Wexford Lions Club
Wexford Lions Club is a service organisation comprising of approximately 32 members. We are part of Lions international which is the largest service organisation in the World.
Wexford Lions Club members are men and women who volunteer their time to humanitarian causes in their local communities. We do so in the belief that those who live in a community are in the best position to know who needs help or support and why. This support may be monetary, such as food vouchers at Christmas for families and individuals in need, or by giving their time to assist community projects such as the clean up of Selskar Abbey in association with Wexford Tidy Towns.
Members of Wexford Lions Club adhere to the Lions motto ‘WE SERVE’. The Lions motto is not only a motto but also a philosophy.
Wexford Lions Club has served the community of Wexford since April 17th 1979.
The first President of the Club was Denis Burke and the club had 28 Charter Members.
In 2008, Wexford Lion Dave Dempsey was elected District Governor which is ‘President’ of all Lions Clubs in Ireland.
Wexford Lions Club raise funds through a variety of means. The most obvious being the traditional Church Gate Collections and Street collections or flag days. The club is constantly looking at new and innovative ways to raise funds and to give donors something in return. Fundraisers have included raffles, films, sponsored walks and Christmas card photo competitions.
Lions Clubs the world over are known for their Christmas Food Appeal but there is so much more to what we do!
Have a look at the What We Do tab to see just how much can be and is achieved.
If you have donated to Wexford Lions Club, you will also see where your money is being spent.
The Lions Clubs are unique in that every cent donated is put back into the Lions projects. All members are unpaid volunteers and pay an annual fee which covers all administration costs and running expenses of the club.
Through membership of Wexford Lions Club we not only help people in need, but have opportunities to develop personal friendships, and to gain valuable leadership skills. If you would like additional information on Wexford Lions Club or would like to become a member of our club please use the contact details and Join tab shown on the top of this page.
To Organize, charter and supervise service clubs to be known as Lions clubs.
To Coordinate the activities and standardize the administration of Lions clubs.
To Create and foster a spirit of understanding among the peoples of the world.
To Promote the principles of good government and good citizenship.
To Take an active interest in the civic, cultural, social and moral welfare of the community.
To Unite the clubs in the bonds of friendship, good fellowship and mutual understanding.
To Provide a forum for the open discussion of all matters of public interest; provided, however, that partisan politics and sectarian religion shall not be debated by club members.
To Encourage service-minded people to serve their community without personal financial reward, and to encourage efficiency and promote high ethical standards in commerce, industry, professions, public works and private endeavors.
Lions like to get things done. They don’t like to talk about what they do, they just do it! We celebrate the commitment of our members and those in the community who live by the Lions motto ‘We Serve’ and have awarded ‘Melvin Jones Fellowships’ to honour their efforts. The Melvin Jones Fellowship (MJF) Award is the highest recognition from the Lions Clubs International Foundation being given to those who have provided outstanding community services. Some of our MJF recipients in Wexford include Philomena Murphy, for her commitment to Wexford Tidy Towns, Lion Billie O’Donnell for her Community Work in Taghmon, Dr Stephen Bowe for his work in getting the Annual Art Exhibition up and running and Mary McGuire for services to Meals on Wheels. Incidentally, Mary’s husband, Lion Jim McGuire, was the first person in Wexford Lions Club to be awarded an MJF, for his commitment to Lionism over more years than Jim would care to remember!
We have also had the honour of two Civic Receptions in the past few years. In 2014, we were honoured by Wexford Borough Council on the occasion of our hosting the annual Lions Club Convention. It was our great pleasure to show visiting Lions the interior of the National Opera House who kindly hosted the event.
A brief recollection – Peter Caulfield, Charter Member.
Denis Bourke, the first President of Wexford Lions Club, had come across the Lions Club and their work and was so impressed by them that he set the wheels in motion to create Wexford Lions Club. He spoke to local businessmen, people who had an active interest in the community and with the skills and ability to make a change in Wexford town.
Peter Caulfield was one of those first members and is still a Lion, 40 years later. Peter felt that the ethos of Lions, particularly being a non political and non religious organisation, was part of the appeal to many of the original members.
Peter recalls that the club was divided into two groups, those involved in projects and those in charge of fundraising. All new members were given a job to do, to engage them and give them a sense of belonging to the Club; this is something we still do.
Peter remembers the first big donation made by the club, in 1986 when the enormous sum of £8,045.50 was raised for the Wexford Friary Restoration Fund. In 1984 it was found that the timber in the historic building was at risk from dry rot. Having a special place in the hearts of Wexford people, it was no surprise that all fundraising activities for the restoration works were met with enthusiasm.
The Club decided to hold an Auction and put out a call for items – and received a huge amount of items including at least 8 Sacred Heart pictures! The Auction was held in The Friary and generated a huge amount of support from people in Wexford.
Gas Cylinder re-cycling was another great fundraiser – the gas company gave the Club money for every empty cylinder they returned. Empty cylinders were collected from homes and businesses and a drop off depot was also organised.
As with all Lions events, family are very important and Peter’s wife, Mary, would make and ice a Christmas cake to be raffled. On one famous occasion, the cake was raffled but the winner donated it back to the club. It was then brought to a number of local hotels and bars and raffled but each time, the winner donated it back – it was almost Easter before someone ate it!!
Forty years after the first Wexford Lions Club held their first meeting, Peter remembers the long lasting friendships made in the Club, the fun had at meetings and social events and the unending support of the people of Wexford.
He has fond memories of the Club Twinning with Lisburn and Tenby Lions Clubs and many great visits were made to both clubs.
There are Lions Clubs across County Wexford – in Bunclody, Enniscorthy, Gorey and New Ross, all were sponsored by Wexford Lions Club and all do incredible work in their local communities.
The support of the public has been vital to the work of the Lions Club in Wexford and from the first year to the present day, this support has been unwavering. We are also grateful to the local media for their assistance in helping us to spread the news of fundraisers and projects, in particular the staff at South East Radio and Wexford People Paper.
Finally, to the original 28 members of Wexford Lions Club, a special thanks for their vision, dedication and determination.
Lions Clubs International is the largest service club organisation in the world. Its 1.35 million members in more than 46,000 clubs are serving communities in 207 countries and geographical areas around the globe. Since 1917, Lions clubs have aided the blind and visually impaired, championed youth initiatives and strengthened local communities through hands-on service and humanitarian projects. For more information about Lions Clubs International, visit lionsclubs.org.
The Hospital Bus
This service ran for many years, driving family and friends to St John’s Hospital in Enniscorthy. Every Tuesday evening, the bus would pick up passengers from special bus stops in the Faythe and Talbot Green and return them safely after their visit. Friendships were made and retained over the years with one passenger, Mr Jackie Moore, being a regular, to the point that he is almost an honorary Lion! As new Nursing Homes opened in the town, fewer people required the service and so, after years on the road, the Lions Hospital Bus Service ceased operating. It is remembered with great fondness by passengers and club members alike.
In 2010 Wexford Borough Council invited Wexford Lions Club to take over the upkeep of Selskar Abbey with a view to opening it up to the public with a guided historic tour . After many weeks of clearing away years of neglect, this National Monument so central to the history of Wexford Town and its inhabitants, was open to everybody on a daily basis and guided by some devoted local historians, and so it continued for a number of years with over 500 visitors every summer. Last year, a new team of guides , made up of Lions members was trained up by historian, Lion Monica Crofton to provide a daily visit from March 1st until October 31st . Tours take place at 3pm every day and cost €3 per adult and €1 per child. Wexford Lions plan to continue offering this service to the community and visitors from all over the World again this year and into the future.
In 2018, we hosted a very successful Harp Concert at the Abbey on Mid Summer’s night . We hope to offer a similar event each as a means of promoting this project and as a platform for cultural performances by local artistic groups
A thank you card received from a Carer attending the Carers’ weekend in 2016 sums up the weekend :
‘I wish to thank you all for such a wonderful and uplifting Carers weekend in Ballyvaloo Retreat Centre. It was such a happy time and it will have an everlasting effect on all who attended. We were treated like Dignitaries – food, beverages and all entertainment were just top class. All our needs were catered for – Beauty, Reflexology, Counselling, IT Training and so much more. It is great to fee so important – my words could never thank you enough. May God bless your wonderful work.’
Suicide Awareness & Anti Bullying
Regretfully, this is an area that requires attention and we have worked with local community groups and the HSE to provide training in Suicide Awareness. We also issue cards and stickers with emergency numbers detailed, placing them in locations where they might reach someone in need of support.
We rely on the generosity of the public in order to deliver our services. Fundraising is hard work, but very rewarding. It ranges from street collections to concerts, sponsored activities to quizzes and everything in between.
We are always looking at new ways to raise funds, we try whenever possible to offer something in return for the donation, in a raffle, auction or through entertainment.
We have supported education projects locally and internationally over the years. From the supply of equipment for students with additional learning needs to the supply of a ‘School in a Box’ to refugee camps for Syrian children, education is a key element of our work. To celebrate the Lions Centenary in 2017, we provided a Bursary for a student attending Waterford I.T and in our early years, a similar bursary enabled music teacher and musical director of Wexford Light Opera Society, Fintan Cleary, in his pursuit of a career in music.
It was fitting to combine music, education and young people in a fundraiser in 2016 where the Loch Garman Band, including their younger members, performed at a concert, raising funds for the ‘Forgotten Children’ appeal, supporting children in camps in Lebanon.
From tree planting to bio-diversity at Selskar Abbey to gardens at the Women’s Refuge and Ozanam House, we are a green fingered bunch! To celebrate the hosting of the Lions Clubs of Ireland Convention in Wexford in 2014, a tree was planted in the small park at 1798 street. In 2011, Lion Liam Keating gathered a group together to provide a garden at the Wexford Women’s Refuge. ‘Wild Ozzie’s Garden’ was opened in 2017 with support from the Club. Located at Ozanam House, the garden was designed and planted from scratch, turning a neglected piece of land in to a quiet place of sanctuary.
International Appeals – a small selection
Regretfully there have been numerous natural disasters that have led to us seeking the support of the local community. Each time we have been met with generosity and goodwill. In 2013, while collecting for the Philippines Disaster Fund, Mark Nolan, a young busker, gave us every last cent of his hard-earned money. He is pictured here with Lions Siobhan Tynan and Monica Crofton, who, incidentally, were on their first public outing for Wexford Lions.
2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami – Lions hit the streets of Wexford within days of hearing the devastation and deaths caused by the tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Over 200,000 died and 1.74m were displaced following the event, the deadliest natural disaster on record. Just over €63,508 was donated to the Club, all of which was passed on to the Lions Club International Foundation to disperse locally in countries such as Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand and India. Lion Liam Keating was awarded a Bert Mason award for his organisation of this event in Wexford, resulting in the highest amount of money collected across the island of Ireland.
January 2010 saw the disastrous Earthquake in Haiti. Medentech, a Wexford based Company, supplied €6,000 worth of water purification tablets to GOAL for distribution in Haiti, with assistance from the Lions Club. Medentech assisted again in 2015 when the Lions Clubs of Ireland sent enough water purification tablets to produce 10,000,000 litres of clean water in Nepal following the earthquake there in April of that year.
Lions walk for Wexford
Originally a three day event, taking in 80 of the 140 miles of County Wexford coastline, the annual ‘Walk for Wexford’ takes place over a weekend in August and routes vary from year to year. From Curracloe and the Raven at midnight, to Forth Mountain, Kilmore, or Tintern Abbey on a weekend morning, our walkers enjoy the sense of achievement in completing 10km walk whilst raising funds for the Lions Club.
The brain child of former Lion, Pat Caulfield, we are delighted to continue his legacy years after the first ‘Coastal Walk’ hit the shores of our beautiful county
The Irish Lions Holiday Week is one of the largest service projects undertaken by Lions in Europe, if not the world. Each year, Lions Clubs throughout Ireland combine to give 900 guests a weeks holiday. The idea came from the late Lion Cecil Vard, who started with senior citizens holidaying in Mosney, north County Dublin.
Since 2002, the holiday has been held at Trabolgan, Co.Cork. During the week guests enjoy quizzes, bingo, talent competitions and novelty competitions, all arranged and hosted by Lions members from around the country. Aqua aerobics, walks and day trips are also organised, as well as entertainment from traditional musicians, ‘Elvis’ and the staff of Trabolgan.
Wexford Lion, the late Pat Walsh, was involved with the project from its inception and the club has supported the project every year . Each year, we take 35 deserving guests on a full week’s holiday to remember, with a complete programme of activities, tours, entertainment and sport. This is funded from the generous contributions from the people of Wexford.
The highlight of this project is seeing the guests enjoying themselves. Our guests are people who might not get a holiday for one reason or another. There is also a twofold benefit for our special-needs guests, as it also gives a break to their Carers. For people living alone who travel with us, it’s a full week away from home in the company of other guests. In true spirit of Lionism, members of Wexford Lions club give of their time to travel with our guests to support them throughout their holiday.
The bursary project provides crucial funding for students wanting to pursue a third level education. The lions provide the support for potential students to access funds to support their third level education.
- The Young Ambassadors Award Programme, which operates throughout Europe, is to recognise, encourage and support young people who are actively involved in the welfare of the community, supporting the best of the Lions.
- In 2018, Mathew Colgan a transition year student at Wexford CBS represented Wexford Lions club at the Youth Ambassador competition zone final which was held in Carrick-on-Suir on 1st December, 2018. Mathew is a member of Comhairle na nÓg, Loch Garman (gives young people a voice on local services & policies).
- The Wexford Lions Club Annual Art Exhibition is now in its twenty-ninth year. The exhibition is one of the most popular events at Wexford Arts Centre and is held in association with Wexford Arts Centre and with the generous support of Wexford County Council and Spectrum Art Supply Shop.
- The Art Exhibition is an open submission exhibition, which allows participants the freedom to create exciting and original artwork, allowing them to tell their own stories through their art. The exhibition is open to all members of the community, regardless of their level of skill or previous experience, and includes a” Young Lions Gallery”, dedicated exclusively to the work of young budding artists.
- As Lions Club International celebrated it’s centenary in 2017, we commissioned aPerpetual Children’s Trophy from Martin O’Rourke which is awarded to a “Young Lion” for a work that explores the history and/or reflects on the aims and overall ethos of the organisation. The Art Exhibition celebrates local talent and offers a platform for artists of all levels to see their work realised within a gallery context.
Christmas food appeal
- Our annual Christmas Food Appeal is one of the most successful projectin our Club and District which began in the early 1980s.
- The members decided in 2000 to cease delivering food parcels and now purchase food vouchers for the recipients. This allows the beneficiaries to purchase food suitable to their needs. The purchase of these vouchers is supported by various fundraising including the annual street collection, PettittsCollection, Tesco bucket collection, Dunnes Stores food collection and musical event in Dunnes
- The food collected is divided amongst a number ofdeserving organisations in the locality.
A sample of our work over the past 40 years :
Youth support Belvedere Grove & Ashfield playschemes / Wexford Youth Club / Walnut Grove centre
Sponsorship of athlete at Community Games / Soccer teams
CBS building fund /St Iberius National School / Our Lady of Fatima School
St Michael’s Day Care Centre / Children’s parties in Carne and Dun Mhuire
Musical Bursary / Typewriters for FDYS / Equipment for Clonard Brass Band and Majorettes
Hospital Radio at St Senan’s / equipment for children with additional needs such as typwriters and bicycles
How : Fun Cycle, Church Gate Collections, Music & Film events
Furnished parent’s room at St Gabriel’s Paediatric Room, Wexford General Hospital
Vitamin packs for children visiting from Chernobyl / Support of Romanian Orphanage
St Brigid’s Centre / Meals on wheels / Wexford Stroke Group / St Claire’s
1998 first woman joined!
Hosted Convention for the first Time (1990)
South Wexford Multiple Sclerosis
Hope Centre library
Albion Football Club Make a Wish Foundation
Samaritans/Suicide awareness First Sight RNLI Hook Head
Hearing’ radio for NCBI
Support for women’s refuge – garden
Ozzy’s Garden at Ozanam House
Intel Ideation Camp
An Post stamp – David Dempsey