History of the Manning River Lions Club
While a relatively small club most of its life, Manning River Lions Inc. has made a substantial mark within the community.
The very first service scheme (1978) was to assist Valley Industries (Sheltered Workshop) to clean up the grounds and fence lines following their occupancy of the factory site at that time.
Some major events organised in the 80’s were the Beerfests and Cabbage Patch Days at the Taree Race Course that entertained thousands and raised many dollars for various projects. During those years the club also catered for many family and school reunions, anniversaries and even a wedding at the same location.
Taree, Chatham and St Clares High are each recipients of a yearly scholarship in memory of our former charter member and PDG Stuart Willis. Another memorial scholarship is made each year to Taree Eisteddfod for a young performer in honour of late Charter member Kevin Dodd.
Much of the work performed by the Club over the years is unknown to the public. Assistance to fire victims, the installation of home aids ramps and yard maintenance for the elderly. The provision of a rather expensive special bed to handicapped child are just some examples of our work.
With the establishment of the Presidents Foundation we were able to hold several camps at Pappinbarra for especially chosen children of primary school age who had little opportunity to spend such time away. We also took children with sight handicaps on outings to Peppermint Park in Port Macquarie.
We provided a computer enhanced reader to a student from Taree High to assist in her HC studies and another for a sight impaired person in 2011.
Mothers Day cakes (using Lions Cakes decorated by the Taree Cake Decorators Club) each year are presented to Legacy widows, Nursing Home and Hostel residents and Meals on Wheels clients.
Our Christmas trailer raffle proved a popular event with Club and the public over several years. The shopfront Christmas Santas have been on the Taree scene for a number of years providing valuable income to the club.
More recently our involvement with Group 3 Football and the Taree Bulls has seen the Club manning the gates each season. Other activities include Taree Driver reviver, Driver Training Days, Special appeal days etc as well as Youth Exchange some years ago and the Youth of the Year each year involving students from Chatham and St Clares High.
Other recipients of help and funds include Red Cross Calling, Red Shield Appeal, Hearing Dogs, Lions Health Care Foundation, Taree Volunteer Rescue, Diabetes Group, Dialysis Unit and Ronald Macdonald House.
In recent years the Club has been active in fundraising for Victorian Fires Queensland Floods and Asian Tsunami Appeals collecting many thousands of dollars.
Eight years ago, Manning River Lions acquired the operating rights from the Kidney Association of the Hub Markets following government funding for the Dialysis Unit. The Markets was run by the Club at the Racecourse before moving to Taree Show ground in March 2008.
In 2012 the Club accepted the responsibility to organise Camp Memories – an annual camp for families with children who have special needs. Camp Memories was initiated and organised by May & Kevin Sharp for the previous 11 years. The first Camp Memories conducted by the Club was held at the Tinonee property of Rod & Jill Illidge over the weekend of 9-11 November 2012.
In January 2013, The Manning River Lions Club received the ‘Community Organisation of the Year’ Award from the Greater Taree City Council in recognition of its service to the community over 36 years.
Camp Memories was an annual camp-out for children with special needs and their families. Manning River Lions Club sets up the camp and provides tents and mattresses for all campers. Campers only need to bring their own linen and pillows. The annual camp caters for over 30 families with around 120 people participating in two full days of fun and games. We are very grateful to the huge number of volunteers and organisations that contribute each year to making the camp truly memorable.
History of Camp Memories
Camp Memories began as a result of a public meeting in Taree in 2001 to gauge whether there was sufficient interest and support to develop a voluntary public outreach event that would cater for children with disabilities aged birth to 16, and their families, including able-bodied siblings.
The first Camp Memories was organised and conducted in 2001 by Kevin & May Sharp on their property at Pampoolah. Kevin & May Sharp continued Camp Memories for 11 years. The Manning River Lions Club is pleased to be carrying on the wonderful work of the Sharps and their willing band of helpers by co-ordinating Camp Memories from 2012. Our thanks go to Rod & Jill Illidge for making available their Tinonee property for Camp Memories.
Camp Memories has earned itself a wonderful reputation for bringing together children with a range of physical and intellectual disabilities and their families – and willing carers – in a fun-filled atmosphere. Families remain together, with parents staying onsite at all times.
In November 2019, only a few days before the start of that year’s camp, bushfires tore through the Manning Valley and surrounds. Many of the tents, that had been setup in preparation for the camp and other supplies were destroyed.
The difficult decison to end Camp Memories was made the Manning River Loins Club in December 2019.
On the 26th of February 2020 the Youth of the Year dinner was used to also say thank you to all that worked so hard over the past 10+ years to make Camp Memories a success.
The following is a Facebook post from a family who attended Camp Memories in 2015 :
|1978 – 1979||Ken HOY|
|1979 – 1980||Ken HOY|
|1980 – 1981||Bernie SWEENY|
|1981 – 1982||Ron GOSBELL|
|1982 – 1983||Peter CARSON /|
|1983 – 1984||Don MACINNIS|
|1984 – 1985||Brian FORSTER|
|1985 – 1986||George BEGG|
|1986 – 1987||Peter NICHOLSON|
|1987 – 1988||John McLEAN|
|1988 – 1989||Paul FOWLER|
|1989 – 1990||Ken MINTO|
|1990 – 1991||John DOIG|
|2008-2009||Ross KNEIPP /|
The following Awards and Honours have been granted by the Club:
|Melvin Jones Fellowship|
|James D Richardson Honour Award|
|Community Service Award|
Life membership is granted to members who have given long and distinguished service to the Club and the local community.
Melvin Jones Fellowship is named for the founder of Lions Clubs International, Melvin Jones. The fellowship is LCIF’s highest honour and is given in recognition of a commitment to humanitarian work. This honour is presented by the Club to members who, through their service with Lions, demonstrate qualities such as generosity, compassion and concern for others.
This Award is named after James D Richardson, who in 1958 was the first Australian to serve as a Director on the International Board of Directors. The “James D Richardson Honour Award” is granted to honour members who have provided outstanding service.
The Community Service Award is presented by the Club to Lions, Non-Lions and organisations in recognition of their services to Lions and/or the community.
|Alan FAIRHURST (2009)|
|Don MACINNIS (2009)|
|George BEGG (2015)|
|David CLARK (2015)|
|Kevin NICHOLSON (2017)|
|Progressive Melvin Jones Fellows|
|Alan FAIRHURST (2005, 2016)|
|Don MACINNIS (2005, 2017)|
|Brian BOURKE (2010, 2019)|
|Melvin Jones Fellows|
|George BEGG (2006)|
|Les SAXBY (2008)|
|David CLARK (2010)|
|Kevin NICHOLSON (2010)|
|Bill COLQUHOUN (2011)|
|Peter BAKER (2012)|
|Greg HARTIG (2016)|
|Hans ROOIMANS (2015)|
|David DRAKE (2016)|
|Noel DEATH (2017)|
|Damien WATTERS (2020)|
|Rachel CORRIGAN (2020)|
|Laurie & Sharon Howell (2013)|
|Bushland Tavern (2013)|
|Mark Ryan – Taree Eye Wear (2013)|
|Rod & Jill Illidge (2014)|
|David Walker – Taree Hire (2015)|
|Taree Orthodontics (2015)|
|Tony Thompson (2016)|
|Andrew Diessel (2017)|