Lions Club has raised £100k but needs fresh blood

Wantage Lions Club's Mary Foster at the Jubilee celebrations in the town

Wantage Lions Club's Mary Foster at the Jubilee celebrations in the town

First published in Wantage/Grove Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

Community fundraisers are celebrating a quarter of a century of supporting vulnerable people in the Wantage area.

The Wantage and Grove Lions Club has been holding jumble sales, cake stalls and collections to fundraise since June 1987.

They have provided wheelchairs, defibrillators, food parcels for 250 people and annual Christmas dinners for more than 100 pensioners.

Now they are looking for fresh blood to carry on their good work, and are hoping to attract some new members in their 25th year.

President Alan Kings said: “In over 25 years they have raised a lot of money. I would hazard a guess in excess of £100,000, which has been spent largely in the local community.

“These days there are more in need in the local community than there were 25 years ago.

“There are a lot of people these days, old and young, who are in difficult circumstances and need help.

“We have always had the point of view we are a local club. We raise money locally so we spend it locally for the benefit of the people.”

He added: “It is a good milestone and I hope they do another 25 years.

“There is still a continuing need for that and it is getting even greater.”

Six months ago there were 22 members – now there are 14. The youngest member is about 60 and the eldest 81.

Mr Kings added: “As with a lot of these organisations, we seem to be coming to an era where younger people either haven’t got the time or aren’t interested in doing any community work. That is sad because that’s what we need.”

Vice president Alan Foster said the club helped out 300 people and raised about £8,000 every year, despite some confusion about the name.

He said: “A lot of people think that the Lions Club is a rugby team.

“We fundraise with jumbles, bingos, craft fairs. And we come to the aid to local people if they need help in shopping or anything.”

Member Mary Foster has said: “Put simply Lions serve. Quietly, usually, without a blaze of publicity.

“The club is self-financing so that all the money raised goes to those who need it.”

The club also socialises together with regular theatre, bowling and tourism trips.

Town Mayor Charlotte Dickson said: “They do a fantastic job for the community and they are always at events in the community.

“They have a very important role and all these groups are a great asset to the community. The fundraising they do is brilliant.”

The club will hold a special celebration evening at Snells Hall, East Hendred, on June 17.

To find out more about joining the Lions call Mr Foster on 01865 820366 or email wglions@yahoo.com

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