Sixty years of Lion’s work

IN MEMORY: Ben and Julie Miels, and Dave Taylor with the posthumous Melvin Jones Award for valued member Leon Miels.

Caroline Hammat

Lions Club of Millicent celebrated the 60th anniversary of their charter on Saturday with a formal lunch held at the Somerset Hotel.

The group was formally established with 29 members on Monday May 11, 1964 with a dinner celebration later held in October that year.

During the afternoon a posthumous Melvin Jones Fellowship Award was presented to the Miels family in recognition of Leon Miel’s contribution to both Apex and Lions clubs.

While announcing the award MC Michael Bleby said Mr Miels was a great Apexian and Apex life member who joined the Lions Club of Millicent in 1991, taking on numerous roles throughout the years.

Mr Bleby said he gave tirelessly “his time and his talents, leaving us a legacy.”

President Dave Taylor presented the award to Mr Miel’s son Ben.

“Leon was always a great bloke, straight shooter, hard worker and good friend,” Mr Taylor said.

“This award was spoken about while Leon was still fit and well, and then we lost him.”

Another announcement made during the afternoon was the funding of two Lions Hearing Dogs.

The club donated money to the organisation last year but after recent discussions they decided to foster two of the dogs.

It will cost the club $3,000 to foster each dog which includes naming rights.

Mr Taylor said the dogs would be named Leon and Rex after two long standing members of their club, Mr Miels and Rex Clark who passed away earlier this year.

Guest speaker for the day was radio FIVEaa night time presenter Leith Forrest.

Mr Forrest reminisced about his days growing up in Millicent and the role the Millicent Lions played in his life.

“I can’t remember how Leon Miels came into my life but I am so glad he did,” he said.

“In 1993 he came to me and said I’d like you to enter a competition called the Lions Youth of the Year.”

The request led to Mr Forrest being chosen as the 1993 winner and he still has the front page of the South Eastern Times featuring the announcement.

The competition led to the 17 year old having the opportunity to travel to America and help spread the word of Lions.

120 guests attended the anniversary lunch including Member for Barker Tony Pasin and Wattle Range Council mayor and mayoress Des and Shari Noll.

Other guests included the family of Leon Miels and 97 year old charter member of Mount Gambier Lions Eric Roughana who was instrumental in the formation of the Millicent charter.

District Governor David Horne was unable to attend due to fog stranding his flight with zone chair Margy Thomas stepping up to speak instead.

The longest serving member Fred Ellis was unable to attend the afternoon with the second longest, Lou Spehr, taking on the cake cutting honours instead.

A 28 page colour booklet was printed for the occasion listing all foundation, charter, and past and present members and notes the group has raised over half a million dollars in the past 10 years which has been reinvested into the community.

Former president and current member Michael Bleby was MC for the day.