorative benches. They will be delivered early in the New Year and I will write more about this at that time.

Members of the Club attended Armistice Day services at Flint and Holywell and laid poppy wreaths. This is something that the club has done since its creation in 1973. In those days, we had members who had served in the Second World War: now, we still have members who served in National Service. Our commitment to remembrance will continue.

I am pleased to say we have now placed our fifth defibrillator at the public's service. This one is at Libby's Community Cafe in Chapel Street Connah's Quay. Our sixth device will be operating in Bagillt very soon. Others are planned. I've writtn before that it is hoped they will never be needed but our experience over the last six months is that they are used more frequently than we ever anticipated.

So, here we are! December! The build up to Christmas.

We will visit the Daffodil Club's Christmas Party: also that of the Autumn Club. We will deliver food hampers to people we feel need that little bit extra at Christmas. It is only a token but we hope those chosen can make good use of the contents. We will escort Father Christmas on his rounds of local hospitals and old people's  homes.

We will also be collecting funds at Asda Deeside and Sainsburys Flint. When you see us there,come and have a chat about what we do and, please, keep in mind that all we do costs!

God Bless and Happy Christmas!


November 2018

So, here we are, November is upon us, the clocks have gone back and four months of my Presidency have flown by. I wrote at the beginning of October about the impending Prostate Cancer Event: it took place on 9th October and was, in every respect, a great success.

357 men came to the Flint High School and provided blood samples. We have been advised by the retired consultant surgeon who monitors the results that nine men received "amber" letters advising them to discuss the matters with their GP as a precautionary measure and ten received "red" letters advising urgent appointment with their GPs. The consultant wrote  "I suspect you and your Lions Club members have helped about 15 men to prevent them from dying from prostate cancer". The event will have cost the club over £6000: if it has saved even one life it is money well spent. The samples are taken at no expense to the attenders. This years numbers equate with the total of attenders at the previous two events. We thank the Flint High School for hosting the event and our friends at St Johns Ambulance for being in reassuring attendance.

We have funding available for one more such event in Autumn 2019: thereafter we have a problem: we may not have funds to continue into the 2020s. We raise such modest amounts each year that we would have to give up all our other projects and donations if the Cancer Event proceeded without external funding. We will have to put our thinking caps on! If any of you know of a potential sponsor, please let us know. Thank you.

Some members visited the Blind Veterans UK premises in Llandudno during the month. We were amazed at the incredible work done by this charity for any person who served in the armed forces at any time who has, as a result of such service, or, subsequently, lost their sight. The equipment available and the training given is worth seeing and learning about but, even more worthwhile is seeing the end products of such equipment and training. As a fully sighted individual, I wish I could paint and draw as well as these people or create the models and crafts that they do.

Our Environmental Photographic competition concluded in October. The prizes were awarded to two pupils from St Richard Gwyn High School and to the school itself. The standard of the entries was exceptional and provided the judges with a challenging exercise.

You may have noticed, on the front page of this e-Clubhouse, that we are now registered with the Smile Amazon campaign. Shoppers with Amazon who buy via this scheme benefit the club with 0.5% of the purchase price being donated by Amazon. If you shop on Amazon and are not committed to another charity please consider giving us your support: it comes at no cost to yourself.

Write to you again next month!


October 2018

This month has flown by. We have been really busy. August had been quiet with so many committed to their holidays.

Our big project at present is the Prostate Cancer Awareness event at Flint High School on 9th October (5p m to 8 p m). We have been seeking to publicise this as much as possible. In the last two years we have had 350 men tested and found that 20 have been advised by our retired consultant to seek urgent medical advice. We progress this venture encouraged that we have been instrumental in saving lives. We hope to see even more men at this year's event.

The encouragement of saving lives is, also, an impetus to us in our defibrillator campaign. A group of us recently attended the Carmel Village Hall where I had the honour of unveiling our fourth defibrillator. We always hope that they will have little or no use but it is incredible how often the three machines previously donated have been used. We are funding four more in the near future - watch this space. I wish to thank the good people of the village hall for their cooperation, hospitality and, indeed, a generous donation to the club.

It is also proper, at this stage, that I thank the customers, staff and management of Lidl Holywell: we had a bucket collection on two days in September. The generosity of people like them ensures our continuance. Every penny counts and every penny is ploughed back into the community as these blogs testify.

Four of us visited Claire House Children's Hospice, Clatterbridge, early in the month to present a cheque for a fund set up to buy a car for the team that liaises between hospice and family homes - a vital link in their wonderful work. We were shown around the facilities. It is truly heart wrenching to realise what the hospice is there to do but so uplifting to see how they achieve their aims and the response they receive from the children and their families. We were delighted to learn at the month's end that the target has been met and the car is on order.

Our social event this month was a visit to Plas Newydd, Llangollen - the "home of the two ladies". The history of the building and their famous occupants is fascinating. Our wives joined us on the visit. We view our social calendar as a vital part of the club's success and I am most grateful to Bryn Jones who so enthusiastically looks after the social programme.

Finally, with three colleagues, I attended the Flint High School Achievements Celebration. I was delighted to present the Club's Annual Awards to five recipients, each nominated by the Learning Management team. At the same event, my colleague, Ken Hughes, presented the Alan Jones Community Shield: this was donated by the club in memory of a colleague who passed on to higher service: it is presented annually. It was awe inspiring to watch the whole of the event and to acclaim not only what these young people have achieved for themselves with the help of the school and staff but also to learn how they devote so much time to doing good not only in the school but in the wider community. Long may it continue. Now, how do I start a recruiting campaign..............

See you next month!

September 2018

August seemed to be a quiet month: there were no major events. However, when you sit back and think about what you want to say in your blog, it is surprising how much has been going on in the background. The club is like a duck on water! - swimming quietly on top but, below, the little legs are working like mad. Captain Mainwaring in Dad's Army might have described us as a well oiled machine.

Our next major event is the Prostate Cancer Awareness evening at Flint High School on 9th October. Latest Data Protection rules mean that we have had to revamp all the paperwork. We are putting out posters and flyers: we hope to discuss the event on local radio, we are trying to attract the attention of new "clients" via local newsletters in English and Welsh. We have to ensure all equipment is available, the phlebotomists are booked and the courier will collect at the appropriate time. We are lucky that our first two events were so successful. Members keep their designated roles and get on with their duties. All being well, we shall have another successful event: it is important for previous "clients" to return for a fresh check-up: it makes you feel really please with the club when you realise we may have been instrumental in saving twenty lives in the last two years.

Lions Clubs International are encouraging clubs to get involved in Diabetic awareness events. It is something we used to do until a partner charity withdrew. We will try again. Watch this space.

We need to prepare a new set of bottles in the Message in a Bottle campaign: we have to wait for supplies but will let our distributors know as soon as they are ready. Another club has come up with the interesting suggestion that as well as putting one of these tubes in the fridge for paramedics to seek details of prescriptions, allergies and illnesses, it would be an advantage to duplicate the exercise with a tube ("bottle") in the glove compartment of the car in case an emergency arises whilst the patient is out in the car.

Our first two defibrillators, in Flint and Holywell continue to be used. Again there is a "feel-good" factor in realising that our provision of such machines is potentially saving lives. A third machine is now with the first responder service and our fourth is about to be fixed in Carmel.

It is at this point that I get to my perpetual rant! These services, that we are willing and very prepared to provide within the limited finances available to us, should, in an ideal world be provided by the state. As I wrote in July:

"In many respects, it could be argued that these  projects should be funded by the state but they will not be: so, for as long as the club can raise finance for them, we will, in our small way, do all we can to follow our motto – “We Serve” – and continue to provide these services."

Thus, dear reader, if you see us outside your supermarket with our buckets, think on what we do and, please, play your part. Thank you.

August 2018

So, here we are at the end of my first month in office: it has seen some successes and fun but has also been tinged with much sadness as Harry Hughes, our oldest member, passed on to higher service on 6th July, aged 93.

Harry was very well respected in his community as well as within our club.  At his funeral, at St Thomas Parish Church, Flint Mountain, where he had served as Church Warden for so many years, Harry's family were joined by his former customers, other members of the general community and our club. We formed  a guard of honour as Harry left the church, twenty members of the club including a Past District Governor and two other former Governors joined us, surely an indication of the respect held for Harry within Lions.      

Harry had a natural sense of humour that he displayed at our meetings and when he was "shaking the bucket", collecting funds. I was going to say that Harry would not have let any former customer pass without donating to the bucket, but, on reflection, I am sure that they wanted to make a payment to demonstrate their respect for their milkman.                                                                       

Harry was also well-known in the wider community. I first met him, long before he joined the club, when I was acting for a client seeking an off-licence in Flint. Harry had volunteered to give evidence in support. I told the bench I was calling "Mr Harry Hughes": the Chairman of the bench corrected me and said I was calling "Harry the Milk"! On the way out of court, after the hearing, another magistrate advised Harry she needed extra milk on Saturday!  

Thank you for the memories Harry: God bless and rest in peace.

The first of our visits being arranged by a busy social committee was to Bodrhyddan Hall near Dyserth. This is the home of Lord Langford, set in glorious gardens. The guided tour showed us how this is, very much, a lived-in property despite its portraits galore, its armaments collections, porcelain and all sorts of memorabilia not necessarily associated with the area. Who would expect an Egyptian mummy in Dyserth? Thanks to Bryn and his colleages for a trip enjoyed by the members and their ladies.  

I don't know if it was the chance of a breakfast or the fact that someone had a camera with them but we had a good turn out for breakfast club last week. Sixteen members were seen to troop across High Street Holywell to the site of our third defibrillator which is located in Panton Place. We are grateful to the local businesses for their support and cooperation. We hope to have a venue for our fourth defibrillator shortly.

The club committees have been meeting to set up arrangements for their specific responsibilities with a view to making full reports to the August business meeting. Thanks to you all for the work you put in.


July 2018


I am the incoming president of Flint and District Lions Club and this is my first blog of the year. I first served in this capacity in 1974-75 having been the vice-president in the year the club was chartered. In the years since then, the club has grown from strength to strength and it will be hard work to emulate those who have preceded me. In that regard, I want to, especially, congratulate and thank Bryn Jones, the retiring President, for the way he led the club in the past twelve months. He worked tirelessly, attending as many events as he possibly could and introduced the defibrillator campaign that I believe will be a key part of the club’s outreach in the future. He has set a very high standard to follow.

There are three major service projects in which the club is involved: these will continue during my year of office and, hopefully, beyond.

The club has been a lead club in the Message in a Bottle and Message in a Wallet campaign for many years. This is a project that distributes containers to place within the house and wallets to carry around that contain details of illnesses, drugs taken, allergies and other information that will be vital to, for example, a paramedic attending a patient who may not be able to provide that information personally. The bottles and wallets are freely available to any who need them: we are particularly grateful for the interest shown in the project by our principal distributors, the Red Cross and NEWCIS.

During the next year, I hope to have a relaunch of the project to ensure that as many people as possible are aware of the kit available and its purposes.

Two years ago, we held a Prostate Cancer Awareness event. Flint High School kindly allowed us to use facilities at the school. Blood samples were professionally taken from about 150 men: these samples were analysed: letters were sent to each participant by a retired Consultant Urologist confirming the result of their test. Ten men were advised to seek further medical assistance via their GP.

We learnt that one of those men advised his brother to have a test carried out: it led to that brother and a friend of his both needing further medical assistance relating to prostate cancer.

The costs of those processes are borne completely by the Flint and District Lions Club. Last year, we provided the same service to 200 men with a similar result. We will hold this year’s event, again at Flint High School (to whom we are extremely grateful), on Tuesday October 9th starting at 5 p.m. We believe we may have been instrumental in saving up to 20 lives. The cost to the club, thus far, is about £8,000. If only one life has been saved, we consider that to be money well spent.

Earlier this year, Bryn Jones, the retiring president, had as his main project the provision of a defibrillator in Church Street, Flint. In its first two months of service it was used three times. The use to which it has been put has encouraged us to buy one for Holywell town centre and another for a first responder. I hope in my year to continue the placement of these machines in the area. We believe five can be placed by Christmas. Others will hopefully be placed in the New Year but that will depend on the generosity of the public as we collect funds via our usual bucket collections at local supermarkets.

In many respects, it could be argued that these three projects should be funded by the state but they will not be: so, for as long as the club can raise finance for them, we will, in our small way, do all we can to follow our motto – “We Serve” – and continue to provide these services.

John Gregory

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