Lions, a brief 'ish history....
Lions is a service organisation with about 1.4 million world wide in 44,000 clubs... Lions Clubs began as the dream of a young Chicago insurance man Melvin Jones, who wondered why local business clubs could not expand their horizons from purely business concerns to the betterment of their communities and the world at large. Jones' idea struck a chord within his own group, the Business Circle of Chicago, and they authorized him to explore his concept with similar organizations from around the United States. His efforts resulted in an organizational meeting on June 7, 1917 and the establishment of The International Association of Lions Clubs in October 1917.
Lions stands for: Liberty, Intelligence, Our Nation’s Safety and was officially adopted in 1919. The Lion was chosen as the emblem for the organization because the Lion symbolized courage, strength, fidelity and vital action. The emblem shows the Lion’s head facing in two directions. One head is looking to our past and the other is looking to the future. This emblem was adopted in 1920.
Lions in the UK.
During the Second World War the Queen Mother, then Queen Elizabeth was Patron of "Waifs and Strays", (later "The Church of England Children's Society"), and received £80,000 from the Lions of Ontario to use on behalf of the children who suffered in the London "Blitz". The Society looked after the evacuation of the children. After the war the President of the Church of England Children's Society, Colonel Edward Wyndham visited Toronto to thank the Lions Clubs of Canada. He met Bruce Malcolm (Lions International Staff Representative) and was persuaded to visit Lions International Headquarters in Chicago. He was moved by the spirit of Lionism and when he returned to London Bruce Malcolm came with him. They contacted business men in London, many of whom were Canadian ex-servicemen, who had married and settled in the UK. Some of them had been associated with the original gifts, and between them they formed the London Lions Club with 70 members on 29th December 1949. There are now 20,000 members in the UK spread over about 1000 clubs.
Lions in Budleigh Salterton.
Lions set up a club in Budleigh Salterton in 1980. There are currently 19 members, all men, including 2 of the original members, and we are backed up by our terrific wives!
Lions motto is “We Serve” and all club members get involved in projects where we have been able to help, either individuals or local organisations that need some support. Working with a group of like-minded individuals who enjoy what they are doing can give a great buzz...
Lions Fund Raising.
We have a number of events that we organise over the year and that have worked very well for us. The Gala Week and Duck Race. Club Members and wives man these to minimising our costs. We get fantastic support from local communities.
To date we have raised in excess of three quarters of a million pounds and all monies raised are donated to local charities, organisations and worthy local causes with the exception of two International projects. Each year we pay for a water well to be sunk in Africa and the cost of a Doctor and Nurse for a day in India to run an eye camp – both projects cost £250.00. The last eye camp was in an Indian Village called Jamshedpur where 25 people had their eye-sight restored, two people had operations for the prevention or imminent blindness and 280 people had cataracts removed.
We also provide “Message in Bottle”, a scheme whereby you store details of medication and next of kin and keep it in your fridge and then place a Green sticker on your front door. Ambulance personnel and Firemen recognise this and know where to obtain the details. Bottles are available from the Health Centre, Hospital, Lloyds the Chemist or from Lion Alan Lowe 01395 443815.
Our latest project is Keysafes for which we ask a donation of £20.00. We will supply and fit. The contact is Lion Alan Lowe, as above.
Budleigh Salterton Lions meet on the second Tuesday of each month at the Dog and Donkey, Knowle, Budleigh 7.30p.m. Meetings close around 9.00p.m. Membership is £50.00 per year (can be payable in two instalments) which covers our local dues, Mutiple District dues, International Dues and Insurance.
We aim to have at least one fund raiser per month and we also put on a Senior Citizens Xmas lunch, co-ordinate Gala Week, and an annual Golf Day in August.
Lions Community Service.
Internationally, Lions is recognised for service to the blind and visually impaired. In 1926 Lions was challenged by Helen Keller to become “knights of the crusade against darkness” Over the years this has become a major activity involving almost every club. At a more local level our community service work can vary from small donations to help an individual buy a piece of equipment that might be needed to help improve their quality of life, or a set of football shirts for a local junior football team, through to something more major.
Lions Budleigh Salterton Club Members live across the district, which covers an area of approximately 35 square miles in rural South Devon.
Lions membership is by invitation and requires the unanimous agreement of all club members. Usually a member will invite a potential member to come along to one of our meetings and social events. It takes a couple of months to enroll a new member.
For more information please send an email to or phone lion Gavin March telephone: 01395 443332