Carterton Lions Club Honors City’s Founder with Legacy Project

On a trip to Belgium several years ago, Carterton, NZ, Lions Club secretary Allan Renall had an epiphany. Witnessing a large group of people in a town square crowding around a seated bronze statue of a man, a light bulb went off.

As men, women and children lined up to have their pictures taken in the pouring rain with the distinguished metal figure, he knew right then and there how he was going to accomplish two goals with one project. He and his fellow Lions would pay homage to Carterton’s philanthropist founder and create a memorable Legacy Project for the Lions’ Centennial Celebration with a larger-than-life bronze replica of Charles Rooking Carter.

Renall returned home to New Zealand, and proposed the idea to the Carterton Lions. He eventually won their support, and the club embarked on a series of fundraising activities for several years. One hundred thousand dollars was raised for the project, and production got underway.

The defining moment arrived on 11 February 2016 when the prime minister of New Zealand himself—the Right Honorable John Key—unveiled the striking bronze of Charles Rooking Carter at a ceremony attended by more than 500 people.

“The statue is by far the largest project our club has ever undertaken,” Renall noted, “and has basically put Lions Clubs International on the map here in New Zealand. It has proven to be a very popular tourist attraction, bringing people into town from all over the country.”

Although Carter lived and died before Lions Clubs International was founded, the characteristics he embodied were clearly Lionesque. He was empathetic to the plight of England’s working class, where he was born, argued against social inequality and willed funds for the establishment of a home for “aged poor men.” Charles Rooking Carter was truly a Lion in spirit if not in name.

The legacy of Carterton’s founder is now officially preserved forever in time through the dedicated efforts of these local Lions.

What will your Lions club legacy be? Start planning your Legacy Project today!

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