THEY have been serving the community of Littlehampton and the surrounding area for the best part of 40 years.
But recently the Littlehampton and District Lions’ Club’s numbers have dwindled, prompting leading figures of the group to make a desperate plea for more people to swell its ranks.
The Lions fear that if their membership is not bolstered, the charities the club supports could lose out on much-needed aid.
David Cook, three-times past president of the organisation, said: “The problem is most of the current members are getting older and we can’t do as many active things as we used to.”
David, of Ruston Avenue, Rustington, explained that membership had dipped to its lowest figure in recent years, with only 24 people remaining.
He said that this put a lot of pressure on the remaining Lions to spread the workload of vital fundraising events, particularly during the Christmas period.
He added: “Christmas is easily our biggest fundraiser and we need as many hands as we can get to help us with it.
“But as a result of the reduced numbers we had three fewer street collections than in previous years, where we could have potentially raised hundreds more pounds for charity.”
Since the club was created, in 1969, it has raised more than £250,000, with thousands being given to charities like Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice, St Barnabas House hospice, Worthing Dapper Snappers and plenty of others.
The Lions also support key community events across the Littlehampton area, from Rustington and Littlehampton carnivals, and the Town Show to the Littlehampton Bonfire Night.
Lions International is one of the largest voluntary service organisations in the world, with more than one million members worldwide.
However, Rustington-based Lion Austen Beard said he was ‘saddened’ that despite the movement’s huge numbers, globally, people did not necessarily always know of them on a local stage.
‘Sad’ state of affairs
“We don’t know why people don’t always know about us,” he admitted. “That’s one of our main problems.
“There are so many times you go up to someone and say ‘I’m part of the Lions’ and they look at your blankly and don’t know who the Lions are.
“It is very sad for us.”
Many of the Lions are central figures in the local community, with Austen being a governor at Georgian Gardens Primary School, in Rustington.
However, David stressed that everyone was welcome.
He added: “We’re a really open bunch of people. Just come along to one of our meetings and see what we’re like.”
The club is open to men and women of all ages who wish to help others less fortunate.
For more details on how join, call Austen on 01903 782366 or David on 01903 782832.