Stamford and District Lions Club
Who are we?
Since 1975 there has been a Lions Club in Stamford, quietly helping people in any way they can. Stamford Lions are members of the largest service organisation in the world, Lions Clubs International, which has just celebrated its centennial year. There are 46,000 Lions Clubs from Albania to Zimbabwe and more than 1.4 million members. Our motto is “We Serve” . There is a disaster relief arm of Lions, the Lions Club International Foundation and we are proud to say that every penny, cent, yen or euro donated to LCIF goes to the emergency situation which needs it, all administrative costs are covered by our annual dues. We are volunteers who pay to volunteer.
Stamford and District Lions Club is a small club, however the members have 163 years of service between them, service to others in the Stamford area, service to people around the world. Small things such as the Summer Family Fun Day (part of the the Festival) arranged to give residents and visitors a day of fun, relaxation and pleasure, to “One Shot, One Life” working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Department for International Development to eradicate measles.
Lions Clubs International is recognised by the World Health Organisation as the largest NGO working to eradicate preventable blindness and providing rehabilitation services. Lions involvement in all aspects of Sight loss was started in 1925 when Helen Keller challenged them to be Knights for the Blind. Recently, working with Moorfields Eye Hospital and other charitable organisations Lions have built a new eye training and treatment hospital at the Korle Bu Hospital in Accra. Approximately 2.6 million people in West Africa are blind, but 80% of the blindness could be prevented or treated if the manpower and resources were available and accessible to poor communities. The hospital can provide clinical training for the West African region and also a comprehensive eye care service.
Locally, for 51 weeks a year, for more than 35 years the Stamford and District Lions Club have produced the Talking Newspaper, an audio version of the weekly Stamford Mercury. This is read on a Friday and received by the listeners on the Monday. The service is free for anyone who wants it. If a person is unable to read the local newspaper, for any reason (loss of sight, Parkinsons, arthritic hands) they can stay in touch with local events and news by listening to the paper. Initially the recordings were on tape, now everyone receives the paper on a memory stick. Funds raised for the Talking Newspaper are held separately. The readers for the Talking Newspaper are not all Lions and non-Lions are welcome to join the reading teams. For the last 5 years we have also had a student doing their Duke of Edinburgh Award community work reading with us, first one young man who is now at university and now his brother.
Around town there are some small baskets with “MIAW Please take one”, these little folded cards are a lifesaver. With the instantly recognisable green cross on them, all emergency services know there is critical information there. By giving information about any medical problem or allergy you may have, should you be in the unfortunate position of needing help with no one to speak for you, the MIAW tells the medic what you may be incapable of saying. The MIAW is free, provided by Stamford and District Lions Club as a community service.
Each year there is an international Peace Poster Competition and Welland Academy have incorporated this into their curriculum. This year the theme is “Kindness Matters”. The artwork will be judged by the Mayor and Lions Club President in mid October and the winning entry will be sent to District Level and the winner then goes to Lions Head quarters in Birmingham, where the overall winner for the UK will be selected.
When not organising Family Fun Days or recording the Stamford Mercury the Lions are busy with Sight Awareness and Diabetes Awareness days. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness and also may bring many other associated problems. We can be found on the streets of Stamford collecting for Marie Curie and Sue Ryder. We have a member who makes delicious Seville orange marmalade and through a familial connection all the money raised from the marmalade sales goes directly to Africa where it provides water purification tablets for people who desperately need it.
We can’t forget Santa’s Grotto, regularly in the Christmas Market Santa spends a day bringing a smile to literally hundreds of local children. It’s a 14 hour day for the members, but it’s all worth it. The Grotto along with concerts by Corby Male Voice Choir have been our fundraising for the past year, to a lesser degree the Family Fun Day. We have been able to give assistance for the purchase of books to a young lady working her way through university, we have helped Air Cadet 2071 Squadron, the Cubs and Scouts, Dreams Come True, Alternative Stamford and Ketton Junior Triathlon Club Disabilities Group.
There is so much more to being a Lion than can be said in this space. You are literally one in a million and you have over 1,000,000 friends around the world, all working to help others less fortunate than themselves.
If you would like to know more about Lions and the things we do, maybe volunteer as a reader with the Talking Newspaper or know someone who might need our help, please contact us.