Banbury Lions Club hope to get back to helping the community soon

The Banbury Lions Club hopes the charity can get back to helping others in the community as lockdown restrictions continue to be eased.

The group, which was formed in 1968, says the coronavirus shutdown could cost up to £10,000 in cancelled fundraising events.

Club president Graham Raven said: “This is the first time in 52 years that we have gone three months and more without raising money for worthy causes. Since 1968 we have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds but we’ve never experienced a year like this.

“We’ve had to call off a number of events that were planned for the spring and summer that would have raised large sums of money.

Graham Raven, president of Banbury Lions, holds a message in a bottle a scheme promoted by the Lions that makes a persons essential medical information easily available if emergency services are called to an illness or accident at home.

“We’re keeping an eye on the easing of lockdown and we’ll be back in action as soon as we can.

“We will be going all out to reschedule some events for later in the year to include Children in Need – and do what we can to make the best of a bad situation.”

He added: “Our thoughts are with the good causes that are missing out on valuable funding.

“Not all of the work the Lions do is about money. We also regularly visit residents of the Cheshire Home and we’re looking forward to going back there.”

The Banbury group is part of Lions International and has stayed true to its motto ‘we serve’ by helping the local community and the less fortunate around the world.

Lions in Banbury have organised hundreds of events and provided hands-on assistance to those in need – particularly the young and the elderly.

One long-lasting event that many people will remember is the Old Time Music Hall which started in 1971 and ran for 25 years.

There have been numerous other fund-raising events including a Son et Lumiere at Broughton Castle, music festivals and brass band concerts.

The Lions have organised swimathons, marathons and danceathons to raise valuable funds.

Involving young people has been a key part of the Lions’ success.

‘Children Singing for Children’ ran for some years, and in 1999 choirs from the town’s secondary schools performed a special concert that raised over £9,000 for local charities.

Mr Raven said: “Lions clubs are worldwide. There are over a million Lions with the same aims as ourselves and many have suffered similar coronavirus problems.

“We are all looking forward to going back to what we do best – raising money for the less fortunate.”

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