Barooga Lions Club's stalwart of deb balls calls it a day after 17 years of service.ROB HENSON July 22, 2014 3:37am
Many thanks: Debutante Ball co-ordinator Jean Dodd is presented with a plaque of appreciation from Barooga Lions Club president Darren Laffan.
Jean Dodd is stepping down as Barooga Lions Club Debutante Ball co-ordinator after 17 years, more than 30 debs and hundreds of debutantes.
At her last event as organiser, Ms Dodd told the Courier it was a ‘‘bittersweet’’ moment.
‘‘My kids are in Melbourne, so these kids have sort of filled the void in my life,’’ she said.
Ms Dodd joined the Lions club and started helping out in the mid-90s, when the event was still BYO.
‘‘Now I’ve seen kids that have been flower girls and page boys that grow to be debutantes and partners.
‘‘We only hear of the bad things that kids do; I’ve seen the other side, their commitment.’’
In Ms Dodd’s absence, a committee of five has been appointed to run the twice-annual event.
Ironically, Ms Dodd never attended a ball of her own. ‘‘Neither did my daughters, funnily enough.’’
She said her aim with the event over the years had been to ‘‘add a touch of class’’.
‘‘Now it’s the social event of Cobram. It’s well controlled, maintained — we’ve never had a problem, not for many years.’’
But one year the lights went out, which Ms Dodd lists as her most memorable night.
‘‘I’ve met a lot of great people and it’s been a learning path.’’
While the Barooga Lions Club deb ball has been running since 1976, starting at Lalalty Hall, the tradition harks back much further.
While the original purpose of a ‘deb’, to ‘introduce a girl to society’, is perhaps less relevant in the modern world, debutante trainer Vicki Ackers said it was more popular in Cobram than it’s ever been.
‘‘Many of the smaller towns struggled to keep them going but here the ball is very strong,’’ she said.
‘‘They enjoy it, you can see the smiles on their faces.’’
Key to the event’s success is seeing the region’s young people in traditional formal dress, which Ms Dodd keeps to a strict standard.
‘‘All white dresses, no strapless, all complying, and the boys the same thing.
‘‘I’ve had some fathers cry because they’d never seen their son that way.’’
More than 500 people attended the deb ball on Friday night at Cobram Civic Centre, where 19 debutantes and their partners were presented.
All profit from the balls is redistributed to community causes, including a $1000 transition award for students moving from primary to high school.
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Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
Mary and Molly Byrne are urging others to support National Bandanna Day today.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
The annual Deniliquin Garage and Town Sale event is being held tomorrow, and more than 16 homes are registered for the bargain day.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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