Magical day for the Lions

Generations of Lions Netball, from left; Barb Murphy, Jan Ahern, Libby Drake-Molineux, Kate De La Rue, Evie Drake and Seisia De La Rue. 395519_07 Pictures: STEWART CHAMBERS

By David Nagel


There was magic in the air at Toomuc Reserve on Saturday as familiar faces gathered as far as the eye could see to celebrate the rich history and 85th birthday of the Pakenham Lions Netball Club.

Laughter and joy filled the room as valued Life Members, past and present players, coaches, committee, sponsors and families all joined together to celebrate the club’s remarkable journey.

Special guests included Member for Pakenham Emma Vulin; Cr Carol Ryan – who has strong historic ties to the club – and Matt Blanchard, Netball Operations Coordinator for Outer East Football Netball.

Cardinia Shire Mayor Jack Kowarzik also sent a special birthday message to the club, while guests were treated to a video package that highlighted the club’s proud history and the evolution of the game they all love.

Pakenham Lions Netball Club President Marg Jones said it was a very special day for the club.

“The club was honoured to come together to acknowledge 85 years of dedication and passion, and celebrate the countless memories, achievements and triumphs,” Jones said.

“We also celebrated the life-long friendships forged, that have defined the club’s legacy over 85 amazing years and we look forward to inspiring the generations to come.”

Jones also extended her appreciation to those that had collected information for the video by speaking to valued Life Members; reading through the club’s minutes and records and to those that provided amazing newspaper articles.

“From this video the club is now collating a History Book that will be launched mid this year, as part of the club’s ongoing 85th birthday celebrations,” Jones confirmed, before praising the Corrigan family for their dedication in producing the video.

Life Members were a key focus of the day, with the club acknowledging current stalwarts and those sadly no longer with us.

Maureen McGrath, affectionately known as ‘Brownie’, was the Lions first Life Member in 1963.

She still actively supports the club and praised the organising committee for the detailed history on display.

Many generations of families gathered to celebrate this milestone.

The daughter (Jan Ahern), granddaughter (Katie De La Rue) and great granddaughter (Seisia De La Rue) of founding member – and third Life Member – Lorna Anderson, were all on hand to celebrate the huge occasion.

The club was also honoured to have valued past players Alma Patullo and Thelma Young in attendance – both in their nineties – and the daughters of Life Member Norma Jackson; Di Dunn and Gloria Webster.

Gloria attended with her daughter Michelle.

Current A grade player Evie Drake, whose great grandmother Joyce Reid was one of the club’s original players, was there with her grandmother Barb Murphy and mum Libby Drake-Molineux; both successful past players in their own rights.

Brenda O’Brien attended with her daughter Raegan.

“I would to express my sincerest gratitude to all that attended this wonderful celebration and thank personally the hard working committee who coordinated the event,” Jones said.

The club was also grateful for the delicious afternoon tea provided by Girraween Creations; live music provided by ‘It Takes Two’, and to the Pakenham Football Club for the use of the social rooms.