The Masonic Hall, Dartford played host to the 44th Charter Anniversary dinner for Dartford Lions Club. Hosted by President Lion Graham Illsley, with honoured guests including her worship the Mayor of Dartford, Cllr. Ann Allen and her escort Kim Cooper and Cllr Avtar Singh Sadhu MBE was also in attendance in his role as a Lion. The event was well attended by members of the 105SE Zone 4A which covers Dartford, Northfleet and Ebbsfleet, Gravesend & District, Swanley & North Downs, Bexley & Sidcup, Woolwich & Greenwich and Darent Valley. Joining them were family and friends along with 2nd Vice District President Terry Mason and his wife Sue.

During the day we recounted some of the local charities which we have raised money for during the year. Our main fund raiser is the fireworks held in Dartford Park, which was supported by over 40 volunteers from across the zone, without these people and the St Johns Ambulance, the local Police and Dartford Council, the event would not be possible. Thanks to the local people of Dartford we raised close to twenty thousand pounds. Some of which has been spent on good causes including £1000 to the Mayors charity, £3000 to Darenth Valley Hospital, £500 to 5th Dartford Scout group, £2000 to the Royal National Lifeboat Institute, based at Gravesend- to purchase new life jackets, along with local nursery groups.

Lions Clubs do not only concentrate on local charities, and with this in mind we have supported LIBRA, Lions International Blood Research Appeal, which raises funds for the Haematology Department at King’s College Hospital in London. Founded in 1976, it is the only appeal which solely campaigns for these world-renowned laboratories.

The seventy Lions Clubs in the South East have been a major supporter of the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance service for many years. In a new and ground breaking partnership with the South East Lions Clubs pledging an extensive amount,  the Charity is now able to take forward in 2013 its plans to extend this vital service into night flying and 24 hour operations.

Lions Clubs International is recognised worldwide for its service to the blind and visually impaired. This service began through a challenge issued in 1925 by Helen Keller, the great advocate for the blind, for Lions to become “Knights of the Blind in the crusade against darkness”. In 1930 Lions introduced the White Cane, still universally used by the visually impaired.

The Lions Eye Health Programme (LEHP) is a community based educational outreach programme that enables Lions Clubs to raise awareness of the leading causes of preventable and reversible blindness in the British Isles and Ireland – diabetic eye disease; glaucoma; macular degenerative disease; and all low vision diseases.