Fareham Lions mark 50 years – but new blood is needed

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IN THE year they should be celebrating their 50th anniversary, members of a fundraising group are instead fighting for its survival.

The Fareham Lions are desperate for new members – or they face having to disband.

Over the years they have raised tens of thousands of pounds for other local groups and organisations, as well as getting involved in numerous fairs and events.

But having lost 10 members in the past three years, they no longer have the numbers to achieve their goals.

Group president Ernie Howard said: ‘We’ve lost people through leaving the district and we currently have one member on service in Afghanistan.

‘That leaves us with just seven active members, and that is simply too few to deliver our programme of community service, let alone national initiatives. It’s sad the club faces closure in its 50th year of operation, particularly after sponsoring successful adjoining clubs in Cosham, Swanwick, Meon Valley, Gosport and Swanage.’

The group prides itself on its close ties to the community, from helping to organise the Stubbington Fayre each August bank holiday, to putting on an annual pensioners’ party and running Father Christmas’s sleigh around the borough in December.

Members also recently gave £1,000 to the 2nd Fareham Sea Scouts to help them buy much-needed camping equipment.

Mr Howard added: ‘We know that there are many good people in Fareham who would like to give us their support. So we have put together a recruitment campaign to let people know about the crisis and give them a chance to help us out. Membership is open to men and women and if you can spare one evening a month for a meeting and half a day a month, on average for events we would greatly like to hear from you.’

On Thursday, September 22, the group will hold an open evening at the Ashcroft Arts Centre in Osborn Road, Fareham, from 7.30pm to 9pm.

For information about the Lions, call (01329) 235356, (01489) 601747 or email ernie.howard@ntlworld.com