2012 Public Service

The cheque to Josie’s Dragonfly Trust

Considering the growth and reach of Josie’s Dragonfly Trust over the succeeding years since it was founded, in the year she died (2007), up until the present (this blog was created during 2022/2023), it was a privilege to have been able to help out in the earlier days, as this photograph of the big cheque from the Allendale Lions Club shows.

I’ve noticed that many of these photos of funding distribution seemed to have been placed in front of the Allendale Co-operative Society shop. Isn’t that so apposite, though, to reflect the cooperation among the Allen Valleys community in shared pursuit of a common goal.

Of the photograph, you just have to love the smiles, don’t you! Sometimes the Allendale Lions have been criticised for excessive self-congratulation, but on occasions when a big cheque was handed over, it felt like honest pride in our contribution.

Inevitably, as this archive of our social history is laid down online, in bits and pieces of blog entries, photographs and reminiscences, there’s a feeling of tristesse, of nostalgia for those times, which were so very good, so very innocent and earnest. That, at least, was how it felt, how it feels today, looking back.

One of the remits for this social archive, however, is the investigation of how organisations develop, how they mature and grow, and also how attrition affects us all, how such groups wane as well.

By the autumn of 2012, the club was embarking on its tenth year of existence, if you count its formative year from early meetings in September, 2003. The subsequent decade would test the capacity of the ageing members that remained.

2012 Public Service

Re-decorating the hall, 2012

We tend, I reckon, as a club to forget how much earnest effort and indeed funds, we’ve generated to put to good use. Even though we are also in the business of self-promotion and we have always tried to announce our philanthropic efforts with pride.

But some five years after the Calor Village of the Year invigilators visited Allendale, and exclaimed over our amazing colour schemes (both Deneholme and Allendale Village Hall had benefited from the interior design expertise of Maggie Shearer), the hall was looking shabby. I’d forgotten myself how it was that the Lions Club stepped up once again to fund the decoration and enhance the presentation of the hall. But minutes tend not to lie, and those of the Business Meeting in April, 2012, indicate how important the Lions’ contribution actually was:

Hot, it seemed, on the heels of funding another outside bin, I was asking the Lions to fund the entire re-decoration inside the hall. And of course, in times of need, and because everyone recognised the incredible resource the hall was, and how it needed to be presentable to be self-sustaining, the club agreed to the proposal.

Thank you, Lions Club of Allendale, for your very special support of this community facility!

2007 Fundraising Public Service

Thanks Hilary

When Peter Aldcroft first became President of the Allendale Lions Club, throughout 2007, 2008 and 2009, he initiated a series of team building awards, presented often in batches, framed, to the recipients at a business meeting. For whatever reason, Nigel Baynes seemed to have collected perhaps a first draft, or first print prior to framing, of all of these awards. I wonder if perhaps there was a colour printer in the Baynes office, and Peter tried out his ideas there, before presenting the final award? Nigel, being Nigel, may have kept a copy for his burgeoning treasure trove of memories.

Anyway, there are some 20 or so of these various awards in Nigel’s copious archive, and these copies will be intercalated, ultimately, into their appropriate time slot during Peter’s term. Since I only found them sometime toward the end of my perusal of the various folders and envelopes I’ve been entrusted with, they’ll all be presented out of sequence in the regular blog, but by editing of the calendar, I should be able to get them into the right places thereafter.

One of the first such awards was made to Hilary Aldcroft for her perseverance and diligence in organising the schedule and rota for the annual Santa’s Sleigh tours around our local area. That was a job, often unsung, until Peter invented his awards.

At the time, the Allendale Lions toured around Haltwhistle, Bardon Mill, Haydon Bridge, Allenheads, and Allendale. Perhaps at some point there was an issue of territory, as a neighbouring Lions Club laid claim to one or another village for collecting. But whatever issues arose, there was always the question of logistics, of getting the sleigh sorted, or arranging the Elf rota for the collecting tins, and in general being on top of things. A perfect storm, in other words, and not for the faint-hearted, so the award was well-deserved!

2011 Personalities Public Service

Goodbye to a beloved member

As we’ve seen in earlier entries, Graham Girvan created a great role for himself as the Town Crier at various May Fairs. And yes, indeed, he did have a very loud voice.

As Glynn Galley reported in the Hexham Courant’s VILLAGE NOTES, for the Allen Valley, Graham and Marc Adams had finished their Mongolian Rally adventure by the end of the summer, relinquishing the little car so that Graham could get himself off to a new dream life in Kenya. The mention of Keenley, in one of Peter Aldcroft’s special plaque commemoratives, was an in-joke among fellow Lions Club members.

But it was hard to say goodbye to a Charter Member, even though everyone wished him well. It’s fair to note, too, that one of Glynn’s many public-spirited efforts was to work on the new Housing Association that carved out three new residences from the old Deneholme Annexe, which was part of a contributive social enterprise ethos, in the context of affordable housing, that we all could subscribe to.

Graham and I were the two original Personal License holders for the service of alcohol at the Village Hall, newly designated as a permanently Licensed Premises, having availed ourselves of a subsidised Bartender’s course in Teesdale. When Graham left, I was the bartender for the Lions new bar, until my service eventually finished, and I missed his friendly support thereafter.

2011 Fundraising May Fairs Public Service

Great North Air Ambulance: Cheque #1

The Hexham Courant’s District News pages for the 5th August, 2011 issue, featured another cheque presenting opportunity, as Margaret Stonehouse, Chairman of the Fair, and Richard Snowdon, President of the Allendale Lions, showed off the funding said to have been realised from that year’s Fair (that would have been the Noddy one).

I can’t remember a May Fair ever raising such large amounts of cash, and yet the reporting may have been correct. Certainly the raffle was a big money-spinner, always, and the revenue from the stalls and the karaoke was consistent.

Moreover, by the beginning of September, the Charity Account funds still stood at £3,572.49, as reported by Treasurer Doug Ness, and that was after the cheque had gone out to the GNAA, but before the annual Charity Auction which always raised in the region of £3,000+.

I rather suspect, hand-on-heart, that the GNAA cheque of 2011 was a carry-over from the fund-raising efforts of the previous year gone.

2011 Business Meetings Fundraising Golf Classics Public Service

Golf Club Classic: Presentation

In what must have been one of his first official acts as the new President of the Allendale Lions Club, Richard Snowdon looks delighted to be presenting a cheque for £600 to Cancer Research UK, along with members of the Lions, and Allendale Golf Club.

It’s good to see such smiles, too, from everybody seated around the table in the lovely clubhouse. Not everyone was named, in the accompanying blurb, but it’s important, I think, to recognise Norman Harris in his golfing gilet, in between John Dobson and Colin Wraith. To Colin’s left, of course, Doug Ness and Peter Aldcroft gave excellent bracketing smiles as well.

According to the Business Meeting Minutes #86 (September, 2011), carefully noted by Secretary Irene Ness, there had been some consternation between the expectations on the Golf Club side and the Lions’ wish to generate funds for the cancer charity. Following discussions with the Golf Club, it was agreed that the proceeds of the Classic should be split 50/50 between the Golf Club and Cancer Research. Apparently, the matter was smoothed over because the proceeds from the bar on the day had exceeded expectations (quel surprise!), so that the photo opportunity and big cheque, when the Lions had topped the donation up, came to a similar amount for each concern. Whew!

I like perusing the minutes, in these circumstances, because with a little effort they reveal something of the social history of a community, how folks adhere and work things out together.

2009 2010 Public Service

Carols in the Square, 2010 of 2009?

Those photographs that Peter Aldcroft mentioned in the first Lions business meeting of 2010? The ones that featured our annual Carols in the Square? It’s likely that this photograph presented in the 2010 Tynedale Christmas Guide, a handy pull-out in the weekly Hexham Courant, was one of those. I do seem to recall that the Courant managed to be a year late on one such image, and it was probably this one.

If nothing else, this page from ‘the present’ of ‘the past’ proves that the events did take place, though it’s not crystal clear that this photo really is of the 2009 event. I’m intrigued too, to clock the carol sheets, which as might be self-evident from the squinting going on, were printed in quite the smallest font possible. I couldn’t wait to create an easier-to-read A4 on card, to facilitate better scanning! But that was to come at a later Carol session, further ahead in the future.

I wonder if I can find a pdf of that file for that later entry, and I wonder too when the bigger font came into play. But at any rate, we can be assured that the traditional Carols in the Square would have been among the very last events presented by the Allendale Lions Club in 2010.

So 2011 is just around the corner, as the ‘noughties’ finish and . . . and, what decade is this one coming on? Some publications will, by the time 2021 comes, call it the ‘Lost Decade’ but as we look ahead, it feels like anything but ‘lost.’

We have exciting times ahead, surely! We as a club will be only some seven years old, or eight during 2011, if you count the organising meetings in the autumn of 2003. But what is also true is that we are, each of us, getting older.

Public Service

The Great North Air Ambulance cheque presentation

At some point after the May Fair, and most probably after the autumn Charity Auction when our financial coffers would have been replenished, the Allendale Lions organised a photo-opportunity outside Allendale Bakery & Café down at Allen Mill, to present the big cheque to the Great North Air Ambulance Service.

I like the smiles on the faces of the folks in the photograph!

Everyone up on the high fellsides around Allendale knows how important the GNAA is. Our neighbour up there in Sparty Lea was airlifted to Hexham Hospital after an impatient beast pinned her against a gate and broke her hip. And similar stories abound throughout the East and West Allen valleys.

So it was a great pleasure to be able to proffer a little bit of what our philanthropic efforts could manage, to help keep the service flying. But the money always flows in to the Lions for disbursement from the very community the club seeks to serve. So it’s what people have called a ‘virtuous circle’ of goodness, and it’s one of the crucial underpinnings of goodwill that the community enjoys.

When the Lions tap into that goodwill, it seems that everybody benefits.

2010 Public Service

Mystery Tour!

These photographs, carefully collated in Nigel Baynes’ exhaustive archive from these years, seem like a wonderful reminder of events held over a decade ago. Many of the folks in these pictures are no longer with us, but I hope this diary entry will be an important way to remember them, and the philanthropic efforts of the Allendale Lions Club.

Nearing the end of this odyssey through 2010, and noting the date of the Mystery Tour, I realise that I shall have to shuffle entries again in the blog so that events are presented in proper chronological order.

Of course, the autumnal Charity Auction, which would have elicited the funds by which the Allendale Lions could present a cheque to the Great North Air Ambulance Service, would have happened in late September. In the grand scheme of things, after my re-shuffle, that will be the next entry after this delightful series of images of another crucial philanthropic endeavour, the Mystery Tour.

It’s hard to look at these photographs, and to realise that so many beloved folks have departed from our company.

The Mystery Tour could not have been held without the benevolence and good grace of Baynes Travel staff, who also seem to have had a good time too. Of course, many staff members were also Lions Club members, to be fair.

I wonder if anyone can pinpoint where this Mystery Tour actually went? I can insert that designation, conveniently, or it could be noted in a comment to the blog entry.

2010 Business Meetings Fundraising Lions Social Events Public Service

Welcoming 2010

We’ve already mentioned the completion of the Village Hall bar, in the last entry of 2009 (as re-configured ex post facto in the blog calendar). So the first meeting of 2010 was important for looking ahead, Janus-like, after reflecting on the accomplishments the club had achieved over the past year.

Plans for the annual Burns Night supper seemed to be well in hand, for example, with previous events so well-subscribed that apparently we’d had to turn applications away from neighbouring clubs! We maintained the courtesy, for this year anyway, of inviting Lions clubs from around the region.

Graham Girvan notified the meeting that the Spanish wine-tasting evening two years previously had been such a success that it was thought to be a great idea for this year’s Charter Night, ostensibly to be held sometime close to the actual anniversary of the first Charter Dinner in February. [I remember what actually transpired, on the second occasion, with the chagrinned wine profferers slicing thinner and thinner pieces of cheese in a desperate attempt to accommodate hungry diners, for an egregiously under-catered event!]

I distributed the second version of the handy ‘membership information’ cards I’d designed, with explicit contributions to various organisations shown, as examples of ‘what we do.’ That concept was kiboshed, so it was back to the drawing board for iteration three! I so wish I could dredge up an example of these handy wallet-sized cards, but I cannot find head nor tail of them. Perhaps the whole concept was consigned to the round file.

On the Community Service front, the Christmas lights festooning trees around the square would be switched off before 12th Night, and the new Best Garden plaque, for the Horticultural Society to award, was admired.

Hilary Aldcroft wowed the group with the reveal that some £1,077 had been received during the past season’s Santa’s Sleigh, which had included a rather thrilling Santa in the Snow up at Allenheads, made possible only by the borrowing of Nigel Baynes’ Land Rover. Graham had been a great Santa!

Apparently the Hexham Courant had not published photographs taken in Allendale on the occasion of the Carol in the Square event, nor even the Tar Bar’l parade, so everyone hoped that the next issue might have some further images to delight.

John Dobson, Webmaster, described how he was setting up an email list[serv] so that Lions members could conveniently distribute emails to everyone with just the one address.

It was time to take a drinks break, to share in the card draw which raised £19 for the General Account, and then, with no further business, to toast Elsie Eye.

Err, that’s the Lions Club Internation, LCI, in case anyone hadn’t remembered.