Charter Night a walk down memory lane for Grand Bank Lions

Paul Herridge
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Sixty years on and the Grand Bank Lions Club is still going strong. Boasting a respectable two-dozen members, including the addition of four new ones this past year, the third oldest Lions organization in the province marked the milestone during its Charter Night Nov. 26.

Violet Payne and Harriett Savoury are the Grand Bank Lions Club’s newest ‘Melvin Jones Fellows’. Pictured from left are Lions Clubs International Foundation District N4 coordinator Herb Burry, Mrs. Savoury and Mrs. Payne. Paul Herridge Photo

BY PAUL HERRIDGE

The Southern Gazette

Sixty years on and the Grand Bank Lions Club is still going strong.

Boasting a respectable two-dozen members, including the addition of four new ones this past year, the third oldest Lions organization in the province marked the milestone during its Charter Night Nov. 26.

Congratulations came from near and far with several clubs from the Burin Peninsula, as well as dignitaries from Lions District N-4, in attendance.

District Governor Morgan Pardy, a charter member of the 37-year-old Garnish Lions Club, recalled sitting around a table as members of the Grand Bank Lions encouraged the formation of a new group in the neighbouring Fortune Bay community.

Representatives from other organizations that have had long histories of friendship with the Grand Bank Club were also on hand to help celebrate.

They included both the St. John’s Lions Club, which sponsored the Grand Bank Lions back in 1951, and the Lions Club from the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, which Grand Bank in turn sponsored in 1953.

Current Grand Bank Lions president Jim Tessier, whose father – Fred Tessier was a charter member, remembered the early days of the community fair at the old theatre and the Santa Claus parades.

But it was the formation of disaster funds for widows and orphans of the ‘Blue Wave’, ‘Blue Mist’ and ‘Le Ravenel’ shipwrecks in the 1950s and 60s that he said touched him and made him “become aware that everything wasn’t just fun and parties with the Lions Club,” but also the good work they did.

Mr. Tessier praised as well the role played by women, whom he said may have only been accepted as members later on but were really involved behind the scenes since the beginning. He referred to the town’s residents for using the Lions as the “catalysts to do good work for others.”

“An organization that survives for 60 years must certainly have dedicated and caring individuals involved in it.” – Herb Burry

Lions Clubs International Foundation coordinator for District N4 Herb Burry was guest speaker. He spoke at length and with great passion about Lionism.

He acknowledged the 60th anniversary as a significant milestone for the Grand Bank Club.

“What lessons have been learned in that particular period and what a legacy has been established. An organization that survives for 60 years must certainly have dedicated and caring individuals involved in it.

“And I think that was the case 60 years ago, and such I believe is the case now.”

RECOGNITIONS AND DONATIONS

Two members of the Grand Bank Lions joined an exclusive group during Charter Night. Violet Payne and Harriett Savoury brought the club’s number of Melvin Jones Fellows to a dozen in all.

Life Memberships in Lions Clubs International were presented to Fred Coombs, Doreen Jackman, Carl Rose, Shirley Rose, Carolyn Stewart, Fred Murphy, Sarah Hillier, Nolan May and Bernice Price.

Long-term service pins were awarded to brothers Al and Bruce Buffett, who combined have more than 100 years of service in Lionism between them.

Other service awards were presented to Jim Tessier (40 years); Lew Payne and Doug Jackman (35 years); Harriet Savoury (15 years); Violet Payne (10 years) and Doreen Jackman, Nolan May and Fred Murphy (5 years).

The club also handed out nearly $8,000 in financial donations during the night, including $5,000 for longtime benefactor Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps 71 Atlantic.

Contributions of $1,000 each were made to the Lions Max Simms Camp and the Lions Clubs International Foundation, while the Burin North Ministerial Association received $800 for its Christmas Outreach Program.

pherridge@southerngazette.ca

Organizations: Grand Bank Club, Garnish Lions Club, Lions organization Blue Wave Lions Clubs International Foundation Burin North Ministerial Association

Geographic location: Fortune Bay, French islands, St. Pierre and Miquelon Grand Bank Lionism

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