Photo Caption: Melvin Jones, an insurance salesman from Chicago, founded the Lions Clubs in 1917. 

Melvin Jones was a dreamer, a doer and a pragmatist. He was an energetic, extroverted salesman who in private hours would reread Shakespeare. What better man to found the world’s largest association of service clubs?

The Lions International Board of Directors officially designated Jones as the founder of Lions Clubs in 1958—more than four decades after Lions Clubs held its first meeting. But, no matter what his official title, Jones’ impact on the Lions has been far-reaching. He provided the leadership, the organizational ability, the tenacity and the muscle necessary to establish the foundation for Lions Clubs International to become what it is today.

Jones was born on Jan. 13, 1879, at Fort Thomas, Arizona, a remote U.S. Army cavalry post where his father was a scout for the Army. At age 7, Jones’ family moved east and settled in Illinois. Gifted with a fine tenor voice, he considered making his career in music. Instead, he became an insurance salesman.

By 1913, Jones had formed his own insurance agency in Chicago. When he joined a networking luncheon club for businessmen in Chicago called the Business Circle, he quickly took the lead in recruiting new members and persuading backsliders to rejoin. But something about the club’s business-only focus didn’t square with Jones’ different, larger vision.

"What if these men who are successful because of their drive, intelligence and ambition, were to put their talents to work improving their communities?" Jones asked. He saw a new kind of club with the desire to help others.  

As Business Club secretary, Jones, with help from his wife—the championship golfer Rose Amanda Freeman—wrote scores of letters to clubs nationwide inviting them to take up his idea for a service-centered organization. Businessman interested in membership convened in Chicago, Illinois, and on June 7, 1917, Lions Clubs International was born.

Later that year, at Lions’ inaugural convention in Dallas, Texas, Jones was elected secretary-treasurer, a title he would hold for many years. Eventually, the board bestowed upon Jones the title of secretary general for life.

Jones was a prolific writer who could be clear and forceful on some occasions, flowery and sentimental the next. His hand can be seen in founding documents like the Lions Clubs Objects and Code of Ethics. His columns in LION Magazine, which are still quoted today, helped articulate the organization’s principles and values.

He also loved aphorisms. Never one to sugarcoat the truth, Jones had one favorite saying neatly framed in his office: “Truth and roses have thorns about them.”

Jones gave up the insurance business in 1926 to become Lions’ de facto CEO and global goodwill ambassador. He played both roles brilliantly—building and managing an expanding headquarters operation and travelling constantly for club visits and speaking engagements. The pace never stopped.



Lions International came to Europe in 1948.

The founding of Lionism in Portugal has its origins in Brazilian Lionism because it was the then Ambassador of Brazil, Negrao de Lima, who inspired the initial idea of what would be the first Lions Club in Portugal.

This first Lions Club was founded in Lisbon on the 4th December 1953.

In the first nine years only two other clubs were founded at Estoril and Figueira da Foz.

By 1978 there were 35 Clubs which is the magic number to to be recognized as a District. Portugal gained Muliple District Status in 1989 when Portugal was split into North Central and South Central Districts. This took place that year with the election of District Governors at the Convention held in Ponta Delgada.

We are located in South District and the District Number is D-115 CS standing for District 115 Central South.

The combination of both North and South and Portugal as a whole means that Portugal is referred to as Muliple District. Portugal is referred to a MD-115 standing for Multiple District 115.

The website link for Portugal is -

In District 115 Central South there are 59 Clubs and over 1300 Lions.

The website link for District 115 Central South is -



There are two people mainly responsible for the existence of the Lions Clube De Lagos. There are others but without the actions, dedication and perseverance of these two people the Branch would not have existed. They are Ulla de Jager, President of Lions Clube de Loule and Theo de Jager, husband and then member of Loule Club and then Membership Chairman of Lagos Lions Club.



The Branch / Club and members pay special thanks to both of them for bringing Lions to the Community of Lagos.



The world’s largest service club, founded in 1917, with more than 1,400,000 members in 46,000 clubs in over two hundred countries, had only one English speaking International Lions Club in the Algarve at Loule. As a Service Club Loule has been in existence for almost three decades of successful fundraising supporting all areas of need in the local community.

In 2015 the then District Governor for Portugal-South, approached the president of LC de Loulé, (Ulla de Jager) to investigate the possibility of founding additional Lions Clubs in the Algarve. One of these locations was in the Lagos area and it was with the support of the Assistant to the District Governor in the Algarve at that time, Dr. Carlos Nunes (LC de Portimão) that work commenced.



Support of the regional publisher and owner of the monthly magazine ‘Tomorrow’ was sought by Theo and resulted with the first announcement about the Lion’s intentions in the magazine. This resulted in a first meeting at a local hotel in Lagos on the 15th April, 2015 when three people attended expressing interest. One of these later became Founding Branch President and Founding Club Charter President.

Shortly after, other local and regional publications also offered space and support to what was trying to be achieved.



This first informal meeting was a stimulating experience and certainly showed the serious probability of starting a Branch in Lagos, with the option of gradually developing as an independent International Lions Club.

Further e-mails and phone calls expressing interest were received and one interested former Lion who was later to become Founding President also visited General Meetings at the parent Club in Loulé.



On Wednesday 13th May 2015 a meeting was held at the Hotel Tivoli-Lagos and to further the process, the Assistant District Governor at that time, Dr. Carlos Nunes, also attended.

It requires five to start a Branch and at this meeting the ‘Lions Branch-LC de Loulé’ was formed with a basic board of President, Secretary, Treasurer and two joining members. The Branch was ´Founded´.

Ulla de Jager was appointed as liaison between LC de Loulé and the Lagos Branch. Theo de Jager who was already acting as press officer was elected as Deputy Secretary.

The recruiting of members commenced.

The Club officially received its Charter on 26th April 2016 and the Charter Event and celebration took place on Sunday 22nd May 2016 when the District Governor Carlos Torres presented the Charter to the Club.



Meetings were moved from the Hotel Tivoli to the Hotel Vivenda Miranda in Porto de Mos. Lions were made most welcome but due to a temporary period of renovation a new meeting location was sourced. This was at our present location at Herdade dos Seromenhos Quinta de Ferrel, Luz - Lagos, Algarve, Portugal.

The members liked the new location and voted to remain there.



The journey so far has not been easy with a number of issues having to be deal with at all levels. There will be issues in the future but what can be said is that the President and Directors of the Club have had a common interest in making it a happy and successful Club.


And it all started from an ´IDEA´.


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