Narrabri Lions Club and Lioness Club members were spread out across the Narrabri RSL Club auditorium at Saturday’s joint Changeover lunch and installation of office bearers for the coming year.

The Lions and Lionesses were observing social distancing, following the rigorous conditions for meetings at the club.

The Changeover was chaired by Lion Rob Gilbert with mayor Cathy and Paul Redding as guests.

Lion Vince Haire handed over the reins to incoming president Tom Bennett and Lioness Jill Jollow welcomed her successor Sue Gleeson.

A highlight of the event was the announcement of the prestigious James D Richardson Honour Award to Lion Rob Gilbert for services to Lions over his decades as a member.

The award is named after James D Richardson BEM, one of the most respected early leaders of Lions in Australia and the first Australian International Director.

The incoming Narrabri Lions board comprises president Tom Bennett, immediate past president Vince Haire, secretary Bob Percival, treasurer Stephen Jones, vice presidents Darrell Anderson and John McPherson.

The incoming Narrabri Lioness board comprises president Sue Gleeson, immediate past president Jill Jollow, secretary Kerrie Haire, treasurer Jean Fairless and vice presidents Sheryl Barnes, Dawn Armstrong and Chris Rex.

The Lions and Lionesses are a regular presence at many events, fundraising for projects and providing support across a spectrum of community functions.

It has been a ‘different year’ the outgoing presidents acknowledged.

In his annual report, Lions immediate past president Vince Haire recalled a year dominated by disasters – drought, fire and coronavirus.

Lions had helped out wherever possible, Mr Haire said, including distributing a $40,000 donation from Santos to local drought affected farmers, and support of many community events ranging from fund raising barbecues at every monthly markets in Narrabri, STEM projects, charity golf day, the West School Fete, the Youth of the Year quest, the Christmas Mardi Gras and more.

The onset of the pandemic had curtailed activities in the latter part of the year.

Outgoing Lioness president Jill Jollow reflected on a busy year which had seen the Lionesses donate 1100.15 voluntary hours and provide support for multiple community groups and events, with donations including $250 to the Killarney Bike Ride, a STEM project donation of $500, $1270 to the Childhood Cancer fund, with money raised at a garden party at Wendy and David Nairn’s Kaputar Road property, and $1500 for a water tank for a family hit by the New England bushfires.

Lionesses provided support for schools, charities and the hospital, catered for events and undertook other community works, ‘while enjoying each other’s company at meetings and fundraisers’, Mrs Jollow said.

The outgoing presidents wished their successors well in 1920-21.

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