Lions Club of Torquay
Victoria, Australia, District 201V2
we serve... service to the community... learning new skills... building lasting friendships...
Tom Blair, representing Lions District 201V2 was a surprise visitor to our July dinner meeting last night. He presented the International President's PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL to our Immediate Past President Lion Neil Roche.
Tom read from the letter sent by International President Douglas Alexander that “this award is an expression of our appreciation for your dedicated service to those in need. Your hard work and compassion serve as an example to the Lions, your community, and the world around you.” Tom also said, “this award is presented to Lion Neil Roche who exemplifies the qualities laid out in the International President’s letter.”
With the passing of Billy Ryan, a moving service was held at St Therese Church on Tuesday 12 July, with Torquay Lions forming an honour guard as his casket left the church.
Billy Ryan joined the Lions Club of Torquay in April 2003, and has given over 19 years of service. He was the club’s Tail Twister, a task which involves spinning and twisting a yarn, and Billy excelled at this. In 2013, he was awarded a Melvin Jones Fellowship, one of the highest forms of recognition of service to the community within Lions. He was Club President 2006 – 07.
Billy passed away peacefully, on July 1, 2022 at the Epworth Hospital, Geelong. He was born on May 27, 1937, in Melbourne Victoria. He is survived by Pam, his wife and his children, Kelly, Paula, Angela, Matthew, Drew and Janine.
The funeral will be early next week at St. Therese Church.
The District V2 Lions' Skin Check and Awareness team who worked at Torquay on 1st and 2nd July, came from various Lions Clubs in Victoria. They are Mobile Unit driver and equipment support person, Rob Eyton of Lara Lions Club, Julianne Clift from Warrnambool, Susan Eyton from Lara, V2 Past District Governor, Trevor Hirth, and Unit Coordinator, Wendy Hellebrand from Inverleigh.
The Lions mobile skin check unit cost $460,000 to purchase and set up for skin checks and awareness training. As well, several thousands of dollars of specialised equipment was added to ensure accuracy of the checks.
Torquay Lions Club President, Colin Bellis, is concerned at the number of referrals to GPs from skin checks over the past two days (1,2July) and over past months in Victorian regional towns.
“When I visited the Lions Skin Check and Awareness Mobile Unit on its first day of operation in Torquay, a number of people had already been advised to visit their GP to have a thorough follow up” he stated.
“Torquay’s analysed statistics are not yet available, but we are concerned that since the Unit has been in operation in various towns in regional Victoria, 3,489 checks have been done and from those checks 1,483 referrals to GPs have been necessary.
“Our Lions Mobile Unit is hard-pressed to meet the need in regional Victoria, but we are aiming to bring the mobile unit back to Torquay as soon as we are able,” Lion Colin said.
“There is a long waiting list of Lions Clubs ahead of us in the queue, but we will press our need as hard as we can.”
The van was at Wurdi Baierr Stadium, Torquay on Friday, July 1st and Saturday, July 2nd.
Locals who had made appointments, were checked by fully trained, certificated and professionally supervised volunteers.
Lion Colin declared that the Lions team had pointed out that many people told them it was a wonderful initiative of Lions.
“The first free skin check seems to be the secret to informing people with valuable and timely data about skin care and self-checking techniques,” he said.
“It is well-known Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world.
“Lions Clubs in Victoria and Southern NSW are working hard to reduce that level and its impact on families, but more free checks are necessary here in Torquay”, Lion Colin concluded.
Colin Large from Jan Juc chats with Torquay Lions Club President Colin Bellis, while waiting for his free skin check
New President of Torquay Lions Club, Lion Colin Bellis declared his theme of ‘Better Together’ will ensure local Lions will serve our community better, strengthen the Club, and unearth new ways to raise funds to help those in need. Outgoing President, Lion Neil Roche, proudly announced at the dinner that the Torquay Lions had distributed just over $54,300 to local, national and international causes during the past year. President Neil also announced this year’s Lion of the Year winner: Tony Smith.
Lions Vice District Governor Elect, Michelle Challis, formally installed the team at the changeover dinner. Lions in the executive team supporting President Colin Bellis this year are Brian Keane, Leadership Chair; Neil Roche, Service Chair; Ken Farrow, Secretary; Deb Law, Treasurer; and Bill Ferguson, Membership Chair.
VDG Michelle Challis presented a 30 year service award to Lion Peter Thomas OAM. Michelle also inducted new member, Lion Ross Yapp, welcome Ross.
We were joined by Cr. Rose Hodge, as well as Michael Reed, Jan Emmett and Ben Featherston from Torquay Rotary Club.
Torquay Lions are keen to develop our membership base. We would love to see anyone looking for local involvement with a purpose to try their hand serving the community with us. Most people who try out working with Lions, join us for the satisfaction they receive serving others. Anyone interested in finding out more about Torquay Lions should send an email via the Contact Page or ring Bill Ferguson on 0402 121 559 to learn about what Lions do.
Following a request from a local lady for assistance in supplying some firewood, a group of Torquay Lions loaded and delivered a Ute load on Saturday afternoon (11/6). Thank you to John Bell for donating the wood, Brian Keane for the loan of his Ute and Bob Brownlee, Ross Yapp and Ken Farrow for loading and unloading the firewood.
Torquay Lions recently farewelled five retiring longstanding members at their May Dinner Meeting. It was a theme night, with a “Footy Panel” to discuss the "ins and outs". The five Lions who are retiring have contributed a combined 104 years of service to the Torquay Community - Thank You.
Torquay Lions met at the Lions Village to induct Gordon Clarence as a new member at their May Dinner Meeting recently. The club warmly welcomes Gordon and Faye and hope they have a long and rewarding relationship with Lions.
On Saturday 30th April Torquay Lions were out in force assisting with the 2022 Great Ocean Road Bike Ride. Ten Torquay Lions were up early to help marshal participants ride safely through Torquay's streets in the early morning light.
Another 12 Lions then provided a welcome sausage sizzle for the participants as they finished their ride at Torquay's Elephant Walk.
As well as providing great service to the riders, Torquay Lions also earned some valuable income for the Club, that will all be donated to worthy causes in the community.
Despite being ‘off’ and ‘on’ this year, the Torquay Lions Charity Bowls Day raised $7500 for Torquay’s VICSES unit.
The Bowls Day had been scheduled for January 2022 but had been postponed because of pandemic restrictions. It went ahead last week (22/4).
According to Lions Club president, Neil Roche, generous bowlers and sponsors enabled the Lions to present $7500 to the unit for much-needed items not provided by the government or through grants.
“The weather was perfect for the day’s bowls on Torquay Bowls Club’s two greens with 120 bowlers vying for $700 prize money.
“Raffles and silent auctions were the main fund raisers on the day,” Mr Roche pointed out.
“The last Bowls Day we organised raised funds for Torquay and Bellbrae Fire Brigades”.
Once again, the Lions Bowls Day competition was strongly supported by Champion Blinds, a well-known local business which has supported the Day in recent years.
According to Mr Roche, the Champion Blinds sponsorship enabled the Lions to cover all costs for the day and supplement cash prizes paid to the winners.
Champion Blinds owner, Craig Smith, said his support for the Lions Charity Day was good for business, but that was not the prime reason he donated to the event.
“Torquay Lions do a great job in our community,” Craig Smith stated.
“They help out in so many ways, not only raising funds for worthy projects, but also assisting people needing help locally, nationally and internationally”.
Torquay Lions were determined to provide the local VICSES unit with the $7500 as soon as possible, noting that the unit had a busy year so far, including road rescue call outs.
Top: Lion Bill Ferguson, delighted VICSES Torquay unit members Mark Heaysman and Aaron McKercher, and Lion Brian Keane during the Lions Charity Bowls Day which raised $7500 for the VICSES Torquay unit.
Bottom: Torquay Lions Club Charity Bowls Day raised $7500 thanks to the generous support of bowlers and sponsors of the day.
Good Friday Appeal Coordinator, Lion Peter McMahon, and his team of volunteers smashed the $10,000 target he had set for Torquay Lions to raise this year.
“Our local community was so generous,” McMahon said”.
“We not only achieved our target, but Torquay Lions and Torquay RSL members finished the day with $ 13,100 for this year’s Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal,” McMahon said.
An elated McMahon pointed out that $came to the Appeal through the Lions Club Good Friday Appeal’s virtual tin.
“This was the first year we added QR codes as a means of accepting donations from those who did not have cash,” he said.
“The virtual tin recorded 52 donations totalling $2,720, placing us within the top 15 in the State listings.
“Last year, we raised $6,500,” declared McMahon.
“Doubling that figure almost leaves me speechless,” McMahon enthused.
“Volunteer collectors from Deakin University, Torquay Lions Club, and the Torquay RSL, with help from Grovedale Fire Brigade and some other volunteers, all helped us achieve the $13,100”.
“I thank all who supported the appeal so generously.”
According to McMahon, the Good Friday Appeal resonates with many local families who have had some contact or contacts with the Royal Children’s Hospital over the years.
“Almost every family has been touched as the Children’s Hospital has helped so many youngsters,” McMahon stated.
“ We are retaining the virtual tin for another ? weeks to enable any late donors to still contribute,” McMahon explained.
“The QR Code, shown here, will still accept gifts from those used to paying by card or phone.
Photograph: Torquay Lion Peter Mc Mahon, Co-ordinator of the Lions Club Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal celebrates with volunteer, Jan Harnath. the Club’s success in raising $13,100 last week(15/4).
Torquay Lions were involved in the the Getjawil Garden since its inception in early 2020, working closely with the Quay Community Association. Lions won a grant from Energy Australia and together with a grant from Barwon Water as well as Council funding, the project began.
Wadawurrung Traditional Owner Corrina Eccles performed a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony to commemorate the completion of the garden. The formalities were hosted by Surf Coast Shire Council CEO Robyn Seymour, Deputy Mayor Liz Pattison and Cr Kate Gazzard.
The Getjawil Garden is on the traditional lands of the Wadawurrung People. We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land, and pay respects to their elders, past, present and emerging.
The Yarning Circle and indigenous Edible Garden provides our community with a permanent educational and cultural place to learn more about our rich local Aboriginal history and to hear stories from the Wadawurrung People. Getjawil means “many” in Wadawurrung, and it is a place where many can meet.
Check it out! It is in Nautical Drive, between Onshore Drive and Beachley Lane.
Torquay Lions were at work recently helping the Surf Coast Trek event by providing a sausage sizzle for the hungry participants at the end of their walk. The Surf Coast Trek is a 26 km or 40 km fundraising walk from Anglesea or Aireys Inlet to Torquay to raise funds for Kids Plus Foundation and Give Where You Live Foundation. Visit their FB page @Surfcoasttrek. KRock were also there supporting this fundraiser.
For the Royal Children’s’ Hospital Good Friday Appeal this year, Torquay’s organiser is aiming to raise $10,000 from the local community.
“Over the past few years, the total raised for the Good Friday Appeal each year has risen to reaching more than $6000 last year,” declared Torquay Co-ordinator Peter McMahon.
“Between now and Good Friday, we will have tin shakers out and about in shopping centres around Torquay, caravan parks and wherever we think we can raise donations.
“ So far, we have gathered collectors from Deakin University, Torquay Lions Club and the Torquay RSL and all are keen to help us achieve our dream target of $10,000, McMahon said.
According to McMahon, raising funds through the Good Friday Appeal, resonates with many families who have had some contact or contacts with the Royal Children’s Hospital over the years.
“Almost every family has been touched in some way the Children’s Hospital has helped so many youngsters,” McMahon stated.
“To put in a dollar or two to help the hospital with research, care and rehabilitation comes quite readily with most donors.
“I recognise that times have not been so good for some people during the recent pandemic, but it is so often the ones who can spare the least that are the most generous.
“ This year, because people are become so used to QR codes and paying for services with their phones or cards, we have organised a QR code which leads to Torquay’s Good Friday Appeal virtual tin for donors,” McMahon explained.
“The QR Code, shown here, will accept gifts from those used to paying by card or phone.
“Try it out,” McMahon suggested.
Aiming to raise $10,000 is not an easy task. Anyone who would like to help raise funds should contact Peter McMahon on 0411 112 047.
Torquay Coordinator for the Good Friday Appeal for the Royal Children’s Hospital, Peter McMahon, St Therese Primary School student Sam Burke (11) and Torquay Lion Deb Law prepare for busy times raising $10,000 for the appeal.
On Tuesday 8 March eight Torquay Lions spent the afternoon carrying out garden maintenance at the Bellbrae Cemetary. Some members mowed and whipper snippered around the graves while others raked up fallen bark and leaves from the native gum trees. The Cemetary was looking a picture by the time they had finished. The Lions Club carry out regular garden maintenance at the Cemetery for the Bellbrae Cemetary Trust.
Lions Allen Osman and Tony Smith prepare to slash some weeds.
Torquay Lions take a well earned rest following the finish of their working bee.
Sunday March 6th was Lions Awareness Day. To celebrate, Torquay Lions took part in the Clean Up Australia campaign. We met at Cosy Corner at 8 am for a foreshore clean-up. Eight Lions braved the wind and drizzle to pick up rubbish, lots of cigarette butts, band aids, bottle tops, plastic ties, face masks, a child’s scooter and so on.
Torquay Lions travelled to Forrest again for the 2022 Otway Odyssey mountain bike race which was held on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 February. Three Lions members helped with marshalling on each of the 2 days of the event.
Torquay Lions have been given permission to set up a window display in the old Bendigo Bank building in Gilbert Street in Torquay. The display highlights the activities the club is involved in.
The Torquay Lions 2022 New Year’s early morning clean-up of the Torquay Foreshore left beaches ready for visitors before 8.00 AM despite taking longer this year because of the attitudes of a few welcoming in the New Year.
Local Lions President Neil Roche said his club members were greatly surprised at the mass of rubbish left on the foreshore and beach from the Torquay Surf life Saving Club to Zeally Bay Road and Point Danger.
“The scene which greeted us this morning was horrible,” said President Neil.
“Cans, bottles, cartons, clothing, used condoms, broken glass and even a supermarket trolley were strewed along Torquay’s foreshore.
The amount of rubbish and broken glass took the Lions far longer to remove than in recent years.
“It was back to the bad old days before lighting and fencing had a beneficial effect on crowd attitudes and actions,” Lion President Neil declared.
“It was pleasing to see early morning walkers doing their bit in removing some rubbish from the lawns, as we checked the beaches, lawns and bushes,” he said.
Torquay Lions Club has cleaned the foreshore and surrounds for several years.
They start at 6.00 am as the sun rises and usually have the job done for beachgoers by 7.00 to 7.30 am.
“This year it took us longer because of the amount of rubbish and broken glass left on the foreshore, Voss’s car park and Point Danger,” President Neil commented.
The Lions left their collected rubbish in 20 or more bags alongside GORCAPA bins which were cleared as the Lions finish their task.
“We don’t want visitors to Torquay to experience a dirty and dangerous foreshore and beaches, which leaves a bad impression of our delightful beachfront and environs,” President Neil stated.
He also thanked his team of Lions who fronted the task so early after New Year’s Eve.
“Unfortunately,” he declared over a coffee at Third Wave Kiosk after the work was done, “Glass is our biggest enemy. It is difficult to spot in the sand and grassy areas, tedious to remove and always concerns us that we might miss some shards which can cause severe gashes in feet”.
Torquay Food Aid will make things a little brighter at Christmas for their clients with specially packed hampers loaded with donated goods.
Once again, Torquay Lions Club has provided their famous Lions Christmas Cakes to go into hampers. Here, Lion President Neil Roche (right) hands over cartons of cakes to Torquay Food Aid’s President Michael Buckley and volunteer Sally Bowen.
The Lions cakes are available in Gilbert Street during the week, the Farmers’ Market on Saturdays and at Bunnings Torquay.
The Lions Duck Race for this year has been run and won.
Thanks to everyone who "adopted" a duck and helped The Lions Club of Torquay raise nearly $2000 which will all be used to support the community.
There is a video of the final on our Facebook page.
The winners were:
1st Duck number 10
2nd Duck number 38
3rd Duck number 148
We would like to thank Bunnings, IGA and Torquay Books for their generous donation of prizes for the event.
We will be in touch with the winners soon to arrange the delivery of your prizes.
Lions Club President Neil Roche said today the success of Torquay’s inaugural duck racing season in 2020, has led to a bigger event this year.
“Our Club is aiming for 300 ducks (the little yellow type that float) to race off in heats, on 11 December 2021,” he said.
“The exact venue and time will be announced on the day, subject to weather and tides. The event will go live to our club Facebook page, @lionstorquay, yes, we do have one).”
Lion Neil invited Surf Coast residents, and anyone else, to ‘adopt’ a duck, for $10.00 each duck.
“If all ducks are adopted for race day, and thanks to our sponsors donating prizes to the value of $500, the Lions will raise $3,000 to put back into the community,” he said.
“Tickets are available through this Lions’ Club website, just click on this Link We suggest you get in quickly before they are all adopted, as happened last year.
“You can also catch us selling in Gilbert Street, or at the Farmers Market during November,” Lion Neil pointed out.
Lion Neil assured the community that no ducks (or Lions) will be injured in this event; no plastic ducks will be lost to our beautiful oceans and waterways; and he is very confident none will fly away!
“It’s been a difficult year for many, including for the Lions to get together and fundraise. So, the idea of a bit of fun, and the ability to financially support our local community, is something to which the club is looking forward.”
Four years old Harriet, helped by dad, Steven Reaper, checks the floatability of the Lions Club’s little yellow ducks in preparation for the Beached Duck Races to be held on 11 December at a Torquay location being kept under wraps at this time.
Torquay Lions Club fundraising activities have ceased because of COVID restrictions, but its members have moved to lift their community service activities.
The Club’s emphasis this month has switched from fundraising to wood gathering and collecting old plastic plant guards abandoned in the Moonah Woodlands at the east end of The Esplanade.
Club President Neil Roche has care of the environment as one of his projects for this year.
“I believe caring for our fragile environment is critical today to ensure it’s OK for future generations,” he said.
“Liaising with Surf Coast Shire officers, we offered to help clean up the Moonah Woodlands, collecting long abandoned stakes and plastic left lying about in this wonderful native reservation.
“Our environment project has become also a recycling project as the wooden stakes and some of the plastic guards will be recycled for use in future plantings,” Lion Neil advised.
In their morning spent in the Woodlands, the Torquay Lions collected hundreds of old stakes and numerous bags of disintegrating plastic.
Volunteers (from left) Lions Bill Ferguson, Gayle Roche, Lion Peter McMahon, and Club President Neil Roche gather stakes and plastic from the bush.
Working hand in hand with the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority (GORCAPA), Torquay Lions Club gave their analemmatic sundial a 25-year rejuvenation. GORCAPA removed weeds, cleared congested plants and shrubs and guided the Lions on how best to rejuvenate the sundial’s surrounds with seedlings provided by the Authority. The chilly, windy morning did not deter the Lions from their tasks. Here, Lion Brian Keane and Terena Lane plant and water in seedlings with their fellow Lions
Torquay Lions Club President Neil Roche and wife Gail, plant seedlings at the Lions’ popular analemmatic sundial undergoing a 25-year rejuvenation.
It’s great to be back! Torquay lions (from left) Robert Grubb, Tom Harding, Terena Lane and President Neil Roche with handfuls of freshly sizzled sausages for Bunnings’s customers last week (15/08). To replenish their community funds, the Lions seek all opportunities to raise monies for disbursement to needy persons and organisations in Torquay.
Customer Daryl Collings, waits patiently for his sausage and onions as Torquay Lions argue over who has the best-cooked product and the right to serve him. Lions (from left) Robert Grubb, Tom Harding, Terena Lane and Neil Roche mix work and pleasure as they go about raising funds for the Australian Lions Foundation (ALF) flood disaster relief. The club donated $500 from their community fundraising to the ALF.
Torquay Lions Club recently presented 12 Lions Comfort Koalas to Victoria Police members at the local station.
Police and other organisations use the Lions Comfort Koalas to assist young children caught up in stressful situations.
During the past 35 Years with the support of Lions clubs throughout Victoria, and now nationally, Lions Crimewatch has distributed over 53,000 Lions Comfort Koalas.
Torquay Lions President Neil Roche, pointed out local Lions had been part of “Lions Operation Comfort Koalas” for some years.
“The Koalas are handed out to kids at motor vehicle accident sites, at courts, at house and bush fires, in domestic violence homes, hospitals, children’s cancer units and on myriad occasions where children might be distressed,” Lion Neil shared.
“With Lions clubs ongoing support of “Lions Operation Comfort Koalas”, jointly we continue to supply bears to Police, SES, CFA and others where children might become anxious and stressed,” he said.
Distributing Comfort Koalas is only one way the Torquay Lions help support people in our local community.
Torquay Lions President Neil Roche (right) and Leadership Chairman Lion Colin Bellis handover Teddy Bears to Sergeant Peter Christo at Torquay police station
The annual Changeover Dinner of the Torquay Lions Club was held at the Torquay Lions Village recently (24/6) and a new executive team was installed for the next 12 months.
Torquay Lions’ Zone Chairman Les Cropley, formally installed the new team at the Changeover Dinner.
Past President Bill was proud to announce at the dinner that the Torquay Lions had distributed just on $35,000 to local, national and international causes during the past year.
“Lions worked hard to raise those funds for distribution despite the COVID restrictions,” he said.
“More importantly, however, the money raised from the community all went back to various communities in one form or another,” he emphasised.
Incoming President Neil Roche pointed out to his new executive team that their year’s activities had already begun, and they would gather quickly to cross-pollinate any new ideas to ensure another successful year.
Lions in the Executive Team supporting the President this year are Colin Bellis, Leadership Team; Ken Farrow, Secretary; and Brian Keane, Treasurer.
“Like many other service organisations, Torquay Lions are an ageing group, and although we have a few younger members, we need more people between 25 and 60 to try their hand serving the community,” Lion Neil pointed out.
“Most people who try out working with Lions, join us for the satisfaction they receive serving others,” he concluded.
At its recent Changeover Dinner (24/7), Torquay Lions Club’s new President Neil Roche, looks to the year ahead while Lions Zone Chairman Les Cropley listens attentively.
Torquay’s coveted Lion of the Year award was presented to Lion Peter McMahon by the outgoing President Bill Ferguson for his considerable achievements during the past 12 months.
At Torquay Lions Club Changeover Dinner, Lion Terena Lane, a relatively new member of Torquay Lions, received a new award – the Rising Star Award - from outgoing President, Bill Ferguson, for her outstanding efforts during the past year.