Port Shepstone Lions, Lion Ladies and their guests celebrated their club’s 50th anniversary during a glittering event held at Port Shepstone Country Club on Saturday.
Hats off to the management and staff of Port Shepstone Country Club/Clubhouse Café for their excellent venue, superb service and outstanding cuisine as well as Jenny Vogt and her team from The Costume Shop for the beautifully decorated hall.
During the past 50 years, Port Shepstone Lions have held many of their celebration events at the Country Club, including their 10th, 20th and 25th Anniversary Dinners so it was fitting that their 50th Anniversary celebration be held at the club.
The whole event was organised and run by past Council Chairman (Lion) Denis Meyer. Guests who attended included the Lions District 410E Governor, Alistair Tuckett, Lions Zone 11 Chairman Colin Mackintosh, Presidents of the Reitz Lions Club in the Free State, Scottburgh Lions and Shelly Beach Lions as well as many members from these respective clubs.
Other prominent guests included Mr Graeme Milligan, owner of Harbourview Superspar, Mr Michael Frey of Frey’s Fresh Meat, South Coast Herald Reporter, Jenni Bipat, PSCC President John and Jay Beekman, The Pulse KZN Editor Sandy Danckwerts, Rotary President Rowan and Joan D’Arcy and Round Table representative/Shelly Beach Ski-Boat Club Commodore Leon and Robyn Garbade. A number of past presidents and past members of the Port Shepstone Lions Club were also in attendance.
The real purpose of the celebration was to honour those members who, 50 years ago, decided to start the very first Lions Club chartered on the Lower South Coast and to celebrate the club’s achievements.
A special video presentation (watch below) was shown by Lion Denis Meyer which provided a glimpse of 50 years of service and fellowship achieved by the Port Shepstone Lions.
At the beginning of 1970, Port Shepstone boasted a Rotary, a Round Table and a Bullslingers Club, however, a number of community minded individuals still felt the need to establish a Lions Club in the area.
Members of the sponsoring club, Amanzimtoti Lions, together with the then Zone Chairman for Durban South, Lion Doug Hudson, and the District Club Extension Officer, Lion Ben Jacobs held a meeting with interested parties at the old Milton Hotel in Port Shepstone and, judging by the number of attendees and the strong interest shown, it was evident that a new Lions Club in the area would become a reality.
The first charter dinner was held on Friday 24th April 1970 at the Milton Hotel in Port Shepstone. This glittering event was attended by leading businessmen from both Port Shepstone and Uvongo as well as a strong contingent of members from many Durban based Lions Clubs which included Amanzimtoti, Durban South, Westville, Durban Host, Kloof, North Durban and Pinetown.
Lions District 410-C was formed the previous year and the district’s very first Governor, Louis Halse was also in attendance together with the then mayor of Port Shepstone, Clr S Robinson.
During the formalities it was pointed out to the local community that Lions are a non-political, non-sectarian service organisation and that the purpose of a Lions Club is more than just good fellowship and social gatherings, it was to recognise the needs of the community and to develop the means of meeting these needs. These aims were welcomed by the Port Shepstone Mayor who believed that the growing community needed clubs of this nature.
Over the years, this club has produced many District, Multiple District and International leaders which include several Zone Chairmen, District Chairmen, 5 District Governors and a Chairman of the Council of Governors. Port Shepstone Lions also went on to sponsor the chartering of the Margate, Scottburgh, Kokstad, Harding and Shelly Beach Lions Clubs. Two of these clubs still remain active to this day.
Port Shepstone Lions have successfully been running many large community projects for a number of years. These include:
Annual Blind Bowlers Tournament – 39 years
Annual South Coast Lions Show – 34 years (up until 2018)
Annual Lions Leadership Retreat – 35 years
Monthly Lions Seniors Games Afternoons (previously bingo for the blind) – 29 years
Through these and literally hundreds of other projects, the club has reached out and improved the lives of literally thousands of needy individuals both locally and globally.
Today, Port Shepstone Lions remains a strong, vibrant and active service club with a large membership and support base.
The club’s recent acquisition of a new clubhouse venue at Port Shepstone Country Club has further cemented the strong bonds between the two clubs who can both now look forward to many more community service activities and fundraising projects within the Port Shepstone Country Club precinct.
During his reply to the toast to the Lions Club of Port Shepstone, Club President Alister Love thanked members and Lion Ladies for their ongoing efforts in keeping the club active and successful.
During his reply on behalf of Lions Clubs International, District Governor Alistair Tuckett who travelled from Johannesburg to attend, praised the Port Shepstone Lions and Lion Ladies for their ongoing commitment to serving the needy and for the spirit of friendship that exists within the club.
Appreciation plaques in recognition of ongoing sponsorship and support of the Club’s community service projects were presented to Graeme Milligan, Michael Frey, Lothar Frey Family Trust, South Coast Herald and Port Shepstone Country Club. Friendship banners were also presented to District Governor Alistair Tuckett, Port Shepstone Country Club, Port Shepstone Rotary, Port Shepstone Round Table and the Presidents of Shelly Beach, Scottburgh and Reitz Lions Clubs.
The evening of celebration ended off with a photo shoot of all past Presidents in attendance and the cutting of a birthday cake in recognition of 50 years of community service to the South Coast.
Photo: Past Port Shepstone Lions Presidents who attended were (front L-R) Denis Meyer (2000/2001 & 2017/2018), Andre Beneke (2013/2014), Jeff Smith (2015-2017), Jean Masson (2012/2013), (standing L-R) Rob Harley (2007/2008), Mervin Curnow (1996/1997), Alastair Warman (2014/2015), Richard Borradaile (2001/2002), John Johnstone (1979/1980), Danie van Tonder (2009/2010), Hilton Horsley (1994-1996), Peter Mc Killen (1998/1999), Kelvin Hulley (1999/2000 & 2010/2011), Ian Anderson (1985/1986) and Paul Brauteseth (2002/2003).
Photos by Sandy Danckwerts