President Wynson Beswick (C) on parade with the Lions last month. SUR
Lions mark 25 years of promoting help and understanding

Lions mark 25 years of promoting help and understanding

Founded in 1998, La Cala de Mijas Lions Club has since raised 1.4 million euros for charitable organisations and worthy causes on the coast

Tony Bryant


Friday, 9 June 2023, 12:54

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La Cala de Mijas Lions Club will mark its 25th year of promoting international understanding on the Costa del Sol with a special black-tie charter night gala on Friday 16 June. Since its inception, the club has raised a staggering 1.4 million euros, all of which has been donated to various charitable organisations, people in danger of social exclusion and other causes.

Current president, Wynson Beswick, said that reaching the silver jubilee makes all its members and volunteers "extremely proud".

"The club was formed by a small group of individuals, and since then it has grown in leaps and bounds. It is a great achievement to be celebrating our 25th anniversary," the president told SUR in English.

Mission of service

Founded on the coast by Martin Rhead in 1998, the club quickly began extending its mission of service, and along with its campaign to meet humanitarian needs by serving the local community, today it boasts three volunteer-run charity shops, along with a diabetes and an Alzheimer's support group.

Among the charity's major concerns are the homeless, the environment, children's cancer, blindness, diabetes and dementia and its members and supporters have worked tirelessly in all of these areas in order to offer help where it is most needed.

The club also supports several local charities, including Adintre, Soroptimist and Cáritas, along with promoting the Lions International Fund, which offers assistance during national disasters like earthquakes and floods.

"The Lions members are all volunteers and they work tirelessly to raise money for those in need. Every single euro raised for charity is donated to the various causes we support. We are all very proud to be part of the world's largest service organisation," press officer Anne Bowles, who has been a Lion for 20 years, explained.

Twenty-five years ago, Anne and her late husband, Frank, who was a diabetic, decided to invite like-minded people to their home to discuss diabetes and the help required from the medical services here in Spain. On hearing about this, La Cala Lions invited Anne and Frank to become members. The club formalised the Diabetic Support Group under their umbrella, and since then they have offered tremendous support for diabetes, which is now one of the main initiatives for Lions International.

Charity shops

The first shop, which opened in 2004, was the brainchild of the then president Ron Freeman, and it proved to be an instant success. These second-hand shops accumulate a large percentage of the annual funds raised.

Along with the income from the shops, the Lions host five major events each year, along with numerous other social activities. These include charity galas, spring and Christmas fairs and an annual fashion show as well as the charter night dinner and dance, during which, a new list of officers is announced and a new president elected.

"I have really enjoyed every moment as president, although it is very hard work. This has been the quickest year of my life," Wynson said.

Tickets for the charter night dinner cost 45 euros and are available from the club's charity shops in La Cala de Mijas.

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