Ladies find their roar: New recruits join the Esperance Lions Club

Excited to get started: Esperance Lions Club new recruits Dayna Bondarenko, Vannessa Barker, Brea Brewer and incoming president Helen Pendlebury. Photo: Sarah Makse.
Excited to get started: Esperance Lions Club new recruits Dayna Bondarenko, Vannessa Barker, Brea Brewer and incoming president Helen Pendlebury. Photo: Sarah Makse.

For the first time in the club's 52 year history, the Esperance Lions Club has appointed its first female president, Helen Pendlebury.

The volunteer organisation has been of service to the local community since 1968, through a range of fundraising and community initiatives.

Ms Pendlebury was the first woman to join the Esperance Lions Club 12 years ago and has served the organisation for more than 20 years in her home state of Victoria.

She is well prepared to take the reigns in June, having held a variety of leadership roles in her previous club including president.

Ms Pendlebury said she hoped young women would be inspired to join the club and discover the wonderful sense of community that comes with being a Lion.

"Hopefully it will get more women into the club," she said.

"It is about socialising, raising money and getting together to help people."

This year, the club of about 20 members has also welcomed a trio of enthusiastic new female volunteers who are ready to bring fresh ideas to the pack.

Esperance Lions Club new recruit Dayna Bondarenko said she was inspired to join the club for its sense of unity and to give back to her community.

"My Dad was a life member of the Lions Club and it was something I've wanted to do to follow in his footsteps and I just feel like it is good community spirit," she said.

"I can also cook a mean sausage sizzle like my Dad."

Brea Brewer has also joined this year and will kick-start the club's social media presence to help boost their profile and hopefully entice some new volunteers.

"I am really excited about being a part of the club, I didn't know much about Lions before I joined," she said.

"With the three of us joining we will bring a little bit of young blood to the group.

"I think its important to focus on social media to show people all that they do as a club that not many people know about."

Vannessa Barker thanked the current and long-serving Esperance Lions members for welcoming them to the club and said she couldn't wait to get started.

"I am looking forward to lending a hand whenever I can because humanity has gone a bit crazy at the moment so we all need to band together to help each other out," she said.

"I'd like to thank the Esperance Lions for welcoming us so openly and I look forward to a future as a Lion, hear us roar."

The club's most recent project was the renovation and rejuvenation of the Esperance Health Campus hospital courtyard to create a safe space for patients, staff and families.

It has boosted community health through initiatives such as its sight clinics and the skin cancer bus.

The Lions have also supported local organisations including the Esperance St John Sub Centre, Esperance RSL and the Esperance Agricultural Show.

Volunteers also run the annual Christmas 'Carols by Candlelight' and have assisted in times of crisis, including with fire and disaster relief.

Although the club's event schedule has been put on hold in light of the coronavirus pandemic, new members were encouraged to get involved with the club and to come along to their meetings on the first and third Tuesday of each month.

For more information or to inquire about joining, community members can email or follow their Facebook page.