There's an urgent need for at least 10 volunteers to re-establish the Lions Club of Coffs Harbour.
There's an urgent need for at least 10 volunteers to re-establish the Lions Club of Coffs Harbour. Rachel Vercoe

Big plans to re-open Lions Club

THE Lions Club of Coffs Harbour is set to rise from the ashes.

Established in 1953, the Lions Club of Coffs Harbour was one of the earliest to be chartered in Australia.

As the story goes, the first ever meeting was held on the same day lions escaped from a visiting circus, and were seen roaming around Jetty Beach.

The confusion meant police first dismissed the call, but, thankfully, the lions were eventually caught.

Since then, after an incredible 64 years of community service, dwindling numbers saw the club sadly close.

During that time the Lions had raised money and provided services for several local groups including Marine Rescue, local schools, Can Do, Coffs Haven Aged Care, and the list goes on.

But hope is not lost.

Lions Club District Membership Chairperson Robin Parker and President of the Coffs Harbour Pacific City Lions Club Grahame McEwan are working together to recharter and revitalise the club.

Ms Parker said the there'll be a fresh new approach to the club, with 'endless possibilities'.

However, there's an urgent need for at least ten volunteers to sign up before by December 20 for the club to be re-established.

"In Coffs Harbour, with a population of 75,000, we need more than one Lions Club so we can give back to the community,” Ms Parker said.

"Basically, Lions are a group of volunteers who do things for the community in so many ways.”

Mr McEwan said the Pacific City Lions Club is leading the charge to revitalise the Coffs Harbour club, after it was the Coffs Harbour club that sponsored the opening of Pacific City Lions.

"It's a real shame to have seen one of the oldest clubs in Australia fold due to dwindling numbers and they just couldn't continue to do their charitable work.

"It's all to do with growth, if you're starting a new club it has to be sponsored. This is what we're trying to do in reverse now I suppose.

"We're running out of time. If we can revitalise the club in 12 months we can have a proper registered club with 10 volunteers to start with, but if you start from scratch you need about 20 members plus.

"The sense of urgency is about trying to get those 10 volunteers on board before December 20.”

The new club aims to move away from the more traditional Lions club, and is open to both men and women of all ages.

"Because things have evolved over the years the emphasis is away from being a club for just men. The emphasis is now on mixed clubs,” Mr McEwan said.

"Coffs Harbour is a melting pot of all sorts of people so we're really hoping to tap into that diversity, particularly with refugees and newcomers to the Coffs Harbour area.

"We'd like to have a diversity in backgrounds as well as a diversity in interests, and attempt to get it going with only ten people which could be challenging.”

The chartering of a Lions Club is a rare occurence. Only six clubs have been chartered over the last 65 years.

If you're interested in volunteering for the revitalised Lions Club, call Ms Parker on 0439440020.