Here is a selection of photos from our Presentation Evening which took place on Friday 1st February (Photos by Lion Keith Bird). The photos will also be permanently available from our Gallery Page here.
On the evening of the 8th February, I had the greatest honour to represent our very own Mersea Island Lions Club at Buckingham Palace.
We were invited by her Royal Highness, Sophie the Countess of Wessex who became patron of the Lions Clubs of the British Isles in 2004. The occasion being to mark 100 years of Lions Clubs International.
I was one of 350 individual Lions who came to The Palace. I shall never forget the freezing cold wind and snow coming through the great iron gates of the palace with the dancing snow in the courtyard swirling in the air like something out of the film FROZEN.
As I ascended the great staircase where many Royals including her Majesty The Queen had walked, I suddenly realised “This is real”, I am here in Buckingham Palace representing Mersea Island Lions and of course, Mersea Island.
I will skip the excitement that I felt when I was in the grandest cloakroom I have ever seen. I was shown in to the best known room in Buckingham Palace, The Throne Room, with its spectacular chandeliers and tapestries.
Although we were all wearing name badges, these did not say where we were from, so I made my way around introducing myself and asking where fellow Lions were from. The waiters were very kind and drinks became plentiful. After my third drink of Elderflower (non-alcoholic), I became known as the elderflower lady, but I did end up having one glass of wine.
As I wound my way down towards where the two important chairs (thrones) were, her Royal Highness walked right by me with a smile and a nod and went to the lectern and prepared for her speech.
Her Royal Highness started by welcoming us all to the Palace on such a cold snowy night. Before Countess Sophie went further into her speech, she had a confession to make, and, with a giggle, she said that she and another member of the Royal Family were watching us trailing across the courtyard with our boots, coats and hats which made us appear all in black looking like something from a film set. She had turned to another member of the Royal Family saying “There go My Brave Lions”. Countess Sophie gave a wonderful speech thanking all her clubs for our hard work and dedication and explained that she was only the fairy on top of the Christmas Tree.
Past International Director, Lion Phil Nathan, responded to this saying what our clubs worldwide do. He then went on to present the Highest Award that a Lion can receive, The Mervyn Jones Fellowship. Countess Sophie was lost for words but replied saying thank you so much and repeated that she was only the Fairy on top of the Christmas Tree.
The Countess made her way through the great hall. I was so close to her, watching and listening, a beautiful Lady in every way. She wore a simple sea green satin dress with a black bolero and black very high heeled shoes.
In Sophie, The Countess of Wessex, all present had something special to remember.
Mersea Island was put on the map that evening and I am honoured to have been part of it.
– Lion Christine Chamberlain, MJF. Past President Mersea Island Lions Club.
Footnote – Official photos have not yet been available from The Palace.
On Saturday 10th March 2018 Mersea Island Lions held their 40th Anniversary at The Granary, Waldegraves Holiday Park. It was a packed evening with Lions from all over East Anglia, Smile’s, distinguished guests and friends of Mersea Island Lions.
Chris and his team did us proud with really good food and service to be proud of.
During the evening we were privileged to be entertained by Scarlett Garwood who sang beautifully to us.
Lion Bridget Smith and Lion Christine Chamberlain were presented by the District Governor Lion Derek Prior the highest award that a Lion can receive for dedication and service to humanity, the Melvin Jones Fellowship.
Photos by Keith Bird
More photos here
Our 2018 Annual Presentation Evening was held on Tuesday 2nd February at The Barn Entertainments Centre at Waldegraves Holiday Park, generously provided for us by the proprietors. It was a wonderful evening and a great celebration of all the things the Lions organisation is about: fundraising, community service and fellowship. As a result of a successful year of fundraising activities throughout 2017 we were able to distribute donations totalling £7,500 to 15 deserving local charities (more details to come). At the end of the evening we received an unexpected boost to this year’s fundraising with the presentation of a cheque for £1,500 from the Waldegraves management. (See full report here)
We have updated our photo gallery with hundreds of pictures from many of our 2017 events. Go to our ‘Photo Gallery‘ from the Main Menu to see a wonderful pictorial record of a very busy year!
From Roy Chamberlain:
This is the evening when we make donations to local charities and deserving causes as a result of our fund-raising throughout the year. It is also the occasion when we are able to publicly thank our volunteers and those who sponsor our fund-raising events. Without their help we could not raise these funds, or carry out our work in the community. We call them S.M.I.L.Es – Supporting Mersea Island Lions Efforts.
Our President, Lion Christine Chamberlain, sent her apologies as she is awaiting major spinal surgery. Past President Lion Roy Chamberlain led the proceedings and introduced our distinguished guests Lions International 105EA District Governor Lion Nigel Folkard and his wife Marion, Zone Chairman Lion Sandie Briault and her husband Lion Tony, and the West Mersea Town Council Deputy Mayor Robert Jenkins and his wife Sue.
DONATIONS given to charities and deserving causes during the past year was over £13,000.
- £10.000 was presented to the following charities during the evening:-
Essex Air Ambulance
Mersea Island Packing Shed
Mersea Island Explorer Scouts
Mersea Island First Responders
1st Mersea Island Guides
Mersea Island Blind Spot
Mersea Island Junior Rugby Football Club
Mersea Island Junior Squash Club
Mersea Island Methodist Church Toddler Group
Mersea Island Free Church Toddler Group
Mersea Island RNLI
Mersea Island Festival
Action for Family Carers
Colchester Hospital Cancer Campaign
Colchester Hospital Time Garden
Tools with a Mission
Revitalise Respite Holidays
Lions 105EA District Governor Lady’s Charity – Cystic Fibrosis
Lions 105 District Centennial Project – Hearing Dogs
- Donations were also made to clubs and individuals during the past year when the Club had been asked for financial help. Some of the ways in which we have helped this year are:
Taking a group of foster children to the Lions Children’s Fun Day at Gt Yarmouth Circus
Children in Need
RBL Poppy Appeal
Supporting the Zone Wardens in their work with the School and Elderly on Mersea Island
A Christmas Day lunch and tea for 31 people home-alone on Christmas Day
A defibrillator sited at Cudmore Grove
The monies enabling us to support these worthy causes had been raised by:-
- Manning the gate at a Waldegraves Car Boot Sale
- Selling raffle tickets on behalf of the Mersea Food Drink and Leisures Festival
- Round the Island All Terrain Race (half marathon), and 5 & 10 Mile Races
- The Annual Lions Summer Show and Transport and Classic Car Show
- Car-parking for the Colchester and District Scooter Rally
- Selling mulled wine, mince pies and sausage rolls at Mersea Lights-up
- The Christmas Street Collection for the Home-alone Christmas Dinners
- Monies raised by letting out our beach-hut which is available for use in the community.
Waldegraves presented us with a cheque for £2,105. We are delighted to be working with them, we also appreciate their generosity and hospitality through out the year.
Once again we are most grateful to David Lord of Waldegraves Holiday and Leisure Park for enabling us to hold this annual event in the Wheatsheaf. We are particularly indebted to Chris Parsons and all his staff who do so much to make the evening such a huge success.
Our Greatest achievement of the year?
Our new Lions Community Mini Bus which was parked outside during the evening
Our thanks to all who have made donations and helped make this possible.