Caterham Oxted & Godstone’s highlight of the social calendar is their Charter Anniversary Lunch – 45 years this year since they were chartered by Lions Clubs International. A tremendous amount of work went into planning the occasion – the venue was Reigate Manor (which is just below the M25 on Reigate Hill) the menu, the Speakers, the Souvenir Program, the table plan, the flowers….not forgetting the raffle!

The timing was 12.30 for 1.00 p.m. on Sunday 22nd October…and at around 12.30 the police closed the M25 at Junction 7 Reigate Hill, for what was described as an ‘incident’. It was later revealed they had found a body beside the motorway – very sad…but the closure caused the guests arriving from as far afield as Maidstone, Bexley, Horley, East Grinstead…. to be stuck in traffic. Local visitors knew the back roads – not much help as they too were clogged. At 1.p.m. 20 guests had not arrived – the start was delayed until 1.30. Guest of Honour was Tandridge MP, Rt Hon. Claire Coutinho, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, who also arrived late – the last people to arrive had taken one hour fifty minutes from Godstone. Ms Coutinho was due to speak last, after the meal, to reply to the toast of ‘Our Partners & Guests’ but she feared if she stayed she would be late for another engagement, so she spoke first – very briefly! After that the timetable went further out of the window – but we Brits love a challenge, don’t we, and Lions are no different! The room went with the flow, Lion President Tony Gordon proposed the toast to Lions Clubs International and the District of SE England and Vice President Lion Bob Knowles proposed the toast to the Partners & Guests.

So all in all a rather nerve-wracking event for the master of ceremonies Lion Secretary John Quincey – but everybody still had a most enjoyable lunch, (praise given to the Hotel for still providing an edible meal despite the delay). We met up with old friends, made new friends, hopefully, and looked forward to being of service to the community for many more years.

Earlier this year, the Club collaborated with East Grinstead Lions to provide some funding for special needs students from St Stephen’s School, South Godstone to attend Riding for the Disabled in East Park Lane, Lingfield. On 5th October, three Members of the Club were joined by three from East Grinsted Lions to witness a session. The head of inclusion at St Stephen’s, Rebecca Hodges expressed her thanks for the funds that enable a group of children of varying ages and needs to gain the benefit from the activity, which provides self confidence, physical exercise, etc. Work missed through the riding sessions is caught up back at school during regular PE lessons.

In the smart large indoor school, five youngsters on mounts led by volunteers were guided through a series of exercises. Despite their personal challenges they were obviously enjoying themselves. A most worthwhile activity.

  • SANTA SLEIGH UPDATE: The Lions Father Christmas float will call door to door between 6pm and 8.p.m. on the following dates:-

  • South Godstone (east of A22) 7th December and (west of A22) 14th December

  • Godstone (north of A25) 13th December and (south of A25) 18th December

  • Bletchingley on 11th December and Caterham Village on the 19th are under threat of cancellation unless more collectors can be found.