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Pandemic sees the end of Lymington and Brockenhurst Lions Club




Club members Martin Ward (second from left) and Ian Duncan (second from right) hand out cheques to Oliver Stanley, of New Forest Basics Bank (left), Jo Cayla of Oakhaven Hospice and Pete Wales from Solent Dolphin at the club’s final presentation.
Club members Martin Ward (second from left) and Ian Duncan (second from right) hand out cheques to Oliver Stanley, of New Forest Basics Bank (left), Jo Cayla of Oakhaven Hospice and Pete Wales from Solent Dolphin at the club’s final presentation.

PRESSURES of the pandemic have forced the closure of Lymington and Brockenhurst Lions Club after 31 years of fundraising.

The group, which has amassed around £175,000 for good causes since its formation, is well known for its many charitable events, including carnivals in both its home communities.

Acting president of the club Alex Maciotta thanked the area for its “tremendous support” and said the decision to close on 31st December had been a tough one.

But she explained: “The effect of Covid-19 meant the club’s activities had to be suspended in all areas. We had to dramatically cut back on our overheads and sell off our equipment.

“Also, most of our members are in the increased-risk age group and continue to isolate in some form, due to the ongoing restrictions.”

The club is best known for its successful organisation of the hugely popular Lymington Carnival. Event organiser Ian Duncan said he was thrilled to confirm that the Lymington Community Association has agreed in principle to take responsibility for this from 2021.

“I will be on hand for the first year to guide them through traffic management and the various permissions and licensing of the road closures,” said Mr Duncan. “Hopefully, all will go smoothly.”

Further details will be made available from the community centre in due course.

Mr Duncan added that membership of the club had dwindled in recent years. “At one stage we had around 20 members,” he said. “But now we are down to just eight.”

Four of the club’s members will be transferring to New Milton Lions Club: Mr Duncan, Ms Maciotta, Martin Ward and Paul Bevan.

In recent weeks, the Lions have distributed their remaining charitable funds, totalling more than £2,500, to various local organisations, including the NHS, Pennington Junior School and the club’s own Message in a Bottle scheme.

A final cheque presentation was held at Lymington’s Woodside Gardens, with the New Forest Basics Bank, Oakhaven Hospice and Solent Dolphin all receiving grants.

However, Mr Duncan has not ruled out the possibility of a Lymington and Brockenhurst Lions comeback in the future.

“It may well be we form again if there is support within the community,” he said. “Who knows what the future may hold?”

Major beneficiaries over the years have included The Honeypot Children’s Charity, New Forest Basics Bank, Oakhaven Hospice, Solent Dolphin, Brockenhurst Gateway Club and Naomi House.



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