District Lions club winds up

Former members of the Winton Central Southland Lions (from left) Glenys Robertson, Wilma Heenan, Joan Hodges, Betty Cowie, Avys Kidd, Daphne Burns, Dorothy Dyer, Flora Andrews and Val Grant enjoy a catch up last week.

THE Winton Central Southland Lions Club is no longer.

Established in 1990 with 40 members, the last 10 members decided to disband the group at its last meeting in August.

“Between them, they have 200 years of service (to the community),” Winton Lions Club publicity officer Juon Schoen said.

All the members agreed there was much to be thankful for, being a part of the group.

The fellowship and the opportunity to help with community projects were some of the highlights they talked about.

Former secretary Daphne Burns, who had been a member since 2012, said: “I take my hat off to the ones who started it in 1990 Avys Kidd, Joan Hodges and Wilma Heenan.”

Their husbands had been members of Lions for many years when the women felt it was timely for them to also have a club.

The group had supported the community through various fundraising events for community organisations such as Hospice Southland, the Winton Swimming Pool, St John Ambulance Shuttle, dog training for Blind Low Vision, and Ronald McDonald family house at Southland Hospital, as well as for individuals including assisting school children to go to school camps and Borland Lodge.

The annual fundraising Variety Concert held in a church hall was one of their highlights, they said.

“We had Suzanne Prentice on board one year, which was amazing.”

Raising enough money to fund a ventilator for Southland Hospital was another milestone members were proud to acknowledge.

Their annual fundraiser was selling raffle tickets along the main street of Winton, and there were many, many cheese rolls made to add to the money raised.

“Quite a few thousand,” was the suggested number

However, “as it got harder, making the cheese rolls went by the board”.

Then there was the baking.

“We baked biscuits for Camp Quality in Queenstown [Kelvin Heights]. The last time it was 22 ice cream containers full,” Mrs Burns said.

There was also Housie which they ran for 10 years to raise money for the community, Mrs Hodges said.

But it wasn’t just the fundraising, members also supported people in their community “very strongly” by helping with Meals On Wheels food delivery and helping at the Elderly Day Care Centre.

Recently, members had been asked to knit 30 pairs of slippers for pupils at Dipton School, which had been appreciated.

Dorothy Dyer, who had been a member since the early 1990s and president three times, said the annual conferences, which had run from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon had been a lot of fun, with various guest speakers.

She also credited training had helped her in during her term as president.

However, it was the recent changes in banking requirements, as well as the disappearance of local banks in Winton which contributed to the members deciding to call it a day, former president Val Grant, who had been a member for 16 years, said.

“It simply became too difficult…”

The final decision to reluctantly close down the group was the “hassle with the bank and banking internet that was the tipping point”.

“They [the banks] have made it really hard on a lot of clubs and social clubs… if they had made it a lot easier things could have been different.

“Add in that everything which had to be done by computer, from head office as well, and we just got bogged down by all the computer stuff,” Mrs Burns said.

Disbanding the group “was disappointing in a way, but understandable,” Mrs Hodges said.

The good news was the women still met for coffee and catch-ups, and many were still involved in various community projects.

“We can still help in the community, such as with Meals On Wheels,” Mrs Burns said.

“And knitting for the Winton birthing unit,” former member Betty Cowie said.

“And we still meet socially.”