Mother's 'rock' at record breaking lunch

16 May 2012

Brad Beitzel, a journalist who covers the VAFA for Leader Newspapers andThe Age, attended St Bernards' Mother's Day luncheon.

He was that impressed with the function, Beitzel submitted the following report for our webpage:

LIZ Davenport, received an OAM last year for her services to fashion and the community.

Those qualities shone in parallel to her love of her family and horses at one of the most unlikely sporting venues in Melbourne on Saturday.

Davenport and daughter Katie Davenport travelled to The Snakepit in East Keilor after responding to St Bernards request for a fashion show for their annual mother's day lunch.

Two-hundred and twenty women packed the club's six-year-old function centre.

Few VAFA clubs have such a facility and this was the first time the Bernies had pushed past 120 for a pre-game meal.

Luncheons have become an important fund-raising, branding (yes even at VAFA level) and sponsors-appreciation event across the comp.

But for this lunch the Davenports, who last travelled to this side of town to see their horse Hay List win the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington, transformed the lunch into an event.

After their collections were modeled, to the woos of the crowd, sports-journalist and former Richmond Football Club physio Tiffany Cherry spoke of her 20 year-journey to become the host Fox Sports' London Olympics coverage.

Then veteran singer Wendy Stapleton capped the event getting the women up rocking to classics.

There was more noise coming from the luncheon than roars for the Premier match being staged with Old Scotch just 50 metres away!

They raised $5000, which will be put into the club's seven teams and its AusKick.

Liz Davenport, who supports causes around the country, flew from Perth at her expense.

But it was another chance to help raise funds for a good cause, and, wouldn't you fly across the country to hear your Melbourne-based daughter, say how much she wanted to be with you on Mother's Day?

The Bernies have been out of the Premier section limelight for four years. But in this sojourn in the top grade, they want to become the benchmark on-and-off the ground.

While the Bernies lost by two goals to an emerging Scotch (they were without key-target Andrew Merrington - the former Carlton ruck withdrew with a hamstring strain) the club's professional preparation was on show.

It had support coaches Dean Laidley and Simon Atkins in the box, while it was making Amateur history, albeit, in its social rooms.

Because of the size of its function centre, it is unlikely any other VAFA club has hosted so many for luncheon. And with it so much revenue in what is now a tradition for VAFA games: the luncheons.

Brad Beitzel