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The Fonthill Lions: We Serve

PELHAM – November 20, 2017 – Throughout its history, the Fonthill Lions Club and its members, like Marylou Hilliard, Fred Arbour and Jake Dilts, has stepped up time and time again to support the recreational spaces and facilities that bring Pelham residents together.

For decades now, when the community has sought a new space to play, compete and come together, the Fonthill Lions Club has been there.

It’s no surprise then that when the opportunity came for the club to support the capital campaign for Pelham’s new community centre its members stepped up with a $25,000 five-year contribution. It’s not the first time the club has stepped up to support the spaces that bring the community together, in fact it seems the club’s history is in some ways tied directly to the recreational history of the town.

Back in 1950 the Lions purchased the land adjacent to what is now Marlene Stewart Streit Park. The club opened up access to the park with that land, improved the baseball diamond and, perhaps most notably, built the outdoor ice rink that would come to serve as the town’s first public skating rink. In the early 1960s the club gifted the land to the town. That gift effectively created Marlene Stewart Streit Park, and created a space for Pelham residents to lace up their skates for a few laps or some outdoor hockey. Many of the club’s 21 members can remember playing on that ice.

“I used to play hockey down there on Sunday nights, it was great let me tell you,” said secretary Fred Arbour, remembering a time when the first practice of the day included parents and players shoveling off any snow on the rink.

“It used to be a pretty active place,” said Arbour, who noted when the time came for the town to upgrade to its current arena in 1975 the Lions again stepped up to support that capital campaign. Over the years the club has supported countless recreation projects, including the town’s first public pool in 1974.

“If there’s anything going on in the community we are there,” said Arbour, noting all the effort is just a way to give back to the tight-knit community that has, in turn, supported the club. In the end, he said, it’s all about the Lions motto, “we serve.” That creed carries special importance for the Fonthill Lions. It was Fonthill Lion Doug Stephenson who coined the international motto in 1954.

Treasurer Jake Dilts said supporting the new community centre, complete with gymnasiums, dual ice surfaces, indoor walking track and multi-purpose spaces, was an obvious way to extend that legacy of the club, which traces its roots back to a charter meeting in 1945.

“It’s going to be a place for all the community,” said Dilts, who envisions a location where all generations of Pelham residents, including the Lions, will come together for sports, for fundraisers and for social gatherings.

“That’s what convinced us,” he said.

Contact us today at hello@ourpcc.ca to discuss how you can support this transformational project for Pelham.