MALCOLM Needham, who was a former president of Doncaster Lions Club, particularly promoting its work among disabled people, and a keen charity worker, has died aged 81.
He helped to create a gardening project for wheelchair users at a local hospital, supported sporting events and continued to work for the Lions despite suffering a stroke in 1999. He was still promoting them last year at Doncaster Show.
Mr Needham was born in Rossington, near Doncaster, the younger child of Thomas and Edith Needham having a sister Margaret who was seven years older.
His father was chief weighman at Rossington Colliery and, with his wife, was a member of Rossington and Doncaster Amateur Swimming Association while swimming was an activity that the whole family took part in.
Mr Needham was educated at Maltby Grammar School, near Rotherham where he played rugby and cricket and achieved his School Certificate.
From there he went to work for a local accountancy firm, moving a year later to the National Coal Board where he spent his working life doing accounts for collieries across Yorkshire, and occasionally in the West Midlands.
His National Service was deferred for two years to allow him to take his accountancy exams, but from 1954 to 1956 he served in the Royal Army Pay Corps in Lancashire reaching the rank of. When the camp barber was demobbed he also took on that job, a skill he practiced back in civilian life at the Coal Board where he would be cutting hair during lunch time.
During the Second World War, like many others, his family turned their garden into an allotment and it led to his lifelong passion for growing fruit and vegetables. It also led to a later hobby making wine and beer.
At the age of 51 he took redundancy and enjoyed his early retirement working in his garden and for the Lions which he joined in 1990. He was president in 1996-1997 and for his presidential project erected a greenhouse for wheelchair users at Tickhill Road Hospital, Doncaster.
He supported the Lions Club with sports events for disabled people, organised Christmas parties and quizzes which he made up and sent all over the country.
In recent years he took an interest in the charity Dogs for the Deaf and would speak about it whenever he could to staff at Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Doncaster School for the Deaf.
Mr Needham also had a passion for racing, as Doncaster Racecourse was so accessible. Combined with his accountancy skills it led to him working as a bookmaker on Saturdays and during his bookmaker friend’s holidays.
In later years he still liked to have a bet, watch the races and follow them through the Racing Post all through the newest technology – his iPad which the family bought him for his 80th birthday. Age did not affect his enthusiasm for new things and was always keen to know how to make them work.
In his youth he played a good game of snooker and billiards and in later life would reflect that if the money had been as good then as it has become he would have tried to take it up professionally.
His enthusiasm for organising sporting events extended to the family’s holidays spent in their caravan at Sutton-on-Sea. He would arrange a mini Olympics for all the children on the site and always ensured there was something for everyone to take part in whatever their age or ability.
He was known as someone with a sense of fun who always had time for people and was always willing to help others.
Mr Needham is survived by his daughter Yvonne, son Mark and two grandsons. His wife June predeceased him.