End of the Lions for Bay

REFLECTION: Port MacDonnell Lions Club outgoing president and charter member Brian Collins reflects with the branch now disbanded. Picture: MOLLY TAYLOR

By Molly Taylor

THE disbanded Port MacDonnell Lions Club has left the coastal township and surrounding district without a key service club and social outlet.

The club folded late last year after 43 years of community service and the injection of hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Limestone Coast, citing an ageing and depleting membership.

The branch was established in 1977 with a strong 28 founding members, including outgoing president and life member Brian Collins.

The 87-year-old has stood as club president for the last 12 years and said although it was sad to witness the club disperse, he believed it was the right thing to do.

“In the last 10 years, the club was unsuccessful in attracting any new members and we got down to 10 with seven of the 10 over the age of 80,” he said.

“It was a bit sad when we had our final meeting, but it had to happen.

“I would have liked to have seen it continue, but I needed someone to take on the presidency role and I knew if I didn’t do it, no one would.”

Mr Collins said the club also lost its three biggest revenue generators at the same time, which took its toll.

The projects included a community cattle scheme, merry-go-round hire and Lightbody garden day community event.

“In the last 10 years, we were making good money and we were able to make lots of donations to people,” he said.

“Particularly in the last 12 months, we’ve distributed all the money we had because we knew we were going to fold up.

“With us folding, a lot of people are now not going to benefit.”

Mr Collins said people did not realise how large of an impact Lions clubs within their community.

“That’s the hard part, we’ve built up a relationship with all these people and all of that has come to an end,” he said.

“Although, it was the right thing to do.”

As well as many other contributions, some of the club’s larger offerings include a $10,000 donation to Boandik St Marys, a $5000 contribution to the Allendale East Area School and most recently a $1870 contribution to the Allendale East Community Hall.

Considering it a sign of the times, Mr Collins thanked the community and wished other Lions clubs success in the future.