Oct 16- Lions Clubs International Centennial Update

posted 30 Oct 2016, 09:44 by Thanet LionsClub


Lions Club International will be 100 years old in 2017. Thanet Lions, along with all Clubs around the world, are looking forward to celebrating this occasion.

In 1917, a 38 year old American insurance agent, Melvin Jones, attended a Business Circle luncheon in Chicago.  He was thinking, ‘What if these men, who are successful because of their drive, intelligence and ambition, were to put their talents to work improving their own communities, instead of discussing the financial benefits of membership?’  He invited delegates from men’s clubs who met in Chicago to lay the groundwork for such an organisation.   In a secret ballot, the name Lions was chosen over several others and, on 7th June, 1917, Lions Clubs International was born.

Melvin Jones eventually abandoned his insurance agency to devote himself full-time to Lions at the International Headquarters in Chicago.  He was also recognised as a leader by those outside the Lions when, in 1945, he represented Lions Clubs International as a consultant in San Francisco, California, at the organisation of the United Nations.  To this day, we still take young people from Thanet Schools to the Houses of Parliament each year on United Nations Day.

Melvin Jones, the man whose personal code was, you can’t get very far until you start doing something for somebody else, became a guiding principle for public-spirited people the world over.  He died on 1st June 1961 at the age of 82.

It was thanks to the support of the Canadian Lions and the intervention of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, that the first Lions Club in London was founded in 1950.

Canadian Lions had provided invaluable support for children orphaned in the Second World War. To thank them, the then Queen sent her equerry Colonel Edward Wyndham (later Lord Leconfield) to Canada. He was so impressed that the Windsor (Ontario) Lions Club agreed to sponsor the first London Club, with Lord Leconfield as its founding Charter President. Today, HRH The Countess of Wessex is a Member of the Wokingham Lions Club and Royal Patron of the Lions Clubs of the British Isles.

Thanet Lions Club was founded in 1967 and Chartered in 1968. 

By the 1970’s, Lions Clubs were still a male predominant domain.  Consequently, their wives created Lioness Clubs, so they could do work for their communities.  However, during the late 1980’s, many Lions Clubs began to invite ladies to join them in the United Kingdom.  Our current President Janet along with 3 other ladies, were the first to be inducted into Thanet Lions Club in August 1990.

So, after nearly 100 years, we are preparing to celebrate our Centennial around the world.

Our motto is We Serve.  Our new strapline is “Where there’s a Need, there’s a Lion”.