WHO ARE WE?
The Malvern Club is one of over 46,000 Clubs in more than 208 countries and geographical locations globally that go to make up the International Association of Lions Clubs or Lions International. With more than 1.4 million members Lions International is the largest service organisation in the world. Although individual Clubs are autonomous and run in different ways, each Club member abides by a common constitution, objects and set of ethics.
Clubs are linked through Zones, Regions, Districts and Multiple Districts to the Lions International Headquarters. The Malvern Club is in a Zone which covers Worcester, Droitwich, Bromsgrove, Redditch and Kidderminster, whereas the District covers most of the Midlands. The Multiple District encompasses all of the British Isles including both Northern Ireland and Eire, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
Since its formation in America in 1917, the organisation has grown and in April 1950 Lions International arrived in the UK. During the Second World War Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother organised the distribution of funds sent by the Canadian Lions Clubs for the relief of the children of this country who were suffering from a lack of food, clothing and poor housing as a result of the war. After the war she sent her Equerry to Canada to thank the Lions for their help. He was so impressed with what he saw that on his return he formed the first Lions Club in this country.
One prominent point in the history of Lions was when, in 1925, Helen Keller addressed an International Lions Convention. She issued a challenge to Lions worldwide to become "Knights of the Blind in the Crusade against Darkness" and to work towards the alleviation of preventable blindness. The Malvern Club regularly supports Lions Sight Savers projects - locally the Club collect spectacles for recycling. The Club donated to a national Lions project to provide two Day Rooms in a 'state of the art' recovery, rehabilitation, training and respite facility for blind ex service men and women which St Dunstan's opened recently at Craig-y-Don, Llandudno. The Club also donates to Eye Camps in Third World Countries. At one such camp over 13,500 people were screened, more than 3,500 of those were treated at the screening and nearly 600 adults and almost 60 children were referred for further surgery.
One section of the international organisation is called Lions Clubs International Foundation which provides immediate funding relief in disaster areas worldwide. This funding is administered through local Lions Clubs in the affected areas. One most recent example was Lions Clubs International Foundation mobilising US$ 5 million in aid following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The irony is that the Japanese Lions Clubs are amongst the highest contributors to the Lions Clubs International Foundation to which the Malvern Club also makes donations. Lions are still helping to rebuild Haiti - and will be there for some time to come.
The Lions organisation has a unique link to the United Nations which is celebrated annually. It was started to commemorate the relationship that began following the gathering of world leaders to sign the UN Charter on 24th October 1945 at the end of World War II. The Lions of British Isles and Ireland have four UN days, to enable all Lions to take part in the celebrations.
Since 1986 Malvern Hills Lions Club has worked with other Lions Clubs to help the Hikkaduwa Lions Club in Sri Lanka to fund a project to build and maintain a Community Centre. The centre includes a school, church and housing. The Club and District are still involved with this project as some rebuilding was required following the Tsunami. In recent years the Club and some of its members have funded student doctors through medical school in Sri Lanka.
One of the largest donations the Club has made over the past few years has been to the local Community Action group to help them purchase two small wheelchair adapted vehicles which means that they do not have to use one of their minibuses to transport just one disabled person, both vehicles are in constant use.
With a commitment to making a difference locally, nationally and internationally, this is only a small insight into what Lions, and the Malvern Club, are and what they do.
To see what Lions world wide are doing click on the links on the top right of this page.