Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland


End of an era as Lions Lisburn roar for the last time

Mayor James Tinsley in Thompson House where the Lisburn Lions presented tour cheques to Thompson House, Leo and The South Eastern Health and social services. US4607-527C0

ONE of Lisburn's best known service groups, . the Lions Club, has closed after 42 years of working for the community.

' Eddie Boyle and Hugh Moore, who were Lions members for almost three decades, explained there had been a decline in membership in recent years.

"This problem came to a head with the death of two long serving members Liam Boyle and Bill Richer who together had given over 70 years of service," Mr. Moore

H explained. "The remaining membership was faced with either allowing the Club to wither away or grasp the nettle and close. "The unanimous decision favoured the latter and the Club officially closed on June 30." Mr. Moore said the Club had been part of Lions Club International, a worldwide organisation with 1.3 million members. He explained there was a total of around 100 such clubs in Ireland and concluded: "Against this background it is indeed a pity a city the size of Lisburn no longer has a Lions Club."

Mayor Councillor James Tinsley paid a warm tribute to the work of the Lisburn : Lions.

Mr. Tinsley said the club would be a great loss as it had done 'a tremendous amount' on behalf of the people of the city.

He recalled how its members had 'worked selflessly' to provide festive meals for the elderly on Christmas Day.

He also spoke of the popularity of the club's annual fireworks display in Wallace Park which was an important date in the Lisburn calendar for many years.

"I cannot praise the work of Lisburn Lions Club enough. It will be sadly missed," he added.

The Club officially closed on June 30 but its work did not end until last Wednesday when its remaining funds were split between Thompson House, the South Eastern Health and Social Services Trust, Lisburn Gateway Club and LEO, the talking newspaper for people with sight impairment.

The cheques were handed over at a ceremony in Thompson House last Wednesday evening during which the hospital's former Matron Mrs. Marie McStay said the club's demise was 'a great loss' to the City.

She spoke of Thompson House's longstanding relationship with the Lions which began with the donation of a minibus and included financial support as well as an annual bus run and carol concert.

"This was enjoyed by many others from residential homes across the city as the Lions provided the transport to and from Thompson House," she added.

Her sentiments were echoed by Reggie Barr from LEO, Janice Colligan from the South Eastern Trust and Stephen Lenaghan from the Gateway Club.

They said the weekly transport service provided by the Lions for more than 30 years would be a particular loss.

Among other work which the Lions were well known for were 'meals on wheels', personal security alarms for vulnerable people, an annual holiday to Mosney for the elderly and lonely, diabetic screening, helping the 'Sight First' programme under which countless thousands of people in the developing world have had their sight restored through cataract operations costing less than �10 each and support for 'Water Aid

Ulster Star