Our DG Team
Bernard Black - District Governor
Bernard is married to Kate and has four adult daughters and two grandchildren (so far). He lives in the picturesque village of Carnlough in the Glens of Antrim, an Area of Outstanding Beauty and listed World Heritage Site. He joined Antrim Coast Lions Club in 1983 and continues to be very active in the club, especially as chair of the annual charity carnival and has served as President twice, 25 years apart. Over the last few years he has been Global Leadership Coordinator for the old District 105I and was previously both zone chair and regional chair twice.
Following an ecology degree and a postgraduate teaching diploma, Bernard began his teaching career in 1978 before becoming Head of Science in a Ballymena secondary school in 1982, where he was also involved in sports coaching and ran the annual school sponsored walk. In 1992, following an MSc. in Microelectronics, he became an IT advisory teacher for the then Education and Library Board, responsible for the introduction of computing into schools, especially in science teaching.
This was followed in 1996 by appointment to consultant in Western Connect, a specialist Telecommunications company, which was tasked with the introduction of ISDN, a set of communication standards for the digital delivery of voice, video, data and other network services over the public switched telephone network. This was the precursor to modern Broadband and during his two years there Bernard managed two trans-European projects involving 12 countries.
In 1998 he joined the National Lotteries Charity Board which was set up to distribute to the voluntary and community sector some of the funds raised following the introduction of the National Lottery in 1994. He stayed with them through all its activities as the Community Fund (its operating name) and was Northern Ireland manager of its merger with New Opportunities Fund to form Big Lottery Fund in 2006. During his 9 years in Lottery he held 7 posts from grants officer to operations manager to Interim Director for NI.
For 3 years he ran Awards for All, a cross-distributor grants scheme with a single application and assessment process, funded by Arts, Sports, Heritage and Community Lotteries, which was deemed best grant scheme in the UK by Lottery Monitor magazine in 2002. The National Lottery etc. Act of 2006 brought community spending under government control, so Bernard left to join John Moores Foundation, a Liverpool based private family Trust fund, making grants to small community groups in Merseyside and Northern Ireland.
He works for his Trustees three days per week and to date has managed the awarding of over £2m. to local groups in NI. Since the changes in legislation to allow electronic management of postal voting and (in Scotland) vote counting, Bernard has provided specialist election project management and consultancy to 23 councils from Bristol to Edinburgh across 30 local, general and legislative assembly elections, and two referenda. He worked original for Derry-based Opt2Vote and now for Idox election services, which bought over Opt2Vote in 2013. Reading, computing and badly playing the guitar are the hobbies he admits to, but everyone knows Bernard also enjoys a glass of good red wine. His favourite Lions activities are the open-air dance, BBQ and fireworks at the last night of the annual carnival and the Christmas carol singing around the local pubs and nursing homes
Des Ryan - 1st. Vice District Governor
Des was born and reared in Dublin but moved to Westport, Co. Mayo at a young age. Westport was always ahead of its time and growing up in such a cosmopolitan and diverse town gave him an early understanding of the wider global community. The beauty and serenity of the Clew Bay area was integrated into his character and he continues to live in the house his grandparents bought in the 1960’s.
He met his wife Sara in 1992, married in 2000 and together they have four beautiful children, Catherine 24, Jessica 20, Emma 11 and Ben 9. They were also blessed with their first grandchild Elisagh two years ago. All of whom still live at home, so never a dull moment at HQ.
Des studied Construction Studies in Galway RTC in the early 90’s and then got into the construction industry thereafter. A keen ability for technical drawing saw him become a ‘Steel Detailer’, originally using pen and paper but by 96, using the latest computerised software. 22 years later Des is the M.D. of Ryan Structural Steel Services Ltd and he still uses the same software. He set up his company in 2004 with just one employee. Now they directly employ 25 people and many more indirectly. Check out their web site at www.ryansteel.eu to see some of the amazing things he has built.
Des has a great passion for sport. He played both soccer and GAA football all his life until the knees gave up a few years back. His big love was his local, Islandeady GAA Club. Des served as Chairman twice. The first time as a very raw 32 year old who shook the establishment of the club to awaken it from it slumber. The second time was as a much more considered 40 year old, where he helped the club get promoted from Junior to Intermediate level. Over the past 23 years he has coached every team from U8’s up to Senior Level at different times, winning titles at 21’s, 18’s, 16’s and 14’s.
Des was the founding president of the Westport Leo Club in 1993, a position he held for a few years. It was a great time and he has many fond memories of trips and joint projects with other Leo Clubs from all over the country. He was chairman of the organising committee for the Leo Convention in Westport and went on to be Leo Zone Chairman for the western area. As a past Leo President he was automatically brought into the Westport Lions Club as their youngest ever member. Back then it was a time of blue jackets and grey hair. It was an education in a lot of things, some of them even Lions related.
Family life and a work career took Des out of the Lions for some years but in 2011 he returned to the Westport Lions Club and took up the post of President. His main objectives were to re-energise both the club and its membership, along with trying to inject some new ideas and younger members into the Club. Following on from this he moved into the position of Club secretary for 4 years.
In 2016 he was Convention Chairman for what would become the inaugural District 133 Convention of 2018. Considered by many to have been a fantastic weekend with a ground breaking Convention that will serve us well going forward.
In 2017-18 he was D133 Zone D Chairman and put himself forward for the position of 2 Vice District Governor. A position he was duly elected to, at Convention, in his beautiful home town of Westport.
To be continued.............
Ann Ellis - 2nd Vice District Governor
Ann Ellis, from Carrick-on Suir and District Lions Club, was elected to serve as Lions Club District 133 Ireland 2nd Vice District Governor 2019/2020 at the District Convention in Kinsale in March 2019.
Ann believes that as Lions we have the leadership potential to inspire and empower communities. A lions club member since 2005, Ann has held many offices within her club, including club secretary from 2012 to 2016 and club president in 2016 and 2017. Ann is currently serving as zone Chairperson for Ireland's South East zone. She has actively participated in all club activities, and has dedicated her service to youth development, membership growth and leadership, local environmental projects, and was instrumental in initiating the establishment of the Carrick-on-Suir Men's Shed in 2017.
Throughout her career in the UK and Irish Health Service spanning over 38 years Ann has demonstrated her leadership ability by empowering others, managing change and leading by example. Her professional roles ranged from health promotion, midwifery education and development, and as assistant director of nursing services in a large acute hospital. Ann retired from the Health Service in 2016 to pursue other interests.
In addition to her Lions activities, Ann is active in numerous professional and community organisations. In October 2017, Ann was appointed by the Minister for Health to the Psychologists Registration Board working under CORU, Ireland's multi-profession health regulator. Ann acts as a representative of the management of the public and voluntary health sector and currently serves as Chairperson of the Board. Ann also currently acts as independent Chairperson for the Health Business Services Recruitment Section managing campaigns around Ireland. Having a keen interest in Arts and Health, Ann was also delighted to serve as a director of Waterford Healing Arts Trust from 2006 to 2015 and as Chairperson from 2015 to 2017.
In her spare time, Ann is an active golfer with Carrick on Suir Golf Club and is also a member of Rathgormack Ramblers Hill Walking Club. Ann and her husband, Martin, have three children, who are living and working in London, Brussels and Ireland.