TO some people in Burton the words ‘The Lions Club’ might not mean much, but to the many charities and non-profit organisations in the town, they are an unsung group who are always on hand to provide timely donations to the most worthy of causes.
A worldwide organisation with more than one million members, the Lions is a fund-raising group who provide regular charitable donations to the groups that are most in need. For the past 32 years, the Burton branch has been on hand to serve the local community. However, membership is now beginning to fall and with the average age not getting any younger, they are appealing for anyone that wishes to make a difference to step forward and become part of the group in order to keep the spirit of the Lions alive.
The club’s philosophy is that every penny received, raised or invested does not go into the pockets of its members and is given to a charity or organisation in need of support.
Tony Welch has been a member of the Burton Lions for the past 12 years. He was working in the fire service when the then-manager of the Octagon Centre introduced him to the club. He told the Mail: “When I first joined, we had roughly 24 members. However we’re now down to just 10. It’s not just in Burton where the numbers are falling, but all over the country.
“I’m the youngest, and I’m 65 years old. Some clubs elsewhere in the world are down to just one or two members but we don’t want to be like that. We’d love for new people to get involved with the work we do and join us to keep Burton Lions going.”
Over the past few years the Lions have provided funds to a variety of charities and groups throughout Burton to fund new provisions so that they too can keep going. They have helped the YMCA to organise a concert as well as providing money for a furniture van. They also volunteer at All Saints Church and have provided St. Modwen Sea Cadets with money towards a new boat and equipment. Tony has even taken on the role of Father Christmas at the Octagon as part of the Lions’ fund-raising efforts.
Eileen Harrison has been a member of the Burton Lions for the past 15 years. She added: “People are happy to give money, but they can’t spare the time, but we only have a meeting once a month on top of the volunteer work we do. It’s a fantastic way to meet new people and make friends for life.”
Both Eileen and Tony fear that if the club does not see new members join in the coming years, then the Burton branch will no longer be able to keep going.
Tony added: “It’s a crying shame that we might not be able to keep going. We don’t want to end up with just two or three members, we would rather go out on a high. However we don’t want to stop at all, which is why we would love new people to come and join us.”
Anyone that is interested in joining the Burton Lions can contact Eileen Harrison on 01283 561 503 for more information.