Once the formation of a new Lions Club has been achieved, tradition dictates that the Charter of the new club shall be presented at a special ceremony, usually on the occasion of a gala dinner. LCYH, being unusual, decided a Sunday luncheon would be more appropriate . We did however think that the location should, perhaps for the first and last time, be prestigious. And here one of our sponsor clubs, LC Versailles Trianon (LCVT), came into its own.
Within LCVT, itself chartered in 1980, there reside members of the Légion d’honneur who were able to make introductions to the Château du Val in the forest of St Germain-en-Laye. This XVII-century hunting lodge was built for Louise XIV and is currently owned and operated by the Légion as a hotel and retirement home. However, it still retains it palatial reception areas, salons and dining rooms and for LCYH, was just the perfect fit.
We entertained some 100 paying guests at an event that brought together Lions from our other sponsor club, Brussels Heraldic (LCBH), past and present, of which the founding president of LCYH is a founder member, along with Belgian Lion dignitaries and members of our new District, Ile de France Ouest.
There was good food, excellent wine and humorous speeches after which the District Governor, Bertrand Lissarrague, who was instrumental in agreeing that an English-speaking club should be created and be the first of its kind in France, presented the Charter to the President. This was followed by the presentation of pins and certificates to the new Lions. LCBH presented the Club banner and LCVT the Club bell and gavel. The presentation of the ‘Little Lion’ to the TailTwister was completely eclipsed by the arrival of a fully animated and costumed Chinese lion, on which the French and Belgian Governors each painted an eye that represented the true birth of the Club. At the close of the day, as the new Members signed their Charter, all clubs present exchanged fanions with LCYH as they wandered down the corridors of a hunting lodge created for the Sun King and pondered on the future of a new-style Anglophone Lions club born therein.