At what has become an annual fixture, 100 guests recently sat down to enjoy the Morpeth Lions Club Chinese Charity Banquet at the Mulan Restaurant in Morpeth.
This event originally started just after the 2008 floods that had affected the then recently opened restaurant. In a gesture of sympathy for all those more drastically affected the owner Kevin Liu allowed two fundraising banquets to take place; these raised over £2000.
Over the years the Lions Club has been able to hold banquets to raise funds for its many Christmas activities and the Lion President’s designated charity. This year Lion President, Richard Nash, has chosen Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care (DaaB) as his charity. Such is the popularity of the evenings that organisers Lions Les Sage and David Armstrong had little difficulty in selling the tickets in fact it was a full house.
During the evening, Anne Gray, who is a companion for DaaB explained how the Charity operates. She and her husband, Lion John, together with many other drivers and companions will collect cancer out-patients and take them to the Freeman/RVI Hospitals from as far afield as the Scottish Borders, North Yorkshire and even West Cumbria.
Founded by Brian Burnie, the fleet of ambulances has mushroomed thanks to generous donations from the public and businesses; the latest having been given by Marks & Spencer plc. From the beginning, schools have been involved and the school names can be seen on the cheery bright blue ambulances which also bear the name chosen for the vehicle and a large cartoon brush.
Anne also mentioned how much of a lifeline the ambulances are. Often when a patient is given the news they have cancer, one of the first questions they ask is ‘How will I get to hospital for treatment?’ DaaB can give that re-assurance and with regular drivers and companions picking them up they all become good friends sharing laughter and tears.
Brian Burnie is currently on a 7000 mile journey visiting hospitals in the UK in the hope that the DaaB system will spread throughout the land. Anyone wishing to help or find out about Daft as a Brush can telephone 0191 2855999 or visit their website http://www.daftasabrush.org.uk
After thanking Anne for her heartfelt presentation, Lion President Richard said ‘The Morpeth Lions Club thanks everyone who has been involved in this wonderful evening – our guests for supporting us, Mulan and its staff for the excellent food and service, the businesses and individuals who so generously donated raffle prizes and Lions Les and David for organising the event. I am delighted to be able to present a cheque for £500 to Daft as a Brush from this evening’s event.’
Many of the guests are already looking forward to next year’s event!