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District 105D - 50th Annual Convention 2015

The 50th Annual Convention of District 105D of Lions Clubs International,  Wessex Hotel, Bournemouth on the 20th - 22nd March 2015.

The Flag Ceremony with the 130 Squadron Bournemouth Air CadetsThe 50th Annual Convention weekend for Lions Clubs in the south of England was a special occasion for a number of reasons. 

The Friday morning dawned cloudy in Bournemouth preventing the solar eclipse from being fully viewed, but as the temporary darkness across the country cleared from the coinciding Supermoon, Spring Equinox and Solar Eclipse the Lions looked forward to the start of the Golden Jubilee Convention.

The 50th Anniversary Convention began in fine style with the opening flag ceremony the 130 Squadron Bournemouth  Air Cadets raising the Union Jack and the Convention Flag during a smart display of military drill at the front of the Wessex Hotel. After the ceremony the air cadets had the opportunity of talking to and having photos taken with former Red Arrows Pilot and Chair of Council MD105 - Past District Governor Michael Phillips. 

On Friday evening the convention festivities started with a bang. The host Night was themed 'a day at the seaside'. Many Lions and their partners joined in the fancy dress fun in themed costumes varying from Hawaiian beachwear through to the traditional British beach attire of the Victorian era during an evening of cabaret and musical entertainment.

The Convention is the Annual General Meeting of the 65 Lions Clubs in the South of England and the Channel Islands.

DG elect Alan Chapman & AnneBeing a large family of Lions Clubs with 1253 members in this District, the 50th 'Golden Convention' made the ideal opportunity for old friends to catch up and for club Lions to make new friends across 65 strong spectrum of Lions Clubs in the south of England.

During the morning session nominations were made for next year's District Governor, 1st Vice District Governor and 2nd Vice District Governor. Resolutions were proposed, reports considered and debated and special awards presented. Amongst those was the Young Ambassador Award given to Jenna Volpert for her outstanding achievements in community service work on the Island of Jersey. Jenna could not be there in person as she was attending interviews for Medical School, but sent a video message to give an enlightening account of her community work and her motivation to do so much in the largely unknown poorer areas of Jersey. 

An open forum followed allowing Lions to speak directly to the International Guest - Past International Director Phil Nathan and Chairman of Council MD 105 - Past District Governor Michael Phillips. 

David Baxter-Smith

The Guest Speaker - Mr David Baxter-Smith a retired Consultant Urological Surgeon was then introduced to Convention by PDG Patrick Hamblin. David gave a speech detailing how he has been working with Lions Clubs and other organisations nationwide to run prostate cancer awareness and screening events. So far in the 18 months he has been organising these events with Lions, 8,500 men have been screened for prostate cancer. David Baxter-Smith has received 828 letters of thanks from men who have had early diagnosis of prostate cancer and to receive life saving treatment as a direct result of these awareness sessions. His unique approach and untiring work in analysing test results, sending out traffic light coded results to each one of the thousands of men tested, was recognised in a surprise award. While thanking David for his inspiring talk District Governor Mike Hendy awarded him a 'Melvin Jones Fellowship' - the highest award achievable in Lions Clubs worldwide.

Listen to Mr Baxter-Smith's keynote speech...

1st DG Elect David Taylor

After lunch the 50th Anniversary Convention broke with tradition by holding 8 break-out workshops where delegates were able to talk and learn about social media in Lions, new Lions orientation, youth projects, becoming a District Officer, forming New Clubs, strengthening existing Clubs, how we can support the Lions Clubs International Foundation and planning for the Lions International Centennial Celebrations taking place in 2017.

The much anticipated results of the elections were then announced. District Governor for 2015/16 will be Alan Chapman of Warminster Lions Club. 1st Vice District Governor 2015/16 will be David Taylor of Gillingham, Mere & Shaftesbury Lions Club and 2nd Vice District Governor 2015/16 will be Peter Burnett from Wimborne & Ferndown Lions Club. The newly elected District Governor Team came to the stage and each addressed Convention to explain their plans and aspirations for District 105D for the future.

Past International Director Phil Nathan was then invited to address Convention. He talked through Lions service in their communities, the wider work carried out by Lions worldwide and the benefits of being part of the largest voluntary service organisation in the world.2nd VDG elect Peter Burnett

The formalities finished with the date of the next convention being announced as Saturday the 19th of March 2016 to be held at the Holiday Inn, Winchester, before Lions and their partners prepared for the final social function of Convention - a black tie banquet and banquet and ball.

On Sunday morning further awards were made to Lions Clubs throughout the District at an informal get together where another new innovation saw 6 clubs give informal 5 minute talks to the audience of 100 other Lions about projects in their local areas, which have achieved success and help raise the profile of Lions Clubs International.

Lions Club members left Bournemouth at the end of a memorable weekend with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and motivation for the work each carries out to help others in the community. Many took part in the Peace Poster Competition and other inter-club competitions, which recognise their work within their individual communities. 

Report and pictures by Richard Keeley - District Marketing & PR Co-ordinator