A Paw on the Back to the 1991 Lions

Westport Lions Roar

By Lion Bob Reddick

“A Paw on the Back” and “Lions Beach Opens Amid Fanfare, Feast and Auction” were two of the headlines in the 1991, July issues of The Mirror.

On July 19, 1991, the Westport Lions and volunteers celebrated the opening of the new beach house and gazebo. Volunteers were still laying sod and planting shrubs around the beach house as over 300 people began arriving for the celebration.

Director of ceremonies and project chairperson Neil Scott had high praise for everyone who had contributed in any way to the transformation of the beach property. 

“It was just one year ago,” Scott said, “that we inspected the old change rooms and washrooms and found their condition deplorable.”

“It was last April when near unanimous support by the Lions members got the ball rolling, and the fundraising began.  Donations of money, muscle and expertise by a lot of people made it possible for the area to have a beach and facilities which can be classed as one of the best in the province.”  (Lucille Bresee for The Mirror)

The celebration began at 5:00 p.m. with a roast beef dinner, followed by the official opening of the new Lions Beach House and finally, at 7:00 p.m. an “Auction with a Difference” was held.

To show their appreciation for the many hours people put into bringing this project to fruition, the Westport Lions held a free roast beef dinner for all volunteers and charged $5.00 for everyone else. The meal was catered and subsidized by Nancy and Earl Grace of the Stagecoach Inn in Newboro. 

Lion President Brian Thake using a butcher’s knife, cut a large ribbon to signify the official opening of the rejuvenation of the beach facilities. Assisting Brian was Past President Earl Grace, Project Chairperson Neil Scott, and Reeves Harold Derbyshire, Jack Murphy and Bill Thake.

Lion Norm Reside, who was the catalyst behind the project was presented with the Golden Hammer award, a plaque which the recipient said he would hang by the fireplace in his home.  Norm had delayed the construction of his own home so he could work on the beach house.   

Elizabeth Bryan and Michelle Kane represented the swimming program and presented the Club with a huge poster of a lion saying, “Thank you Lions.”

Terry Bryan from Sports Fan Attic donated t-shirts to all non-Lion volunteers. 

John Winskell and Jerry Andre provided guitar music and song before and during dinner.

A very successful “Auction with A Difference” with auctioneer Owen Fitzgerald took place.  It was made possible by the generosity of 83 individuals and businesses donating services or items. Some items auctioned off were:

  • 8 hours of masonry work;
  •  transportation of a group to an outing within 30 miles one way;
  • one tree cut down, cut up, and the wood and brush piled;
  • a day of guided ice-fishing with lunch;
  • one handmade girl’s dress;
  • 1-inch sirloin steak for every Saturday in July and August;
  • $40 of Avon products;
  • five dozen minnows;
  • two dozen frogs;
  • one hour of figure skating lesson;
  • one septic tank clean-out;
  • two hours of coaching for two minor hockey players;
  • one day of guided duck hunting;
  • two hours of water skiing;
  • 25 loonies for video games or pool;
  • dinners with M.P. Jim Jordon and M.P.P. Bob Runciman;
  • limousine service for a wedding or an anniversary;
  • two bags of Humpty Dumpty Potato chips every week for 52 weeks;
  •  30-minute airplane ride;
  • sailboard lesson;
  • one drive to a medical appointment. 

As you can see from this small sample, there was something for everyone. 

It is a proud moment in the history of the Westport Lions Club when you read about former Lions taking up a challenge, seeing it through to completion, and obtaining the support of the community to make it happen.

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