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Were you on a Lions trip?

PUBLISHED: 11:22 13 June 2008 | UPDATED: 20:36 05 July 2010

TODAY taking a trip to France is quick and easy, with many people making use of cheap flights and fast trains to make the hop across the channel for a day's shopping or sightseeing. But decades ago it wasn't so simple, and this made the opportunity to spend time on foreign shores even more treasured by the youths of Lowestoft.

TODAY taking a trip to France is quick and easy, with many people making use of cheap flights and fast trains to make the hop across the channel for a day's shopping or sightseeing. But decades ago it wasn't so simple, and this made the opportunity to spend time on foreign shores even more treasured by the youths of Lowestoft.

For many years during the 1960s and 1970s numerous students in the local region were offered a very special opportunity to experience a snapshot of European life thanks to the Lowestoft Lions.

Encouraged by the enthusiasm and commitment of Lowestoft Lion Harley Boyd, numerous sixth-formers from the town were given the rare opportunity to spend time in France.

The students could spend up to six weeks at one of the Cultural Centres run by French Lions, and one of those to experience the life-changing adventure was Richard Allen, of Rozlyne Close, Oulton Broad.

Mr Allen made the hop across the channel in 1975 and during his short time in the country he picked up a passion for all things French as well as a wider perspective on the world as he made friends with fellow youths from across the globe.

Next month> the French Lions Clubs are to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their first centre in La Baule, northwest France, and Mr Allen, 50, is hoping to again return to the country to reminisce and hopefully meet some familiar faces.

He will be one of more than 1,000 former participants gathering in Strasbourg with friends and family to relive the moments of friendship and international understanding that they tasted during their summer in France. However, Mr Allen is currently the only former student attending from the UK and he wants to make others who enjoyed their time with the French Lions aware of the forthcoming event.

“I wish to make sure that all former participants from Lowestoft, going back to 1967, are aware of this special reunion, so that they may sign up to attend, if they wish,” said Mr Allen.

Amongst those who Mr Allen remembers joining him on his European summer adventure were Colin Racham, Joy Sillitoe, Louise Klinck, Jenny Hunter, Jacob Batley, Karen Scarborough and Lucy Wibberley.

If you went on one of the expeditions and are interested in attending next month's reunion in Strasbourg, contact Mr Allen on 01502 515068 or riallen@talktalk.net

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