Balsall Common Lions Club third annual celebration evening highlighted once again the amazing work they do in Balsall Common and further afield.
Over 85% of the money raised by the Lions Club is spent locally, the rest goes to national and international good causes. Members subscription fees pay for all administrative costs.
The 40 local Lions Club members are part of Lions International which has a total of 1.4 million members worldwide, operating in 206 countries. Together they work to combat hunger, sight loss and childhood cancer around the world, as well as organising disaster relief funds wherever they are needed.
Closer to home, many local clubs, societies, venues and organisations benefit from the Lions’ hard work. The annual bonfire in partnership with the Sports Association and sponsored by local businesses is a huge success. Elves from eight local organisations helped Santa’s sleigh visit Balsall Common, Berkswell, Fen End and Burton Green this year, raising £7000.
One of the highlights of the evening was the nomination of Lion Derrick Thompkins to the Melvin Jones Fellowship. Derrick is just the 6th member of Balsall Common Lions to receive the honour in the 44 years the club has been running. His name will go up on the wall in Lions International HQ in Chicago. One of the key things Derrick does for the Club is to set off the fireworks each year on Bonfire night. Over 3000 people attended the 2017 event and over the last 30 years it has raised more than £150,000. Derrick’s fireworks expertise has really helped to boost this figure.
Cheques totalling £12,500 were given out at the presentation evening. The beneficiaries were Balsall and Berkswell Hornets Football Club, Balsall Common Scouts, Berkswell and Balsall Common Rugby Club, Berkswell Cricket Club, Burton Green Residents’ Association, Berkswell Scouts, The Jubilee Centre, Fast Aid, ATC, Heart of England School hardship fund, Meriden School and Talking Newspapers. This year’s travel bursary was awarded to Amy Shadbolt of the 2nd Balsall Common Scouts to go towards her attendance at the 2019 World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, USA.
The Little Ray of Sunshine dementia cafe based in Kenilworth received £1200 raised through a 100 Club Draw with an additional £500 donated to the Cameron Grant Memorial Fund. This year’s 100 Club beneficiary will be the Friendship Project for Children.
A series of Certificates of Appreciation were awarded to local groups and organisations who help the Lions achieve as much as they do. They went to: Unity Automotive, the Heart of England Coop, C P Barbers, The Bugle, The Village Hall, Balsall Parish Council, Alan Heath & Sons, Jamieson Christie, Angela Jaynes Florist, Oakes Farm Shop and the A1 Motorshop. Carl Hemming of Ginger Property also received a certificate for his support of the annual bonfire and Santa’s sleigh. He also nominated the Cameron Grant Memorial Fund as his chosen charity to receive a donation instead of a fee for his work.
Lion President Steve Meakin said: “Once again our annual presentation night is a fantastic chance to reflect on the club’s hard work through the year, to thank all of those people who have supported us and made it possible for us to raise so much money for other local clubs and societies. Our 40 members, and many more friends, work very hard to achieve what we do. We’re always looking for more people to join us, either as a full member or for specific events. If you’d like to find out more about joining us please get in touch. Call Mark Whitfield on 07795 184745, email firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a message on Facebook www.facebook.com/BalsallCommonLionsClub. Here’s to a fantastic 2018.”