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Lions open up to fairer sex

PUBLISHED: 16:30 11 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:09 03 July 2010

One of the last remaining and oldest all-male Lions clubs in the region is to allow women members for the first time.

The Norfolk Broads Lions Club which has been supporting good causes in the northern parishes for more than 45 years has made the contentious decision in a bid to survive a dwindling and ageing membership.

One of the last remaining and oldest all-male Lions clubs in the region is to allow women members for the first time.

The Norfolk Broads Lions Club which has been supporting good causes in the northern parishes for more than 45 years has made the contentious decision in a bid to survive a dwindling and ageing membership.

Club secretary David Richardson, 77, said putting gender on the agenda had revealed that not everyone had the same attitude to the opposite sex with some members saying they would rather bow out.

But he said the writing was on the wall for the old ways and that modern members had to heed the deafening demand for change - or watch the club die.

He added the priority was that the Lions' good work carried on in the northern parishes where membership had almost halved to 20 in 15 years.

“Age has crept up on us, one has emmigrated to New Zealand and several are leaving this year. We have a young president in his early 40s and he is committed to resurrecting the club.

“In the early days members were business men who could legitimately spend their time working for the Lions but over the years we have a wider scope of people who have become involved. I am retired and when I was working I did not have the time.

“Like all Lions clubs we are there to help people who are less fortunate. Great Yarmouth is already a mixed club as is North Walsham and Wroxham. Lowestoft and ourselves are still all-male.

“We have decided that the time is right and we cannot ignore 50pc of the population. We have already had inquiries from one or two ladies and we have been through quite an examination. We are losing one or two and have been in deep discussion on the way forward.

“What we do not want to do is let the Norfolk Broads Lions Club die as happened at Stalham. There is so much good work being done we need to encourage more people to get involved. This is a big effort on our part.”

A lack of members has already forced the club to pull out of its commitment ferrying old folk to a Hemsby luncheon club twice a week. But there are plenty of roles for new members to fill, from fundraising brains to brawn - helping to put up marquees and man barbecues. On the plus side the organisation has already signed many £200 cheques for youth groups and old people's clubs this year. Members meet monthly and are required to give only as much time as they are able.

The club is best known for its Santa's sleigh and for Caister carnival which it organises.

To get involved call Mr Richardson on 01493 721384 or visit the club's launch stand at Caister carnival on June 28.

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