Port Alfred Lions elect first woman president

Collaboration between service organisations and other NGOs is essential for any organisation that wants to make an impact. Outgoing president of the Lions Club of Port Alfred Max Stander said this during his valedictory speech, before handing over the mantle to Lorenda de Klerk, the 12-year-old Port Alfred club’s first woman president. The organisation’s speeches and awards ceremony was held during a three-course lunch at the River and Ski Boat Club on Saturday July 15.

In his address, an emotional Stander named three members who had passed on recently, including Mike Newlands.

Earlier, Mike’s sister Dorothy Botha had attended a ceremony to launch the new clubhouse named after him, a room in the Skiboat Club complex.

Dorothy Botha with Cliff Hocking, who led the dedication of the Port ALfred Lions clubhouse to Botha’s brother, the late Mike Newlands.

“The purpose of life on earth is to serve: to help others achieve their potential,” Stander said. Stander spoke of the huge need in the world, and locally, for organisations such as Lions to provide support and service. But while the Lions was the biggest service organisation in the world, (1.4 million members worldwide in 48 000 clubs in 200-plus countries), that still left only one Lion to serve around 5 500 people. With Ndlambe’s population of 61 000 served by 15 Lions members, the ration was 1:4000.

The writing was on the wall: “We can only reach significant service levels if we increase our membership and work with other service organisations,” he said.

In the past year, the Lions had collaborated with Round Table, the Free Masons, and Rotary. They had recently established contact with the newly formed Sunshine NGO Forum and were looking forward to working with them.

Numerous fundraising events, sponsors and donors had made serveral community projects possible, namely sponsoring books for Shaw Park School prizegiving; support for Port Alfred High School’s archery club; support for Kuyasa Secondary School’s holiday classes school lunches; fixing and donating an industrial washing machine to the SPCA as well as blankets and pet food; various projects at Huis Diaz in Alexandria; partnering to support security cameras, safety signs and beach patrols; providing spectacles in the Bright Sight project; diabetes testing; support to Jehovah Jirah children’s home in Alexandria; helping establish a victim supportroom for GBV survivors at the Kleinemonde Police Station; taking Christmas cake to essential services and retirement village personnel; support to Salem Crossroads substance rehabilitation centre and Port Alfred’s Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen.

De Klerk spoke briefly saying it was an honour to be the president of that club. She confirmed that Lions would continue to support the projects they had begun.

Lions Club International voted in 1987 to admit women to the organisation. According to Lion Magazine, women are the fastest growing segment of Lions, with more than 425 000 around the world. Guðrún Björt Yngvadóttir became the first female international president of the Lions, in 2018.

The 2023/24 board of directors for Lions Port Alfred is President: Lorenda de Klerk; Immediate past president: Max Stander; Vice President: Alec McKerrow; Secretary: Ilana de Klerk; Treasurer: Rob Brunette; Membership chairman: Norman Elliot; Marketing chairperson: Neville Willliamson; Lion tamer: John Dell.