A Remarkable Journey with Wudinna Lions

Tony Barns award

Tony Barns: A Remarkable Journey with the Wudinna Lions Club

In the close-knit community of Wudinna, South Australia, there is a man whose commitment to service and unwavering dedication has left a lasting impact on the hearts of many. Meet Tony Barns, a cherished member of the Wudinna Lions Club for over four decades. Through his journey filled with compassion, resilience, and a passion for helping others, Tony has become an integral part of the community and a source of inspiration for all.

Tony’s journey with the Wudinna Lions Club began on a significant day – 25th May 1982, when he joined the club alongside his father, Kevin Barns. Despite facing mild mental and physical health challenges throughout his life, Tony has remained a beacon of strength and positivity in the community.

From the very beginning, Tony proved to be an invaluable member of the Lions Club, contributing in various ways to support the town of Wudinna. He actively participated in community events, making sure they ran smoothly and successfully. Some of his notable contributions include:

  1. Anzac Day and Australia Day Celebrations: Tony took pride in raising the flag during these important national events, showcasing his love for his country and community.

  2. Lions Mints and Christmas Cake Distribution: As the Mints chair, Tony organised the stock and delivery of mints and Christmas cakes around Wudinna, even using a tricycle obtained by the club for this purpose.

  3. Donut Sales: During events where the Lions Club sold their famous donuts, Tony became the go-to “water delivery main man,” also providing lunches and drinks to fellow volunteers.

  4. Involvement in Large Projects: Tony played an integral role in various large projects undertaken by the Lions Club over the years, and his contributions were a source of great pride for him.

  5. Hospital Assistance: Tony extended his helping hand to the Wudinna Hospital, taking on odd jobs under the supervision of Ex Lion Terry Spence, the grounds person. His efforts not only benefited the hospital but also added to the club’s activity reports, making him feel valued and important.

Throughout the years, Tony created many cherished memories through his involvement with the Lions Club. From illuminating the night sky for the Flying Doctor’s landing to helping with sports events at Venus Bay and supporting the Outback Bash, Tony’s passion for community service was evident in every endeavour.

When the global Covid-19 pandemic struck and lockdowns were imposed, Tony’s health and mobility restricted his outings from the hospital. However, his indomitable spirit and exceptional memory allowed him to reminisce about the countless activities and wonderful people he had encountered over the years.

Tony’s dedication did not go unnoticed. The Wudinna Lions Club expressed their immense gratitude by awarding him the prestigious Melvin Jones Fellowship. The heartfelt surprise left Tony, a man known for his words, nearly speechless, showcasing the depth of his emotions and the profound impact he had made.

Tony Barns exemplifies the true spirit of community service and the power of perseverance. Despite facing personal challenges, he has been a shining example of selflessness and compassion. Through his contributions and genuine love for Wudinna and its people, Tony has left an enduring legacy within the Wudinna Lions Club and the community as a whole. He is a living testament to the belief that no act of kindness, no matter how small, ever goes unnoticed or unappreciated. As Wudinna continues to thrive, it does so with Tony’s spirit lighting the way for generations to come.