Lioness Club of Dungog closes for good

Friends: Dungog Lioness Club members (back) Lorraine Gleeson (charter member), Jane Levick OAM (charter President), Pixie Jerome and (front) Ruth Dircks OAM and President Joyce Byron (charter member).
Friends: Dungog Lioness Club members (back) Lorraine Gleeson (charter member), Jane Levick OAM (charter President), Pixie Jerome and (front) Ruth Dircks OAM and President Joyce Byron (charter member).

"Devastated.

That's the feeling from Lioness Club of Dungog members at the disbanding of their club after almost 38 years serving the community.

Lions Australia informed the club that due to a decision by the International Lions board, all Lioness Clubs worldwide would cease to be, effective on June 30, 2021.

The iconic Dungog sign welcoming visitors.

The iconic Dungog sign welcoming visitors.

Thanks to the Lioness Club the town has the iconic yellow Dungog lettered sign in Lioness Park (also known as Hollywood Hill), which welcomes visitors - and is clearly visible from the air.

The Dungog Lioness Club held its farewell dinner last month to celebrate the decades of fundraising and friendship the club had forged.

"I'm devastated," said Pixie Jerome.

"For the past 38 years the club has donated thousands of dollars to the local area and outside."

Over the years the club has been a vital part of the town's fabric - members have sponsored school awards for all three schools, catered at community events, instigated Clean Up Australia Day in the town, held an annual Christmas in July, a walkathon, market days and most amusingly ran the "TAB" at the race days at the Dungog polo ground and later The Branch.

The ladies laughed as they recounted how the "very unofficial" TAB operated.

Punters would come to collect their prize winnings, only to be given a chipped tea cup or another odd item.

"I used to get the second had stuffed toys from Vinnies," said Mrs Joyce Byron who has been with the club since its inception.

"The looks on their faces when we would hand them over!"

Of course once over the initial shock the punters were told they could then redeem their "prize" for cash at another booth. A few were said to keep their prize.

Past presidents have been: Jane Kennedy, Lorraine Gleeson, Joyce Byron, Shirley Kennedy, Jane Levick, Marie Neilson, Sue Campbell, Annette Ryan, Pat Shearston, Jane Ryan, Margaret Maurer, Jenny Scrimes and Pat Hartcher.

Original members of the Lioness Club of Dungog were: Ellen Atkins, Beryl Bale, Bryanne Blackman, Carol Bond, Joyce Byron (current member), Jennifer Cox, Jeannette Eyb, Lorraine Gleeson (current member), Dorothy Harris, Jane Kennedy (now Jane Levick, current member) Shirley Kennedy, Bronwyn Lucas, Margaret Maurer, Gwen Rodman, Sue Reekie, Annette Ryan, Jane Ryan, Lyn Shelton and Kathy Winton.

The members were given the option to join Lions or become a Lions Club in their own right but all current five members decided to retire with their club name. They will continue to meet regularly as friends.

Members are in talks with Dungog Shire Council on how to use the club's remaining funds for improvements to Dungog Lioness Park.

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