Fifty years at heart of Newquay
Members of Newquay Lions with their minibus; the organisation has been helping people in the community for 50 years; inset, the founding members
21st July 2021
By Warren Wilkins
A Newquay charity is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Newquay Lions is organising various events throughout the year to mark the milestone, including fetes, a Santa hunt, coffee mornings and its prize bingo.
Local businessmen started the club to raise money for local people and charities, give back to the community and step up when there was a disaster around the world. Half a century on and Newquay Lions have raised tens of thousands for good causes and organised a huge number of community events.
The Lions have been using their bus during the covid pandemic to carry patients, deliver shopping, collect supplies for the Newquay charity DISC and support other organisations that have needed help.
Members helped marshall the covid vaccination sessions at Narrowcliff Surgery. Lion Andrea Hall said: “The Lions International motto is ‘We Serve’, which the Newquay Lions have done by being there whenever and wherever there is a need, to provide support and assistance either manually or financially. “
“Fund-raising has been an important part of the work done by the Lions in order to support local youth organisations and families and individuals in need. The people of Newquay and the local community have always stepped up, supporting us in a fantastic way. “
Many businesses have sponsored the Lions over the years so the club could put on events. “Although a portion of the funds we raise goes to international projects, at least 90 per cent goes back into our local community. “
“In 2019 alone £13,979 was donated back into the community. “The Lions give regular donations to all the Newquay and local community schools for the children’s welfare, DISC and the area food banks, families in need, small charity groups and local community groups that are at the heart of our community offering support to many.”
“In the last six years Newquay Lions have sought to encourage and celebrate the achievements of the youth in the town. “The young people of Newquay have shown some amazing kindness, imagination for fund-raising and offering personal help to different causes. “
“The young people nominated for their Young Citizen’s Award were amazing. “The time and effort they were willing to give, to help other people, was truly inspiring.” Dennis Arbuthnott, a founding member of Newquay Lions, has agreed to be the president during its milestone 50th year He has been a keen supporter and fund-raiser over the years and still attends all the meetings and events to help.”
Andrea said: “Dennis is so proud of what started as a small charity to help local people has grown into. As this is a big year for the Newquay Lions it is our hope that there will be events throughout the year celebrating the anniversary. “
“Beside our usual Easter egg hunt there will be fetes, a Santa hunt, coffee mornings and of course the charity prize bingo which is a friendly fun afternoon with exceedingly good home-made cakes.”
“There is also a social side of the club. Each month there is a social get-together, maybe bowling, a quiz, a visit to a local chocolate factory, a meal or anything else members want to do together. “
“The club is always happy to welcome new members of likeminded people who feel the same way about the importance of taking an active part in, and in giving back to, their community. We are a friendly, relaxed group and make new members very welcome.”
The Lions has also shone on the international stage, for example by coming to the aid of fishermen in Sri Lanka who were affected by the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004. Members managed to raise £80,000, which paid for 20 new boats. The Lions also sent a convoy of lorries carrying clothes and essentials to help people affected by the Kosovo conflict in 1999.
The club helped people affected by the Haiti earthquake in 2010 and donates money each year to a centre for the blind in Kenya, which helps to keep the facility going.
Newquay Lions meet at the Sandy Lodge Hotel on the third Wednesday of the month at 7pm. For more information visit its Facebook page Newquay Lions Club, its website newquay lions.org or telephone 07879 206518.
How the Lions have helped out
A part of the group’s service to the community is carried out by the Newquay Lions minibus, which is regularly seen around town.
It’s used at many events such as the Newquay Fish Festival and Newquay Lifeboat Day to carry people up the steep hill at the harbour.
The vehicle is also used to take elderly and infirm people to church and social events, and transport children’s or adult groups to a variety of activities. The Lions Club has organised community events including Newquay Carnival (for more than 30 years), the Easter egg hunt on Towan Beach and the summer fete on the Killacourt.
Members have also helped marshall the Christmas lights switch-on, Newquay Fish Festival, RNLI Day, St Piran’s and Pride parades. The club has worked hard to organise an annual holiday for deserving families from around the country at Hendra Holiday Park for the past 25 years.
Members are on hand throughout the week organising events and trips, a barbecue and a pasty supper. Lions have sought to encourage and celebrate the achievements of young people in the town.
The club set up Treviglas Academy Leos Club to mentor young people in fund-raising and service to encourage volunteering in the community. Many Leos have gone on to serve in the community or become Lions themselves.