By Raquel Mustillo
AFTER almost two decades of operation, thousands of hours in voluntary service to the community and raising close to $200,000, the Millicent Lioness Club has officially started its new chapter as a Lions Club.
Although the club has entered a new era, the recent charter dinner was a nod to the nostalgic, with the evening mirroring the original charter of the Lioness Club by using the same venue, the same caterer and same menu for both functions.
Charter president Jennifer Osis travelled from Adelaide to attend the handover, with guests including District Governor Norm Sommerville, District Governor elect Darry Morley, Vice District Governor elect Ruth Person, Millicent Lions president Brenton ‘Yogi’ McMillan, Member for Barker Tony Pasin and Wattle Range deputy mayor Moira Neagle.
Recent changes by Lions International by-laws propelled the service club to become Lions Clubs ahead of the cessation of the Lioness program at the end of June 2021.
Members had the option to continue as a Lions Club or operate as an auxiliary association, with members overwhelmingly supportive of transferring to a Lions Club.
Long-time Lioness Joan Lucas – who is one of seven remaining charter members in the new club – was inaugurated as the new club president.
The Millicent Lioness Club’s final president Beccy Field praised the board of directors and all members of the club for their service over the last 17 years with a special Lioness Service Award.
Following the presentations, Ms Field and Ms Osis ceremonially furled the Lioness Club banner and retire the charter to ceremonially close the Lions Club.
“It was surprisingly emotional for me to furl that banner and I didn’t expect it, but it is the end of an era,” she said.
“I don’t think I was the only person to have moist eyes or shed a tear during that part.”
Ms Field, who is a member of the Lions Club of Mount Gambier, will also serve as the new clubs’ Guiding Lion alongside Past District Governor Dave Thomas for the next two years.
She said only 17 Lioness Clubs will continue on as Lions Clubs in Australia, with 77 Lioness Clubs existing nationwide in 2019.
The famous Lioness Bookshop has been rebadged as the Lions Club of Wattle Range Lioness Bookshop and a new teardrop flag has been gifted to the club by Wattle Range mayor Des Noll.