The first Business Meeting got off to a great start by inducting a new member to Horsham Lions, David Trowbridge, who along with his wife Carol, moved to Horsham.
It so happened that District Governor of District 105 SE, ( The District covering, Kent Surrey & Sussex), Mike Parker was also visiting to make an award to a long serving Lion and as a result he pinned The Lions Club Internationals Badge on Lion David.
The main purpose for District Governor Mike’s attendance was to present one of the highest awards a member of Lions Clubs International can receive via District 105SE, namely: A Bert Mason Lions Humanitarian Award, to Lion Andrew Spriggs .This award was set up in the name of the late Bert Mason, who up to now is the only Lion from District MD105, UK & Ireland to be elected as International President of Lions Clubs International.
Background information that has led to Lion Andy’s award is as follows:
- Lion Andrew Spriggs, (known as “Andy”), has been a Lion for more than 26 Years, being inducted into Chipping Norton Lions Club in June 1987. He transferred from Chipping Norton Lions to Horsham Lions Club in August 1988 where Andy has been a member ever since.
- Around the same time as joining Horsham Lions he joined The Horsham Joggers, however he had already started running road races from 10K upwards and this continued.
- In 1991 Lion Andy undertook his first Half Marathon, which started and finished in the local village of Barns Green.
- Between 1991 and 2011 Lion Andy ran a total of 88 Marathon and Half Marathon Events, at 16 different venues in the UK and 3 venues abroad, including The New York Marathon, on his 60th birthday and The Paris Marathon, when he recorded his best ever time of 3hrs 45min 13 seconds.
- Lion Andy for the majority of these Marathon and Half Marathons decided to raise money, through sponsorship in aid of either local charities or national charities with a local slant. By way of example Andy raised money for: The Royal British Legion, The Snowdon Award Scheme, Juvenile Diabetes Research, The British Diabetic Association, Ronald Mc Donald House Charities, MND/ Martletts and on 10 occasions for Chase, in support of their Children’s Hospice in Guildford.
- During the Lions Year 2009/ 2010, seeing that the Club had significant funds in its Activities Account, suggested that perhaps we should put around £5000 towards a local Youth Project, under which young people or youth organisations, that are involved with those between13 years and 18years could apply for grants up to £500 in order that they could help them to progress in achieving their personal goals or the organisations can help young people widen their support within their communities. This idea was accepted by Club Members and Lion Andy, became part of the Project Sub Committee that organised the event with strong support from the local newspaper, the West Sussex County Times. The event took place in October 2010, when local Scouts and Guides Groups were able to purchase additional equipment to expand their groups, a local Disabled Swimming Club could send members to a national event, where they were encouraged undertake activities despite their disabilities. Individuals were able to attend events that enhanced their future careers and a young lady was able to have specialist training with an objective of obtaining a place in the UK 2016 Olympic Equestrian Team.
- This Youth Project Awards was repeated, in the Autumn of 2013 when girl guides were helped to raise funds to help them go and build a school in South Africa and mentor the local children in 2014, talented young musicians are able to undertake specialist courses to improve their musical skills and 2 Youth Sections of local Cricket Clubs are able to purchase equipment in order to improve their skills. Whilst 15 awards, totaling over £5000 were made they were directly or indirectly assisting over 900 local young people to progress with their various aspirations.
- In 2011 Lion Andy was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease and could no longer run the Marathons and Half Marathons for his chosen charities. Andy has continued being an active Lion and supported by his family helped raise money for The North West Sussex Branch of Motor Neuron Disease Association, (MNDA) by oranising a Quiz Night and other events. This MNDA branch provides support for 22 families in the Horsham and West Sussex Areas. Andy, with the help of his nephew participated in The Brighton Marathon and half Marathons in Brighton in 2013 and so far has raised approximately £8000 for MND and Martletts Hospice. Lion Andy also turned out on a windy and cool June day to be allowed to be pushed, in his wheelchair, the final mile or so by a fellow Horsham Lion who was completing a coastal walk from West Wittering to Sheerness, in aid of MNDA.
- There is no doubt that Lion Andy has, over the years, gone more than the extra mile for the benefit of his local community that he has served and as a result such a prestigious award is justified.
Report and picture contributed by Horsham Lions Club.