Two Lions Presidents cycling from Blackpool to Solihull

Leaving Convention

We set off from Blackpool bang on time, being waved off buy the MD Convention on Sunday 23/4 at 10:30 with Google maps saying we had an eight hour journey of around 75 miles to get to our hotel in Newcastle under Lyme. We made good progress to Preston and on to Chorley.

Somehow though, despite following the route we now had a total of 90 miles instead of 75. Nevertheless we must thank all the local councils, the Canal Trust and National Cycle routes for providing so many excellent paths or cycle lanes and Google maps for finding them and, in the main, keeping us off the main roads.

chain again….

Jaap’s chain came off at least six times and at the 70 mile mark suffered a puncture which he was able to repair. We continued along the worst paths for the last part of the routes which slowed our progress and by 9 PM we had run out of day light and both of us now had front wheel punctures. Fortunately we had found some civilisation and were able to phone a local taxi firm who had a minibus that could accommodate our bikes and get us the last six miles to our hotel.

So in all we cycled 137km or 85 miles managed to get some food, 15 minutes before the kitchen closed! We had to fix two punctures in the morning before cycling the remaining 60 or so miles back to Birmingham.

still smiling

On Monday 24/4 we started with breakfast then an hour repairing punctures. We set off just after 9 AM and soon got onto the canal towpath where Jaap’s chain promptly came off. Pretty good progress until the towpath turned into a field for ten miles. At some point Jaap’s back tire developed a puncture and we lost another half an hour to fix it.

We made it!

At one point Google maps took us off the canal onto country roads and then onto a dirt track and then through a wheat field and into the grounds of a country house before returning to the road and then the canal at Fradley where we stopped for lunch. The last 20 miles were tough going in parts with very little visible towpath. The path improved at Tamworth and stayed pretty good until we left the canal for the last three miles. It was around 6 PM when we reached the Welcome to Solihull sign.

Total distance 232km or 146 miles. Time 19 hours. 7500 calories burnt.

Lessons learnt

1. The idea of cycling from Blackpool to Birmingham seems more attractive than it actually is after three glasses of wine

2. Google maps is very good at finding a route for cycling but does not take account of the paths condition.

3. Thorns are sharp enough to go through Kevlar tyres.

4. Double check the distances for journey legs and allow an extra 33% time above what Google maps says

5. Cycling is fun

6. Old legs can get very tired

Thanks to all our supporters.

We have so far raised about £920 for hearing dogs for the deaf. You can still donate at



Corby & District Lions help provide an Easter Party

Our photo shows Lion President, Colin Bradshaw, presenting a cheque for £160 to  representatives of Maplefields Circle of Friends.  A Lion’s spokesperson said, ‘We were approached via our Facebook page recently and we felt we had to help fund this Easter tea party.  Few of us had heard of the group so we joined them at their recent fair and spent some time with the young people and their families.’
A spokesman for Maplefieds Circle of Friends said, ‘ We are a ‘not for profit’ organisation that put on activities and seasonal events for children with additional needs/disabilities and their families, eg in the summer holidays, parties at Easter and Christmas and at Halloween.  Last Halloween we helped the Friends of Coronation Park put on a sensory walk in the grounds of Coronation Park and a few activities for the children.  We hold a Summer funday each year but this year it isn’t financially possible as we need to secure a permanent building for ourselves and decorate it in a de-sensitised way for the children we cater for.’
MCF started off as a spin off from the school but the more we did the more we realised there was a bigger need within the town and it grew from there. We help with a home education group and raise funds for Maplefields Academy to provide a play scheme and towards an annual residential trip.  We also run a support group every Tuesday morning  for parents, carers and people whose lives are touched by additional needs/disability.

Shirley Lions Charter

Close to 70 people, representing 12 Lions clubs enjoyed an evening of fellowship and fun in Weston super Mare April 8.

Shirley Lions, a club in the Midlands of the UK, tend to go away for the weekend to celebrate their clubs birthday. It all started many years ago with a trip to Dunkirk, but since then the club has stayed in the UK and travelled to Cardiff, Southampton, and many other places. Current President, Jaap de Jonge, chose Somerset. Jaap’s business is around cheese and his original idea was to go to Cheddar, but there were not large enough hotels in the area. The next best was 30 minutes to the west in Weston. On the Saturday a visit to Cheddar Gorge included the cheese maker there, so cheese was not left out.

A traditional celebration followed, interspaced with jokes from members, like: How do you deal with a dangerous cheese? Very carphilly! Before the entertainment started (Nigel Walton, singer), the members put on their show. Video’s of the event can be seen here:


Birmingham Chinatown Charter

On Saturday 8th April 2017 the Birmingham Chinatown Lions Club held its 30th Charter and Lions Centennial celebrations in Birmingham.

This was the biggest event held in the Club’s history with 280 guests.

On the night £15,000 was donated equally between The Birmingham Chinese School, Birmingham Cultural & Language School and RSVP.

Charter Members Lion Jeff Yap and Lion Joe Lee were presented with 30 year chevrons by PGD Lion Ian Haffner.

Over £6,000 was raised on the night with more to come.”

Shirley Lions updates

Shirley Lions and their skater

  For a number of years Shirley Lions have been helping aspiring Shirley speed skater Billy Simms by paying for his speed skates which have to be replaced at regular intervals. When we started this, Billy was just one of many youngsters with high aspirations but all his hard work and training has now paid off. Last weekend he became the British Champion in the 1000m along with the 5000m Relay event. Alongside this, at the end of last year and start of this year he was able to break all of his personal best times over all of the individual distances he skated. The next step for him as we head into the Olympic season is to qualify for the Olympic team and represent the Country in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea next February. We continue to wish him every success

Shirley Lions doing their bit for the environment with local schools

A couple of weeks ago and in conjunction with Solihull MBC and Haslucks Green Junior School we held a litter pick in Shirley Park. 60 school children divided up into groups of 5 or 6 and with each group supervised by a Lion did the actual litter picking.  Today we again teamed up with this school for some planting of “margin” plants around the edge of the pond at Palmers Rough in Shirley.  Because the trees in the Rough had formed a canopy over the pond the plant life on its margins had died. As the Council have now cut back the trees the time was right for some new plants. Again the school children divided up into small groups and each group supervised by a Lion planted an array of “margin” plants around the edge of the pond.

“Be a Hero”

The Enterprise Club will taking part in the Coventry Walkathon again this year to raise funds to support there transport services

They will also be entering the Mascots Race, trying to beat a “Guinness World Record”.

2018 is the Enterprise Club’s 80th Anniversary year. They are planning a number of celebrations and fundraising events. They are using the hashtag ‘Be a Hero’ for that year so we intend to have two representatives dressed as Superheroes on 14th May to publicise their anniversary.

The charity provides social and leisure time activities for people with physical, sensory and learning disabilities in the age range 18- 90 +. The club is open 4 days and five evenings every week and offers a variety of activities: a Day Centre, Handicraft Group, Social Evenings, A twice weekly Sports Group, lunch and theatre excursions. The charity provides an accessible transport service to enable its disabled members to access the activities at the club premises and in the wider community. Sports Group members participate in sports events all over the country. The majority of their members would be unable to attend if transport was not available to them. The charity receives no statutory funding and has to raise the £90,00 required to keep the premises, vehicles and activities operating for one year. A year-long fund raising campaign is organised to include, Charity Bag Packs and Collections, raffles, a Christmas Bazaar, Summer Fair etc. We do have to accept that we would not reach our annual target without external support: grants, bequests and donations. We are taking part in the Walkathon again this year to raise funds to support our Transport Service. They are extremely grateful to Coventry Leofric Lions Club member Ken Brown who is one of our regular volunteer drivers. They are constantly appealing for new drivers, as we are always short of volunteer. They also greatly appreciate the support received from Linda Ireland who has been assisting with our group for young adults for a number of years and also helps with their Charity Bag Packs. The charity is proud to be celebrating its 80th Anniversary during 2018, particularly as so many other groups have had to close or limit their activities due to lack of funds. Their members work very hard and enthusiastically support all of our fund raising events.

So please come and join us at this years Coventry Walkathon on the 14 May at the War Memorial Park.

Pancake Race – A good Start!

Corby and District Lions Club held its first pancake race on Shrove Tuesday outside the Corby Cube.  Pictured are all the competitors after the race.
The race was organised by Lion President, Colin Bradshaw, who explained, ‘We got the idea for the race from Rugby Lions who have been doing this for many years.  We wanted a fun event that would raise money for local causes through sponsorship of the runners from their various businesses/employers/organisation.  This is the first time so we were pleased to have 17 runners, including our Mayor, despite the cold wind.  The  race winner was Abby Mitchell from Asda Corby with Asda taking the shield for the year.  Best fancy dress trophy was won by  Nicky  Glover of Foundations Daycare Sevice and most sponsorship money raised was won by HomeStart Corby.  Over £120 was raised.
Corby Lions would like to thank Corby Borough Council for allowing them to hold the event and for the help of their staff in setting up the area and providing a gazebo.
Watch out for next year’s race which should be bigger and better!

Shakespeare Lions

Shakespeare Lions once again hosted the Panto for local schools and organisations.  This year Beauty and the Beast performed by the Phoenix Players at the Stratford Artshouse saw 215 attendees who thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Pictured here are some of the cast with Stratford upon Avon Town Major, Councillor Juliet Short.




Once again, the Young Ambassador MD Final has been held in Dudley, with 13 inspirational young people representing all Districts of 105.

If you have never attended this Competition you need to put next year’s date in your diary to see these wonderful young people and hear about their activities within their local communities.

The representative from 105M was 18-year-old Alex Flanagan, sponsored by Shirley Lions Club. A young man who is currently studying Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Product Design at A Level. He uses his skills leading a Sunday School group that helps with community events, including the Shirley Carnival, he is determined to influence the people around him. He has planned and run events over the past ten years and is a passionate guitarist giving others the opportunity to learn and play instruments as he believes this helps improve creativity, confidence and spreads happiness. As well as all of this he is just about to complete his Gold DofE.

The weekend started with the Young Ambassadors arriving late afternoon on the Friday and settling into the routines for the weekend. The previous year’s winner Gurleen Kaur was also there to help this year’s candidates settle in. During the evening the interview times were draws by each candidate and noted for the judges, then a buffet meal enjoyed by all, followed by a team building exercise where each team had to make the tallest tower of balloons they could. All great fun.

Alex blowing up a balloon.

The following morning those candidates that were to be interviewed in the morning stayed at the hotel, some choosing to go to the gym or go for a swim to ease their tension. The group to be interviewed in the afternoon were taken bowling by Dudley Lions Club, who are real supporters of this event and do this every year. Those interviewed in the morning went bowling in the afternoon.

The three judges had a very difficult job to do and nobody envied their task. The judges this year were Lead judge Mike Kendall (Business), Jill Hood (Service) and Mike Field (Jubilee Sailing Trust).

Saturday evening came and the Young Ambassadors could get dressed up a little for the Gala dinner, they do scrub up well. It was time for them to let their hair down a little. The dinner was a great success with many clubs supporting their candidates from around the country. Shirley Lions Club got dressed up and accompanied Alex’s family for the evening. The youngsters designed a short entertainment involving magic tricks and a beautiful rendition of ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love with You’ that ended up with the rest of the Lions accompanying them, it brought the house down.

As always it wouldn’t be a Lions event without a raffle, the proviso this year was no pudding until all the raffle books were sold. Needless to say, the books were sold and James Curtis the Young Ambassador from 105A entertained each table with card tricks (for a bit of extra cash). They raised £1029 with the raffle and decided it would be donated to Muscular Dystrophy UK.

It was then time for a bit of a dance to end off the day, it took a while but eventually most Lions managed to get on to the dance floor.

Sunday morning came, a little too early for some, this is when the announcements are made to an audience from across the country, there was a good turn out from District M, as well as Chair of Council Heather Jeavons being there to give out certificates.

The winner of the Shipshape award to further leadership skills was Lewis Baillie 105NE, a young man who had suffered terribly with bullying early in his school life and was now working with others to help prevent bullying of young children.

The winner of the whole competition was James Curtis 105A. James has double cochlea implants having very little hearing, along with resultant limited speech as a young child. He has become a national advocate and mentor for deaf children via AVUK. James raises awareness and supports parents of newly diagnosed deaf children and organises peer support. He has also help to raise £420,000 by encouraging celebrities and business support by the AVUK Loud Shirt Day. Despite taking 11 GCSE’s and 4 A levels a year early, he is also a member of the school Magic Circle.

Once again, I ask all Clubs to support this competition, if ever you needed your spirits lifting this is the one for you.

I now challenge more clubs to look out for these wonderful young people within your own community, get them involved and next year I could be writing about them.

If you need any further information, please contact me.

Lion Cath Kendall

01604 762969