Month of charity work for dedicated members

Morpeth Lions' Christmas present wrap at the Riverside Lodge.
Morpeth Lions' Christmas present wrap at the Riverside Lodge.

Morpeth Lions Club

DECEMBER is always a busy time for Morpeth Lions and 2013 was no exception.

Activities in December included the Tin in a Bin collection at Morrisons, the delivery of food parcels to the needy and the Christmas clothes and toy parcels for children of families in often desperate circumstances through no fault of their own.

For eight days in early December we held a cash collection at Morrisons. We are extremely grateful to both stores, for allowing the Lions to collect at their busiest time of the year, and to many of their customers for their generous support.

The Lions used to ask for a tin of food, but seven years ago we decided to collect cash rather than tins.

This enables the Lions to budget for a balanced food parcel, rather than rely on the tins donated by the public.

The December collection was again a great success, with nearly £3,200 being collected. Most of the money raised was spent at Morrisons, with the remainder financing special bargains at other local shops.

Lion Richard Nash co-ordinates both the collection and the distribution of the food parcels.

In total, some 200 food parcels were made up, half of which were for families and half for the elderly. The middle of December was spent delivering these in an area from Morpeth to Lynemouth.

At the same time, the Lions were ‘adopting’ families or collecting toys for families in crisis. The club, through Lion Robin Cooper and his wife Joan, works closely with the county council Children Support and Disabled Children’s teams, Newbiggin Health Centre and the Families and Children’s Trust at Ashington.

The toy collection was greatly helped by Asda stores in Ashington and Cramlington, which set up trolley collections at the entrance of their stores.

Together with toys and clothes purchased throughout the year, Christmas parcels were sent to 61 families, totalling 114 children.

The present wrap took place in the Function Room at the Riverside Lodge, courtesy of Liz Durning.

Finally, Lion Mike Nicholson co-ordinates Dickens of a Draw. Mike negotiates prizes for DOAD and local charities, and organisations sell the raffle tickets promoted by the Lions Club.

The beauty of the system is that whichever organisation sells the tickets gets this money refunded to them in full.

The draw took place at the Conservative Club, with the Mayor Joan Tebbutt doing the honours.

First prize was a week’s holiday at a Parkdean site and this was won by a supporter of the Sanctuary at Ulgham.

In total, the draw raised around £5,200. Other prizes were donated by Linden Hall, NYR Organics, Morpeth Golf Club, Eldon Square, the Sanctuary, Sims Cycles, Electrical Wizard, Avrils Hair Salon and the Cheese Shop.

Winners bought tickets from St Robert’s Church, Astley School, the Sanctuary, Cleasewell Hill School, Contact and the Pantomime Society.

Lion President Geoff Bushell said: “It has been a tremendous effort by club members, their helpers and many local organisations.

“We are very much indebted to those giving us their support.

“The Lions look forward to continuing their work with your help in 2014.”