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7 May, 2021

Lionesses still serving the community

THE Cairns Lioness Club’s 43 years of service to the community will be honoured with a special Civic Reception hosted by the Mayor at the Council Chambers on Tuesday May 18.

By Tanya Murphy

The Cairns Lioness Club donating items to the Cairns Lifesaving Club. (From back left) Faye, Helene, Gail, Sue, Mary, Franca, Liz, Tilly, Robyn, Lorraine, Sarina, Tina, Mary, Cathy, Rose and Mim.

It will also be the club’s last meeting under that name, as parent organisation Lions International has decided that the copyright of the Lioness Clubs’ logo will not be renewed this year, with women encouraged to join Lions Clubs, which are for both men and women.

However, member Mary Hooper said the Cairns Lionesses were very proud of their separate identity as a women’s group and would continue as such, under the new name of the ‘Ladies Auxiliary’ to the Lions Club of Cairns.

“We will continue working for the community, albeit under another name, and trust that the public will continue to support us in our service and fund-raising efforts,” she said.

The Lioness Club has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds and in-kind donations for the local community since it started in 1978.

Knitting, sewing, crocheting, baking, gift-wrapping, collecting essentials for people in need, and organising fundraising events such as fashion parades, cent sales, and garage sales, their efforts have changed the lives of many.

“It’s impossible to summarise the amount of work that the ladies have done over the years,” said Lioness Club Vice President Robyn Foster.

“We have one woman who makes 20 dresses a week to go to charities.

“We once knitted more than 1000 jumpers in three months, to send to a Chinese orphanage being run by Australian doctors.

“We made all the privacy curtains for the Children’s Ward at the hospital, choosing colourful prints to brighten it up for the children.

“We’ve donated thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment and furniture to the hospital.

“We’ve cooked thousands of meals for organisations like Harald’s food van.

“Our biggest project at the moment is a music therapy program for dementia patients in local nursing homes, where we donate an MP3 player to each patient and load it with their own personalised favourite music as told to us by their family, which has massive mental health benefits.”

Other beneficiaries of the club’s kindness over the years include Ruth’s Women’s Hub, Rosie’s Food Van, Anglicare, ‘Friends of Himalayan Children,’ the Salvation Army, Share the Dignity, Centacare’s School Savvy Project, YAPS, The Royal Flying Doctor Service, the Prison Chaplaincy, Cancer Council and other health charities, the ‘Birthing Kit’ program for women in Papua New Guinea, the Story Dogs program for children with reading difficulties, the Cairns Mental Health Unit, Children’s Cancer Ride, local and national disaster relief efforts and many more.

Ms Hooper said the club welcomed new members, and encouraged younger people to give it a go, noting that traditional activities like baking and crafts experienced a revival in popularity during COVID lockdown as people weren’t as busy.

“I think younger people nowadays don’t have as much free time, but even if you don’t come to all the meetings you can still get involved in some small way,” she said.

“The reward is enormous, being involved in a service club.”

Some of the club’s original members remained involved for life, and the club’s current longest serving member has been there for 40 years.

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