Who doesn’t like going out somewhere to meet friends when somebody else cooks the food and you’re making money for charity at the same time?! It seems over 70 people were of that mindset when Caterham, Oxted & Godstone Lions held another of their famous themed evenings – this time it was Italian, with a menu of bruschetta, lasagne, tiramisu and limoncello. Entertainment on an Italian theme was provided by Tim Lomas who stood in at the last moment for Nat Rhodes, who had a family emergency.

The Dinner was a good opportunity for Lions to give recognition to one of Godstone’s most stalwart volunteers, Louise Case. In addition to being a Parish Councillor and Chairman of Godstone Fete Committee, around 10 years ago Louise instituted, and still runs, Café Connect – a coffee morning on the first Saturday of each month, held in Godstone’s Youth Centre. Each month there is a different charity to support, stalls, a raffle and, of course coffee and cake – and there is always a goodly crowd. The Lions presented Louise with the Bob Tester Cup, an award given each year in memory of Lion Bob who passed away many years ago, and is given to somebody who goes ‘above and beyond’ in their voluntary work – as Bob himself always did. 

At time of writing the Father Christmas Float is just starting its rounds of the Villages and the Club is most grateful to all the 36 ‘friends of Lions’ who have willingly signed up to help – by towing the sleigh or collecting door to door, wearing Santa hats, Lions hi-vis tabards and with a collecting tin in one hand and a torch in the other, negotiating hundreds of front gardens on the way to the front doors There were seldom many people who refused to give a pound or two or a handful of small change – and we gloss over those who were obviously in but didn’t answer the door after dark to strange folk in funny hats – and, really, who can blame them?

One wonderful result of fundraising is that we are able to give money away – and recently it was £2,000 to Caterham Food Bank, which enabled them to give out 280 hampers containing essentials and some Christmas treats. The boxes are colour coded according to family unit size and some contents are bought in and others donated. Recipients are referred to the Food Bank by agencies such as Social Services, Citizens Advice, GP or schools. The Lions Club of Caterham, Oxted & Godstone would like to wish all readers a Healthy and Happy 2024…and maybe some will give a thought to the possibility of joining the Club – to make a difference in the community by helping people less fortunate than themselves.