How we spend you thousands, by Otley Lions

Wharfedale Observer: Des Ellis’s widow, Pat, on the bench made to honour his memory Des Ellis’s widow, Pat, on the bench made to honour his memory

Otley Lions are celebrating a successful 2013.

The group, which raised more than £6,000 with Santa sleigh rides and grottos over Christmas, donated funds to a number of local, national and global causes.

Local activity saw them helping to buy special wheelchairs for two disabled children; equipment for Beehive, a group for young people with learning difficulties; food collection bins for Otley Food Bank and heating for the Beamsley project.

They also supported Weston Lane Junior Football Club, helped a local family stranded in Spain, had a bench installed outside All Saints Parish Church in memory of late Lion Des Ellis, and financed a brass band concert for pensioners and a family magic evening.

Other organisations backed by the Lions in 2013 included the local group for premature baby charity Bliss and respiratory problem support group Breathe Easy, and they bought book token prizes for local students and provided holidays for people with disabilities.

National projects and causes that were supported included the Special Olympics, Support Dogs, FairShare, the Lions’ Disabled Sports Day and research into motor neurone disease, diabetes and liver disease. Otley Lions’ publicity officer Patrick McCauley said: “We would like to thank Stephen Smith’s garden centre and Waitrose for their support and co-operation in December, our old friend Santa Claus for his indefatigable efforts, and, above all, the citizens of Otley for their great generosity.

“We promise all the people who have supported us that we will try our very best to put the money to good use.

“We thank all the people and organisations that have helped us raise money, including the patrons of our pot shy at Otley Show; supporters of our participation in the Waitrose and Asda ‘community pots’; patrons of our Easter Egg tombola; the Original Factory Shop for making us their Charity of the Year and customers of our bookshop on Mercury Row.”

Internationally, the Lions backed German exchange holidays for disabled people and helped finance visits to Yorkshire for socially disadvantaged youngsters from Lille in France.

Their work also included providing children’s books for Sri Lanka; supporting the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s One Shot – One Life measles eradication campaign; helping disaster relief work in the Philippines and backing St Mary’s High School, Menston’s Bambisanami partnership project in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa.

Services to the community in 2013 included helping host two visiting Chelsea Pensioners; marshalling the car parking at a point-to-point race day; running a Name the Lion competition for children and chauffering two residents who needed help.

For more information about the group, visit otleylions.org.uk.

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