The 54th AnnualConvention Convention for Lions District 105D took place on Saturday 23rd March 2019 at the Hotel Rembrandt, Weymouth.

This annual get-together for all Lions Clubs in the south of England including the Channel Islands, not only acts as the annual general meeting for all Lions Clubs in the south of England but is an excellent way of catching up with old friends at the meetings and associated social events throughout the weekend. This year’s Convention theme was “The 60s”.

The Host Night on Friday evening was a great success thanks to a super entertainer – Mike Sullivan. As the traditional introduction and ice breaker to Convention the host night enables the Lions ‘to let their hair down’ 60’s style either dressed in 60’s costumes or casual attire to enjoy the informal and friendly opening social function

The Convention Meeting started on Saturday morning with District Governor Ken Staniforth welcoming all Lions and inviting Councillor Gill Taylor, Mayor of Weymouth and Portland to carry out the formal opening ceremony. This was marked as an important convention as it celebrates 54 years of Lions Clubs in the south of England serving their communities as District 105D. From 1st July 2019, this District will become District 105SC under the re-organisation of Lions Districts in the British Isles.

A short act of remembrance followed, to commemorate Lions Club members who have passed away in the last 12 months.

The doors were opened and partners and guests departed. The AGM part then commenced with Minutes of the 53rd  Convention passed as a true record of last year’s AGM at Southsea.

The first guest speaker – Judy Pride gave a presentation on the work that the Macular Society does and detailed how Macular Disease is the greatest form of sight loss, with 200 people per day being diagnosed with macular degeneration. It’s frightening to realise that treatment for Macular Disease, the loss of sight from the central field of vision, should commence within 3 weeks and no longer than 4 weeks from first diagnosis to minimise the effects of this debilitating condition. The Macular Society supported well over 1 million people last year who were generally over 50 years of age, but younger onset macular degeneration can take place in those who are susceptible to the hereditary form of macular disease. See Macular Society website.

Past District Governor Roger Huntley gave a presentation on Dentaid to detail just how, poor dental health in third world countries affects a man’s ability to work and support his family and how dental surgery equipment is recycled and refurbished by volunteers through Dentaid. It is then shipped out and installed in remote areas of Uganda and other locations in Africa.The simple recycling of redundant dental surgeries in this country benefits thousands in these remote locations in Africa. See Dentaid website.

International Director Geoff Leeder gave a presentation on Eye Screening explaining how the ‘Lions Kid Sight USA’ screening system works. 40% of the brain power in young children is dedicated to sight and the majority of learning takes place for everyone between the ages of 3 to 5 years. Should any sight loss occur during those years, the life chances for those children diminishes considerably as their eyesight fails. See Lions Kid Sight USA website.

Our principal guest Past International President Wayne Madden inspired us all with his perspective on the service Lions Clubs give to their communities worldwide.

Sergeant at Arms David Taylor reported to convention that 53 Lions delegates attended from 33 clubs.

Convention was delighted to hear from the next guest speaker, Lynwood Newman who covered the broad subject of ‘The Environment’ in a unique way. Lynwood, a former United States Air Force Officer, outlined the effects of extreme weather, war and conflict and extreme migration can have on the environment.

A presentation was given about the Lions 100 programme by Lion Ann Huntley followed by short presentations on the work done by Weymouth and Portland Lions Club and also Reading Lions Club.

Our next Guest Speaker – Lion Linda Madden, the wife of Past International President Wayne Madden, spoke passionately about the Reading Action Programme for Children. See Little Free Library.

Lions David Firth and Patrick Hamblin then explained the part they have played in the Lions Sightsavers Program in India, where they had made a visit last year to see for themselves the wonderful work being carried out. They saw how the program is enabling doctors to carry out as many as 300 cataract operations per day, 7 days a week to combat blindness.

 

Past District Governor Barrie Richardson gave a presentation about how ‘Freedom Kit Bags’, a programme based in Nepal, provides free sanitary wear for women and schoolgirls who are regularly forced into isolation in squalid conditions due to their monthly menstrual cycle. He outlined a scheme that for just £25 each for 2 years can provide a hygienic alternative for any woman in Nepal in these conditions of poverty to live a normal life. District Governor Ken Staniforth then presented Barrie with a cheque for £4,225 for the Freedom Kitbags Charity as a result of a national campaign by Lions Clubs for this worthy cause. See Freedom Kit Bagswebsite.

The District Governor’s Partner’s Charity this year is ‘Kids Cancer Charity’. DG Ken’s partner Jean works in a children’s cancer ward in Salisbury Hospital so this charity is very close to her heart. She introduced Julian Canning who detailed the wonderful work that Kids Cancer Charity does. See Kids Cancer Charity website.

District and International awards were presented to competition winning clubs. 

The first surprise award of the day was then made when District Treasurer Linda Picton was given the prestigious award of a Melvin Jones Fellowship, the highest award in Lionism. This was captured in pictures and can be viewed in the online gallery highlight linked above.

The introduction of the 2018/19 & 2019/20 Convention Teams was followed by the traditional closing ceremony.

Convention day finished with a Banquet and Ball to make a perfect end to a very worthwhile and friendly event. During the Banquet and Ball a further surprise awaited all those attending. District Governor Ken gave everyone an engraved wine glass, which commemorates the 54 years of Lionism in the south of England under District 105D. This is the final Convention of District 105D before it becomes District 105SC on 1st July.

That however was not the last surprise of convention. The Chairman of the Council of Governors Peter Burnett took the microphone to praise the work of District Governor Ken Staniforth, especially in the light of the difficulties Ken has had with his health in recent months. Peter and Past International President Wayne Madden then presented Ken with a Melvin Jones Fellowship.

Ken’s partner Jean was then called to the front where she was thanked for her care for DG Ken and also presented with a Melvin Jones Fellowship. These 2 presentations made the perfect end to the convention day.

The following morning a good number of Lions attended a series of short presentations by Lions Clubs throughout District 105D detailing their work and spreading good ideas. That was followed by an open forum when Past International President Wayne Madden, District Governor Ken and Convention Chairman Dave Ebsworth answered questions in a relaxed and informal forum.

We now look forward to 2020 District Convention in Swindon under the new District 105SC.