DEDICATED Darlington Lions Club member Richard Western has been rewarded for his commitment to the club.

Mr Western, a past president of the club, was given the International President's Membership Achievement Award for significant progress and development of the club while in office.

His main achievements were the 20 per cent increase in membership numbers during his reign and organising the successful 50th anniversary of the club inauguration and the 50th charter dinner.

Current Darlington Lions Club president Tony Gent presented Mr Western with a crystal pin in recognition of his achievements.

Local charities have recently benefited from donations from the Lions, with the Darlington Talking Newspaper and Darlington Multiple Sclerosis Society receiving the largest grants of £2,000 and £6,500 respectively.

The club has also sent 1,000 books to Africa from their bookshop in Blackwellgate Arcade to assist the education of deprived children.