By Danielle Kutchel
Berwick’s newest Lions Club has been officially chartered in an afternoon filled with the appropriate pomp and ceremony.
The Lioness Club of Berwick, which had been chartered since 1984, was converted into the Lions Club of Berwick Lionesses in a special ceremony at the Cardinia Park Hotel on Sunday 17 January.
Lions district governor Graham Cockerell – well respected for his years of involvement with the service organisation – conducted the induction of the 19 newest Lions, impressing upon each of them the solemnity and importance of their new role.
“Membership in Lions Club is a privilege, it’s by invitation,” he said at the service.
“You’re about to become members of the world’s largest and most active service club.
“Lionism is a cooperative effort in which all of us must participate with our time and talents to be successful in our efforts.”
One by one, the new members stepped forward to receive their certificate of membership and a badge representing their new position within the community and the service organisation.
He praised the group for continuing to serve the community over the past few years after the demise of the Lions Club in Berwick, and recognised the commencement of “a new era”.
There had been some consternation among the new Lionesses when news of the changeover first reached their ears, according to new club president Wendy Keogh.
Some months ago, the club was told that by June 2021, the Lioness program would no longer be supported by sponsorship and that for them to be able to continue, they would need to convert to Lions Clubs.
Some members felt that this break in Lioness tradition was too much and consequently resigned.
But Ms Keogh said the 19 new members would stand ready to support those in need throughout their tenure with the club.
Immediate past district governor Neil Wingrave was also on hand on the day to induct the new club’s board members.
Club president Wendy Keogh will be joined by three others on the board: Lion Pat Ormerod was elected to the position of club membership chairperson; Lion Helen Bird was elected to club treasurer; and Lion Jan Williams is the new club secretary.
Narre Warren Lions, who have acted as sponsors, provided the Lionesses with a new bannerette to recognise the partnership.
Mr Cockerell also presented Ms Keogh with his own personal bannerette, representing the qualities of Lions members.
Ms Keogh said members were looking forward to getting back into the community now that Covid restrictions have eased.
While the events of 2020 meant that many of their usual fundraisers couldn’t take place, she said the Lionesses had managed to make a small donation to Transit Soup Kitchen in Narre Warren.
The first sausage sizzle of 2021 will be held on 13 February at Coles in South Berwick.
“We’re ready to carry on the service that’s been taking place since 1984,” she said.