March 7th and 8th marked Lions Awareness Days, but it was business as usual for the Lions Club of Bellingen, who spent the whole of Saturday catering for the hungry crowds at the Sgt Matthew Locke Charity footy match. “The Charity match is always one of our biggest days,” says John Molly (aka Curly), Catering Chairman for our local Lions. The Bellingen Park gates opened on Saturday at 11am, but you can be sure that John was there from the crack of dawn.
John moved to Bellingen in 1982 and is known by most as “a great butcher”, only having retired eight years ago. But for the past 15 years, John has taken care of the catering for the Lions Club of Bellingen, cooking up sausage sandwiches and egg and bacon rolls at market days, events and of course, the footy. “I just can’t get away from meat,” laughs John.
Chatting with John, one begins to appreciate the commitment he and his fellow Lions Club committee members make. “Every third Saturday of each month Wal Tyson, Spot Smales and myself are setting up the Lions kitchen at the Bellingen Markets from 5.15 am, until other members turn up to help. And when the footy season kicks off, we provide the catering every second weekend. Our biggest weekend is the Bellingen Show, where we are ‘all hands on deck’ for the whole weekend,” says John.
Over the past 16 months the Club has raised $50,000 for donations, primarily through the catering efforts of John and his team. In November last year the Club donated $6000 worth of fencing material to the ‘Blaze Aid’ depot at Ebor, (supplied at cost price from Coffs Harbour Produce plus free delivery), plus a box of Lions Chrissy cake ($312) to keep them going. A further $10,000 was donated to the ‘District Governor Disaster Relief Appeal’. This money helps during the recovery period for people who have lost homes in the fires. A further $9000 from the Lions Club Xmas Raffle and cake sales was also contributed to Blaze Aid & District Gov. Drought Relief.
Annually the Club donate to Westpac helicopter; Careflight; NSW & ACT Safe Sight and Healthcare Foundation – for health equipment and grants and the Lions hearing dogs. Closer to home, the Club donate to book prizes for all the local schools, provide a scholarship worth $250 to Bello High School and donate back to footy club from the markets every year.
“There’s also so many little things that we do that you wouldn’t know about,” says John. The group collect all the wood from the Bellingen Show woodchop, store it for a year then chop it up and deliver a trailer load to pensioners in the region. All free of charge. And I’m told that Pat, who delivers the firewood, is 82 years old (or should we say young).
“I joined the Lions Club because I wanted to help. We get together and have lots of fun. And it gives me something to do. If you sit around you lose everything,” says John. Not much chance of that. John also volunteers 4 mornings a week at the Bellingen Golf Club. If you’re up early you might catch a glimpse of him mowing the fairways.
John is already planning for the annual Lions Club Seniors Lunch at the Bellingen Showground Luncheon Pavilion on March 29th. “I love my work with the Lions,” says John. Go you good thing!!