Over 65 Years of History

In 1955 the Club was formed with 15 members and became one of only four Lions Clubs in Sussex - today there are thirty-three Clubs in Sussex and over 900 in the British Isles and Ireland. 

The President of the Club in that inaugural year was David Saunders and David was an active member of the Club until 2015.  In the 2007 New Year Honours List, Lion David Saunders was awarded the MBE for his services to charity.  

Surely there are few organisations that can boast the fact that they have such a dedicated member in their ranks? 

Lion David Saunders with Enid and his MBE, 2007 The Saunders family at Buckingham Palace, 2008

Another member, Harry Addison, also joined in 1955, some 6 months after the inauguration of the Club so David and Harry between them have given over 100 years of service to the community. Quite an achievement! Unfortunately, Lion Harry died in 2009 and a bench in his memory has been installed outside the Lions Bookshop he loved so much.

Lion David finally passed away in 2015 after 62 years in Lionism, the longest serving member in the United Kingdom and Ireland.  He also has a bench in his memory - installed next to that of Lions Harry.

In the early years it took the members some time to convince the public that the Burgess Hill District Lions were not a rugby team. Even today it has to be said there is still the odd occasion today when somebody initially assumes that rugby is our game! Although, like rugby players, Burgess Hill District Lions play hard they do it in the field of community service not on the pitch.

Records do not exist to show exactly how much money Burgess Hill District Lions Club has raised in its 59 years life although a conservative estimate would be certainly in excess of £1,000,000 at current pricing levels. This money has been used and will continue to be used to benefit the community.

All money raised by each Lions Club goes directly to worthy causes. The majority of recipients will be local to the area served, but there are times when a Lions Club will join with other Lions Clubs world wide to provide assistance in the event of a national or international disaster. Through the International Association of Lions Clubs, which is the World's largest Service Organisation, help can be quickly directed to those in need throughout the world, as was the case very recently when Lions worked closely with the Red Cross and UNICEF to provide much needed help to the survivors of the South Asia Tsunami disaster.

Sometimes help is required internationally for survivors of natural disasters in our own country too. In 1956, just one year after the formation of Burgess Hill District Lions Club, Lions from overseas provided substantial funds to help the survivors of the English East Coast Flood disaster and more recently similar help was provided for the residents of Boscastle following the 2004 floods.

Until recent years the Club co-ordinated the "Shoe Box Appeal" which has allowed local schoolchildren and residents to fill a shoebox with much needed essential everyday products for the Lions to personally deliver to those in desperate need in Belarus in Eastern Europe. Another Lions club has now taken over.

Many projects that the Lions initiated are still going strong - these include the Burgess Hill Boys Club, MedicAlert and Christmas food parcels.

Nowadays the majority of the Club's income is generated from the "Book Den" which is the Club's own second-hand book and record shop in Church Walk, Burgess Hill. This shop also serves as a focal point for the Club's activities and provides a forum for an exchange of information between the community and Club members.

Other regular fund raising events are the Christmas collections using the now famous converted Milk Float that takes Santa on his trip around the houses during December. The Milk Float then gets a summer make over for the Burgess Hill and Hurstpierpoint Summer Festival carnival processions before reverting again for Santa's use the following December.

The Club can, of course, only continue to succeed if it has an active membership. Currently the Club has a total of 33 male and female members. Being a member is very rewarding so if you would like to be part of taking the Club forward into its next 60 years please email us via the Contact Us page.