Dannevirke Host Lions provided food and entertainment for 166 people at their annual Christmas dinner on Sunday.

The Dannevirke Sports Club was packed for this community event at which the town's over 80-year-olds were the special guests.

This was the 33rd time Dannevirke Lions have hosted an over 80s Christmas party.

The Lions Pride singers opened the entertainment and were followed by the Dannevirke women's choir El's Belles.

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El's Belles, dressed as Sesame Street and Muppet characters were highly entertaining.
El's Belles, dressed as Sesame Street and Muppet characters were highly entertaining.
Lions band the Main Men, Ian McClunie (left), Ian Robertson, Terry Hynes and Mike Harold.
Lions band the Main Men, Ian McClunie (left), Ian Robertson, Terry Hynes and Mike Harold.

MC Dave Murdoch kept the entertainment flowing and introduced a new Lions band called the Mane Men which was formed by Mike Harold this year.

Following this guests were invited to sing along to some traditional Christmas songs.

A two-course meal followed, prepared, cooked and served by Lions members and helpers.

Following the meal Norma Evans was asked to cut the Christmas cake.

Dannevirke's Norma Evans had the honour of cutting the Christmas cake.
Dannevirke's Norma Evans had the honour of cutting the Christmas cake.

She has been attending the Christmas dinner for the past 20 years and thoroughly enjoys it.

"It was a wonderful day and the Lions are absolutely marvellous."

 Tararua Mayor Tracey Collis chatted with guests.
Tararua Mayor Tracey Collis chatted with guests.

Dannevirke Community Board deputy chairman and Lions member Terry Hynes conducted an unusual auction in that no money changed hands.

Long-time Lions member Jim Kernaghan said the first Christmas party was held at Makirikiri Marae but this was the biggest yet.

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Lions had been asked by the Chamber of Commerce to take over the running of the dinner and the Christmas float in 1986 and had been doing so ever since.

When the dinner was first held the eligibility age was 60 and it has increased gradually to 80.

Contacting the towns over 80-year-olds is on-going for Lions and is mostly through word of mouth.

He said Lions were always on the lookout for more over 80s who are visited by a Lions member and personally invited to the Christmas dinner.

Special thanks were extended to this year's organiser Rosemary Moss who is a relatively new member of Lions but took on the mammoth task of organising the event which ran like clockwork.

Moss responded that it was an absolute honour and a privilege to see everyone present at the dinner.

"My fellow Lions have been doing this for 33 years and I have just come in and done what they have been doing for years."

She said she must have driven them mad with all the questions she had and she vowed not to ask so many next year.

The cost of putting on the meal in 2018 came in just under $1000 and it was estimated the figure would be around the same this year.

Father Christmas brought greetings from the North Pole, delivered in an unmistakable Scots accent and with two little helpers handed out gifts.

Overall the attention to detail was incredible, from providing transport to and from the event for those who needed it, right down to the exquisite posies made by Lions members for every guest.