Burgess Hill Youth

In 1959, Frankie Vaughan, whilst opening the then ‘Goose Fair', remarked on the absence of a Boys Club in Burgess Hill.  The secretary of the Sussex Association of Boys Clubs, who was accompanying Mr. Vaughan, picked this up.  He set about forming a committee of possible interested people from various local organisations.  Two members of this Lions Club volunteered to serve on this committee - Harry Addison and Phil Waterman.  Harry was elected Chairman and Phil as Treasurer.

It was not long before a healthy boys membership was established which met in rented accommodation.  After a couple of years this was terminated. Nothing else was available and the closure of the club was imminent.  However, the committee was determined to keep going and the possibility of obtaining a suitable site and erecting their own building was brought to the fore.  After protracted negotiations with the then Burgess Hill Urban District Council the committee was granted a plot of land at a peppercorn rent.

Plans were drawn up for a building and allied services, and the project costed, based on the maximum use of voluntary labour.  Negotiations with various County and Governmental Authorities resulted in promises of grants up to a maximum of 75% of the cost.  The grants would be available if guarantees for the balance were forthcoming.

The whole project was put to the Lions Board of Directors to ascertain the possibility of the Lions Club providing some, or all, of the balance.  It was agreed that some form of financial aid should be made and the matter was put to club members.  The sum of £1000 was agreed as a guarantee.  In those early days, this was a very large commitment and the Lions knew they had to make a great effort to raise this sum.

After weeks of hard labour by the management committee and parents, the building was opened by the Duke of Richmond and Gordon.

Lion Harry Addison receiving a trophy from Councillor Chris Judge

Burgess Hill Boys Club Headquarters
Photograph shows Lion Harry Addison, chairman of the Management Committee, receiving a trophy from Councillor Chris Judge.

A solid investment by the Lions.  Forty years on and the Boys Club is still going strong. 

It now is a mixed Club and has changed its name to Burgess Hill Youth.  Lions continue to be represented on the management committee and it is one of Burgess Hill District Lions Clubs 'Adopted Clubs'.

The Club has been run for many years by Paul Myles but unfortunately in 2018 he succumbed to cancer.  A presentation was made in his memory to Burgess Hill Youth on 13th October 2018.

Presentation in memory of Paul Myles