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Lee's great Valentine's date with Brian the dummy

Lee Burke tells story of her Valentine's Day adventure across Shepparton with Brian the dummy.

JENNA BISHOP February 19, 2014 4:55am

Lee Burke with her Valentine's Day date Brian.


When Lee Burke first met Brian, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight.

When you meet Brian, it’s obvious why — he is severely lacking in conversational skills, he doesn’t move well and his facial expressions leave much to be desired.

It’s probably because he’s a dummy, a clothes mannequin rescued from obscurity from a bin at one of Shepparton’s sports clothing stores.

That didn’t stop the pair enjoying a range of activities across the city on Friday to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

It was only by chance Lee and Brian met — she was looking out a second storey office window on Thursday with her boss when she saw several mannequins taken to the recycling bin.

A spur of the moment decision led the pair to rescue the dummies.

‘‘I took the big six-foot one and only just got him in the car. My daughter jumped in and saw him, and said, ‘Mum, it’s me or Brian’,’’ Ms Burke said.

Another spur of the moment decision led the pair on a series of adventures for Valentine’s Day, a modern-day Life of Brian for Monty Python fan Ms Burke.

After a tough year and becoming single for the first time since she was 17, Ms Burke decided to put her own twist on Valentine’s Day celebrations.

‘‘I wanted to make people laugh and see the lighter side of things,’’ she said.

Ms Burke said her social experiment had put a smile on many faces across the city and was memorable.

‘‘You could see people look and then do a double take. You started telling people the story and they thought it was great. They were taking photos.

‘‘When we went out, we attracted a lot of attention.’’

Dressed in hipster fashion — long brown hair, sunglasses, a woven straw hat, jeans and a shirt of Ms Burke’s favourite band, ZZ Top — Brian hit the town, first taking Lee to see the cows near Victoria Park Lake and even planking on one to amuse her. They stopped in for coffee at Hudsons, with amused coffee-drinkers posing for photos with Brian.

After relaxing at Lee’s desk, Brian took her out for lunch and to Shepparton Art Museum.

Ms Burke said they did not visit one of the exhibitions, fearing the faces on the art would offend Brian and his lack of facial features.

After Brian helped Ms Burke complete her work, the pair went for pedicures at Wellsprings Day Spa, followed by a night out at the Aussie Hotel.

Brian propped himself up at the bar, with many curious glances coming his way.

‘‘There were even people just lining up behind him to buy drinks,’’ Ms Burke said.

Unfortunately, she did not really think Brian was boyfriend material and she was not sure if he would make the cut for a second date.

‘‘He didn’t have much to say, which isn’t a bad thing, because he was a good listener,’’ she said.

‘‘Plus, I was literally carrying the relationship, it was tiring.’’

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