President Bob Westerman contacted the St Paul’s Bay Lions Club while on holiday in Malta with his wife Fran. Their president, Ronnie Cauchi, met them for a meal and invited Bob to their meeting, at which they exchanged Lions banners.
St Paul’s Bay Lions Club is relatively small so isn’t able to raise a lot of funds but they do recognise numerous charitable needs in Malta. Wokingham Lions have helped them by donating money from our charity account to theirs
While visiting family in Australia Alan Rouse contacted the local Lions Club with a view to extending fellowship by attending a meeting. It so happened that the next meeting was their President’s Barbecue, to which he and his wife Christina were duly invited. They were warmly welcomed at the event, and were treated as honoured guests. They found a lot in common between Frenchs Forest Lions Club and Wokingham Lions Club. Both are around the same size, with about 30 members, and equally active in fund raising. However, like many clubs here, they are finding it difficult to recruit new members, so the average age of their members is increasing. They were intrigued to learn the Wokingham Lions are bucking the trend and regularly gaining new members.
At the end of the evening, Alan and Christina were presented with a Frenchs Forest Lions Club banner, and an invitation to visit again next time they are in Australia. Alan responded by inviting any of their members who visit the UK to contact him to meet our club.
The climate in Australia makes a big difference, so most of their events are bathed in sunshine. For example, they organise a Santa’s sleigh, but it has a slightly different angle when everyone is in T-shirts and shorts!
Following the Tsunami a new charity called RITA (Reading Initiative for Tsunami Action) was set up in Reading with the aim of providing on-going support to a single town hit by the Tsunami. Beruwala in Sri Lanka was selected and a number of initiatives have been carried out by Rita over the years.
We became aware of their work and teamed up with the other 4 Lions clubs in our area to fund the building of a new property on the RITA housing project for victims of the Tsunami.
A few years later Andy and Debbie Slay decided to visit Sri Lanka for their holidays and arranged to go to the housing project to meet the people that had been helped by the project. It was wonderful to see how their lives had been transformed by the work and we found it a very humbling experience.
Whilst on the same holiday they also visited a girls orphanage and the Wokingham Lions subsequently funded food, new dresses and eye tests for the girls.