The first concept
In 1981, at a new member induction, the President of Torquay Lions Club, Lion Michael Luntz, commented that one day a new Lions Club would be formed in Babbacombe and St Marychurch in addition to Torquay. Contact was made with a number of people in the area and as a result, within 18 months the necessary number of 20 members required to form a new Lions Club was consequently reached.
However, the new Club then had to obtain the support from the Lions Club of Torquay and most of all this was given only by the casting vote of the then President Lion Gordon Langley. As a result permission was therefore sought from the District Governor Lion David Honey, which was granted in March 1983.
The Clubs history dates back to the first meeting, which was a new member ceremony of all new Lions as Charter members of Babbacombe & St Marychurch Lions Club. This was held at the Snooty Fox, St Marychurch on 31st May 1983. Lion Derek Donaghue (Lions Club of Torquay) Vice District Governor for the South West (also know as 105SW) performed the ceremony in the presence of up standing members of the local community. Also in attendance was Lion David Saunders who was the British Isles and Ireland’s International Director for Lions Clubs International. He had traveled down to Torbay from West Sussex especially for the occasion.
The official Charter presentation to Babbacombe and St Marychurch Lions Club took place at the Redcliffe Hotel, Paignton on November 21st 1983 in the presence of 180 guests. District Governor Lion Brian Lethbridge presented the clubs Charter Certificate. On the same evening a Twinning agreement was signed with the Lions Club of Gent – Scaldis, Belgium.
Fundraising started immediately with the start of the Victorian Evenings held every Thursday in the St Marychurch precinct.
Members dressed in period costumes and ran a “Teddy Bear Stall”, selling tickets @ 20p each. On one evening, between the hours of 7pm and 9pm as much as £4,200, (less expenses of course) was raised.
Most noteworthy, within six weeks after starting the Club the very first presentation was made to a local profoundly deaf child. He was given equipment to enable him to participate in classroom activities at his local school.