Monday, 11 November 2013

Lions Celebrate 50th

Lion Vic Keen
The Otautau Lions celebrated their 50th anniversary last Saturday with a special gathering of 93 guests.

Life Member Vic Keen had been the MC for the 30th and the 40th anniversaries so it was only fitting that he do the honours again.
Rowena Baird, May Chilton, Lorna Ballam.
Lorna Ballam, Eunice Lindsay, Fay Ballam, and Lion Diane Baird.
Amongst the many special guests were the wives of the charter members whose husbands formed the Otautau Lions in 1963.

Very special guest and Otautau Life Member, Alan Fisher, delighted us. He lives in Arrowtown but has deep roots in Otautau. His grandfather, John Fisher, was a consummate businessman and the publisher of the Otautau Standard (1905-46).

Life Member Alan Fisher
In 1963, a few men were considering starting an Otautau charter, they attended a meeting in Invercargill and read the Lion rules. Alan recalled,
"One of the rules of interest was that you were supposed to have one representative of each kind of employment. Very strictly - one representative. Well, I'm going to tell you the difficulties that we had. We finished up with 33, a pretty good number, of which 14 were farmers; and not one of them was a dairy farmer. Do you believe that?! We had everything from a poultry farmer through a deer farmer to about 65 different types of farming and we used 12 of them to separate our farmer members. Everything from a pastoralist to you name it, a Merino breeder. Keith Mitchell, who was the New Zealand representative for National Lions accepted the fact that there was no way around it, and they were quite happy for the Otautau Club to join their fraternity, so we got the charter. And we had the charter evening in what is now the furniture shop on Main Street on the 9th of November."
Life Members and their wives, former Bayswater residents, Roy and Nancy Burnett, Zola and Peter Ayson, and Fred (and Margaret not shown) Dalley.
Ex-Otautau Lions came from all over Southland to celebrate as well as representatives from the Makarewa, Invercargill, Tuatapere and Districts, Ohai-Nightcaps, Riverton and Cromwell Clubs. Also present were the District Governor, Andy Andrews.


Part of the evening's entertainment was guest speaker, Dil Belworthy, of Glowing Sky clothing company, Rakiura/Stewart Island. A natural storyteller, he kept us laughing with life in Samoa, how he came south, and how he met his second wife. Truly hilarious.

Margaret James, the first woman to join the Lions.
Life Members Roy Burnett, Peter Ayson, Alan Fisher, Fred Dalley and Vic Keen cut the cake.
In between speeches and toasts, there was plenty of time for friends to re-connect.
The evening was supported by local talent from the cake to the flowers.

Cake made by baker extraordinaire, Gretchen, of the Main Street Cafe.
Women of the Otautau Playcentre did a superb catering job.
Floral arrangements by the Western Southland Floral Art Group.

Charter members, 1963

W.L. Affleck, F.F. Allan, A.R. Baird, C.O. Ballam, J. Ballam, R. Ballam, L.S. Brash, W.W.H. Brown, V.F. Chilton, D.J. Clark, J.I. Clayton, A.D. Collie, A.F. Collie, S.W. Cowan, A.A. Fisher, T.W.J. Henderson, F.R. Insall, W.G. Kennedy, H.F. Laurie, J.A. Lindsay, J.R. Lindsay, J.C. MacDonnell, J.M. Maley, H.A. Morris, B.R. McPherson, R. Newman, D.J. Stronach, F.M. Thomson, L.J. Thwaites, W.R. Townsend, J.A.R. Walker, J.W. Wesney, and J.E. Wright.

It's hard to imagine the career of a group that's been around for 50 years - the projects completed, the funds raised, the good works done for others. We're lucky to have a Lions Club here and as many said, our community is the better for it. Congratulations, Otautau Lions, and thank you!

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