Kirkcaldy Lions club closure: Sadness as charity fundraising group ends

Kirkcaldy and District Lions Club, a group that has raised thousands for good causes in the area, is to close.

Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 1:01 pm
Kirkcaldy & District Lions made the annual trip round the town in the sleigh, taking donations.

Recent Lions activity had often see just a few members able to help with the charitable work.

The group had been recruiting for new members to continue the fundraising work, but the pandemic made this an even harder task.

The Kirkcaldy branch of the Lions club, part of the Lions International group, was founded in April 1975 and involved in numerous community projects and fundraising activities over the years.

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Area chairman Andrew Kerr Sutherland presented Kirkcaldy Lions Club president George Macdonald, right, with a Melvin Jones Fellowship in 2017.

The group was best known for its Santa’s Sleigh which generated additional funds to support a number of charities and organisations.

The final donations were made recently, with £500 each to Kirkcaldy Foodbank, Linton Lane Centre and Nourish as well as £400 to Brain Tumour Trust.

The club has donated the sleigh to Kirkcaldy Rotary Club who used the sleigh for their own fundraising at Christmas and we know they will continue to do so.

Club president, George Macdonald, told the Press of the sadness at the closure.

He said: “I’m disappointed and a bit gutted that it’s come to this.

“I’ve been there about 23 years. I’ve been president, treasurer and secretary at least last 5 years.

"It’s sad that we had to make such a big decision as it was just a few of us that were active.

“When I first joined there were about 18 or 19 members, but over time that number has become lower and lower.

“We’ve tried to recruit new members but it just hasn’t been possible.

“We had a couple of members’ nights in the last 18 months but it hasn’t brought us the numbers we need.

“We just can’t continue along those lines. The pandemic did deliver a blow by stopping Santa’s sleigh at Christmas – it’s one of our biggest fundraisers for the year.

“We’ve offered the sleigh to the Rotary as they used it as the supermarket for fundraising. I hope that they continue to use it to raise money for good causes.”

George says that working at the Lions over the years has brought many fond memories, including numerous Christmas fundraising drives, and a visit to the Children’s Hospice.

He added: “There have been some treasured memories, and none more than when we visited Chas with the sleigh and distributed gifts to children, parents, and staff.

"It was such a humbling experience witnessing the dedication of the staff and volunteers.”

It is estimated that in the last ten years, the Kirkcaldy and District Lions Club have raised over £35,000 for both local and national charities.

In 2016, George was awarded the Melvin Jones fellowship, the biggest honour for a member of the international group, in recognition of his service and work at the club.

The award is named after one of the founding members of the Lions Clubs International, who helped the organisation evolve into one that looked beyond business interests and focus on helping communities.

Lions clubs across the UK are understood to have lost hundreds of members during the pandemic.