The Lions Club of Mount Gambier has a female president and all-female executive for the first time since being chartered in 1963. Jill Austin succeeds Allen Woodham OAM as leader of the club which has more than 40 members.
She said she felt honoured to be the first female president and be part of a club that was moving ahead. “I’m looking forward to this coming year and hope members will join with me in promoting our club through our service,” Ms Austin told the audience at the club’s changeover dinner at the Mount Gambier Community RSL on Saturday night.
“As restrictions ease and opportunities return and become easier, I know I can rely on you all to roll up your sleeves and play your part in our work and fundraising efforts. “Fundraising – although very important – is only one way we support our community. “Throughout the year I will be looking for other opportunities for us to help.”
Ms Austin joins other executive members Beccy Field and Judy McEwan who were returned as secretary and treasurer respectively. “The year we have just endured has created unprecedented challenges and demands for Lions right across the world,” Mr Woodham said while thanking board members for their dedication during the pandemic.
“Many of our groups and areas of service constricted severely. “We lost 85% of our income this year in our fundraising, which was a huge impost. “Despite the club’s financial restrictions we were able to support the Australian Lions Foundation with the appeals for the bushfires and the northern floods and the fire at Lucindale.
“Our club supported the situation that our City Band found itself in through no fault of their own. “This support enabled the group to move forward to where it is now with a secure future and a good complement of playing members.”
Mr Woodham presented special awards to Ms Field, wood cut co-ordinator Steve Bell and Lions Zone Chairman Malcolm Laslett who ran a project to provide meals to BlazeAid volunteers at Lucindale. Life memberships were also announced for long-serving members Trevor Jacobs and Ross Parkinson OAM.
Mr Laslett presented Melvin Jones Fellowship Awards – the highest honour given by Lions Clubs – to Brian Collins OAM, Neil Geddes and Peter Whitehead who were charter members of the former Lions Club of Port MacDonnell and District which served the community for more than 43 years. Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell proposed the toast to Lions Clubs International.
There are three Lions clubs in Mount Gambier and all share the mission ‘to serve’.