Lions’ top award comes as surprise

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Years of Service . . . Former Mossburn Lions Club member Jo Muir receives the Melvin Jones Award for 35 years of community service. PHOTO: SUPPLIED.

Former Mossburn Lions Club member Jo Muir has been recognised with the Melvin Jones Award for her 35 years of community service with the club.

The award is the highest honour for Lions International Club members.

Mrs Muir said she was surprised to find out she qualified for the award after the Mossburn Lions Club had closed down at the end of June.

“I felt stunned but very humbled because I didn’t give it a thought in my mind.”

She joined the Mossburn Lions club when it began in 1986.

“I just became a part of the journey.”

The club chartered 38 members in its inaugural year.

“We went on from strength to strength, it was an awful lot of fun and fellowship,” Mrs Muir said.

During its existence the club helped in a range of ways, she said.

“We would help out with roadside clean-ups, planting daffodils, we supported anything within the community as well as provided the odd entertainment for evening functions.”

The club had made a major impact on the community, she said.

“Lions did a lot of forward thinking.”

She recalled one of the drug awareness days which was held in 1987.

“We worked alongside the doctors, police and other drug support organisations and it was a very enlightening time.”

The event helped create open discussions between different generations, she said.

“It made it easier for children to talk to their parents about it.”

Another occasion she remembers was Ann Crawford, of Invercargill, who needed a heart/lung transplant in 1986.

“She was needing to go to England for the transplant but did not have the funds, so the New Zealand Lions helped with that, and other appeals.”

What she enjoyed the most about being a part of the group was the interactions.

“I always enjoyed the people – those in the club and connecting with those outside of the club.”