Club History

The Club was formed in 1969 with seventeen members, three of whom remain members today, Dennis Gambier, Stewart Foster and Harry Sophoclides.  Sponsored by the Harrow Club, our Charter was presented at the Bellhouse Hotel in the Beaconsfield Suite on Friday  26th September 1969 to the then President, the late Peter Harvey.  The Treasurer was Stan Gurney, latterly of the Leighton Buzzard Club, and the Secretary, the late Peter Thomas.

During the next four years (1969-73) the Club established the Beaconsfield and High Wycombe Clubs and formed a Leo Club which flourished for many years.  By 1973 the Christmas Parcels Scheme was in place in which we co-operate with other local service organisations in both Amersham & Chesham; Rotary, Round Table, Inner Wheel and Ladies Circle together with the Red Cross, Social Services and Age Concern (now Age UK).

Another long standing event had also been started: the annual Fireworks Display.

In 1975-6 concern for the visually handicapped was strengthened when we provided two guide dogs and set up the Amersham & Chesham Talking Newspaper.  Although a separate charity, it continues to be supported by the Lions and their Ladies who provide Readers and Copiers.  Starting with just 12 listeners there are now 80ish and it celebrated its 1000th edition in 1998.

The Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977 was celebrated by the Club presenting the Local Authority with a bench, for use by the general public, which was placed outside the Amersham Post Office.  The Queen’s fortieth anniversary was celebrated with the planting of a tree in Lowndes Park, Chesham.

In 1994 to celebrate our 25 years of service to the community we were granted the honour of having the Lions badge depicted in flower beds, one outside the library in Amersham and the other in Lowndes Park, Chesham.

The Club took the opportunity to recognise this milestone by presenting a picnic table for the play area in Amersham and a seat for use in the Water Meadow gardens in Chesham.

On 1st July 1980 to reflect the recruitment of members from the Chesham area the Club’s name was amended to Amersham & Chesham Lions Club (Note the ampersand!).

Some six years later we sought to assist the victims of crime and formed the Chiltern Victim Support Scheme.

Soon to follow was our interest in the Hospice movement.  The late Edie Pusey had so impressed the Club with the need for a local hospice for the terminally ill that the Club became involved in what is now the South Bucks Hospice.  We were delighted when Edie Pusey House was opened in 1994.  Many of the Lions together with their ladies continue to be closely involved serving as Trustees or volunteers for Hospice activities.  

In recent years the Club has helped establish the South Bucks Advocacy Association which was registered as a Charity in the name People's Voices.

Another activity has been to establish a regular Bingo session for the residents at The Croft, an old folks home in Amersham.

Over the past 40 years we have attended countless fetes, carnivals, festivals and other events to raise funds from side shows which supplement our other fund raising efforts, such as the Amersham Horse Show, since replaced by the Donkey Derby (which is jointly run with Chesham Scouts), 50-50 Auctions, Golf Days, Quizzes, Pub Raffles and Firework Displays.  Our activities have helped to raise circa £375,000 to help those less fortunate both locally and abroad.

Whilst it is not possible to mention all those who have been helped by the Club, they include Youth sponsorship projects, Senior Citizens, Leukaemia Research, Riding for the Disabled, the Red Cross Society, Hearing Dogs for the Deaf, Guide Dogs, Multiple Sclerosis, Speech Aid, St John's Ambulance, Local Schools, Scouts and Guides, Sea Cadets, Paraplegics, Medic Alert, Dial-a-ride, Speech Aid, Talking Newspaper, Victim Support, South Bucks Hospice, and Heritage House School Chesham, which caters for children with severe and profound learning and physical disabilities.

In 1994 we raised over £5,000 towards the Lions International Sight First Campaign target of $130 million to prevent or cure blindness worldwide.  This is in addition to the annual contribution we make towards the cost of eye camps through which we have helped restore the sight of over 1,900 people.

Other help for the third world  has been the provision by the Club of over 25 water wells in Nigeria. A Club initiative with District 105A in conjunction with LCIF provided an additional 20 wells during 1999 - 2000.

We are twinned with two overseas clubs, Karachi Airport in connection with Eye Camps and the Ibadan Club in Nigeria for our water wells programme.

The strength of our Club is in the loyalty, long service and fellowship of our members.  Over the years eleven Lions have gone on to hold Regional and District positions.

Sadly we have lost Lions:

  • Peter Harvey our Charter President
  • Tony Roberts
  • Mike Foxman who both did so much for the Talking Newspaper
  • Ken Tate who ran the Horse Show for many years alongside Frank McLean
  • George Pavey who was only with us a few months before his premature death
  • Mike Scott who will forever be associated with the establishment of the South Bucks Hospice
  • Stewart Tilley who gave freely his support over the years
  • David McCluney who established People’s Voices
  • Jeff Kay who worked tirelessly for the South Bucks Hospice and the Talking Newspaper
  • Dennis Wright who as PR Officer not only supported the Club’s activities but determinedly promoted them to the media in search of publicity for the Club
  • Alan Bonfield who worked tirelessly promoting the Medic-Alert project
  • Peter Thomas
  • Chris Orchard.

As Lions they could be counted on to support the Club in its many endeavours.  They are all greatly missed.

The Lions badge faces both ways, PROUD of the past, CONFIDENT of the future.


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