Helping the community has always been the number one goal of the Liverpool Lions Club, and this year they will be celebrating 50 years in Queens County.
The Lions Club officially began on June 6, 1964 with their first Charter Night. George Jabalee was King Lion, Cecil Day was 1st Vice, Horton Winters was 2nd vice, Herman Rawding was 3rd vice, Fred Condon was secretary and Gerry Ball was the treasurer. The club had 24 members in the beginning.
The Liverpool Lionettes Club began just a year later as an Auxiliary club of the Lions. Although an active group, members had to be the wives of Lion’s Club members.
That changed in the 1980s when the club turned into the Lioness Club, which recruited its own members. The men’s and women’s group eventually amalgamated.
Both groups had a common goal and that was to help the community. One of the early projects the Lion’s Club took on was to create a Girl Guide Hut.
It took two years of fundraising and by the late 1960s, the Girl Guide Hut was built on the corner of Gorham and Church streets.
Another first big project of the group was the Queens Memorial Arena. Prior to the building of the arena, there was no official hockey rink in Liverpool. Over several years the Club donated $30,000 to the cause. Members of the Club volunteered in the canteen at the arena as well.
Throughout the years the Club has provided funds for other causes as well including eye glasses and eye care for those who can’t afford it, given various groups like the Air Cadets and the Priva-Cheer Club, purchased a car for the VON, and more.
“The general public or organizations put in requests to the Lion’s Club to assist them monetarily, which we do,” says Robert Trainor, a member of the Lion’s Club and the organizer of the radio bingo.
Now after 50 years, the group still gives to worthy causes, though their only fundraiser now is radio Bingo. Bingo has been a fundraiser for the Lion’s from the start but because most of the members are over 70 years old now, the club relies on the funds brought in from the Bingo. Bingo moved to the radio on CKBW around eight years ago.
“Our average (age) is about 72, which makes it difficult. We have a lot of members that can’t do what they could do 10 years ago,” says Trainor.
The Club now has 19 members and two are original founding members; Horton Winters and Gerry Ball.
“You don’t see that too much anymore,” says Trainor.
Trainor says he’d like to see some new members join the club, though it is difficult to get younger members. Many have families and jobs where they must travel outside of the county, and can not make the time commitment.
“If we’re not able to get younger members for our club, it’ll die,” says Trainor.
He says the club puts a lot of money in the community and that members feel good about the money they raise and where it goes.
The 50th anniversary will be celebrated on April 12 with a supper and a murder mystery dinner theatre show at the Milton Community Hall.