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Lions celebrate charter anniversary with concert and community award

Concert goers attending the Lion’s Club’s first concert in the park of the season, enjoyed hearing The Reasons.

Story and photos by Sharon Harrison
The Lions Club marked its 45th anniversary with a summer concert and celebration of community in Wellington’s lakeside park.

This year’s free summer concert series kicked-off with popular County band The Reasons performing under a decorated gazebo in Lions’ colours of yellow and blue.

The Wellington charter was established on May 16, 1974, sponsored by the Trenton Lions Club. It is the only Lions Club in the County.

Mark Kelso, region chair of the Trenton club, presented a plaque to Wellington’s immediate past president John Whyte in recognition of 45 years of outstanding service to the community.

John Whyte, immediate past president, Wellington District Lions Club was presented with a certificate by Mark Kelso, region chair, Trenton Lions Club, as Wellington councillor Mike Harper looks on.

“This is an outstanding achievement and we are very proud to have been a very small part of it,” he said.
District governor Frank Hewitt also said a few words of congratulations to the Wellington Lions on their anniversary.

Wellington councillor Mike Harper called the club’s achievements over the past 45 years “tremendous” and noted over his short time serving as a councillor he has learned the importance of service clubs to the community.

“You see a need, you fill the need; you get wind of a problem, you help solve the problem; you see an opportunity to have fun, like today, and you provide that fun, so it’s just fantastic. You are the backbone of the community and we really appreciate everything that you do,” he said.

Harper drew examples of club accomplishments over the years, including vision and hearing screening in local schools, the breakfast program at CML Snider school, eyeglass and hearing aid recycling, e-waste collection, support of the Storehouse Foodbank, dragon boat festival and meals on wheels.

John Whyte, immediate past president, Wellington District Lions Club was presented with a certificate from the municipality by PEC mayor Steve Ferguson.

Prince Edward County mayor Steve Ferguson said was impressed with the great turnout on a perfect summer’s evening and told the crowed the Lions members have made an impressive contribution to the community.

“You’ve been involved in encouraging environmental initiatives, tackling food insecurity, which is a serious problem in Prince Edward County; you’ve gone from promoting a healthy community, to support for our youth. The accomplishments are quite significant and very much appreciated,” said Ferguson.

“The Lions Club contributes and makes this a great community to reside in,” said Ferguson, adding kudos for the cultural contributions such as the concerts in the park and dragon boat races. “The caring generosity of the Lions is felt everywhere and is also most appreciated, and you set an example for the residents of Prince Edward County.”

Ferguson presented certificates of congratulations on behalf of the municipality, and MPP Todd Smith, whose message noted the club should be proud of its contributions to the community.

Local piper Will Cairns joined Peter Rea to perform a stirring rendition of ‘Mull of Kintyre’.

Anniversary cake and music from a ukulele band and The Reasons kept patrons entertained as toes tapped, while others got to their feet to dance the night away. Local piper Will Cairns also joined Peter Rea to perform a stirring rendition of ‘Mull of Kintyre’.

Janet Marissen spoke to a Lions Quest Fellowship established in 2003 to recognize Lions, and other deserving recipients, “who truly care about Canadian children, regardless of the challenges they may face or the gifts they may possess”, quoting Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is it the only thing that ever has.”

Marissen explained the Lions were asked to submit names of individuals or groups in the County that might fit the definition of a Lions Quest fellow.

“Several were suggested, but the overwhelming choice of this year’s winner was almost unanimous,” said Marissen.

She awarded this year’s Lions Quest Fellow to the staff at Rock’n Rogers – Maria Rogers, Angel Rogers, Crystal Rogers, Joanne Campbell, Alan Campbell, Marlee VanVlack and Barb Harris and presented each with a certificate and a pin.

2019 Lions Quest Fellow recipients, Rock’n Rogers staff, included (not in order) Maria Rogers (front, centre), Angel Rogers, Crystal Rogers, Joanne Campbell, Alan Campbell, Marlee VanVlack and Barb Harris. Also in photo, Janet Marissen, Harry Marissen, John Whyte, district governor Frank Hewitt, and Q bear.

The staff over the years have been involved in numerous fundraising efforts – including support for County youth fighting cancer and the Wellington Storehouse Foodbank.

Marissen explained she had to confide in Angel [Rogers] who convinced mum Maria to close the restaurant early because they were needed at an event.

“This means everything,” said a surprised Maria Rogers on receiving the award. “We love the community and the Lions Club is amazing. They do so much for everybody. We have been in business for 18 years, so we have been dealing with them for that long.”

Marissen concluded by saying if the Wellington District Lions Club is to continue to serve the community for another 45 years, help is needed.

“You’ve all got ideas, you’ve all got interests, needs and hopes for our community and in order to address all of that we need you to come and join us on the journey of Lions,” she said. “We don’t expect you to attend meetings every week. We don’t expect you to take part in every activity that the club undertakes, we want you to bring your ideas, interests, willingness to create an even better Prince Edward County than we have today.”

As the only Lions Club in the County, she said they would like people from all over the County to consider joining or even to create a separate club, suggesting help would be provided.

“And this is a really special year because Canadian Lions are celebrating 100 years in Canada, so it is the perfect year to join us.”

Whyte thanked the crowd in attendance.

“The reason why we wanted to share our celebration with our community is that it is not just about us, it’s about all those people in the community who come out in their own different way to help each other and that’s what makes this community here in Prince Edward County so very special,” he added.

Concerts in the park continue every Tuesday in Wellington park, concluding on September 10, again with The Reasons.

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