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Lions celebrate key milestone

Lions Club members display their International Centennial flag at City Hall, to recognise the 100th Anniversary of the founding of Lions Clubs International (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Lions Club International celebrated its 100th anniversary by raising a flag and singing “Happy Birthday” at City Hall.

Presidents and secretaries of the Bermuda branch were joined by Hamilton mayor Charles Gosling for the commemoration yesterday, which mirrored celebrations at branches around the world.

Lions Club International is a worldwide organisation aimed towards community service with a focus on aiding the visually impaired. With 1.4 million members spread over 200 countries, it provides youth development, disaster relief, and eyewear for international communities.

Bermuda was introduced to the Loins Club 71 years ago, established by businessman and athlete Whitfield “Chummy” Hayward. Today, the branch operates as three active clubs stationed in Hamilton, Paget and St George’s.

The Lions Clubs of Bermuda provides services such as eye exams for children and seniors and donations to the Bermuda Society for the Blind and cancer charity PALS.

Notable services include the White Cane Tag Days fundraiser for vision impairment awareness, scholarship programmes, and the Share the Christmas Spirit fundraiser with MarketPlace that donates canned food to the needy.

Dessaline Waldron, the zone chairman, believes that joining the branch was a profound but rewarding decision.

“I believe in helping people, I believe it’s my calling,” Ms Waldron said.

“I visited two club meetings — because you’re only allowed to join once you’ve been invited — and once they let me in I worked with the Paget Lions Club ever since.”

Representatives of the Lions Clubs of Bermuda will attend a celebration to commemorate the Club’s 100th anniversary. It will be held in the Club’s founding home of Chicago, and take place from June 29 to July 4.

The Lions’ flag will continue to fly at City Hall until the end of June.