Benalla’s Evergreen Ladies celebrated their 18-year anniversary at Benalla Golf Club last Wednesday.
The Evergreen Ladies were formed in the year 2000 when two local widows Jan Spencer and June Morrison decided to form a social group for ladies in Benalla who live alone.
Although initially a group for women whose husbands had passed away, they quickly grew to include divorcees and any lady in the town who lives on their own.
‘‘We’ve been doing this for 18 years together,’’ Mrs Spencer said.
‘‘When you look back it doesn’t seem that long.
‘‘We only had 15 ladies at our first meeting all those years ago.’’
A quick look around the packed room will tell you that number has more than quadrupled since those days.
‘‘We got together here at the golf club all those years ago, and we still come back here today,’’ Mrs Spencer said.
‘‘We meet up for a meal on the first Wednesday of every month, and on the third Wednesday in the month we either go out for lunch somewhere in Benalla or I organise a coach trip.
‘‘Recently we went over to Cobram and had a day on the ‘Cobber boat’, which was a lot of fun.’’
The club started as a way of helping ladies who had recently lost someone to get out and be sociable again and continues to offer a place to have some fun, share stories and have a laugh.
‘‘The group is a stepping stone for ladies when they become widows, we’re both widows, and it’s just a stepping stone for them to get out and enjoy the company of others. It takes a big step to do that,’’ Mrs Spencer said.
‘‘And nowadays it’s not only just widows. Word got around and now we have ladies who have been divorced or some who just live on their own.
‘‘They’re just a lovely group of ladies.’’
When I asked about plans for the 20-year anniversary I was met with rapturous laughter and told they are not thinking that far ahead.
Before the interview could end we were interrupted by the day’s entertainment, Elvis impersonator Ian Harrison who delighted the crowd with some rock’n’roll classics.
The event was emceed by Mr Bill Arnold who has hosted events for the Evergreen ladies since the beginning.
●The Evergreen Ladies are always on the lookout for new members. If you are interested, phone Jan Spencer on 57626272, or June morrison on 57621412.