Timaru Host Lions Club is proud to have celebrated its 50th anniversary in May 2013.

Social activities have played a large part in the club’s calendar over the years and the club has had great community-minded and caring members. Some have passed on, some have moved to other pastures and many of the existing members have rendered years of service. The club is proud of its achievements.

During these 50 years of helping out the community, the club has donated an amazing $1,060,000 (which in today’s values would be over $3,000,000).

The club’s first project was a well-documented elephant race up Stafford St, which raised £139.12.0 for IHC. In 1964 a radio/telephone appeal was held to raise money for 33 television sets that were donated to various hospitals around Timaru.

Projects over the last 50 years have been many and varied. One of the more unusual ones would be the bagging of pumice out of the old Smithfield freezing works cool store. In the 1800s to the early 1900s, pumice (transported from the North Island) was used as insulation in freezing works’ cool stores. When Smithfield decommissioned its cool store, the club spent the next five years removing several thousand bags of pumice which were then sold to a garden nursery in Oamaru for a profit of around $8000.

To fill the bags, a hole was cut in the wooden wall, a chute fitted, and up to 400 bags filled from the one hole. The store was four storeys high.

Another project was Housie evenings, running from 1992 till 1996. Over this period, $31,000 was raised.

In 1993 the club ran an appeal for Lexia Hamilton who required a heart/lung transplant. This appeal raised $95,000.

The club's most regular money earner is its miniature train ride service at Caroline Bay.

The train was donated to the club by the Wellington Zoo in 1997. The only catch was that members had to freight it to its new home but even that came at no cost, club member Colin McRobie says. People also gave their time to lay the tracks.

It now operates as a combined service between the club and the Caroline Bay Association. In the last 10 years in has generated income of around $50,000.

"That's more of a social service we are providing. It's about the cheapest entertainment you can buy in South Canterbury," Mr Steven said. "It's still going strong after 15 years."

Sponsored by Christchurch Host Lions, the club chartered in May 1963 with 32 members. The first woman, Anne McRobie, joined in 1989 and remains in the club today.

To celebrate its 50th anniversary a reception was held with special guests including MP Jo Goodhew, Mayor of Timaru Janie Annear, guest speaker Des Kearns JP, 11 Past District Governors and two Past International Directors of Lions.




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