Boggabri Lions Club recently celebrated their 50th Anniversary with a dinner and special awards evening.

President Craig Devine welcomed the gathering including official guests who included, Lion Kevin Thornton, immediate past district governor and his wife Julie.

Mr Thornton comes from Taree and is a member of the Manning River Lions Club.

Zone 11 chairperson Jennifer Bower was also in attendance. Mrs Bower is a member of the Gunnedah Lions Club and is a past president of Boggabri.

Also at the dinner was Lion Phil Bower, past president of Boggabri and past district governor.

Five members of the Gunnedah Lions club including their president Stuart Muddle attended with Mr Muddle giving heartful congratulations to the Boggabri club.

The Gunnedah club was the sponsoring club at the Boggabri Charter on April 25, 1972.

Mr Devine delivered a short history of the club and its achievements over the past 50 years. Charter president was Frank Robinson OAM, who sadly passed away on April 12, 2022.

Membership started with 25 and over the years it has grown and shrunk but overall, the club has achieved an enormous amount of community service, lots of good times, some hard work and provided monetary value to the Boggabri community.

Fundraising events and community service has included, running the bar and catering for Wean races, catering for the old Gum Tree shoot, battery and old steel drives, and the chook raffles that were conducted at all three pubs on a Friday night and bowls days were popular.

Some of the achievements have been the building of the amenities block at the cemetery, building the lawn cemetery and irrigation system at the cemetery.

The shade area at ‘Glentarkie’, shelters at Vickery Park over all the tables and money put towards the skate park with the Boggabri Rotary Club which was one of their major projects.

Pensioners in Boggabri benefit from receiving loads of wood each year.

The club bought the old theatres and conducted balls and discos for the children of Boggabri.

Mr Devine said: “I have been told that the Lions would have picnics on the river but one of the most looked forward to activities was the intertown rivalry between Premer, Curlewis and Boggabri cricket matches against Lions clubs in each town.”

Recently the major fundraiser has been the Boggabri Drovers Camp Fire which was started by the Boggabri Lions Club in 2006.

This has become one of Boggabri’s major drawcards for the year and has injected $250,000 into the community.

Due to COVID-19 the catering for the coal mines in the local area is the major fundraiser now.

Mr Devine concluded saying: “To all our past and present members we could not have done it without you, thank you all.”

There were two special awards made on the night. Lion Neil Smith received a 50 years of service medal. Neil is the only remaining charter member and has contributed many hours of service to the Boggabri Lions Club.

In a letter from the Australian Lions Foundation chairman, Tony Benbow OAM stated, Dear Lion Neil, The Australian Lions Foundation, on behalf of the Lions of Australia congratulates you on attaining 50 years’ service to the International Association of Lions Clubs.

This is an outstanding achievement and the directors of the Australian Lions Foundation honour that by presenting you with the 50 years of service medal.

We congratulate you on achieving this significant milestone.

The second award on the night was the prestigious Melvin Jones Fellow for dedicated Humanitarian Services Lions Club International Foundation and was presented by Lion Phil Bower, Boggabri member and past district governor, to Lion Roger Hollingworth.

The Melvin Jones award is the highest award bestowed on Lion members and was presented to Mr Hollingworth for his contribution to the Boggabri Lions Club.

Mr Hollingworth said in his acceptance speech, “I am blown away, I just can’t believe it. This is the highest award in the world and I have it. I just wish Sue was here to see it. Thank you, and I will cherish it for the rest of my life.”

The evening ended with Lion Neil Smith cutting the beautiful cake made by Nicole Rixon and lots of stories and memories being exchanged.

More photos to come.

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