Judy Wilkie, Margaret Darby, Val Long, Dorothy Black, Margaret Humphries, Annette Kerr-Wheeler, Judy Rollitt and Alf Long will be attending the Debutante Ball.
Judy Wilkie, Margaret Darby, Val Long, Dorothy Black, Margaret Humphries, Annette Kerr-Wheeler, Judy Rollitt and Alf Long will be attending the Debutante Ball. Scottie Simmonds

Never too late to have a debutante

TRADITION will take a back seat next Saturday night when residents of the Carlyle Gardens retirement village attend their debutante ball.

With all ball-goers between the ages of 60 and 70, the usual association between the rite of passage and adolescents sporting pretty dresses must be forgotten for at least one night.

However, according to ceremony organiser and maid of honour Val Long, this brilliant concept started as a joke.

“We have handicraft once a week,” Mrs Long said.

“One lady made the most beautiful bracelet and said, ‘I'll wear this to the ball!' Everyone said, ‘what ball?'”

“Then, we saw an article about debuts, realised some of us had never had that experience, and it grew from that.”

Assisting Mrs Long in the preparations for the ball were the nine debutantes themselves but there has been no shortage of outside help.

Special guest Sergeant Laurie Nauschtuz of the Bargara police will greet each lady as they enter the room through a heart-shaped arch donated by Bexley House.

But despite this support preparations have been anything but trouble-free.

“I've had problems with my dress,” debutante Judy Wilkie laughed. “It's been difficult trying to make it small enough to fit through the arch.

“We've also had trouble getting men. There are many more ladies than men here.”

Even so Mrs Wilkie, along with all of her frocked-up friends, is thoroughly looking forward to the occasion next Saturday evening. “We just have so much fun here,” she said. “This is an extension on the fun we always have.”



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