Lions Recent Activity


Morpeth Lions’ eight days of fund raising 

Lion Adrian gets on his bike for charity

Morpeth Lions continue to help Philippines School

Morpeth Lions host Lion Keith Ogley, Land's End to John O'Groats walker

Lion President hands over to ........... new Lion president

Woodland planting inspected by Northumbria in Bloom Judges

Educational Visit 2015

Morpeth Fair Day 2015

Morpeth Lions relax in each others' company

Morpeth Lions Entertain Dutch Lions

Lions Charity Swim Presentations 2015

Morpeth Lions reel them in

A new recruit

Morpeth Lion keeps 24 year old pledge

Youth Orienteering Entertainment

Morpeth Lions come to the aid of National Orienteering Championships

Earlier this year Morpeth Lion Adrian Barnes came to the Club with a dilemma.  Adrian was to be responsible for helping to organise the Youth Home International Match hosted by his club Newcastle and Tyneside Orienteers on behalf of the English Orienteering Association. This was to take place in Northumberland.  A total of 96 youngsters aged between 13 and 18 and their coaches from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland were to converge on Morpeth for a weekend in October.  The two orienteering courses were fixed but accommodation, food and entertainment needed to be arranged.  Could the Lions help?

Well of course they could.  Morpeth Lion and Youth Officer Les Brindley and Adrian set about the task.  Overnight accommodation for the Friday and Saturday was provided by Active Northumberland in the Morpeth Leisure Centre.  St Georges URC Church was the venue for the evening meal and disco.  Sarah Taylor and her staff from the Peppermint Tearoom prepared and served an evening meal.  The teenagers lived up to their reputation of eating plates full of food after their day of activity on Northumberland’s Simonside hills.  Several Lions were on hand to set out the Church hall and clear up after the meal.  Some even stayed for the disco.

The next day athletes departed for a relay event near Slaley south of Hexham.  England won both the individual and team prizes but Scotland pushed them hard all the way.  Morpeth Mayor Cllr Andrew Tebbutt was on hand to welcome the athletes and present the individual prizes on the Saturday evening.  In addition everyone received a memento mug supplied by NE Print and Design of Manchester Street, Morpeth.

Feedback from coaches and athletes was that they thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and, in particular, the welcome they received in Morpeth.


Ravenous athletes at the evening meal.

Mayor Andrew Tebutt present the overall individual prize to England male and female captains 

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At what has become an annual fixture, 80 guests recently sat down to enjoy the Morpeth Lions Club Chinese Charity Banquet at the Mulan Restaurant in Morpeth.

This event originally started just after the 2008 floods that had affected the then recently opened restaurant.  In a gesture of sympathy for all those more drastically affected the owner Kevin Liu allowed two fundraising banquets to take place; these raised over £2000. 

Over the years the Lions Club has been able to hold banquets to raise funds for its many Christmas activities and the Lion President’s designated charity. This year Lion President, Chris Offord, has chosen The Sick Children’s Trust as his charity. Such is the popularity of the evenings that organisers Lions Les Sage and David Armstrong had little difficulty in selling the tickets this year.

During the evening, Caroline O’Doherty the North East fundraiser for The Sick Children’s Trust explained how the charity is able to provide ‘home from home’ accommodation and facilities for the parents and siblings whose seriously ill children have sometimes extended stays in hospital.  Caroline told of the lady who gave birth to triplets all weighing less than two pounds and in their early days were critically ill.  The support and kindness shown when they were able to stay in Crawford House, Newcastle was of incalculable importance and the family still visit the facility to say thank you and help with fundraising.  The triplet girls are firm favourites with the staff.  The charity needs to raise over £100,000 to upgrade the two Newcastle houses and is grateful for the support they receive from local individuals and organisations. If you would like to find out more about the Trust, please telephone 0191 2825818.

Lion President Chris Offord said ‘The Morpeth Lions Club thanks everyone who has been involved in this wonderful evening - our guests for supporting us, Mulan and its staff for the excellent food and service, all the businesses who so generously donated raffle prizes and Lions Les and David for organising the event.  I am delighted to be able to present a cheque for £750 to the Sick Children’s Trust from this evening’s event.’

Such is the banquet’s popularity that guests have already begun to reserve places for next year.


PHOTOs:  (L-R)

Lion Chris Offord, Caroline O’Doherty (SCT) and Gail Stoney (SCT), House Manager of Crawford House at the RVI.

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Asda Bag Pack

Generous shoppers at Asda, Ashington recently swelled the coffers of Morpeth Lions Club by £376.37 when Club members and wives offered to pack their shopping bags over a four hour period.

The store initially became involved with the Lions Club by collecting toys from their customers at Christmas.  In turn the Lions Club ensured the gifts were distributed to needy children throughout Northumberland by the County Council’s Children’s Support Team.

The organising Lion on the day was Vice-President Margaret Trewick who said ‘Our Club is extremely grateful to the Management and staff of Asda for allowing us to raise funds in this way.  We would also like to pay tribute to their generous customers who must have felt some trepidation when confronted by a group of men offering to pack their shopping bags.  Presumably they must be well trained as there were no complaints!’

Photo: (L-R) Morpeth Lions Club members John Gray, Richard Nash & Harry Cone prepare to bag pack at Asda, Ashington.

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Renwick House Piano

When Morpeth Lion Geoff Bushell heard that the residents of Renwick House were lacking some music in their lives he quickly found an answer. 

The problem was that whilst the residents lounge boasted a fine piano, it had not been used for some years and was sorely in need of tuning.

It fell to piano tuner Laurence Heppell to come to the rescue and hopefully the residents will soon be ‘tickling the ivories’ for the pleasure of all.  Lion President Chris Offord said ‘We know many of the Renwick House residents enjoy our annual ‘Meet the Lions event’ in November.  Hopefully by having the piano restored they will think of us also during the year.’

There is another small problem.  Whilst some residents can play the piano, their fingers are not as nimble as in the past and they would love someone to come in and play for them occasionally.  Any offers?  If you can help out, please contact Lion Geoff on 01670 504904.

Photo: (L-R) Lion Simon Pringle, residents Audrey Easton & Joe Cassie, Laurence Heppell and Lion President Chris Offord.

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Educational Visit 2016

For many years Morpeth Lions Club has sought out means of adding to the general education of its members.  These Educational Visits have included visiting sites of historic interest, the Falkirk Wheel, Lead mines in Weardale, the Royal Armoury, Leeds and the Bowes Museum to name but a few.

There is, however, a common link due to the fact that these visits can be of some distance and involves hiring a mini bus.  That link is the brewing or tasting of beer.  Morpeth members acknowledge that they are getting no younger and because of this, the retention of details relating to the brewing of beer or the distilling of whisky needs to be replenished on an annual basis.

This year Lion Harry Cone arranged a visit to Belhaven Breweries in Dunbar where our excellent guide gave a very informative tour of the Brewery including its history and methods of brewing. Until 1992 the Brewery was in the hands of one family, however it is now part of the Greene King group of breweries and its products are exported to many countries throughout the world. It believes it is the oldest brewery in the UK and will be celebrating its 300th anniversary in 2019. The date is already in the Lions diary- particularly as the tastings sampled at the end of the tour met with everyone’s approval!

To cater for more serious educational needs, there followed a visit the National Museum of Flight at East Fortune Airfield.  For many attending this was their first visit and probably will not be the last.  Currently there is an excellent display area containing the first British Airways Concorde.  Visitors are allowed to enter the plane and many were amazed at how cramped it seemed compared to modern aircraft; although the legroom was very adequate.  On the plus side there was first class catering available and it only took slightly over 3 hours to cross the Atlantic.

There are also displays of fighter and civil aircraft with plenty of interactive areas to keep the young and certainly the not-so-young visitors happy.  The 4 hours spent there certainly passed quickly.

Harry, however, never loses sight of the liquid aspects of education and near Berwick was a well- stocked ale public house that served good food. 

Arriving back in Morpeth some 13 hours after leaving, the Lions expressed their gratitude to Harry for organising the day and to Lion Les Sage our ever reliable driver.


PHOTOs:- Morpeth Lions Club members at Belhaven Breweries and the National Museum of Flight.


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New Pesident

Readers might be forgiven for experiencing a sense of déjà vu when reading that Morpeth Lions Club started a fresh year on July 1st with a new President, Chris Offord.  Chris has been a member for over 29 years and took over from Ian Brown.  

Chris is certainly up to the challenge following two previous successful years as President, from 2006-7 and from 2010-11 and is looking forward to the following year as the Club’s leader.  He will be ably assisted by Margaret Trewick who was elected Vice President.  Geoff Bushell remains as Club Treasurer  and Ian Mills as Secretary.

On being installed as President, Chris paid warm tribute to Ian Brown’s year in office.  He said ‘Ian will be a hard act to follow having completed a very full year.  He will not escape entirely as he is very much involved in the forthcoming District Convention in November that will be hosted by our Club.’

As for the venue, the Club continues to meet at 8pm on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at the Conservative Club, Newgate Street, Morpeth.  The next meeting, following a short Summer break, will be on August 23rd.

Last year, under the Presidency of Ian Brown, the Club was able to distribute over £19000 to over 80 organisations – mostly local.  He explained ‘This was possible by organising facilitating events such as Dickens of a Draw and the LionSwim; where other groups are able to fund raise for themselves.

From other fundraising events we have assisted a number of youth organisations and helped look after some of the needs of children with a variety of handicaps or disadvantages.

At the opposite end of the age range we enable Morpeth Partially Sighted Group to attend their monthly meetings and at Christmas over 200 parcels of food were organised and distributed; whilst our ‘Meet the Lions’ afternoon provides tea and entertainment for up to 180 local elderly and infirm.

Major donations of £1000 each were presented to Morpeth’s Special Olympics minibus Appeal and the RVI’s Bubble Foundation. 

At an international level, donations have been made to help blind people in India; handicapped children attend the Special Olympics and WaterAid in the Third World.  The Club also initiated a UK appeal to help limbless children caught up in the Syrian war crisis obtain prosthetics.

Our voluntary service would not, however, have been possible without the generosity of the people of Morpeth, the cooperation of local businesses plus the understanding and assistance of our wives and partners.  Fundraising is never easy however we believe that the emphasis should be on the FUN part of the word.  We welcome new members and hope that anyone interested in finding out more about Morpeth Lions will contact Simon Pringle on 01670 513169.’

PHOTO:-  Lion Ian Brown hands over the President’s Chain of Office to Lion Chris Offord.

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Presentation to Eddy

At the closing meeting Morpeth Lions Club’s 2015-16 year one of its members received double recognition of his involvement with the Club.

Outgoing President Ian Brown’s final act was to present Lion Eddy Gebhard with an appreciated bottle in recognition of over 10 years service as Tailtwister.  This important position involves ensuring that all members behave correctly at meetings…or face a fine (collected by Eddy).  Many an ill -advised comment usually humourously expressed sees change rattling in the Lion collecting mascot; whilst woe betide the member who forgets his or her Lions pin or apparel!  Lions members are, however, a forgiving lot and they all applauded Eddy for his service over the years as he hands over to fellow Hepscott resident, Harry Cone.

Soon after the presentation it was the turn of incoming Lion President, Chris Offord,- in his first official act- to call Eddy to the front of the meeting.  The Morpeth Club has been in existence for 44 years and retired Morpeth butcher Eddy has given service to our community for 40 of those years.  This makes him the longest serving member of the Club.  In that time he has been at the forefront of many of the Club activities and it gave Chris great pleasure to present the 40 year chevrons that Eddy is now entitled to wear with his Lions pin.

Well done Eddy, Morpeth Lions salute you and wish you continuing service with us for many more years.

Morpeth Lions Club welcomes new members and hope that anyone interested in finding out more about the club will contact Simon Pringle on 01670 513169.

PHOTOs:  Eddy Gebhard receives a gift commemorating his service as Tailtwister from Immediate Past President Ian Brown. Eddy receives his 40 year chevron from Lion President Chris Offord.

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Morpeth Fair Day

The tradition that Morpeth Lions bring out the barrow on Morpeth Fair Day continued this year.  A wheelbarrow loaded with groceries and a little alcohol is “raffled” on the day. The Lions promise to deliver the wheelbarrow and its contents to the prize winner’s homes.  Many of those participating came from diverse parts of the country; nevertheless we were able to confirm that the Club would be delighted to honour the promise as Club members are often visiting other areas.  We would have been in difficulty regarding one visitor from Australia but luckily (for us) she was unsuccessful.  As it happened, the delivery was much more local as the lucky winner came from Ashington.

Whilst the weather could have been better, £606.10 was raised to help local charities.  In addition Alison Starkey and friends provided a face painting service in the Lions tent that had queues throughout the day.  Alison has donated her profits to the Northumbrian Gathering that celebrates the 50th anniversary next year.

Lions Mike Nicholson and John Gray who organised the barrow event said ‘We are grateful to everyone who visited our stall and the wheelbarrow and know that their contributions will be appreciated by the numerous local organisations that we support.  Thank you also to Morpeth Chamber of Trade whose hard work organising Fair Day has brought so much benefit and enjoyment to the town.’

Photos:  Morpeth Lions with their wheelbarrow.

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No Strings Attached

Morpeth Lions have been going all musical of late.  Young Morpeth musician, Deborah Snowdon is looking to purchasing a pedal harp in order to develop her music career.

By applying to grants, bursaries, busking, playing at events, putting on concerts and donations Deborah had managed to raise £4,000 towards the purchase of a Pedal Harp, in order to allow her to progress with her studies to be a professional musician.  Deborah lives and went to school in Morpeth and is now in her first year, reading Music at The University of Edinburgh.

Her main instruments for performance are harp and piano. She has been playing on a 34 string lever harp, but to develop further as a musician and performer, she needs to progress onto a pedal harp with 47 strings, which will allow her to perform more virtuosic classical music.  Classical music requires a lot of lever changes throughout the music, which makes it impossible to keep the music fluent on a lever harp and the string range is not suitable for a lot of demanding music.  Pedal harps have 7 pedals and this mechanism allows accidentals to be played without the harpist being required to stop playing. Instead they can press one of the 7 pedals while continuously playing with both hands and they also allow a performance of a much wider variety of music.

The price of a pedal harp is around £10,000.  Several Lions attended a fund raising concert and, whilst there, Morpeth Lion Vice President Margaret Trewick presented Deborah with a cheque for £250.  In total the concert raised a total of £1,100 towards the pedal harp. Deborah has promised to play for a Morpeth Lions event in the future. 

Continuing the musical theme, Morpeth Lions help to raise money each year for the Morpeth Gathering, which is a weekend of music, dance, the arts and local culture.  On the Saturday the Lions Street Collection raised £673 for the Gathering.  2017 will be the 50th year of the event and much needs to be done in advance to ensure this is a success.  In view of this Morpeth Lions topped the collection up to £1,000 and Kim Bibby-Wilson of the Gathering Committee was delighted to receive a cheque for this amount at a recent Club meeting.  Kim stressed that finance is always difficult but the generosity of the Lions will help them to plan ahead with more confidence.


Lion VP Margaret Trewick presents a cheque to Deborah Snowdon

Kim Bibby-Wilson receiving a cheque from Lion President Ian Brown (right) with Lion Simon Pringle looking on.

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Turner's trees

A new interpretative board has been unveiled at Carlisle Park in Morpeth which talks about the trees on a stunning woodland bank, and their relationship to a garden that was inspired by William Turner – the father of English Botany.  William Turner, known as the father of English Botany, was the first to scientifically describe plants and write about them in English, at a time when other botanical works were written in Latin.

Morpeth Lions Club has been helping to enhance the woodland bank in the town’s picturesque park and garden since planting 40 trees there in 2012 to commemorate its 40th anniversary.  The trees on the bank have been given name tags, and they include Quince, Medlar, Almond and the Strawberry tree – which were all featured in William Turner's 'Herbal' - the pioneering work which this famous son of Morpeth wrote between 1551 and 1568.

 Members of the Lions Club have cared for the trees, carried out monthly weeding and replaced those that didn’t thrive. They have added further species including Spindle, which was given its English name by Turner, as well as Crab Apple, Pear, Guelder Rose and Rowan.  The club has also planted red currant and raspberry bushes, as well as 400 native daffodils in the William Turner Garden.

The new interpretative panel was unveiled this week by Cllr Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services at Northumberland County Council.  He said:  “It's a great boost for the William Turner Garden and Carlisle Park to have the Lions Club doing all of this valuable work.  It is a brilliant way to tell another aspect of the story of William Turner, and adds new interest for the thousands of visitors who come to the park each year.”

 Morpeth Lions Club Vice President, Chris Offord, said:  “We are pleased to be able to launch the interpretative panel in time for the busy Easter period.  We could not have achieved this without the support and help of the County Council team at Carlisle Park and we look forward to continuing our work with them in future years.”


Northumberland County Councillor Ian Swithenbank with (L-R) Lions Chris Offord, Les Brindley and Ian Mills with Ann Brindley.

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Morpeth Lions’ eight days of fund raising 

It was all go for Morpeth Lions with just over a week of fund raising earlier this autumn.  In a packed programme between 28th September and 5th October the Lions managed to raise over £2000.  Not content with just fund raising, Lions Club members also helped out at the Special Olympics held in Morpeth Leisure Centre on 1st October.

The Lions were on the streets collecting during the Food Festival and raised nearly £650 and the very next day they were in Asda, Ashington for a bag pack which raised in excess of a further £400.

Like buses, when you wait for ages and three come along together, these eight days also included two Charity Chinese Banquets.  These were in aid of the President’s Charity which this year is the Bubble Foundation. “Bubble” babies are born without an immune system and they cannot fight infection. Even the simplest cold virus passed on by a mother’s kiss can kill them.  They are cared for by a Bubble of clean air known as “Sterile isolation”.  The Bubble Foundation works to save the lives of these babies.

The Children’s Bone Marrow Treatment Unit in Newcastle is only one of two specialised centres in the British Isles that give these babies a chance of life.  The treatment involves transplanting new immune cells into the babies’ bone marrow to help them develop an immune system.  Treatment can be for 6 months or more.  The Unit also treats older children with deficient immune systems.  The good news is that survival has now increased from 50% to 80% thanks to the staff and expertise of the Bubble Unit.

The two Chinese Banquets were attended by some 120 people in total and they raised over £1000.  Bubble Foundation’s Fundraising Manager, Gill Johnson was on hand to receive a cheque from President Ian Brown.  She was delighted to receive the monies which will go towards much needed state-of-the-art equipment and research.

Lion President Ian Brown congratulated the Club on a tremendous effort but added none of this would be possible without the generosity of the local communities, friends and visitors. Ian thanked all those attending the events, those who gave raffle prizes, the staff at Asda Ashington and, the management and staff of the Mulan Restaurant without whom the Charity Dinners would have been possible.


Bubble Foundation’s Gill Johnson receiving the cheque from Ian Brown

Lions members ready for the Asda bag pack.


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Lion Adrian gets on his bike for charity

Morpeth Lion Adrian Barnes must be getting a bit saddle sore lately.

Firstly Adrian entered the London-Surrey 100 mile cycle event.  This is the largest charity fundraising cycling event in the world.  Starting in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park the route goes through the City of London, west through Richmond Park and follows the 2012 Olympic Games route into Surrey and back.  The “highlight” of the course is negotiating the infamous uphill zig zags of Box Hill.  On return to the capital, the route takes in the Embankment, Parliament Square and finishes in the Mall.  Adrian completed the course in 6 hours 23 minutes and raised £420 for Lions charities.

Not content with that, a few weeks later Adrian was to be seen in the Sanderson Arcade as part of a team doing a mere 2 hour cycling stint raising funds for Barnabas Safe and Sound, a Morpeth based charity for youths and the homeless.  Fortunately it was a static bike and there were no hills.  The team raised £600 on the day.

Morpeth Lions are waiting to hear of Adrian’s next challenge but hopefully not for a few months as it is costing them a small fortune in sponsorship monies.


Adrian in his Lions colours cycling for charity

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Morpeth Lions continue to help Philippines School

For over ten years Morpeth Lions Club has been supporting a school in the Philippines.   The involvement with a school in the Philippines came about through the involvement of Jenny Wallum, the wife of Morpeth Lion Peter, who worked has worked in many different countries and the two of them live a major part of each year in the Philippines.

The basis behind the Lions’ support for the school goes back to 1991.  In June of that year the second largest volcanic terrestrial eruption of the 20th century took place on the island of Luzon in the Philippines.  The Philippine Government evacuated some 25,000 people from the volcano, Mount Pinatubo. The eruption destroyed homes, livelihood and a way of life to thousands of the Aeta tribe in Luzon.  The land they once farmed and hunted was covered in larva and ash.  Many of the tribe were unable to support themselves and ended up on the streets of Manila and other urban areas.

Almost immediately after the eruption Jenny Wallum founded a Special Projects organisation which later became Entrepreneur Volunteer Assistance (EVA).  EVA was formed to help the Aetas build a new foundation for their communities.   At first it organised livelihood projects as mental health activities for displaced persons living in the devastated areas.  Later it began to offer equipment, loans, training and educational scholarships.  In 2000 a project began to conserve traditional ethnic origins in schools.  The charity is run entirely by volunteers with no paid staff.

Jenny’s special favourite is the funding and construction of the Traditional Origins Ethnic Education Schools.  It is with these projects which Jenny has sort the assistance of Morpeth Lions.  The Morpeth Kinaragan Aeta School was funded with the help of Morpeth schoolchildren organised by the Lions Club.  It was opened in June 2001 and was the first of three Morpeth named schools in the province of Bataan.

As with all schools, there is a continual need for equipment and books.  When Lion Peter Wallum returned to Morpeth this summer he detailed the pupils’ achievements and requested Morpeth Lions help the school again so as to continue the good work.  The Lions were only too happy to do this and presented Peter with a cheque for £200 for the Kinaragan Aeta School.


Lion Peter Wallum (left) receiving the cheque on behalf of the Kinaragan Aeta School from Lion President Ian Brown.

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Morpeth Lions host Lion Keith Ogley, Land's End to John O'Groats walker

Kettering Lion Keith Ogley is walking from Lands End to John O’Groats in aid of Kensley hospice.  He has endured blisters, deep bogs, wild cattle and torrential storms but is resolutely picking off the miles towards his goal.

At the beginning of July he had reached Upper Coquetdale.  Morpeth Lions decided he needed some company, a bed for the night and a good meal.  Morpeth Lion Geoff Bushell met him at the end of the stage and transported him to the Sun Inn in Morpeth where he was fed and entertained by the Lions.  He was put up overnight and taken back to the start of his next stage on the following day.


Morpeth Lion President Stuart Lewis and Keith exchange Club banners

Keith and Morpeth Lions at the meal.

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Lion President hands over to ........... new Lion president

It is all change at the top for Morpeth Lions Club as it continues into its 44th year.  Taking over the Presidential duties from Stuart Lewis is former Club Social Services Chair, Ian Brown who has been an active member for 3 years.  Ian is married to Lorraine and works as Sales Manager for N2 Limited a company specialising in barcoding and data capture.

Ian’s Senior Vice President for the year will be Chris Offord, a post he has held on two previous occasions.  The Junior Vice President is Margaret Trewick, the Secretary Ian Mills and the Treasurer Geoff Bushell.

On being installed as President, Ian paid a warm tribute to Stuart Lewis.  Ian said ‘Stuart has worked tremendously hard for the Club and pushed forward a number of ideas to ensure the continuing success of Morpeth Lions. It has been a year of continuing growth in membership which bodes well for the future.

Ian added that he promised to ensure Morpeth Lions would continue to serve the community to the best of their ability but it was important that they enjoyed doing so and had fun at the same time.”

Last year, under Stuart’s Presidency, the Club was able to distribute over £12,000 to numerous individuals, charities and other organisations - mostly local.  This has been helped by organising facilitating events such as Dickens of a Draw and the Lion Swim; where other groups are able to fund raise for themselves.  Stuart was presented with an album highlighting the activities of the Club during his year of office.

Ian said that plans for several activities and fund raising for the new Lions year were well advanced and he announced that the President’s charity is to be the Bubble Foundation.  Funds for this event will be raised at two Chinese Banquets to be held at the Mulan Restaurant on the 28th September and 5th October.  Anyone wishing to attend these events should contact David Armstrong on 01670 512000

Former President Stuart Lewis (left) handing over to new President Ian Brown.

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Woodland planting inspected by Northumbria in Bloom Judges

Morpeth Lions Club is helping to enhance a woodland bank in the town’s Carlisle Park garden that was inspired by William Turner – the father of English Botany.  The Club planted 40 trees and 12 fruit bushes on the bank in 2012 to commemorate its 40th anniversary.  Since then some 400 bulbs have also been planted. All of the trees on the bank - including Quince, Medlar, Almond and the Strawberry tree - are featured in William Turner's 'Herbal' - the pioneering work which this famous son of Morpeth wrote between 1551 and 1568.

William Turner, known as the father of English Botany, was the first to scientifically describe plants and write about them in English, at a time when other botanical works were written in Latin.

Members of the Lions Club have cared for the trees during the past spring, summer and autumn months, volunteering in the William Turner Garden and keeping the area tidy and the bases of the trees free of weeds. This work recently has led to the Club winning an RHS Outstanding Award.

In July the Garden was again inspected by Northumbria in Bloom judges and the Lions were on hand to explain their planting scheme and its relevance to the work of William Turner

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Educational Visit 2015

For many years Morpeth Lions Club has sought out means of adding to the general education of its members.  These Educational Visits have included visiting sites of historic interest, the Falkirk Wheel, Lead mines in Weardale, the Salmon Ladder at Pitlochry, and a racing stable in North Yorkshire to name but a few.

There is, however, a common link due to the fact that these visits can be of some distance and involves hiring a mini bus.  That link is the brewing or tasting of of beer.  Morpeth members acknowledge that they are getting no younger and because of this, the retention of details relating to the brewing of beer or the distilling of whisky needs to be replenished on an annual basis.

This year Lion Harry Cone arranged a visit to the Royal Armouries at Leeds.  For many attending this was their first visit and probably will not be the last.  Currently there is a topical display backed by film commemorating the Battle of Waterloo that took place 200 years ago.  In addition there were excellent displays relating to weaponry and armour throughout the world and covering many centuries. There was also action with two members of the Museum staff demonstrating double handed sword fighting from the 14th century.  The two hours spent there was a marvellous taster of the Armouries and took the Lion members nicely up to lunchtime.

Harry, however, never loses sight of the liquid aspects of education and nearby was a well- stocked real ale public house that served good food.  The rest of the day was spent at a leisurely pace returning to Morpeth via Wetherby, Thirsk and Murton where members were able to avoid dehydration and hunger on a very sunny day. None, however, was the worse for wear.

Arriving back in Morpeth some 13.5 hours after leaving, the Lions expressed their gratitude to Harry for organising the day and to Lion Les Sage our ever reliable driver.

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Morpeth Fair Day 2015

Never mind the weather, Morpeth Lions will be there !

Intrepid Lions setting up in the rain.

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Morpeth Lions relax in each others' company

At the end of May President Stuart Lewis and partner Sue entertained Lions wives and partners, friends, supporters and helpers to afternoon tea and entertainment at the Parlour Blagdon.  Stuart said it was most important to acknowledge that the Lions could not undertake their many activities without the help of wives, partners and the local community and he gave a big thank you to all concerned.

Lions and supporters at afternoon tea.

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Morpeth Lions Entertain Dutch Lions

This May Morpeth Lions hosted a party of eight from the Heemskerk and Castricum Lions Club of Holland.  This is the latest in a series of biennial visits between the two Clubs.  The Dutch arrived on the ferry early Saturday morning returning late Sunday afternoon.

First stop for the visitors was Beamish Museum. It was a warm sunny day and they caught the tram to the old town.  As well as the shops and other buildings to look round, they enjoyed the music of a band parading and playing in the main street and town park.  Following lunch they visited the railway station and “played” in the signal box before walking onto the old village.  The Dutch had a break from the sun when they down the drift mine and learnt about coal mining.

In the evening they joined more Morpeth Lions for a meal at one of the local Italian restaurants.  At the end of the meal the Dutch Lions had devised a quiz with a difference as the questions had either/or answers but both answers were correct.  Due to alcohol dulling the brain, it took some time for some Morpeth Lions to realise all answers were right.

The next day it was off the Tynemouth to visit the market in the Station and have lunch on the seafront.  Sadly it was goodbye again until Morpeth Lions visit Holland next year.

The Dutch and Morpeth Lions at Beamish

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Lions Charity Swim Presentations 2015

The Riverside Club was the venue for representatives of the twenty teams who recently took part in the Lions Charity Swim raising money for local clubs and charities.  Morpeth Mayor Cllr Nic Best was on hand with Lion President Stuart Lewis to present prizes and sponsorship money cheques.

KEVI’s Patrick Booth’s World Challenge Team retained the George Bell Memorial Trophy for the most lengths swum in the allocated 55 minutes with a new record of 210 lengths. The Team was raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust. The team winning the Dick Gee Memorial Trophy for raising the most sponsorship money was the Mayor’s Mermaids with an impressive £1000 raised for charity including the Samaritans.   A total of £3935 was raised by the 20 teams for local societies and charities.

The presentation was compered by Lion Les Brindley, who organises the charity swim.  He thanked all the teams for taking part, his wife Ann and Joy Offord for providing the refreshments and the Riverside for hosting the event.


Lion President Stuart Lewis and the Mayor, Cllr Nic Best with representatives of the swimming teams.

Stuart Lewis, the Mayor Cllr Nic Best and the Mermaids with the trophy for the most sponsorship raised.

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Morpeth Lions reel them in

The Morpeth Lion Club’s Annual Fishing Competition took place at Fontburn Reservoir on 9th May.  It meant a 6.00am start for some Lions who arrive early to start taking entries.

The poor weather affected numbers but 59 adults and 4 juniors took part in the competition whilst others came and fished for pleasure and bought raffle tickets.  In the end 112 fish were caught.

Angler Alan Smith caught the heaviest overall catch at 15lbs 2oz.  The runner-up was Les Little with 14lb 5oz.  The heaviest fish at 3lb 10oz was caught by Tony Reynolds.  In the junior section Lewis Eke caught the heaviest bag at 6lbs 1oz and the runner-up was D Pearson.  L Wallace caught the heaviest fish.

Organiser Lion Graham Tait said that despite the inclement weather the event had been a great success raising money for Lions charities.  He thanked all the participants and the sponsors which, as well as Northumbria Water, were Frasers Angling and Outdoors and the Barbour Foundation.  Assistance in marshalling and the weighing in was provided by the Wansbeck Angling Association.

Fontburn prize winners.

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A new recruit

Morpeth Lions have a new recruit.  Lion Geoff Bushell has introduced Les Jenkinson to the Lions.  Les was born and grew up in Holmfirth in Yorkshire, the setting for ‘The Last of the Summer Wine’.  With this in mind the Lions expect Les to come up with some stunts for their fund raising activities.

Les is married to Linda and has two children and two grandchildren, the latest being only 6 weeks old.  After completing his degree in Chemical Engineering at Aston University Les worked in the pharmaceutical industry in Cheshire, Scotland and Northumberland. He has recently retired and looking forward to walking in Northumberland, devoting time to his hobby of photography and, of course, being an active member of Morpeth Lions.

Morpeth Lion President Stuart Lewis (right) welcomes Les to the Lions

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Morpeth Lion keeps 24 year old pledge

Morpeth Lion Vice President, Ian Brown, is to fulfil a pledge he made 24 years ago.  Ian became a life saver when he donated bone marrow to a stranger in Delaware, USA.  Later Ian learned the recipient was Rick Haines who was suffering from aplastic anaemia.  They began corresponding and Rick said his ambition was to live to see his daughter marry and Ian pledged to be there to see it.

Now 24 years later Ian is to keep his pledge as he is guest of honour at Rick’s daughter Marissa’s wedding on 9th May.  By a strange quirk of fate Ian, who was widowed 4 years ago, married his fiancée Lorraine on 2nd May. Rick and Ian first met in 1996 but it will be the first time Lorraine has met Rick’s family.

It all started when Ian signed up to the Anthony Nolan bone marrow donor register.  Five years later he received a letter saying he was a possible match and following Harley Street checks he became a donor.  His marrow was immediately sent to the States on Concorde enabling Rick to have a transplant on the very same day.

Ian says the bone marrow procedure hurt somewhat at the time but it was so rewarding. Ian encourages others to consider becoming donors and says procedures are much simpler and less painful nowadays, not dissimilar to donating blood though it takes longer.  To join the Anthony Nolan register, visit

Morpeth Lions wish Ian and Lorraine every happiness for the future and hope they enjoy the wedding in the States, which will be part of their honeymoon!


Ian and Rick on a previous visit to the States

Ian and Lorraine (couple middle right) at their wedding with former Club Presidents and wives/partners

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