Ashbourne and District Lions will close in June
The Ashbourne Lions have, with heavy hearts, decided that the Club shall have to close in June this year. Looking back those 33 years since receiving their Charter, the founder members must wonder where those exciting and energetic years all went!
It was in 2017 that the Club began to contemplate closure – we had worked hard at various recruitment devices and club promotions but in spite of our best efforts – we got few recruits. The membership of 19, whilst looking pretty good, was in fact a working membership of far less. We have become older and now less and less of us have the health, energy or circumstances to give our best.
At our various meetings to discuss closure, members have regaled us all with tales of what was: the Carnival Floats, Bavarian Nights, Custard ‘punishment’, Miles of Bras, Miles of Pennies, Half Marathons, the marshals at Ploughing matches and show-grounds, the Victorian Pig Roast. We have raised a great deal of money and gained great pleasure from doing so; but now the work is ceasing to be fun as we struggle to get people to help us to organise events, put on the tabards and ‘rattle the tins’.
A service club like the Ashbourne Lions needs various post holders from President to Publicity officer, Welfare to Fundraising, Treasurer to Social Organiser and then there are supposed to be 7 committees (we manage with far less), but notwithstanding that, the paperwork involved in the pleasant duty of raising money and giving it away to worthy causes, is enough to put anyone off – and old Lions are not patient Lions!
‘Giving it away’ has been fun and we’d like to think that groups like the Scouts; the wonderful young people seeking to help others with our sponsorship; the disabled through ADCASH; organisations like the Monday Club providing transport for the elderly; Children in Need; International charities for sight and clean water and always those disaster appeals. It is a truth, we have been giving away your money but we’ve enjoyed raising it and we have been grateful for peoples’ generosity.
The real problem is the lack of new members joining our Club and it has only been the sterling work of Friends of Lions that has given us the appearance of being thick on the ground at fundraising events in recent years. The Lions have a good reputation in the district and we have had the thanks and appreciation of so may causes, charities and individuals. We have the moral support of the Town but not the bodies willing to join us – we are much praised, but not sustained.
We will have raised half a million pounds over all those years and all that is due to plain hard work and the generosity of the good people of Ashbourne and we shall all leave with regrets and fond memories. Some members may transfer to other clubs but for most of us: ‘time’s up’. Our assets are being sold to add to the Charity account and that, after a final set of donations, will be that.
We will of course notify those groups that have come to rely on us and we wish through your paper, to thank the townsfolk for their support and friendship over the last thirty years. Each one of us will miss the camaraderie, many of those meetings at the Servicemen’s Club (the short ones anyway), the support we give each other, the get-togethers we have and the sense of belonging with Ashbourne it brings.