The Cambridge Lions received some remarkable news last week – the group is currently the largest Lions club in the country. The local good sorts say it’s because of the Cambridge community that they’re able to do so well, with an average of $160,000 donated back into the community each year. In fact this year they’re on track to make $170,000 for Cambridge in 2018.
“If they didn’t donate to us we wouldn’t make money to give away,” Cambridge Lion Betty Busst said of the local community. “It’s exciting and we’re privileged to be the biggest, we’re a hardworking club.”
“And we have a lot of fun,” added Ernie Goodwin, one of the longest standing Cambridge Lions at 88 years young, beaten only by John Milne, a long-time Lion of almost 50 years.
Betty was the first woman to join the local Lions after membership rules were changed in the late 90s. “Prior to that there was a Lioness club,” explained Betty, who was also the first female president. “We’ve got miles and miles of history, you could do a whole book on us!” she laughed. “We enjoy what we do and helping the community.”
“It’s a bit of fun and fellowship too,” added John Brouggy, another former president and longstanding member of over 30 years. “You’ve got to enjoy what you’re doing.”
John added that they would love to see younger members join the Cambridge Lions. The average Lions’ age was around the 40s or 50s back when he joined, and now the average is 73. “We need younger people, because when we all croak there will be nobody here!”
He added that locals can support the club by donating good, sellable items to the Lions’ Shed – a largescale “op shop” of sorts on Vogel St – and by buying items from there, open every Thursday and Saturday morning, 9am to 12pm.
“Our shed is the main earner, as well as the food caravan and the monthly Trash ‘n’ Treasure market,” John said, explaining that the shed started out as a storage space for their annual market day, which morphed into quarterly market days to make more room for more donations, and eventually became a twice weekly sales morning at the shed.
Having started out as a small group of locals in 1960, the Cambridge Lions have come a long way over the decades. Now as the largest club in New Zealand with 87 members, they would love to see more locals join, particularly younger people, so that their legacy can live on. To find out more, pop down to the next Lions Shed sale on a Saturday or Thursday morning, or have a chat to them at the next Trash ‘n’ Treasure market, on Sunday, February 11 from 8am to 1pm on Victoria and Duke Streets.