Saturday, May 2, 2009

Essendon parties for Flowerdale

Moonee Valley residents together with Victorian Police made a significant contribution to the “Flowerdale Tennis Court Fundraiser” with over $10,000 being raised in a one night gala event held at Conlan Tennis, Essendon, on Saturday evening the 18th of April, 2009. It saw over 100 guests enjoy a fast paced evening of live bands, food and entertainment, culminating in an enjoyable and amusing charity auction. The money raised, in partnership with Tennis Victoria, will contribute towards the rebuilding and expansion of the current tennis court complex at Flowerdale.

The event, arranged by tennis coach Phil Conlan from Conlan Tennis and Michael Prowse from Moonee Valley CIU, saw police and local tennis enthusiasts earlier in March make a show-of-support visit to Flowerdale in a mini-bus provided by Victoria Police. Conlan said he was moved by the extent of both the destruction and the tragic accounts of community members. “I wanted to provide practical assistance that would help lift the community’s spirit” said Conlan who also committed to providing ongoing technical advice and support for the Flowerdale Tennis Club. With the Flowerdale cricket field currently out of action, occupied by temporary accommodation, the tennis courts were permanently opened to the general community with the court surface now dealing with rollerblading and other non-traditional tennis activities.

Phil Conlan the organiser of the event

At the fundraising party in Essendon, Jeannette Kamar from the Flowerdale Tennis Club gave a harrowing account of the devastation when an unexpected wind change during February’s “Black Saturday” saw their idyllic community explode into a fireball of unimaginable horror as the raging inferno indiscriminately took life and property. Revelers remained uncharacteristically silent throughout, captivated by the enthusiasm and passion as she outlined advanced plans for the immediate rebuilding phase, commencing with construction of a temporary township and proudly related how in addition to the current 45 active players, 45 new players have registered to start playing since the fires.

Well known Essendon real estate identity, Milo Rasinac of Nelson Alexander, auctioned prizes including a sought after Serena Williams’s tennis racquet and a trip to the Gold Coast, knocked down quickly after spirited bidding.

Paul Gardiner of Gardiner Architects, providing pro bono architectural services to the Flowerdale Spring Valley Recreation Reserve via the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction & Recovery Authority, gave a well presented outline on his work to date.

Jeannette was joined by Flowerdale Tennis Club Assistant Treasurer, Vivian Phelan, publican of the Flowerdale hotel, which in the fire aftermath provided meals to local residents free of charge. She was accompanied by Karen Walker, the tennis clubs Treasurer who lost her lodgings and possessions.

Jeannette, Vivian and Karen thoroughly enjoyed the party and where amazed by the support of their new friends who raised $10.000 towards the 4 new tennis courts that will be built at the Spring Valley Recreation Reserve in Flowerdale. The new infrastructure is being established to support the influx of new tennis players since the bush fire disaster. Tennis Victoria is assisting the new players by providing free tennis coaching during term 2 for all the children at the Flowerdale Primary school on Mondays and the wider Community on Sundays. If you want to join in and have a go, please contact Jeannette on 57801 520.

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