As usual, our German Exchange went very well when we housed, fed, entertained and generally looked after 12 disabled folk.
Leeds Lions together with the Leeds Skyrack Lions Club have enjoyed this German Exchange for nearly 50 years. Whilst it used to be for the under 19s the age limit has been extended over the years. Back in 2016 we had one disabled gentleman who was 68! Siegfried had never had a holiday – been out of Germany or had anyone show him the ‘kindness’ he said he received during the week. He also said, “That was the best week of my entire life!”
Each evening back at Hinsley Hall in Headingley, Leeds where the group stayed they would each recall the days events and what the day had meant to them. Siegfried would write a little essay, verse or poem and ask for one of the carers to translate and read it out. This usually fell to Lion President Hans-Dieter (from Kassel where the Brothers Grimm were born). This was hugely enjoyed by everyone as the translation could be hilarious. One line in a poem he wrote for me translated as “Your eyes are as blue as..bricks!” He didn’t mind us laughing and was pleased he could bring laughter with his written offerings. I have got hold of some German Dictionaries (from Freeloved) so I can read and reply to some of the letters I have recieved from the group who are now back in Germany.
One wheelchair-bound young boy thoroughly enjoyed himself when the group went to Hunslet Boys Club for a boxing lesson. Through manually operating his wheelchair he has great arm strength and was able to take part alongside all the mobile youngsters. He was thrilled that he had done so well.
They were all taken ten-pin bowling, had a day at the seaside, went to ‘The Deep’ in Hull, had meals out, listened to a German Oompah Band in Roundhay Park in Leeds before spending the afternoon and early evening at Lions John and Caroline’s house. The weather was very kind and everyone played Boules on the lawn before dancing to the Jukebox which including specially sourced (By our President Peter Sandeman) German 45’s vinyl records – which, fortunately, they all recognised.
Now in 2019, the Clubs are busy organising the trip to Germany. Lion President Peter Sandeman would like to hear from possible candidates who would like to be considered for the holiday in July.