Lions break new ground

By Benalla Ensign

The Benalla Lions Club has appointed a female president for the first time in its 60-year history.

Maddie Roff was officially appointed to the role at the club’s annual changeover dinner on Saturday evening.

Not only is she the first woman to lead the Benalla branch, but at 29 she is one of its youngest members.

Maddie has known about her new role since it was voted on in April and said it was a great honour to be at the changeover dinner about to be named club president.

‘‘I’ll be the first female to hold the role in 60 years, it feels amazing,’’ Ms Roff said.

‘‘When I first joined Lions I thought it would be cool to be the first female president one day, but I never thought that it would actually happen.’’

Ms Roff had big plans for her tenure, but said the social side of the club would be a major focus.

‘‘In the past we’ve done social nights to keep that balance between the hard work the Lions do and having a good time,’’ Ms Roff said.

‘‘So I’m going to try and incorporate the social side a bit more, and keep things fun.

‘‘But I’m just looking forward to being president. I have my speech prepared for tonight.

‘‘I’ll be taking over from the current president, Peter Poel.

‘‘He is someone I look up to. He’s been district governor as well as president, so in my speech I mention that I’ve got big shoes to fill.’’

Mr Poel said the Benalla Lions were a great club and Ms Roff would have all the support she needed to succeed.

‘‘She’ll do well, she’s the first lady president of our club and at the age of 29 she’ll have new ideas,’’ Mr Poel said.

‘‘The average age of our club is 68, so she’ll have new ways of doing things and they’ll be very welcome.

‘‘The first project she will oversee is part of the Lions centennial celebrations.

‘‘Lions international have asked all clubs to give a give a gift to the community to recognise 100 years of Lions service.

‘‘So we’ve arranged for a water fountain to come to Benalla and that will be installed in the children’s play area of the Botanical Gardens. Hopefully that will be installed in about six weeks.’’