A HUGE void will be left in the Coolum community with the Coolum Lionesses forced to cease operations following on from a directive from Lions International, with no firm reason given for the directive. All Lioness clubs throughout the world will be following suit and have been directed to join their local Lions club.
Coolum Lioness President Shirley Salisbury said that as yet none of the local women will be joining the Coolum Lions and that the decision created a lot of anger and disbelief.
“The first directive stated that there could be no new clubs and then the second directive said that we had to close by June 30 of this year… we were told this last year.”
The decision has left all saddened including the Lions Club of Coolum with member Doug Alford stating that since their formation in 1978 they have been a key service in the Coolum community.
“The ladies have organised numerous events such as the annual Coolum Twilight Markets at Tickle Park, Australia Day Breakfast, Meals on Wheels, supported the blood donation van, ran bingo for nursing home residents and raised funds at events which are too numerous to list.”
That fundraising list is indeed long with Shirley stating that the Coolum Lionesses have raised about half a million dollars during their 42 years.
“I got satisfaction out of raising the money… it’s been hard work over the years and we were not in this for praise – it was about helping others out,” Shirley said.
Help others out they did with the first official project that the Lionesses participated in being a ‘stretcher-a-thon’ where in conjunction with the Coolum Ambulance the participants pushed a stretcher along the David Low Way from Coolum to Bli Bli and asked for donations along the way. That was back in 1979.
From there the list of groups and people the Lionesses helped out financially is far to vast to list individually, however Shirley said highlights included helping out with the beach wheelchairs which enabled disabled people to get down to the water on Coolum main beach and also being involved with the Coolum High School Chaplaincy program.
“We funded the beach wheelchairs and would escort people down to the beach in them and much joy was brought to those using the chairs and we had a very rewarding association with Mark the high school chaplain.”
Then each summer since 1994 the ladies, in all weather conditions ran the Coolum Twilight Markets with all money raised from stallholder fees being put back into the local community.
From sausage sizzles, to selling raffle tickets and more the ladies will be missed in the community and Shirley said that they will still catch up.
“Maybe some of us will join other clubs in time, but for now I am happy to have a bit of a rest.”
To thank them for their outstanding work and contribution to the community the Coolum Lions held a thank you dinner for the ladies at the Marcoola Surf Club in late March.
“On behalf of the Coolum Community, Coolum Lions thank them for their tireless dedication and inspirational service to help others,” Mr Alford said.
The Coolum Lionesses would like to thank all of the local Coolum businesses who helped them out over the years with donations and their final meeting was held on April 13.
Lions clubs welcome males and females and Lions International is the largest service club in world, with 46,000 local clubs and more than 1.4 million members in over 200 countries worldwide.