What a fabulous week!
The major element of our Centennial Service Challenge was the Special Olympics GB Games, in Sheffield and, as always, Lions responded magnificently, led superbly by Lions Margaret Riley and Simon Smith who planned, organized and encouraged for two years in the run up to the Games.
They were outstanding and I cannot praise them highly enough!
The first challenge was to raise £25,000 to put on the ‘Family Hosting Programme’. This was achieved, so everything the team wanted to do was done. Thank you to every Club that contributed.
The plan was to provide for 5,000 families but that became 5,500 and then, ultimately, 7,000! The Lions Family Village was well signposted throughout the City, for a few weeks in advance of the Games and during the Games themselves, as shown on the attached banner.
Arriving in Sheffield and visiting the Lions Family Village at the start of the week was inspiring. The number of people, families and participants who were there was incredible. Lions were attending to everyone as quickly as they could; Lions rose to the challenge!
Heavy rain caused flash floods and at one point water was running through the Lions’ Marquee. There was no time to stand still, every hand was needed to cope with the demand. Bag packing,assisting visitors and giving directions was what was required, so that is what we did! It was a pleasure to meet so many of the Lions who volunteered.
The participants from the MD105 Youth Camp, in Worcester, came to Sheffield for the opening ceremony and were both visible and vocal.
Lions were everywhere, in the Family Hosting area, at the venues, marshalling, managing venues and pointing people in the right direction..
The games are, of course, about the Special Olympians themselves and everything that the Volunteers did was helping the amazing athletes fulfill the Special Olympics Oath:
“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
A huge ‘thank you’ is due to each and every Lion who volunteered, participated and supported; together, we fulfilled our Centennial Service Challenge, thanks echoed by Murton Mann, Chairman, Special Olympics GB.
I would like to extend my thanks to the amazing support of the Lions and those who gave up their time so willingly to help make the Games a success.