Looking forward, looking back for Tonbridge Lions Club

    Outgoing President Bob Bartlett presents Gordon Hill with the chain of office
    New President takes the chain while team discover 284-year-old will in waste paper store

    GORDON HILL has been inaugurated as the sixty-eighth President of Tonbridge Lions Club.

    Now mostly retired, Gordon spent his career developing and managing commercial computer systems in the UK and abroad, chiefly with Shell and then as IT Director of a leading London law firm. He lived in South Africa for four years, where he met his wife Peggy before planting roots in Tonbridge in 1976.

    He received the chain on Sunday June 25 from outgoing President Bob Bartlett at a luncheon at Hever Castle Golf Club.

    In addition to his involvement with the Lions, his interests include riding his motorbike, flying aeroplanes, teaching English to foreigners and supporting the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme on expeditions.

    And while Gordon and his wife Peggy were looking forward to the year ahead, other members of the Lions were uncovering a piece of the town’s history.

    In amongst some discarded papers at the Lions’ waste paper store, a parchment was discovered.

    It was the will of Sir Sydney Stafford Smythe (1705-1778) and is dated May 18, 1733, the year of his marriage to Sarah Farnaby.

    Research by the team found that Sir Sydney, the son of Henry Smythe of Great Bounds Manor in Bidborough, entered St John’s College at Cambridge University at the age of 16 and went on to have a distinguished career in law.

    The Smythe Library at Tonbridge School is named after Sir Sydney’s great great grandfather, Sir Thomas Smythe.

    The Lions wish to find a suitable place to store the will but are struggling, due to the lack of a museum in Tonbridge.

    The 284-year-old will