Community Support

28 July 2020: Town Mayor Tony Lack inducted as an honorary member

From left: Nigel Page, president, Wokingham Lions Club, Cllr Town Mayor Tony Lack, Mayoress Claire Lack, and John Cleary, membership director, Wokingham Lions Club

Town Mayor Tony Lack was inducted as an honorary member of the Wokingham Lions Club outside the Town Hall, observing social distancing. President Nigel Page and Membership Director John Cleary welcomed him to the club.

“We are delighted to welcome Cllr Town Mayor Tony Lack as an honorary member of the Wokingham Lions Club. We have always been closely associated with supporting local charities and the local community. We greatly value working with both the Wokingham Town Council and the Wokingham Borough Council,” said Mr. Page.

The underlying principle of the Lions Club is to serve the community, and as a worldwide organization, it has been doing this for more than 100 years,” Mr. Cleary said. Mayor Tony Lack said: “It was such a privilege to be inducted into the Wokingham Lions by their President, Nigel Page, and Membership Director, John Cleary, today. Wokingham Town, not just the Council, really appreciates the work that the Lions do year in, year out, to support local charities, by running some of the best events around.”

He added: “It is very sad that we were not able to enjoy the May Fayre, and we know that many other events will be at risk, but the success of the Great Woky Pub Quiz just showed what the Lions can do when they need to. I look forward to keeping up with the Lions and supporting them in their future events, whatever those might look like.”

25 June 2020: New president

Traditionally we have an annual charter celebration and handover luncheon to welcome a new president at the beginning of July. That was not possible this year due to the Coronavirus epidemic, so outgoing President Lyn Baily and new President Nigel Page met outdoors for the handover ceremony. The chain of office was presented on a two-metre tape measure!

Lyn said: “My biggest challenge was obviously leading our response to the Coronavirus epidemic. Decisions had to be made regarding the cancellation of our May Fayre in this special year, which was scheduled for 8 May, the same day as the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe. Although I was personally disappointed, it was necessary to unite members in our response, and to ensure that we managed the financial risk, whilst at the same time maintaining our goodwill. Fortunately, the May Fayre team made sure that this was managed superbly.”

“With the support of Ian Grange and his now legendary virtual quizzes, plus a £1000 grant from Lions District, we have now donated £5500 to the Wokingham Borough Community Hub. The Hub and their volunteers distribute much needed food and essential supplies to those in need in our community,” she added.

“We are a happy club, and one of the main reasons I became a Lion was to extend our friendship group. We have enjoyed a great deal of social outings with fellow Lions, as well as balls, treasure hunts and themed evenings. We have also enjoyed parties, dinners, BBQs and drinks with good friends we have made through the club,” she said.

Nigel said: “Taking over the reins from Lyn is not easy. Lyn has been an excellent president over the last twelve months. Her enthusiasm for projects like supporting local scouts and youth, charities like School Days, and more recently the Wokingham Hub, have been an inspiration. Thank you, Lyn, you have been great to work with.”

“We now find ourselves in a different world, full of change. Raising funds will be our most challenging task, and Ian’s brilliant Woky Pub Quiz has shown the way that we can find different ways to raise money.  The remaining months of 2020 are still unpredictable, but I know that we will adapt and succeed in our efforts. We have an amazingly experienced and dedicated team, and I for one, greatly value the friendship, humour and energy of my fellow Lions,” he added.

Friday/Saturday 13/14 March 2020: Marie Curie Daffodil Collection

Every year we help Marie Curie with their daffodil collection.  Several members took shifts to cover two days at Morrisons supermarket and collected a total of £767.

Wednesday 11 March 2020: Gerry Aggett Award to Lindsay Browne

Gerry Aggett was a very active member of Wokingham Lions Club whose achievements included initiating the May Fayre. When he died the Club created the Gerry Aggett Award in his memory. It is given each year to an individual who we consider has contributed significantly to the local community, and a donation of £1,000 is given to a local charity of their choice.

This year the Club unanimously chose Lyndsay Browne as the recipient.  Lyndsay created the charity School Days, which collects used school uniforms and equipment, renovates them then distributes them to families in need.  They also buy new uniforms when necessary.  Wokingham Lions have supported School Days since its inception in 2018.  Our president, Lyn Baily, has established a particularly strong association with Lyndsay, who the Club decided was a very worthy winner of the award.  Lyndsay chose to give the donation to School Days and Homestart.

In accepting the award Lyndsay noted that School Days have so far helped over 530 children.  One recent initiative that was helped by various Lions members was refurbishing over 50 pairs of football boots that were kindly donated to them.

17 February 2020: Street Cabinet Wrap

Wokingham Lions have sponsored a new plastic wrap around a BT OpenReach cabinet outside the town hall. This greatly improves the appearance of an otherwise unsightly piece of streetside furniture whilst at the same time publicising the club.

Wokingham Town Mayor, Cllr Lynn Forbes is grateful to the Wokingham Lions Club for sponsoring the wrap and Wokingham Borough Council for their support.

“The wrapped cabinet really brightens up this spot on Market Place” she said.

“I would like to encourage other charities to approach the Town Council’s Arts and Culture officer if they are interested in seeing their logo displayed on a street cabinet in the town centre.”

Patrick Allen shakes hands with the Town Mayor, Lynn Forbes

7 & 14 December 2019: Can-Can Appeal

This year’s Can-Can took place at Waitrose and Tesco supermarkets, where we collected food donations from customers which we then packaged into parcels that we distributed to the elderly living at home and in state run care homes, single parents with young families, day centres for the elderly, Wokingham Hospital, social services, CAB clients and the Salvation Army. We also donated some to the Wokingham Food Bank.

Wednesday 13 November 2019: Cheque Presentations to WADE and the Ollie Young Foundation

John Cleary was instrumental in organising the first #Woky Comedy Night, and at our business meeting we handed over the proceeds. President Lyn Baily presented a cheque for £1000 to Jackie Wilson from WADE, who explained that they provide a day centre for the elderly, but they were finding more and more of the people they help now suffer from dementia.  She then presented a cheque for £500 to Sarah Simpson and Barbara Young from the Ollie Young Foundation.

Sarah Simpson (OYF), Barbara Young (OYF), Lyn Baily, Jackie Wilson (WADE) and John Cleary

1/2 March 2019: Marie Curie Collection

Every year Wokingham Lions Club help Marie Curie with their annual Great Daffodil Appeal.  This year was no exception, and over the two days we participated we collected over £1,000

1 – 7 December 2018: Can-Can Appeal

We ran our annual Can-Can appeal in December, where we collected food donations outside Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Tesco supermarkets.  We collated the donations into more than 200 food parcels that we donated to numerous needy indiviuals and organisations in the locality.  This event is always well supported, and the recipients are extremely grateful for the bit of Christmas Cheers that we bring them.

Saturday 11 November 2018: Wokingham Armistice Day

This was a very poignant day, being exactly 100 years since the end of the first world war. The usual parade and church service were followed by wreath-laying in the Town Hall. Our president Debbie Slay and vice-president Lyn Bailey laid a wreath on behalf of Wokingham Lions Club.

Saturday 27 October 2018: Wokingham Armistice Day centenary commemoration

Wokingham Town Council organised a number of events to commemorate the centenary of the end of the first world war.  Several of these events took place in the town centre on Saturday 27 October.  Wokingham Lions manned a tea and cake stall in the town hall, with all proceeds going to the Poppy Appeal.

Saturday 13 October 2018: World Sight Day

One of Lions International objectives is to address sight problems around the world.  Every club helps with this through the Spectrek initiative trough which they collect unused spectacles and recycle them to third world countries.  This scheme is explained in detail in our Spectrek page.

Sunday 15 September 2018: Wokingham Heritage Day

Wokingham Council organised this event to celebrate our national heritage.  This year’s theme was Extraordinary Women and our president, Debbie Slay, was honoured to be chosen as one of those honoured as a mark of recognition for the many years she has been involved with Wokingham Lions, supporting local good causes.

2 – 7 December 2017 – Can-Can Appeal

Can Can is a community service project Wokingham Lions Club has been running for over 20 years. We liaise with local supermarkets who allow us to set up a stall outside their store. We then hand a leaflet to their customers which asks them if they could buy a non-perishable food item as part of their shop and donate it to us.

From the proceeds we make up parcels of assorted items which we deliver to those less fortunate in our community in the form of a little Christmas gift. This year we made up  220 parcels which we distributed to the elderly living at home and in state run care homes, single parents with young families, day centres for the elderly, Wokingham Hospital, social services, CAB clients and the Salvation Army. We also donated some to the Wokingham Food Bank.


October 2017 – Teddy Bear Hunt

Ten Teddy Bears were displayed in town centre shop windows, and all the children in the town were invited to search for them.  Those that found all ten teddies were entered in a draw. The first ten names drawn each won one of the teddies. The winners were invited to meet the Town Mayor, Councillor Peter Lucey, and the Mini-Mayor, Caitlyn Hyde, who presented them with the prizes


August 2017 – Centenary Tea Party

To help celebrate the centenary of the formation of Lions Clubs we organised a tea party for local elderly residents at Wokingham Theatre. We collected 48 residents from their homes and gave them tea, sandwiches and cakes.  Lion John Cleary entertained them with a selection of all-time favourite songs and music from the West End, and the theatre’s Bob Hill recounted an amusing West Country tale.

The weather was kind to us so the event was held outdoors.

John Cleary sang a selection of all-time favourites and music from the West End
The organising team - Alison, Alan, Paul, Lyn, John, Jean, Mike, Sue, Marie and Candy
Bob Hill recounted an amusing West Country tale

March 2017 – Marie Curie Daffodil Collection

Since entering into partnership with Marie Curie in 2013, Lions Clubs’ support of the Great Daffodil Appeal has been incredible. It has helped fund an amazing 31,000 hours of care for people living with a terminal illness. In 2015 the partnership was extended for a further three years.

Wokingham Lions Club helped by collecting outside Morrison’s supermarket.  Over the three days of the appeal we collected £1,171.25 for them.


February 2016 – Teddy Bear Hunt

During the February half-term we organised a Teddy Bear Hunt in Wokingham Town Centre, placing teddies in ten shops and inviting children up to 11 to find them. There was a small charge for entry which covered the cost on the teddies, which were presented to the winners by Town Mayor, Philip Mirfin and Mini-Mayor George Bradley

Teddy Bear Hunt

Wokingham Hospital Sensory Garden

Several years ago we sponsored a sensory garden as a facility for patients at Wokingham Hospital.  We now maintain the garden:

June, 2015 – Sue Balchin Memorial Bench unveiled

A bench in memory of Sue Balchin MBE was unveiled today in Howard Palmer Park by Wokingham Town Mayor, Councillor Philip Mirfin. Inscribed in the bench are the words “Donated in memory of Susan Balchin MBE 1940-2015 who worked tirelessly for the local community.” The idea for the bench came from members of the Wokingham Lions Club, who attended the unveiling, along with members of Sue’s family.

The mayor spoke of Sue’s devotion to those less fortunate in the Wokingham community, and the many organisations and individuals she was able to help. Her step-son Roger Balchin said those who sit on the practical and beautifully crafted bench can think of Sue in a quiet and very pleasant location. He remembered Sue for her generosity, kindness and compassion.

In 2013, Sue was awarded an MBE for her service to the Berkshire community. In 1997, she became one of the first female members of the Wokingham Lions Club, and was the first female President of the Club in 2004, and again in 2009. Sue also served as Club Secretary, Social chairperson, Welfare chairperson for several years, May Fayre chairperson, stalls organiser for both the May Fayre and Winter Carnival and Public Relations officer. Every year, she organised the Christmas carol singing round the restaurants and pubs in Wokingham. Sue recently became heavily involved with the Food Bank and the homeless in Wokingham. She was a great supporter of working with young people and encouraged the most recent youth project within the Club, the Creative Youth Collective.

“Sue touched many lives in Wokingham, and we miss her very much,” said Tim Hanton, president, Wokingham Lions Club.

Sue Balchin bench photo

May 2015 – Wokingham Street Concert

Wokingham Town Council run an annual street concert which is proving increasingly popular.  Wokingham Lions assist by providing stewards.  For more details click here

Street Concert 2015