Archive for the ‘LIONS’ Category


Michael Fisher

Michael Fisher

I have written a series of blogs on various topics since I started up my website in July 2010. I have also had some articles published in various newspapers and I have included them in this section. Now in a move to prompt me I hope to write more blogs on the issues of the day and other subjects of interest (including local history), I have created a dedicated blog page, FisherBelfast’s Blog. I have transferred the blogs from here to the new site, but I will leave the ones for 2010, 2011 and 2012 here for archive purposes. So I am now inviting you to take alook at how I have cast my rod and started fishing for stories on a new page. Thank you to all those who have read my blogs here. Please sign up on my new page for regular emails about fresh stories.




Trumpeters from the Irish Army

Another historic week in Northern Ireland. Two days after Queen Elizabeth stayed at Hillsborough Castle during her diamond jubilee celebrations, the Defence Forces (Irish Army) No. 1 Band appeared at an official engagement in the North for the first time. Two trumpeters sounded a fanfare as the Lord Lieutenant for Belfast Dame Mary Peters arrived at the front entrance. A location that has been the setting for several important events during the peace process. Under the baton of Lt Colonel Mark Armstrong, Director of the School of Music, the band entertained guests at Hillsborough at a garden party. The event was the climax in a year of celebrations for Belfast Rotary Club, marking its centenary. The band combined at one stage with the Abbey Singers from Newtownabbey in a good example of North/South co-operation. The North’s Justice Minister David Ford was among the guests.

Lt Col Mark Armstrong & David Ford MLA, NI Justice Minister

He took the opportunity to congratulate the band on their appearance. Over 600 guests attended the charity event, with 75% of the takings going towards Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign and the balance going to local charities. The band played a selection of tunes including marches and they delighted the large attendance. Guests were also able to enjoy a stroll in the Castle grounds as the entertainment took place. Happily the sun shone as the band played. The Rotarians included the current Belfast President Dr Adrian Kerr and the incoming President Alan Rundle, whose father was President fifty years ago. Alan is an optician and I should declare an interest as he is the person I get my glasses from! I passed on the congratulations of Belfast Lions Club on this special occasion. I was also pleased to meet my former neighbour from Ardilea in Dublin, Mark Doyle, who is President of Dublin Rotary Club.

Belfast Lions Club President Michael Fisher & Dublin Rotary President Mark Doyle.

Like the Lions, both Dublin and Belfast have long-standing ties and the event at Hillsborough has served to strengthen North/South ties.  It was nice to meet several Rotarians from the Republic. The District Governor for Ireland Barney Callaghan is from Limerick and there were also members there from Wexford and Dun Laoghaire.

Belfast Lions President Michael Fisher & Rotary President Dr Adrian Kerr



Day 1 departing from Kingsmeadow

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! I undertook to walk 60 miles (one for each of my 60 years) to fundraise for charities. In Dublin I took part in the Milltown 25 walk, marking the exile of Shamrock Rovers FC from Glenmalure Park at Milltown quarter of a century ago. The 6 mile (10k) walk was to the new stadium at Tallaght. Back in Belfast, I completed another 5 miles by walking from home into town and back as part of my preparation for the major challenge. As a founder member of the Dons Trust (supporting AFC Wimbledon) I participated in the fifth Walk Further for Wimbledon. This year the route on the London outer orbital path  covered 50 miles over three days, starting at Kingsmeadow and finishing at Underhill, North London, in time to watch the league 2 match between Barnet (who had just dismissed former Dons’ FA Cup hero Lawrie Sanchez as manager) and AFC Wimbledon. Last year’s walk finished at Kingsmeadow in time for the final match of the season (40 miles over two days) but this time it ended at an away game.

Arriving at Underhill

What was even more painful after the walk was completed was to watch AFC Wimbledon being thumped by the Bees 4-0!  As a member of Belfast Lions Club I am also fundraising for the Moorfields Lions Korle Bu eyesight project in Ghana, a trust chaired by Past International Director Lion Howard Lee. The walk began on Thursday 26th April at 9:15 am and finished on Saturday 28th around 1:15pm. Thanks to my fellow walkers for the company on most of the route and for lending a helping hand when needed. I am also grateful to those who have already made donations via my JustGiving page.





Multiple District 105 Convention, Waterfront Hall, Belfast,

Saturday 7th May 2011

Lord Mayor, Chairman of Council, International President, other distinguished guests, and fellow Lions. First I would like to thank District Governor Terence Mangan for asking me to perform this task. I am privileged to do so and it is with a certain amount of nervousness but also pride that I now welcome you, Councillor Pat Convery. Like yourself, I am a blow-in, who has been here only 26 years or so. Whereas you came from another part of NI, County Derry, I came from Dublin to cover the troubles for RTÉ News as a TV reporter. Both of us, I hope have come to admire this city which forty years ago was torn apart by violence and now seeks a new way forward in peaceful times. “Pro tanto quid retribuamus” is the motto: In return for so much, what shall we give back. A very appropriate one also for Lions, whose  function as a voluntary group is service to the community. That service was inspired in this city since 1958 by a businessman who many of you will remember, Bert Mason. He has a special place in Lions history as he went on to become International President in 1984. He was a founder member of the Belfast Lions Club, the third in this district to be chartered after Dublin and Cork. One of their first schemes was a meals on wheels service in East Belfast, which was later extended to other areas. From a small beginning a significant structure was built and lasted for over forty years.

Bert who came from Donaghadee passed to his eternal reward in 2007. It was his view that Lionism is one of the greatest unifying forces in the world, bringing together people from different cultures, politics and religions, all answering the call to serve.

I hope that spirit he spoke about will live on in the revived Belfast Lions Club. We were set up in February and our first public fundraising event was two days ago, a table quiz which has brought in over £1,000 to start our work of service. Various projects will now be considered such as the message in a bottle scheme and the collection of unused spectacles. There is also the service of a soup run performed at weekends by one of our members, helping the homeless, especially those from abroad. It’s the other face of Belfast but one to which this club must reach out if we are to live up to the early ideals of its predecessor. If there is any practical way in which we can work with Belfast City Council on some of the schemes then we would be interested to discuss this at some stage.

During your year of office you have focused on making Belfast a safe, clean, prosperous and a united city and attempted to revitalise it. I hope Belfast Lions will now be able to make a contribution to those important goals. I now call on you Lord Mayor to open formally the convention of multiple district 105, British Isles & Ireland.