Fellow Lions, Lionesses and Partners
So, here we are, my last newsletter article as District Governor for 105C. Don’t the years go by quickly?! I can say without hesitation that it has been an honour and a privilege to have been your District Governor; thank you for entrusting me with the role.
Patsy and I have enjoyed fellowship with Lions from several Clubs over the past month, with visits to Haltemprice, Beverley Westwood and Leeds Skyrack. We also attended the MD Convention in Swansea, where we renewed our acquaintance with the International President, Gudrun Yngvadottir and met Lions from the whole of the British Isles plus visitors from Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands I also started the Selby Bike Ride, attended a meeting of the Doncaster Cancer Detection Walk and Zone Chair Training for 105N.
As Patsy and I look back over the year, there have been several highlights and it is difficult to pick just one. However, I know my lasting memory will be the beaming faces of the competitors at the Fun and Sports Day as they were presented with their medals. Lionism at its best! The entire rationale of Lions is that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and, in Doncaster in August, we see that in action. Clubs from all over 105C and from 105E coming together to provide a fabulous day out for some folk with different abilities.
Almost without exception, Patsy and I have enjoyed our Charter outings and we are very grateful to the Clubs for their hospitality. I say “almost”, because one Charter was frustrating. We were invited as the Club’s guests and I assumed that the proceedings would follow the tried and tested formula of the District Governor responding to the toast to LCI and prepared accordingly. However, upon arrival I was informed that a speech from the District Governor was not required. My surprise turned to dismay after lunch, when the local Rotary President was invited to speak!
I can say without exception or fear of contradiction that Patsy and I have been blown away by the vast sums of money being raised across the District, the incredibly good use to which those funds are being put, and of the service being provided by every Club. You all have my thanks on behalf of Lions Clubs International for a job well done! I hesitate to pick out one Club, but, much maligned in some circles within Lions, I have to say that, “Where there’s a need, there’s a Lioness!”. Over the year, Pontefract Lioness Club has been more visible supporting Lions Clubs events (and their own) than any other Club. I have to say that at a couple of the Lions Clubs we visited nothing resembling a Lions meeting broke out, but those same Clubs were still doing great work.
I can’t write this final article of my year as District Governor without saying something about membership. When you volunteer for a role like District Governor, I think you must view the future through rose tinted glasses. When I first stood before you in February 2016 in Leeds, I talked about my three key objectives, which were membership, membership and membership. At that time, I thought that I could start to turn the tide of membership decline in a single year as District Governor. How naïve! The reality is that, across the District, I have presided over a further decline in our membership, which is, of course, hugely disappointing.
Without a shadow of doubt, recruiting new members is the single hardest thing we do as Lions. Consequently, it is a natural human reaction to stay within our comfort zone and content ourselves with a job well done. My visit to our Clubs has merely served to confirm what MD Membership Officer, Lion Sue Wilding said at the MD Convention, “Clubs spend an inordinate amount of time discussing the minutiae of a duck race, but only spend a fraction of that time and effort discussing membership!”. In the same way that, as Lions, it is our duty to give back the communities in which we live, it is also our duty to sustain Lionism and pass it on to a new generation in good order. If we don’t devote as much time and effort to recruitment as we do to fundraising and service, we will have done a huge disservice to the communities in which our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren live. As the current generations do, those future generations will also need our help.
I hope this is another example of the parable of the seeds. I’ve watched eyes roll when I’ve been talking to Clubs about the use of 21st century communications to get our message across to new generations of future Lions and, clearly, those seeds have fallen on stony ground. However, elsewhere I’ve seen the first green shoots of new growth, which hopefully means that some of the seeds I’ve sown have fallen on good soil.
Just because my year as District Governor is coming to an end, doesn’t mean you are getting rid of me. DGE Lion Andrew Kerr Sutherland has appointed me Global Membership Team Coordinator for 105N, so I will be working with Zones and Clubs to continue what I’ve started.
Patsy will write an article for the first edition of the new 105N newsletter to provide a full report on her appeal, but she has asked me to thank all the Clubs and individual Lions who have donated so far; it looks as though the final total will be an amazing £10,000+!
Finally, can I thank all the Club Presidents, other Club Officers and the entire District Team for their help and support throughout the year. Without you there would be no Lionism.
Once again, thank you for allowing me to be your District Governor.
Yours in Lionism
Lion Clive Barwell
District Governor 105C