Sydney Lions are supporting Ukrainian refugees and they need your help

In times of crisis, Lions Clubs do what they can to make a difference and that’s exactly what local volunteers are doing right now to support the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

Funds raised by Lions across Sydney have helped establish the new modern modular Warsaw Information Centre and Medical Clinic in front of the Ukraine Consulate in Warsaw.

The project is being led by Hornsby Lions Club with director John Lockyer gearing up for his next visit to Poland and encouraging anyone looking to support Ukrainian refugees to make a donation.

“The conflict in the Ukraine has devastated so many lives. Many Lions volunteers are doing whatever they can to support those impacted and we need your help,” says John.

Lions Clubs across Sydney set a goal of raising $10,000 for Lions Warsaw to set up a Warsaw Information Centre modular in front of the consulate.

Lion John Lockyer in Warsaw with Ukrainian refugees.

“As a result of exceeding our $10,000 by raising $5000 more, Lions Warsaw also secured an additional modular office that is being used as a medical clinic. The central purpose of this medical clinic is to provide health support to Ukrainian children/families at the Lions Information Centre.”

“Now thousands of Ukrainian refugees that are seeking assistance at the consulate can be interviewed by Lions Warsaw Volunteers without any concern of the extreme bitter cold and wet conditions.

The harsh Polish winter will return and we are pleased to support Warsaw Lions volunteers with the provision of secure, warm modern offices so that refugees can be adequately interviewed,” says John.

John Lockyer from the Hornsby Lions Club on site for the build of the new Information Centre and Medical Clinic in Warsaw.

“I am returning to Poland to review progress at the Ukrainian Consulate in Warsaw and then plan to review progress on the plan by Lions Warsaw to establish similar facilities in the Gdansk, Wroclaw, Krakow and Lublin.”

“We’re encouraging anyone who would like to make a difference to consider making a donation. Every dollar counts,” adds John.

Donations can be made to: DG Vin Pang Endorsed Warsaw/Ukraine Lions Appeal

BSB : 032055 A/c: 163233

In addition to local Lions projects and initiatives in Australia, the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) has now provided over US$1,735,000 in grants to support Ukrainian refugees who have crossed their borders.

Lions in Ukraine have also received LCIF grants to address the critical needs of people who remain in the country.

Australia’s favourite Christmas cake has inspired a song

The festive season is just around the corner and Australia’s favourite Christmas treat will not only be on the menu this year, but also on the Christmas playlist.

Sold by volunteers in their local communities, Lions Australia’s Christmas cakes are renowned not only for exceptional flavour and quality, but also for warming the heart.

The cake that has become a tradition in thousands of Australian homes has now also inspired a song.

Twin brothers, John and Graeme, are one of Australia’s leading country music/easy listening acts. The Howie Brothers have written and recorded a song celebrating the much loved and important tradition of Lions Christmas cakes.

The Howie Brothers have written a song about the Lions Christmas Cake.

“John and myself are not members of a Lions club but we have had and still do have many connections with Lions club members. We think very highly of Lions people and the Lions organisation and support it wherever possible,” says Graeme Howie.

Perfected over the years, the traditional Lions Australia Christmas cake recipe is packed with high quality ingredients and 50% fruit, but there’s one magic ingredient in this cake that sets it apart from the rest.

The Lions Christmas Cake makes a difference. With all proceeds going back to Lions Clubs and initiatives across the country, the cakes help fund a range of vital projects in the community.

Christmas cakes and puddings are Lions Australia’s largest annual fundraiser. Since the first 1-pound cake was introduced in 1965 the fundraiser has raised over $60 million to help drive community programs and projects across Australia. Australia’s appetite for the Christmas sweet is still strong with over 600,000 Christmas cakes and puddings sold last year. Sales are already up by 6000 sales this year.

“Lions Christmas Cakes have become a tradition in Australian households. This isn’t just because they are renowned for quality and taste but because when buying a Lions cake you know you are supporting a good cause and making a difference. Each club that takes part in the program makes a profit that they can either use on a Lions project or donate back into their local communities,” says Lions Australia CEO Rob Oerlemans.

The Lions Christmas cake sales help fund the incredible work of the organisation in communities across Australia. In addition to disaster relief Lions Clubs drive a range of community service projects and initiatives ranging from youth programs, medical research, aid to people with disability and environmental work.

To purchase a Lions Christmas cake or pudding, click here.



“THE LIONS CHRISTMAS CAKE” – Words & Music: Graeme Howie

1. Buy A Lions Christmas Cake, They Taste Really Yum
Leave Some Out For Santa, And He Will Rub His Tum
They’ll Ask On Christmas Day, “Did It Take You Long To Bake?”
And You’ll Say, “No, Not Long, It’s A Lions Christmas Cake”

CH. The Lions Christmas Cake, It’s An Institution Mate!
In Ev’ry Home Across Australia, On Ev’ry Christmas Plate
So Don’t Just Buy One, Buy Two Or Three Or Four
It Helps Out In So Many Ways, The Lions Christmas Cake

2. The Lions Clubs Around Australia, They Work Hard All Year
With Sausage Sizzles, Car Boot Sales, They Work To Bring Good Cheer
And As We Head For Christmas, They Mix Raisin, Flour & Date
For We All Love, What They Bake, The Lions Christmas Cake

CH. The Lions Christmas Cake, It’s An Institution Mate!
In Ev’ry Home Across Australia, On Ev’ry Christmas Plate
So Don’t Just Buy One, Buy Two Or Three Or Four
It Helps Out In So Many Ways, The Lions Christmas Cake

3. So When You’re Out There Shopping, Stop & Have A Chat
And If You See Those Lions Cakes, Say, “I’ll Have One Of That!”
Then ‘Round The Christmas Table, Your Loved Ones All Will Say,
“It’s So Wonderful At Christmastime With A Lions Christmas Cake”

CH. The Lions Christmas Cake, It’s An Institution Mate!
In Ev’ry Home Across Australia, On Ev’ry Christmas Plate
So Don’t Just Buy One, Buy Two Or Three Or Four
It Helps Out In So Many Ways, The Lions Christmas Cake

TAG: Yes It Helps Out In So Many Ways, The Lions Christmas Cake

Narooma Lions New BBQ Trailer

Narooma Lions upgrade BBQ trailer to assist in disaster relief

It was a great day for the Narooma & District Lions Club on the 23rd of October 2022 as they saw the culmination of 2 years’ work by their Club President, Ricci Bishop, in bringing to completion their replacement BBQ Trailer and the erection of a new shed in which to garage it.

This was a doubly auspicious day as it was also the Club’s Charter Anniversary (1976).

Narooma Lions BBQ Trailer

Narooma & District Lions Club President with the new BBQ Trailer

Ricci was successful in securing two grants following the Black Summer Bushfires – the first being from St Vincent de Paul Conference and the second a Federal Grant, the Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund (BCRRF).

From the adverse situation of the Black Summer bush fires at Narooma, it was realized that there was a need to have a completely independent food supply BBQ trailer that had the capability to provide it’s own refrigeration, lighting, hot & cold food and water, as well as be a source of power for other needs.

The trailer can now act as an adjunct to the needs of front line emergency respondents as well as being used at evacuation centres.

The shed is also a great asset with enough space to house all the Club’s Lions gear in one place – for many Clubs, it is the stuff dreams are made of!

Celebration ceremony: Smoking the shed and trailer

The Club’s celebrations included a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony by First Nations’ Muladha Gamara, and a ribbon cutting ceremony by the Hon. Dr. Michael Holland MP and St Vincent de Paul Conference representative Mrs. Marea Clark at Easts Caravan Park.

This was followed by a Luncheon at the Narooma Sports & Leisure Centre (Narooma’s designated Evacuation Centre at the time) where a small display of photos were on view.

Image display of the Bush Fire Evacuation Centre from the 1.1.2020

The Club sincerely thanked and acknowledged the contribution from the Australian BCRRF and St Vincent de Paul Conference.

Lions volunteers mobilise to support flood affected communities

Australia has experienced major flooding for the fifth time in 19 months due to record-breaking wet weather. The wet conditions are expected to last until 2023.

As the effects of climate change induced disasters continue to devastate communities, we need volunteers now more than ever.

When disaster strikes, Lions volunteers are the first to offer support and that’s exactly what is happening as communities across Australia face flooding yet again.

Members of the Lions Club of Seymour Goulburn have been cooking meals for those who have been displaced due to the emergency while other Lions have been assisting with the flood clean up or raising money for the Australian Lions Foundation National Flood Appeal.

“October has been another month of heavy rainfall with flood warnings for communities across QLD, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. The Australian Lions Foundation has launched a national appeal to help support those affected communities,” says Australian Lions Foundation Chairperson Tony Benbow OAM.

“Every dollar raised will be sent directly to Lions Clubs on the ground in affected communities to provide emergency support to those impacted.”

“This is why Lions is so effective in times of need. Every dollar donated goes directly to the cause and through Lions’ large network of clubs we are able to quickly identify those who require assistance and find the best and most efficient ways of supporting those people and communities.”

Lions based in Seymour, Shepparton, and Mooroopna loan high-pressure water blasters, hoses, power leads, brooms, and squeegees to the community to assist in the flood clean-up.

“A key focus for our clubs in recent months has been supporting flood affected communities particularly in Northern NSW. Lismore was actually the birthplace of Lions in Australia with Lismore Lions Club founded in September 1947,” adds Tony.

“We know the road to recovery is a long one after a disaster. Our volunteers are still going above and beyond to help communities rebuild after the devastating bushfires of 2019/2020 and we will see the same with flood affected communities.”

Lions have been providing emergency support to Australian communities for decades. Over $4.6 million was raised and distributed in the recent Australian Lions Foundation National Bushfire Appeal and $1.9 million was raised and distributed to Flood Support last year.

Anyone looking to make a donation and support those affected by the floods can do so through their local Lions Club or through donating directly to Australian Lions Foundation.

To make a donation visit

All donations over $2 are tax deductible.

About Australian Lions Foundation

The Australian Lions Foundation has been providing grants for disaster relief, compassionate support and community initiatives since the 1980’s.  Every year the Foundation distributes more than $1 million for projects through local Lions Clubs.

The Foundation Directors are all Lion volunteers who do not receive any income for their efforts.

A special dog to assist Australians with Diabetes

The countdown is on for World Diabetes Day on Monday the 14th of November and the life of 30-year-old diabetic Eliza has been changed thanks to her new special four-legged companion.

18 month old, Labradoodle ‘Sal’, is the first Diabetic Alert Dog to be trained and placed in the new Australian Lions Medical Alert Dog program.

Sal has undertaken over 12 months of training and was delivered to her new home last week.

Since the 1980s Lions has provided over 650 Assistance Dogs to deaf or hard of hearing Australians. The new Lions Diabetic Alert Dogs are being trained to alert to low blood sugar levels in asymptomatic type 1 diabetics.

“This year marks 40 years since we delivered our first Hearing Assistance Dog. We’re delighted to be celebrating another milestone with the placement of our first Australian Lions Diabetic Alert Dog,” says Australian Lions Hearing Dogs CEO David Horne.

“Over 120,000 Australians currently suffer from type 1 diabetes, and each year 580 Australians die from the disease, many under the age of 18. Diabetic Alert Dogs have the potential to save the lives of people with type 1 diabetes, and drastically improve their quality of life,” adds David Horne.

Lions Diabetic Alert Dogs are trained to indicate by touching one paw to their owner’s leg when they are experiencing a Hypoglycaemic event (low blood sugar).

Additionally, these intelligent dogs are trained to perform helpful tasks such as retrieving a Hypokit to help treat a low or high blood glucose event, seeking assistance from another member in the household on command, and pressing an alert button to call emergency services if their owner falls unconscious when they are home alone.

“Technology has come a long way in the management of type 1 diabetes, but it doesn’t often give you the peace of mind you need. Having Sal as my Diabetic Alert Dog removes the anxiety and fear of the dangers of hypoglycaemia (or low blood sugars) and will help me sleep easier at night,” says Eliza.

Diabetic Alert Dog

Lions’ first Diabetic Alert Dog, Sal. Image Credit: ABC News.

“It’s been an amazing week, both Sal and I getting to know each other and working together. Sal is already alerting to a low blood sugar event, and able to bring me treatment (glucose source) on command which is really exciting,” she adds.

Each year Australian Lions Hearing Dogs train and provide anywhere from 25-30 Assistance Dogs around the country. It’s the only Australian organisation accredited by Assistance Dogs International to carry out such work, each dog free of charge.

The organisation is expanding to ensure it can provide much needed assistance to more Australians.

“We’re very excited to be redeveloping our National Training Centre in Adelaide and will soon have capacity to train up to 120 Assistance Dogs per year,” says CEO David Horne.

Each Assistance Dog costs upward of $37,000 to train and provide to someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, or living with type 1 diabetes, and with support of Lions Clubs and donations from members of the public, the dogs are gifted to recipients free of charge.

The placement of the first Lions Diabetic Alert Dog also coincides with Lions Australia’s Lap the Map campaign where volunteers across the country are putting on their walking shoes with an aim of walking a combined distance that will exceed Australia’s circumference (25,760 kms) by World Diabetes Day on the 14th of November.

For more information on the Australian Lions Medical Alert Dog Program, click here.

Lions Club of Quilters Victoria stitches the world together


The Lions Club of Quilters Victoria in District V1-4 have undertaken their most ambitious project yet, the International Quilt Challenge.

As part of their principle project, the Australian Quilt & Textile Collection (AQTC), the Club is requesting quilters of all skill levels from across the world to get involved.

The ‘Our World – Coming Together’ International Quilt challenge is a celebration of the global community, with 40cm x 40cm entries to be based on aspects of its creator’s home country.

An entry by Brenda Gael Smith, representing a Norfolk Pine. Image: Supplied

The final product, which the Club expects to feature several-hundred entries, will be on exhibition at the Lions Clubs International Convention held in Melbourne in 2024.

The quilts will also be exhibited at Pour l’Amour du Fil in Nantes, France, in April 2025.

Australian quilt artist, Gloria Loughman, recognised across the world for her landscape quilts, has taken on the role of Ambassador for the International Quilt Challenge.

“There has never been a better time to come together, as one, through quilting,” she said.

Ambassador, Gloria Loughman
Image: Gloria Loughman

After exhibition, the quilts will be permanently acquired by the Lions Club of Quilters Victoria’s AQTC which aims to preserve the diversity of quilts and their stories.

Final quilt entries are due by November 2023.

You can learn more about the International Quilt Challenge, including how to get involved, here.

MD201’s Kindness Matters Service Award winner announced


Marion City Lions Club from District C2 have taken out this year’s Kindness Matters Service Awards in MD201.

The Club’s entry, ‘Sensory Mats – Soothing the Senses for Patients in Emergency Care’, involves the creation of sensory mats for a local hospital.

These bright and beautiful mats are handmade by Lions using a variety of materials and elements – including zips, Velcro and beads – and are used to soothe agitated patients.

1300 volunteer hours are required annually to meet the Club’s target of 80 sensory mats every three months (320 per year).

Members of Marion City Lions Club with their creations. Image: Supplied

The Social Work Services team at Flinders Medical Centre Emergency Department approached Marion City Lions Club with the idea in January 2020.

Since beginning the project, the Club has handcrafted more than 430 sensory mats for the Flinders Medical Centre Emergency Department.

Based on their success, the mats have now been adopted into the hospital’s best practice in caring for people with dementia or a disability.

A sensory mat in action. Image: Supplied

The Kindness Matters Service Award recognises outstanding Clubs who develop creative and impactful service projects relating to one of LCIF’s cause areas; diabetes, childhood cancer, environment, hunger, vision, youth, humanitarian and disaster relief.

“This year we had 14 quality District Nominations for these awards and it was pleasing to see the increased level of interest,” said GAT Leader and Council Chairperson, Steve Boyce.

“I thank all those Clubs and Districts who participated and submitted an entry.”

Marion City Lions Club’s entry has now been sent to LCI to be considered alongside the entries of other Multiple District winners for the international component of the program.

Global winners of the Kindness Matters Service Awards will be announced in February next year.

You can keep up to date with the Club here.

A trip down Lions Road


When setting off on a recent camping trip, Calamvale Lions Club’s Alex and Amanda Harrison made sure to visit Lions Road, a longstanding project of Kyogle and Beaudesert Lions Clubs.

Located in the Border Ranges, the stretch of road forms a link between New South Wales and Queensland, and has done so since the 70s.

Image: Alex and Amanda Harrison

Locals had been calling for a cross-border road to be built since the 1930s, when the North Coast Railway traversed the rugged countryside.

In 1969, when the NSW Government rejected plans to begin construction of a new road, Kyogle Lions Club took on the project as their own.

Although initially mocked and scoffed at for having such a bold idea, Lions put in the hard yards, laying 56 sets of pipes, 12 cattle grids, and built 3 bridges to get the job done.

As the idea developed and gained more traction, Beaudesert Lions Club jumped on board to help see Lions Road realised.

The donations box on the NSW border side

Jack Hurley during the construction Image: Coffs Collection

Officially opened in 1973, the unsealed road was welcomed by locals and tourists alike.

Jack Hurley, founder of Kyogle Lions Club, was instrumental in having the idea come to fruition, and went on to pen a book about it, Lions Road, in 2002.

Profits from the book were donated to Westpac Life Saving Rescue Helicopter, over $44,000.

Kyogle Lions Club continues to contribute funds towards the upkeep of the road, much of the money coming from motorists donating into the moneybox on the NSW border side.

Nowadays, the sealed Lions Road sees over 100,000 cars each year and is recognised as being one of the most scenic drives on Australia’s east coast.

The road will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year, you can watch a short video the ABC made about Lions Road here.

Lion Maria Turns 101

A Life Well Lived for 101 Year Old Lion Maria

It was a feeling of pride when Lion Maria van den Boogaard was presented with a Melvin Jones Fellowship at a 75th Anniversary event for Lions Australia last month.

The 101-year-old has been a member of the Lions Club of Hornsby since 2000, using her many crafty skills to help those in the community and beyond.

Maria makes shopping bags and beautiful crocheted doilies that have been admired around the world, helping to fundraise for women’s community shelters and education charities.

She has also worked closely with the Lions Stamp project which raises funds for the Australian Lions Children’s Mobility Foundation.

Beautiful shopping bags hand-made by Lion Maria.

Not only is Maria a wonderful Lion, but also a wonderful woman who has led an extraordinary life – full of ups and downs, heartache and euphoria.

Born Maria Apolonia Francisca Broekhoven, on the 15th July 1921 in the Netherlands city of Rotterdam, she was the second child of 10 children, seven girls and three boys.

Her mother encouraged education, and it was at night school that Maria learned how to crochet.

She eventually graduated from high school (the H.B.S.b) and worked as a telephonist in the main Rotterdam Post Office, on the Coolsingel and took night classes in typing and shorthand in Dutch, English, French and German.

She subsequently became a teacher at night.

During this time, the Post Office Maria worked at was bombed. She walked to her grandmother’s home with bleeding feet through burning streets.

In 1948, she married Jan Hillege. As there was no housing after the war, they lived in an attic above her grandmother’s house in Rotterdam for three years.

Her husband, who had been living in hiding during the war to avoid being taken by the Germans, decided to search for new horizons.

Maria and Jan’s wedding day – 1948.

He got a job as printer in South Africa meaning the couple needed to emigrate.

He went by plane in September 1953; the journey taking three days. Maria and their four small children followed in December by ship. Everyone was seasick! They finally arrived in Cape Town where Jan was waiting.

They travelled to Johannesburg by train where Jan had rented a house and had furnished it sparsely. Their son Andre had been sick for a few days with the measles. On Christmas morning there was a knock on the door from a local doctor who had heard of their situation and who offered medical care. Could there have been a greater Christmas present?

Maria has not forgotten his kindness and care to this day.

Happily settled in South Africa, three more children were born. They were well educated in different schools that suited their personalities and interests, including music, sport and dance.

There were ups and downs – difficult times through illness, starting a printing business and the children’s years of hard study, broken hearts, happy weddings and their first grandchildren.

South Africa was by now a changed country, and when Maria’s daughter Pauline met an Australian boy who was travelling the world, there was much talk of Australia, a place sounding so peaceful and generous.

Some of the children moved there and wrote saying how happy they were. At first Jan refused to contemplate emigrating again but eventually he agreed.

They said goodbye to remaining family and friends and flew to Sydney, where they arrived in 1985 and were received with open arms – again it was a new beginning, a whole new adventure.

Eventually all came to live in Australia and the family was reunited in this wonderful, far away country.

Life goes on with its joys and sorrows. Jan died of a heart attack in November 1986.

Years later when Maria was remarried to a Dutch family friend, Cor, he tragically had a car accident and became quadriplegic while visiting South Africa for his son’s 50th birthday.

Maria went to South Africa to bring him back. Cor was admitted to hospital in Sydney, and then to many other care centres. It was terrible seeing a man as large as life, successful in business, independent and always impeccably dressed, become totally dependent on others for his care.

All avenues for cure or hope were exhausted and in 1992, he deteriorated and died with Maria at his side.

She went on to study the art of framing to precision, and took lessons in calligraphy. Maria was now 86, living independently in a unit and enjoying Tai Chi, joining in the Chinese feast days, and teaching English.

Maria 101 Years Young

Maria with Chinese friends.

These days Maria focuses on beautiful beaded doilies making up her own pattern as she goes, especially through Covid-19, with wonderful calligraphy additions. These truly are unique. They are sold every Christmas with Lions Cakes in Hornsby Westfield and Hornsby Mall. Her work is admired by many.

Love surrounds Maria with her 7 children, 17 grandchildren, 27 great grandchildren and 4 great great grandchildren living in Australia.

Sometimes they visit their old countries, but they are all now proud Australian citizens.

101 Years Young.

Maria loves the environment, loves to see plants and vegetables grow, making compost holes in the garden.

She is an avid recycler of everything possible. She loves books, poetry and music. There were many occasions of family gathered around the piano, from which most have developed wonderful skills on different instruments, excelling in pipe organ, trumpet, guitar, bugle, flute…

Gracious and elegant, always an inspiration, strongly independent, and happy to learn new technology, Maria is 101 years young and has certainly led an extraordinary life.

Gubbi Gubbi Land

Lions Restore Indigenous Cultural Site

It was National Aboriginal and Islander Observance Day Committee (NAIDOC) Week 2022 when the Sandstone Point Lions Club approved an innovative project to support local elements of the Traditional Owners, the Gubbi Gubbi people.

The Club falls within the boundaries of the cultural heartland of the Gubbi Gubbi whose Traditional Country extends from the north of Brisbane up into the Sunshine Coast, Noosa and Gympie region.

Within this large area are several cultural heritage sites held by the Gubbi Gubbi, that are listed on the Queensland Indigenous Cultural Heritage Register.

The group reached out to the Sandstone Point Lions for assistance to help maintain one of them, an area of land not far from the Club’s meeting place.

The one-hectare site is culturally very important, as it has been used ceremonially for possibly thousands of years.

The site needed some specialised care as it had become overgrown and needed fallen timber cleared, mowing and slashing, all to be carried out in a way that respected the cultural values of the site and met heritage protocols.

After several meetings with the Gubbi Gubbi management team, Letters of Agreement were exchanged and the Sandstone Point Lions swung into action.

Whipper snippers, lawnmowers, rakes, chainsaws and ride on mowers hit the site in a flurry under the watchful eye of the site’s Traditional custodians.

Sensitive parts of the site were hand-cleared, boundary grass whipper snipped and fallen timber sawed and collected to go to Camp Duckadang as firewood, and as much light grass as possible cleared to allow the balance to be slashed.

The Club then contracted the slashing to be carried out under supervision of the Club’s project manager, Immediate Past President David.

Phase Two of the project is now in the planning stages in which clearing around trees, raking of cut grass for removal and closer mowing will turn the site into a park-like state enabling visits by school groups and others, and cultural events to happen in comfort and safety.

The Club has undertaken a debrief on the project and were delighted with the feedback from the Traditional Owners.

“Gubbi Gubbi Dyungungoo Group Inc. work very hard to preserve our Gubbi Gubbi cultural values and history and it is great to have some assistance from Lions. They have done a great job and handled the cultural sensitivities around the site very well. I hope we can build a longer-term relationship to help us keep the place in good condition for the future.”

This project celebrates a piece of history for our Indigenous residents, one which gives life again to an important cultural icon.