It was cause for celebration at Government House on Wednesday, as outgoing Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon shared lunch with representatives of the Victoria Lions and Lioness Clubs to mark the 100th anniversary of the international volunteer organization.
Lions Club members from across Greater Victoria were invited to a Christmas tea with the lieutenant governor, who addressed her guests with a speech congratulating and thanking the organization for their service all over the world.
“Lions have been so much a part of so many of our communities, that in fact we often take them for granted,” said Guichon, whose late husband, Lawrence, was a Lion.
Past council chair Al Beddows also spoke, providing a brief history of some of the Lions’ accomplishments including the recognition of founder Melvin Jones.
In 1945, Jones and the Lions Clubs were invited to assist in forming the United Nations. That resulted in the U.N. giving the Lions an advisory seat at both the economic and social councils, and to this day the U.N. celebrates a Lions Day each year.
In 1968 the Lions Club International Foundation was formed and to date has raised $828 million supporting youth, preserving eyesight and helping with disaster relief and humanitarian efforts. Locally, the Sooke Lions, with help from the RCMP, brought the Musical Ride to town, an event that raised over $60,000 for Camp Shawnigan and the Victoria Therapeutic Riding Association.
“We are now embarking on another 100 years and are adding diabetes and pediatric cancer to our areas of concern,” Beddows said. “Diabetes is now a worldwide health concern and needs our attention.”
Guichon was appointed to be the Queen’s representative in B.C. back in 2012. While her term was scheduled to end last month, she is expected to stay in the post until her replacement is announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“The Lions and Lioness Clubs are part of [a] rich history and we are very fortunate that they are a part of so many of our towns,” she said. “May you continue to thrive for the next 100 years.”