The Lions Club of Narrabri celebrated its 58th annual changeover dinner at the Narrabri Bowling Club on Saturday, July 2.

Installing officer was past district governor Peter Willis-Jones, from Tamworth, who was accompanied by his wife Pam.

Lion Tom Bennett was installed as the president, continuing a second year. Lion Bernie Large and Lion Peter O’Connor were installed as vice presidents.

Also, on this occasion, the officers of the Narrabri Lions Auxiliary Club were installed (formerly Narrabri Lioness Club).
Auxiliary president was Sheryl Barnes, continuing a second year, and Dawn Armstrong and Chris Rex were installed as vice presidents.

Both presidents addressed the audience with a comprehensive report of Lions activities within the community during the past two years, as there was no changeover last year because of COVID lockdowns.

The Lions Club contributed more than $5000 to worthy projects and causes involving more than 1100 manhours.

The Auxiliary Club contributed more than $1100 to worthy projects and causes involving more than 300 manhours.

Narrabri mayor Cr Ron Campbell responded on behalf of the community and proposed a toast to the International Association of Lions Clubs.

During the meeting, Cameron Staines was inducted as a member of the Lions Club, and Gloria Brown and Helen Stoltenberg were inducted as Auxiliary members.

Later in the evening, the ballot for the Lion Of The Year Aub Guyer Memorial Shield was announced and presented to Lion Bob Percival, and the Stirrer’s Paddle was presented to Lion Rob Gilbert.

Lions Club president Tom Bennett said some of the highlights of the past two years include involvement in Pink Up Namoi, donating and attending the street dinner fundraiser and commencement of a new project, UB4ME.

UB4ME is a project to promote the Aussie spirit of a fair go when shopping and ordering services.

“Lions noticed as the pandemic progressed, some unknowing citizens were not having regard for their fellow patrons when shopping or waiting for service. The idea is to promote common courtesy and respect for all community members,” Mr Bennett said in his president’s report.

“Our Lions Club has continued to raise funds mainly from catering projects, including the markets, and we have made substantial donations to several local causes and national causes, including disaster support during the drought, the bushfires, the floods on the coast and a few more.

“One of the more interesting projects we supported financially is Lions Hearing Dogs.

“Lions have a training facility in South Australia where companion dogs are specifically trained for deaf people to notify them of relevant sounds, including doorbells and smoke alarms.

“But now the Lions are training dogs who can sense their diabetic owner’s insulin imbalance and notify them, even wake them if they are asleep.

“Diabetes is one of the most prevalent ailments in people around the world, some people aren’t aware they have that problem. Now diabetes is on top of the list of Lions Clubs internationally.”

Similarly, Auxiliary president Sheryl Barnes also reflected on the group’s successes in her report to members.

“We nominated Lions Lady Dawn Armstrong for the SIAHTO Woman of the Year Award, and we were so pleased when this nomination was successful,” she said.

“Congratulations to Dawn for all her commitment to our community.

“Once again, our ongoing activities include the making and delivery of 200 ‘Bookworm’ library bags to 14 schools in our shire.

“These bags are given to Kindergarten children and include a package of ideas for parents, a quality picture book and a sock puppet to encourage children with their reading.

“We continue to make and fill hospital toiletry bags for emergency patients, and we also provide these bags to the Crisis Centre and Ronald McDonald House. The Lions Auxiliary also provides comforter ‘Cuddle Buddies’ for children in trauma situations at the Narrabri Hospital, including ED, X-ray and pathology. These bears are also given to the Crisis Centre, police and paramedics.

“We also continue to collect old prescription eyeglasses, which are checked and repaired and distributed through Lions Recycling to those in need in developing countries.

“This Lions year, we have again catered and operated the canteen on three occasions at the Narrabri Pistol Club.”

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