A FORMER president of Accrington Lions has quit in protest at a shock decision to allow women to join the club.
But Harold Hardman, who has been a member for 15 years, insists he is not sexist.
The Lions ended their 38-year tradition of being a male-only charity when members voted unanimously in favour of letting anybody join the group by invitation.
But Mr Hardman says the doors are only being opened to women because the club is currently weak.
He claims the Lions missed their chance to recruit women three years ago when the Accrington Lionesses Club disbanded.
Mr Hardman said: "I will stay until the year ends in June. I am not taking my bat home that quickly and, in theory, I am not against women joining, but it is just not for me.
"We didn't invite women to join when the Lionesses finished because we were strong then. It seems to me that we are only inviting them now because the numbers are down and we are weak.
"I wouldn't particularly like ladies in our meetings as we would have to be a little more on guard. Some of the lads swear, even though I personally don't, and if this happened I would be embarrassed. I'd be on edge and wouldn't be able to be totally relaxed."
Mr Hardman is keen to point out that he is definitely not anti-women. He said they could be beneficial to the charity and even voted for them to join.
He added: "I do feel that inviting ladies to join is the way forward for the Lions and I voted in favour for the benefit of the club, but it is just not right for me personally."
Lions International is the largest service organisation in the world with 1.4 million members and 44,000 clubs based in 193 countries.
Another former president of the Lions' Accrington branch, Michael Boast, said: "Young people are no longer interested in joining so we have had to look at other options.
"Other Lions clubs throughout the country have taken on women and have been very successful. The club has never been very happy about women being members, but times are changing and the lads are now accepting it."
Chairman of the membership committee, Tony Clarkson, added: "In the past, friends and colleagues of members were usually the ones who joined but we are now running out of people to invite.
"We are actively seeking members of the public to come along - we are not just targeting women. This is a natural progression and 75 per cent of Lions' clubs throughout the country are mixed."