After 42 years of providing practical and financial support to those in need, Downham Market Lions Club has closed its doors.

The club, formed in 1977, has been involved in a vast number of community initiatives, including forming the Downham branch of the talking newspaper, a fundraising tandem ride to Downham’s twin town of Civray, organising and co-ordinating the Christmas lights switch on and providing Santa in his grotto for the youngsters. 

In 1990 a young Lions group (Leos) was formed and in 1996 the Lionesses formed for women.

President John Fox said: “The membership had reduced to six who were struggling to continue to raise funds to fulfil their objective of helping those less fortunate.This was in no small part due to the increasing age of the membership.”

Mr Fox said changes to accounting over the years made it difficult to say exactly how much had been raised, but in the last 12 years alone around £65,000 had been used to help those in need.

He added: “A large percentage of this has been for local individuals and organisations but there has also been some passed to international appeals.

“The members would all agree that little is more heart-warming than to be able to take an elderly couple on a holiday, to present a mobility aid to a disabled child or to donate equipment to a needy cause. The years have seen many such events and often not a dry eye around.

“There have also been times, such as providing the fire service with a thermal imaging camera or supplying the first publicly available defibrillator to the people of Downham Market, when we know lives will be saved as a result of the fundraising and donations.”

Mr Fox thanked businesses and the public for their support and generosity those who supported the Lions Draw Club, taking part in the monthly draws.