Henley Lions were, as we have been since 2009, heavily involved in helping Santa at the Toad Hall Garden Centre. Santa was busier this year than he has ever been and saw nearly 1000 children on the four weekends leading up to Christmas. Each child received a toy from Santa which they chose from Santa’s magic toy box. Half of the fee of £6.00 per child to visit Santa is donated to Henley Lions charity fund and is used to support local children’s charities.
Once again this year Henley Lions organised, purchased, packed and delivered 90 Christmas Parcels to needy individuals and families within our local area. Funds for this project are generously donated by local individuals and organisations. The club has been involved in the Christmas parcel project for many years but this was the 14th year that the entire project was undertaken by Henley Lions Club.
During 2016 the Henley Lions made a number of donations, some large and some small, to worthy causes both locally and internationally. These included donations to:
- Royal Berkshire Pain Clinic
- Footsteps Centre in Dorchester, Oxon
- Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award for a local girl
- Kickstarters music scheme for local children
- Sacred Heart Primary School – SkillForce Junior Princes Award Program
- Starlight Children’s Foundation
- Blubell trip on the Rivertime
- Henley Youth Festival
- Haiti Hurricane Disaster Relief Appeal
- Christmas meal for 50 isolated people in Sonning Common
- MENCAP Christmas party
- Special trike for local disabled boy
The Lions Club of Henley-on-Thames celebrated its 45th charter anniversary with a luncheon held today at the Red Lion Hotel. Henley’s club members were joined by Lions from Maidenhead, Slough, Burnham, Bracknell and Warminster. Lion President Pam Pitts spoke about the work the club does in the local community and the various local organisations and individuals it supports. District Governor Alan Chapman congratulated the club on its membership and all the work it does in and around Henley. He cited his personal visit to the club remarking that he was very impressed with the fact that the Henley club members are involved in so many aspects of community service. Mayor of Henley, Cllr Lorraine Hillier, an honorary member of the club, thanked the Lions for all that they do for the community and said how much she has enjoyed the club meetings that she has been able to attend during her year in office. The mayor was accompanied by her mother, Mrs Shirley Hillier, who, by all accounts, thoroughly enjoyed the luncheon and is hoping to attend the club’s April business meeting.
Teams entered from Trinity, Valley Road and Nettlebed Schools, Mencap, 1st Henley Guides, Sophie Bigness and her family, and for the first time 1st Henley Brownies, the Henley Sea Cadets and the Royal Marine Cadets.
Sue Fitzsimons, teacher from Trinity School was presented with a new trophy for their continued support of this event by the Mayor, Councillor Lorraine Hillier. Every year the school always have the most swimmers and teams than any other group. Sue organises the participation in this event and encourages all the children to enter.
Liz Preston, from Henley Lions said, “So far we have raised £3785 half of which will stay with the groups which raised the sponsorship and half to our club’s charity fund. With the club’s share we will be giving £1,000 for the Day to Remember – a family fun-filled activity day at the Chiltern Centre and the rest will be shared out to other local charities. Henley Indoor Sports Centre gave their pool and facilities freely. Our thanks must go to the staff there under their manager, Ashley Debell, who himself did the job of lifeguard for the last session!”
The top teams for number of lengths swam were Trinity Goofy Goldfish (97 lengths) followed by Henley Royal Marines Cadets (86), in 3rd place was 1st Henley Guides Penguins team who swam 84 lengths and 4th were Valley Road Sting Ray team with 82.
Michaela Clarke, Leader of 1st Henley Brownies said, “Our young team of four did really well to swim 66 lengths. I was so proud of them and they had a great time. It was the first time for us at this event but we’ll definitely be back next year to support this very worthy cause.”