Evan Jones Letter

From: Evan Jones.
To: COBA Webmaster
Sent: 27/3/2018
Subject: Westminster Birthday

Dear Webby,

Another First for a Collegiate Old Boy ??

How many COBs’ have had Happy Birthday sung to them in the mother of all Parliaments ?

In my role as the National International Relations Officer for Lions Clubs International (LCI) it is within my remit to organise the annual Lions Day with the United Nations (LDUN) at the Palace of Westminster.

This year it so happened I organised it for March 13th which is my Birthday (it was not deliberate just happened to be most convenient date).

LDUN is a celebration of LCI’s unique relationship with the United Nations - Lions have had this relationship since 1945 when our Founder Melvin Jones, then International President D A Skeen, & future International President Fred W Smith were invited to assist in drafting the non-governmental parts of the UN Charter helping to formulate the NGO section of the Charter & participated in developing the UN’s humanitarian mission.

LDUN is celebrated each year in New York (in the UN Building itself) as well as London, & this year for the first time also in Geneva & Nairobi.

The London event has been held for over 20 years in Committee Room 14 of the House of Commons & consists of 2/3 hours of Keynote Speakers from UN related organisations, this year it was UNESCO & the United Nations Association-UK (UNA-UK) whilst the LCI Keynote Speaker was our International First Vice President Lion Gudrun Bjort Yngvadottir who is from Iceland & who when she takes Office as International President in July of this year will be the first female President that LCI has had in its 100 years existence. James Cleverly MP who is the President of the Palace of Westminster Lions Club formally welcomed the over 180 Lions to this year’s Event, & he and another of our Speakers Lord Wood of Anfield (Chairman of UNA-UK) both in the course of their Presentations mentioned the historic nature of Committee Room 14 in that all the major parties use it for many of their significant party meetings etc.

This gave me an opportunity to point out that it also had a significance for me - for as well as being known as Committee Room 14 it is actually named the Gladstone Room - I went on to say that because of this it always gave me a sense of special pride to be Chairing the Event each year because William Gladstone was of course like me a Liverpudlian, in his case born in Rodney Street (at which in a loud whisper Lord Wood asked if he was a Blue or a Red !!), the only Prime Minster to serve 4 terms in that Office, but more importantly in 1845 he laid the Foundation Stone of my Grammar School the Liverpool Collegiate (another wag in the audience, this time more loudly, asked if I had been there at the time ?!), & that I was that day proudly wearing my School’s Old Boys Association Tie.

Anyway unbeknown to me the Lion I had asked to give the vote of thanks at the end of proceedings had found out it was my birthday & acknowledged it as such at the end of his speech at which our Lions Head Office Manager, Lion Brigitte, began singing Happy Birthday & this was taken up by all those present !!.

Quiet an end to another great & significant day for me as a Lion.

Sincerely - Evan

Hi Evan,

We don't often get a letter about the "Mother of all Parliaments" and, as a bonus, you refrained from mentioning that Mr Gladstone's middle name was 'Ewart'. I was told that he was often mocked, in Westminster for having a pronounced scouse accent. I wouldn't have thought it was prevalent, at that time.

Of course, it is always good to hear of a mention of 'The Lions'.

Regards - Webmaster.