A club is celebrating raising many thousands of pounds and spreading cheer across Workington for more than five decades, as its members prepare to bow out.

West Cumberland Lions Club was formed in 1966 and is thought to have raised at least £250,000 since then.

For many years it ran an annual fair, first at Harrington and later in Curwen Park and then Vulcan Park, and for the last 25 years has run the Christmas grotto at Dunmail Park on behalf of J Dixon and Son, which raised more than £45,000.

Over the decades, the club has supported everyone from individuals going on charity trips, to causes such as Hospice at Home West Cumbria, Workington Community Hospital and the West Cumberland Hospital children’s ward, and even national and international charities.

It was instrumental in providing grants and practical support to help affected families in the town and surrounding area recover after the 2009 and 2015 floods.

As part of the service organisation Lions International, over the years members have provided practical help as well as financial donations to worthy causes, through everything from manning street collections to assisting other clubs with a charity bed push.

But, following changes to the way many people fundraise, and a drop in membership, the club’s members have taken the difficult decision to call time on their activities.

Club president Keith Miller, who has been a Lion for 33 years, said: “As a club we have thoroughly enjoyed working to support the community over the last 54 years. From all the feedback we have received over that time, we know that our efforts have been greatly appreciated, both by the good causes that benefited from donations, and by the thousands of people who enjoyed fun days out at the fairs and visits to Father Christmas.

“In recent years the rise of online fundraising has led to a reduction in applications for funding. Having also seen a drop in membership as people lead ever-busier lives, we made the decision to bring the club’s activities to a close.

“We would like to thank everyone who has supported the club over the last 54 years, and we will also look back with many happy memories on the contribution the club has made to Workington and the surrounding area.”

He added that members were grateful to the staff at the Washington Central Hotel, where the club has met for 30 years and has always been made welcome.

The club will officially close on June 30, which marks the end of its current year. All its remaining funds have been distributed to charities that have helped the club over the years of with which members have been associated. Donations of between £450 and £500 each will go to Workington RNLI, Seaton Scouts, St Michael’s Scouts, Workington Sea Cadets, Workington RUFC, Workington Cricket Club, West House and Ellerbeck Ward at Workington hospital.