The Warrandyte Lions Club staged a glittering Debutantes Ball on a Friday night in October, at the Great Hall of the Ivanhoe Centre. All Debutantes were from the Warrandyte High School and the ball was attended by nearly 500 guests.
Twenty-seven Debutantes, immaculately coiffured and attired in white ball gowns and carrying purple and white gerberas in posies, were individually presented to the Guest of Honour, Mr Kevin Andrews, the Member for Menzies in the Federal Parliament. He was accompanied by his wife Margaret forming the official party together with Warrandyte Lions President David Dobbs and his wife Donna, who was Matron of Honour. Lion Eddy Hendriks, Chairman of the Debutante Ball Committee, together with his wife Joan, Lion Brian Wales and his wife Lynn, made up the remainder of the official party. Master of Ceremonies was Lion Laurie McEnaney.
The Debutantes were escorted by a fine looking group of young men dressed in black tails and purple vests, also students of the High School. Immediately following the formal introductions, the Debutantes with their partners commenced the presentation dances. This was firstly a Strauss Waltz followed by the Evening Three Step and finishing with a Modern Waltz. After the three-course dinner the Debutantes with their escorts once again were applauded to the floor for an encore bracket of dancing. Each dance was progressive commencing with the Macaraena, Samba, Jive and, last of all, a traditional Barn Dance.
Debutantes Ebony Gilbee and Jacqui Moore took to the podium after the cake cutting ceremony. They delivered a joint thank-you speech that made special recognition of Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Andrews for, "Adding both dignity and prestige to this exciting and memorable occasion." Others also came in for special mention and thanks which included President David Dobbs, Lions Eddy Hendriks and Laurie McEnaney and Susan Bollard of Showbiz Dance, the dancing instructor who was also present on the night. They said, "Susan, through patience and determination had turned a herd of elephants into a graceful group of gazelles. It was just sensational!" A final special word of thanks was given to the two flower-girls, Laura Dobbs and Nikki Bedwell.
Lion Laurie McEnaney pointed out the event also had an international element through visiting Japanese exchange student, Mina Ochai, who was present on the night. Lions President David Dobbs was then called upon to propose a toast to the Warrandyte Debutante Set which was responded to by Mr. Kevin Andrews. He said, "We all take delight in seeing the transformation achieved and the confidence gained in our children becoming young adults. It was an important occasion for the young but it also provided an opportunity where the Warrandyte community could come together." He felt greatly honoured to officiate and congratulated the Warrandyte Lions Club for its wonderful work in organising the gala event.
Dancing continued non-stop until after midnight. Music was provided by Bliss with lead singer Julie Bedwell. Chairman Lion Eddy Hendriks indicated that although this was a Lions community service function, any surplus proceeds from the Ball would go to the Warrandyte High School. He thought it could be a sizeable sum as the ball was so well attended.
Group photograph courtesy of Karl Mandle Photography, Lilydale
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