A History


The organisation was formed in the USA in 1917 by a Chicago businessman by the name of MELVYN JONES.

Among the objects adopted in those early years was one that read ”No club shall hold out the financial betterment of its members as it object”. This call for unselfish service to others remains one of the associations main tenets.

Just three years after its formation, the association became international when the first club in Canada was established in 1920. Major international expansion continued as clubs were established, particularly throughout Europe, Asia and Africa during the 1950s and 60s.

In 1925, Helen Keller addressed the Lions International convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, USA She challenged Lions to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness”. From this time, Lions clubs have been actively involved in service to the blind and visually impaired.

Broadening its international role, Lions Clubs International helped the United Nations form the Non Government Organizations sections in 1945 and continues to hold consultative status with the U.N.

In 1990, Lions launched its most aggressive sight preservation effort, Sight First. The first US $143.5 million programme worked to rid the world of preventable and reversible blindness by supporting desperately needed health care services.

Sight First2 was launched in 2006 and it was hoped to raise US $90million in time to celebrate the clubs 90th Anniversary in 2007. The ultimate target was US $150 million. At the 2008 International Convention in Bangkok it was announced that Lions around the world had raised in excess of $200 million. Funds above the original $150 million target are to be used to fund rehabilitation initiatives.

In addition to sight programmes, Lions Clubs International is committed to providing services for youth.

Lions clubs also work to improve the environment, build homes for the disabled, support diabetes education, conduct hearing programmes and, through their foundation, provide disaster relief around the world.

Lions Clubs International has grown to include 1.4 million men and women in 46,000 clubs located in 193 countries and geographic areas.

More information can be found at www.lionsclubs.org


Over recent years the club has suffered several great losses as members have moved on to higher service.Lions Dick Purr, Charlie Pearson laterly at Holderness Lions,Jim Ell, and Jack Angus. It is with great sadness that we reflect on the death in January 2005 of our only Charter Member still in good standing, Lion William Edward (Bill) Underwood MBE, who maintained his membership of the club, until his death with the status of privileged member and was always willing to help in club projects. With his wife Barbara, he regularly attended our Charter Dinners while they were still held at Luigi's Restaurant.

Also of Lion Bob Johnson who died on the 27 May 2008  Bob was a dedicated Lion with many years service and was loved by all who knew him, both in the club and in the town. He would be seen riding around on his bi-cycle but would often stop for a chat with those he knew well.

The Club was founded in 1966 and received its Charter on the 6th June 1967 with the following Charter Members:

Bill Underwood, Peter Barugh, lan Johnston, John Binnington, Frank Knott, Geoff Southwell,Reg Brown, Ted Parnell, Tom Walton,Ray Busfield, Jim Plowright ,Eric H Wilson,Ken Cline, Stan Ross, Reg Williams,Laurie Dexter, Robin Skerne, Bunny Burn,Frank Hirst, Albert Sargent, Ken Taylor,Ron Holmes, Albert Jordan

The Charter ceremony was held in Mascotte House, a local club, the site of which now houses the Mascotte Gardens Housing Estate and from where the Mascotte "players" takes its name, Mascotte House was the venue for club meetings until it burnt down in 1984, when the venue changed to the Victoria Public House, Market Place, Hornsea where we managed our own bar via a trust box (a most enjoyable experience). The venue then alternated between "The Vic" and the "Rose and Crown" until June 2007 when we moved our meetings to the Hornsea Golf Club, where we meet in an upstairs room twice a month, always on the first and third Tuesday of each month, at 7.00pm (drinks in the bar), ready for a 7.30 start.

Two of the early notable projects of the charter members were the acquisition of two stone lions, which originally stood outside the Criterion Cinema in George Street Hull, and the salvaging of one of the original support timbers of the Hornsea pier. These historical items can be seen in the Memorial Gardens in New Road Hornsea.

Hull Daily Mail newsclipping received 2013.
courtesy of Alan Green a former Hornsea Lion. Alan is standing, 7th from the left (the six is virtually hidden)


This finest achievement of past and present members is undoubtedly our club's number one fund raiser, the Lions Charity Shop. This was first located in a portable unit on an empty plot belonging to Lion Bill Underwood in Newbegin, where the Heron Frozen Food Shop now stands.

The unit was moved in 1988 to another vacant plot which had for many years been the site of "Lils" fish and chip shop on the north west corner of King Street and Southgate. While the shop occupied this location it was on regular occasions, (usually during the winter months) given over lock stock and barrel to any of the local organisations such as the Cubs or Scouts and the Red Cross who could then raise funds for themselves as a self help scheme.

In 1990 the first permanent home for the shop was found at 12 New Road, a big decision when we did not really know if it would take enough monies to pay the rent and rates.

In 1999 the shop was relocated to the present premises at 6 New Road, Hornsea Tel: 01964 536400, where it continues to grow in size and success.

L to R. Lions;
Peter Wilson,Stan Harrison,Frank Taylor,and Wife Joan.Tom Ellis,
LP.Dave Ekert,Mark Branch-Evans,Jack Angus,Jim Ell

Photo Appeared in the "Hornsea Post"
May 1999


Another important fund raising project was the Lions Den based at the Hornsea Potteries.

The "Den" was to be found at various locations in and around the former Hornsea Pottery site, now the Hornsea Freeport, housed in a small wooden "Swiss Cottage" style building. The Den operated as an animal soft toy TOMBOLA with Teddy bears being the favourite prizes, so the theme was changed to a teddy bear TOMBOLA, which offers a "family" of lions as prizes. The den was run on a daily basis throughout the summer months by the retired lions, providing an enjoyable 'activity' on a weekend for the members who staffed it on a rota system. Some of the lions would make it an "afternoon out" and take the whole family and have a picnic, while they sold tickets (10p each) while the children would enjoy the delights on offer at the funfair part of the site - (Halcyon days)

With the development of the new Hornsea Freeport room could no longer be found for our Den and it was decided to relinquish the venue altogether in 1996. Since then it has been operated as a mobile activity at any fair or fete in the local villages and at the "Hornsea Carnival"


From its earliest day's Hornsea District Lions Club supported a Leo's Club for the young adults of our area. The membership waxed and waned throughout its existence, with members moving on, as with age their interests changed. 1988 proved to be a really good year with an unusually large membership, and the club hosting many events and Leoistic functionary meetings in our area. This was also the last time Hornsea District Lions Club were to enter a "float" in the Hornsea Carnival Parade. It proved hard work but the Leo's worked like hero's. In addition, this was the first time one of our Leo's was proposed and elected Leo Vice President. We travelled around the region with him to attend the various meetings and all had an enjoyable time “visiting".

As 01 July 1989 approached both of the clubs made every effort to impress and a "handover" party was arranged at McCann's Caravan Park with food and accommodation provided for the visiting Leo's.

Unbelievably on the Saturday morning the Leo president elect, on his way back from Hull, having been to collect a new suit for the occasion, rounded the bend at "Seats Hill" near the Water Tower and collided with a milk wagon.

A quick visit to Hull Royal Infirmary Casualty and repairs to a fractured femur, found him and the other Leo clubs attending a Handover Ceremony gathered around a bed on Ward 4, posing for photos by the Hull Daily Mail. In spite of his injury he managed a successful year though nothing as eventful as his inauguration. Unfortunately 1990 was not to be as successful and waning membership saw the Leo committee relinquish the Leo Charter.


Another fund raiser/activity/social event that was popular with the members at the time, but unfortunately has suffered at the hands of time was called Petty Coat Lane. This consisted of the members collecting Bric a Brac door to door, over several weekends and storing it in one members garage until it could all be sorted and priced. This was usually a full days job, and resulted in stalls being set up, usually on Mereside. This was very much the forerunner of the "car boot" which I am sure helped bring about the demise of our little enterprise. However, our own Lions Shop today manages very well.


A fund raiser that was a real success not only as a means of raising money, but as a way of raising the profile of the club, and ensuring the members involved were seen by the public for at least a two week period while we sold tickets (£1 a book) in the former "Jackson’s" supermarket, now the Co-op was the trolley dash. Many good times were to be had just talking to the public, and it was great experience for the newer Lions who hadn't "shaken a tin" before.

On the night of the actual dash when the store had closed it was fun, especially if we had to supply a runner. If we weren't careful the winner could make more than the club (in the two minutes allowed) until it was decided that they were only allowed to take one item from each department.

Unfortunately this was brought to an end with the National Lottery making it possible for you to "win millions" by investing the same £1 in the same shop. It is also now illegal to "shake a tin".


One of the first, and still most popular and useful services provided by the Hornsea Lions Club to the community is the minibus. (This service first launched in 1978).

It is still available free of charge, with fuel, to any worthy local organisation or persons to whom it may prove to be the only means of appropriate transport. In the past it was provided complete with driver (when available), to transport such worthy's as Gamblers Anonymous to The Seaton Village Hall Whist Drive on a Saturday night, The Rise Darby and Joan club (which catered for most of the surrounding small villages). Also on a Saturday morning once a month, the Rise and Skirlaugh villages morning shopping trips to Beverley which were serviced by duty Lions on a rota basis. If you drove the shopping trip as well as the whist drive it was a very full day.
One of the most eventful journeys in the minibus’s history, occurred when on a trip to York by one worthy organisation, (which shall remain nameless). On arrival the minibus fully loaded, entered the Clifford's Tower car park, and dropped off the occupants, with a promise from the driver to pick them up later in the town centre. Of course the driver hadn't noticed the overhead barrier on the way in, but he did on the way out, the bus being a lot higher when empty. This resulted in a corrugated roof and a large repair bill.

It was the shopping trips that led indirectly to the start of the May Day picnics. There had been previous "days out with tea" in 1983 but the first real "picnic in May 1991 was to be the biggest event undertaken by the entire club to-date.


It was in the spring of 1990 when Mrs Windle formally of  Meregarth asked the Lions if we could take a party of pensioners from Meregarth to Cherry Burton church to view a display of antique wedding dresses.

Further to this successful outing we were again approached by a group who would become known, with no little affection as (WINDLE'S WANDERERS) as to the possibility of the Lions taking them on another day out, to Thornton-Le-Dale. She was asked to complete a list of residents to fill "the" bus, but this she misunderstood as a request for names to fill a bus (40) not (12) bless her.

This resulted in a re-run of the 1983-day trip, in the August of 1990 and we provided coffee and biscuits at the pub in North Grimston.

When the successful outcome was reported at the next meeting, all of the Lions wanted to take a coach on a day out, so it was agreed that the club would host a mass exodus of the local pensioners on a "picnic" with May Day being the earliest fitting day available, and so the idea was born.

Six coaches were duly ordered via Pearson's coaches. The preparations proved to be a social occasion on their own with the Lions ladies and the Lions meeting in the front room of "Ravenswood" the Social Services offices on Cliff Road,(now demolished and replaced by new housing) on the Saturday afternoon to run a "production line" of sandwich making, fruit wrapping and the packing of 300 hundred picnic carrier bags.

The contents, for reference were salmon and or potted beef sandwich, sausage rolls, a bag of crisps, scone and a banana, all the coaches had drinks machines on board, and so on the 19 May 1991 we set of for the Yorkshire Moors, Goathland and Whitby.

The pensioners picnic is now an annual fixture in The Hornsea District Lions calendar. The destination has become a "mystery tour", it runs soon after the Spring Bank Holiday and regularly comprises five motor coaches. Tickets are £2.00 available at the Hornsea Lions Charity Shop in the two weeks prior to the trip.


Hornsea District Lion's Club had a long and satisfyingly successful relationship with the renowned Luigis Restaurant in Hornsea for many years. The main function held there was of course the "Charter Night”.

It is probable that the eagerness with which some of the visitors­- supporters that attended our Charter Nights showed, was brought about because of the venues’ reputation, as well as their wanting to support our clubs’ event.

This was also the venue for most of our clubs other functions e.g. the “200 Club” Draw and Social Evening, also Zone, Region and District meetings were hosted as our turn arose, while not forgetting the infamous "Bottoms Tophy" challenges when it was always great fun, to witness evidence of that earthy Yorkshire saying that, "Tha can beat a good player but tha' nivver beats a good scorer".

Fund raisers were regular and popular events with, Race Nights and Gentlemen's Evenings, with celebrity Bernard Manning costing a fortune in 1988, without any blue language.

The pianist "Fingers Henry" was hilarious, if you had enough puff left to laugh. We had to carry the upright piano up the fire escape. Going up was OK, plenty of helpers eager to see the performance, but getting it down the stairs again was nothing like the performance given by Fingers Henry. Going down at the end of the night with plenty of eager, but not always capable helpers was a sight to behold.

Alas with rising costs and falling numbers over the years, plus the general change in the requirements of our modern society, the club has had to adapt to survive. Sadly, Luigi's Restaurant building was demolished in August 2007.


The second largest single event ever undertaken by the Hornsea Lions to date, must have been the Christmas Parcel initiative. At a meeting in the autumn of 1994, a proposal was made, and an objective set that,:-


The age limit of 70 was set for reasons of identification and as we worked through the Electoral Roll, approximately 1000 people were identified who fitted these criteria.

We were amazed, as were the local police when we passed on the information, as they had expressed a wish to be involved with us to take opportunity of a "mailshot" to these people re: Crime Prevention.

We purchased 5000 printed carrier bags, 1100 tins of biscuits and printed the same number of cards with a seasonal message from "The Lions".

The police provided "Safety in the Home "pamphlets, and so one of each of the above were placed in the carrier bags. Areas were agreed and Lions delegated for delivery, so over a three week period our objective was achieved.

We were able to continue with this service for several years, until the "Protection of Information Act”, prevented identification and so the scheme ceased. Even so, the Hornsea and District Lions Club send out this wish:-


We once had an initiative to deliver Christmas cards to the populace of the area via a big red post box in the Lions Shop. The envelopes were franked in the shop, and all the Lions delivered around their own houses at a cost of 10p per card. This was a successful fund raiser for a couple of years but eventually grew to become too large a project logistically so unfortunately, it had to be dropped.


Since the foundation in 1966 of the "Hornsea District Lions Club", the club members and its directorship, have found it appropriate on Six occasions, to apply for and make, the ultimate award in "Lionism" to members.

The first "Lion Ken Bell" and the fourth "Lion Bob Johnson" have both gone on to greater service. The second "Lion Tom Ellis" continued to serve with the "Holderness Lions Club" which he helped establish in the Lionistic year 2002/03. At the beginning of 2009 we were pleased to welcome Lion Tom Ellis back to the fold at Hornsea District Lions Club. The third "Lion Frank Taylor" continues to serve as a very active and dedicated member with the Hornsea District Lions Club. 2011Charter Dinner Lion President Pat Bee awarded two further Melvin Jones Fellowship awards. To Lion Alan Cartwright and Lion VP. Mel Watson both of whom have served as Past Presidents of the Club.

2015 The Club awarded 3 more Melvin Jones awards to PP Peter Taylor, PP Ken Thorpe and Treasurer Dick Purr. Unfortunatly Lion Dick has also gone on to higher service. It is difficult to explain more fully or accurately the meaning of this award, other than to quote from the letter from "Oakbrook," Lions Clubs International Headquarters in America, which accompanies the award:

"On behalf of Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF), we congratulate you on being named a “Melvyn Jones Fellow”. The Melvyn Jones Fellowship is the highest honour conferred by the foundation. In receiving it. you join the ranks of some of the most prominent Lions in the world. Earning the Melvyn Jones Fellowship requires more than a financial commitment to LCIF. Your status as a Melvyn Jones Fellow also recognizes your deep commitment to the ideals of Lionism. Through your actions, you have shown deep concern for the welfare of your fellow man. For this, we convey our deepest respect. As a Melvyn Jones Fellow, you will be recognized as a leader among Lions. The foundation depends on you to promote its important work and to help it expand its scope of services. Through your assistance, LCIF will enable Lions to take on greater humanitarian challenges than ever before. For the example of leadership and service that you have set for all Lions, we are profoundly grateful. We wish you continued success in achieving our common goal of service to all mankind”.

In 2016

Three Bert Mason Awards

Three Hornsea Lions who have been awarded the Bert Mason Humanitarian Award. For going that extra mile in humanitory service. Which they did quite literally to the Gambia (twice) they are going again later this year.

<LR> Lion Mel Watson, President Jenny Eldred,District Governor Nigel Ware, Lion Ruth Short and Lion Les Short.


The Bridlington Carol Service had been attended by our club members on an individual basis for several years. That is until the Christmas of 1990 when two Hornsea Lions together with a minibus full of "WINDLE'S WANDERERS" decided to attend. This arose following the success of the "Mayday" Picnic when it was decided to attend the 1991 service ‘enmass’ with 6 coaches. It was thoroughly enjoyed by all and we attended regularly until 2002, (Many heartfelt thanks to Bridlington Lions).

In 2003 we decided to hold our own annual Carol Concert in the Floral Hall Hornsea, complete with brass band, choirs and an outstanding guest Master of Ceremonies.

With the invaluable assistance of our very own Lions Ladies, it was decided to offer the now renowned, Tea/Coffee and biscuits / mincepies. All are invited to attend each Christmas and make it another success – tickets are available at the Lions Shop.

We hope to see you all there.


The Holderness Lions Club was seeded from the Hornsea & District Lions Club membership and received its Charter in January 2003.