A community group which has dedicated its recent fund-raising efforts to helping save young lives is looking to recruit new members.
Lytham St Annes Lions have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for a wide range of good causes over more than 50 years, including in almost three decades of its annual swimarathon event.
The last three swimarathons have generated cash to fund defibrillators being placed in schools and other public building across Fylde, along with the recent screening of more than 200 young people by the charity CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young).
Now the Lions want to hear from men and women of all ages eager to help them continue their community backing.
The swimarathon, held annually at St Annes YMCA Pool, celebrates its 30th anniversary next year and a beneficiary for the funds raised at January’s event is to be decided in the autumn.
In the meantime, the Lions wants to hear from potential new members and is inviting anyone interested to attend an informal evening at the Clifton Arms Hotel, Lytham, next Thursday, May 2.
Lions president David Eames said: “Being a member is very rewarding. Not only do we raise funds to help local, national and international causes, we also assist local community projects where we can – and we have a good time along the way.
“The club has been established for more than 50 years and continues to thrive through events such as our major fund-raising swimarathon.
“We are a very sociable group of people and regularly meet up with our partners for meals out and other social events.
“The demand on members’ time is, perhaps surprisingly, relatively small, being a monthly meeting of approximately two hours plus social events, although members can involve themselves further in club activities if they wish to do so.”
The Lions decided to put the swimarathon focus on helping save young lives three years ago following the revival of Bolton Wanderers’ Fabrice Muamba after his collapse on a football pitch left him clinically dead for more than an hour and highlighted the need for defibrillators in public places.
The Lions were also keen to prevent young deaths such as that of St Annes teenager Luke Rutter, who collapsed on a tennis court –and more than 50 teams have helped raise thousands of pounds for the life-saving causes in each of the past three years.
The £7,000 raised last January paid for some 230 people aged between 14 and 35 to be screened for any heart problems at the sessions hosted by CRY at Lytham St Annes Technology and Performing Arts College earlier this month and their efforts came in for glowing praise from the life-saving charity’s founder Alison Cox.
She said: “This is a very special year for CRY as we mark our 20th anniversary.
“Since we launched in 1995, thanks to the generosity and fund-raising efforts of the public across the UK, we have been able to develop and grow a range of specialist services, from screening and research to our network of specialist bereavement support and we are so grateful for the efforts of organisations such as Lytham St Annes Lions and the people who have supported them.”
Away from the swimarathon, among the scores of other organisations the Lions have backed in recent years are Fylde Coast Women’s Aid, the RNLI, Fylde Sharks disability swimming club, Trinity Hospice, the Children With Cancer Appeal and the Lions worldwide measles vaccination project, while they have also funded high-visibility jackets for Fylde primary schools.
Next Thursday’s meeting at the Clifton Arms starts at 7pm.
For more details, call Colin on (01253) 734550 or Eileen on (01253) 780423.