Ontario Lions clubs to celebrate their efforts

Who let the Lions loose in Cambridge last weekend? More than 500 Lions, representing 54 clubs within District A-15, southwest and central Ontario, held their annual convention at the Holiday Inn.

Sponsored by the Galt-Cambridge Lions Club, members celebrated their successes of helping others, while planning for major worldwide projects of the future. Their challenge for the year is “Dare to Dream in 2013”.

Dr. Daniel Ayim, a past-president of the Galt-Cambridge Club and now the district governor, accompanied by his wife Afua, hosted the large convention.

The keynote banquet speaker, Marvin Chambers, from Fillmore, Sask., is a director of the International Association of Lions Clubs. He is the only Canadian on the 34-member board.

“It doesn’t matter where you live,” said Chambers, “you can contribute along with other men and women to help in our many projects to assist the blind, the hard of hearing, the sick and the needy.”

He joked about his home community of Fillmore by saying, “There are 278 people living in Fillmore right now, and when my wife Lynne and I get home, there will be 280 people there.”

Mayor Doug Craig addressed the gathering at a luncheon and praised the Galt-Cambridge Lions Club for assisting many local groups, from children with vision problems to seniors with special needs. He stressed appreciation from the city and its citizens for the $265,000 the local club has donated to Cambridge Memorial Hospital.

Delegates were amazed with the professional skill and quality of eight-minute speeches given by several district young people who have won honours in the Lions Club’s public speaking contests. Some of the students spoke in French.

One of the Lions’ major projects is supplying dog guides through the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides program. More than 2,000 dogs have been matched with people with vision impairment, the deaf and hard of hearing, epilepsy, autism and diabetic conditions.

Several recipients of the program were present with their dogs, and exhibited the great care and training of these very special animals.

Galt-Cambridge Lions Club member Don Gamble, 87, and his wife, Charlotte, were singled out for long-time service. Don has been a Lion for more than 61 years. He was a chartered member of the Granby Lions Club in Quebec, before moving to Cambridge in 1957 and transferring to the Cambridge Club.