Orange-Canobolas Lions celebrate reaching their roaring 40s

FORTY YEARS ON: Orange-Canobolas Lions Club founding members Robert Fabry, Roger Grimmett, Bill McAuliffe and Peter Chilcott. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

FORTY YEARS ON: Orange-Canobolas Lions Club founding members Robert Fabry, Roger Grimmett, Bill McAuliffe and Peter Chilcott. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

Forty years ago a group of men decided to form a second Lions Club in Orange and on Saturday that club will celebrate its anniversary.

Orange-Canobolas Lions Club’s inaugural president Peter Chilcott as well as fellow founding members, Robert Fabry, Roger Grimmett and Bill McAuliffe, will celebrate the club’s anniversary and changeover with a dinner at Duntryleague.

About 45 past and present members are expected to attend.

Several of the early members who joined on May 21, 1977, were new to town and working in various professions when they wanted to find a social outlet and be part of the community.

“I was only relatively new to town and I joined a golf club and I was playing golf but I just needed something a bit different,” Mr Chilcott said.

“[Joining Lions] was probably one the best things I have ever done, I’ve met a lot of really good people.”

Mr Chilcott is still involved with the club and its community barbecues and said the club supports several Lions foundations’ health initiatives including prostate cancer, hearing dogs, seeing eye dogs and children’s cancer.

He said the club’s main current project is a fundraiser for a $170,000 prostate cancer diagnostic machine for the Orange Health Service.

So far about $50,000 has been raised and the club hopes to get government grants once they have secured half the funding.

[Joining Lions] was probably one the best things I have ever done, I’ve met a lot of really good people.

Inaugural president Peter Chilcott

Fellow founding member Mr McAuliffe spent 10 years as the club secretary and said there were 38 founding members and there are now 26.

“I’d only recently come to town [when I joined] and I was working at Email,” Mr McAuliffe said.

“I came from Sydney and my wife came from Narromine and we wanted to meet people not associated with Email… [the club] ended up with four or five people from Email.”

Since the club was founded in 1977 it has changed a great deal and although the founding members are now aged in their 70s or 80s there are younger women who are heavily involved with the club.

The current outgoing president is Lisa Cobb who served for the past two years and was preceded by Shirley Ellis.

Inaugural treasurer Roger Grimmett said the club’s fundraising and community activities have also changed from painting houses and mowing lawns to cooking barbecues.