Wellingborough & District Lions Club


Wellingborough & District Lions Club was Chartered on 23rd October 1973.  The Charter was presented by District Governor Ron Pickering (deceased) of District 105B from Lytham St Annes.  (District 105M, our current District, was not formed until 1975).  The club was formed by Kettering & District Lions Club which had been chartered the previous year.  In 1974 Wellingborough & District Lions Club formed Rushden & District Lions Club.

Wellingborough & District Lions Club's first Charter Ball was held at Central Hall, Kettering on Friday 15th February 1974.  Dress was formal with dancing to the Michael Clark Orchestra.  The meal was beef and the cost was just £3.00!

The club's first project was collecting toys for distribution at Christmas.  Toys were distributed to Isebrook Hospital, Fairlawns School, Hinwick House and other local charities.

The first fundraising event was singing Christmas Carols outside Brierley's supermarket in the town centre. 14 Lions collected £25 and 9 collected £34.

The first sponsored swim was held in 1974 and to start it off the President was thrown in the pool by some of his fellow Lion members.  Local schools were encouraged to take part.  This was to become an annual fundraising event and inter schools competition, competing for the Wellingborough Lions Club trophies for many years.

1974 also saw the start of the annual Christmas Food Parcel collection.  Food was collected to make up parcels for distribution to old and needy people in the Wellingborough area.  This is still a major club project today.

In 1976 the club donated £500, half of the amount needed, to purchase a mini bus for the town's Adult Training Centre.  In August the following year, the club purchased a mini bus for the Volunteer Bureau.  The cost of the bus was £700.  The mini bus was replaced in 1981.

Wellingborough Boys Club was presented with Table Tennis tables in 1978.  In 1985 £500 was donated to the Boys Club to match the amount they had raised to provide them with a mini bus.

1978 saw the setting up of the town's Talking Newspaper for the blind.  It continues today under its own management distributing taped news to the blind and partially sighted people all over the Wellingborough area. 

In July 1989, the Wellingborough Talking Newspaper moved into its new £4,000 recording studio in Dexters Chambers on Park Road.  The money was raised by Wellingborough & District Lions Club members.

The Isebrook Hospital Fete was also a major project that year and £1,700 was donated to the hospital to provide extra comfort for patients.  The project continued until the hospital facilities changed.

The following year's major project was a 'Wish Week', mainly to fulfil wishes for children in local schools.  The idea was a way to say thank you to the school children for their part in helping to raise money for the club through sponsored swims.  A further Wish Week was held in 1986.  On that occasion anyone could apply for a wish to be granted.  Many old fold had their dreams come true as well as some surprises for the children in the Wellingborough area.  It also turned out to be a great PR exercise with a lot of press coverage for Wellingborough & District Lions Club.

In 1992 Lion Roger Handcock was elected to serve as District Governor, the first and only member of Wellingborough Lions Club to have held this office.  In recognition of his achievements, the club honoured Lion Roger in 1997 with a Melvin Jones Fellowship, named after the Association's founder.

One of the more recent Lions projects is the 'Message in a Bottle'.  Bottles are supplied by Lions for people to keep their basic medical details in a common place where they can be easily found in an emergency.  Recycling of used spectacles is another Wellingborough Lions project.

Wellingborough Lions Club members have continued to serve the community of Wellingborough and support Lions Clubs International charities in many ways over the years.  The ones outlined above are just a few examples.  Lions also support youth activities, assists people with learning difficulties, help the community's old folk, support third world projects to cure preventable blindness and restore sight, provide water wells in Niger, sponsor children's education in Malawi, provide a community cntre in Sri Lanka, provide a medical centre in Rwanda - to name just a few of the many and varied projects!


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