Well, as if this wasn’t enough, we had the great pleasure of listening to Susie and our guest Tina Bursill have a chat. Tina spoke of her parents, her life and career. And of course the work she is currently doing on the Channel 9 TV series Doctor Doctor. Tina was extremely natural, honest and so funny. With Susie’s guidance and conversation, Tina was able to share so much about herself and her life and for this we are incredibly grateful. As a relatively new member of ALVA, I take great pride in the work that we do. I love watching our Special Guests take in all that is ALVA. There is nothing like it in the country and the respect that they show for this is best part of these events for me. The guests arrive, not really sure what they have gotten themselves into, and they leave telling everyone about ALVA.
The Senior Executive decided that the 40th Year was a great time to present Pat Scroope with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Pat has worked tirelessly over the 40 years to ensure that ALVA is supported, protected and respected. She spends countless hours making sure that our members and fellow entertainers are looked after. The Inscription on the Award read:
In recognition of your extraordinary dedication and commitment to the Australian Ladies Variety Association. Your outstanding leadership, heartfelt counsel, care and concern for others has improved the lives of many other the last 40 years and we recognise and celebrate your selfless giving of time.
It was a standing ovation for Pat, but that was not the best part. The best part was the fact that we had a special gift lined up. Originally it was just going to be a nice box of goodies, however, this box was delivered by her daughter Sage Scroope who had flown in from Hollywood that morning to surprise her Mum.
Turns out, Susie contacted Sage asking her to send a little video message for her Mum because we were honouring her with a Lifetime Achievement Award. All we were expecting was a video message. You can imagine Susie’s shock when Sage messaged her to say that she was already at LAX airport and she would be there in the morning. So the biggest Cone of Silence descended as Lisa, Kerri and Susie hatched the surprise plan. Well, you could have blown Pat over with a feather with Dad Doug a mess of tears. It was just exceptional and really made my day.
A message from President Susie – I would like to confirm Sage Scroope organised and paid for her own flight from Hollywood. It was her way of honouring her Mother’s great achievements and was not going to miss it for the world. In no way was ALVA involved in any travel arrangements. In true Pat form, that night, she transferred the money for Sage’s ticket, all $90. Always giving, never taking.
And apologies to my amazing committee for not even letting the secret out to them. Needed to minimise who knew so the secret didn’t inadvertently slip out and into Pat’s shell pink ears!
Susie welcomed our guests and gave us a brief history lesson, touching on all of the major events over the last 40 years. The 2019 committee were presented to our guests and they were joined by the previous Queen Bees of ALVA. Unfortunately, Rickie Hilder, Geraldine Fitzgerald and Sue Archer were unable to be there, but Rickie and Geraldine sent through a little video message for all the guests to hear. Ruby was the first to present Toni Stevens our Inaugural Queen Bee, with her gorgeous Monique Montez Flower Box and kewpie doll donated by Brian McCombe. Once the presentations were made, the Queen Bees all stood in line with a cheeky bevel for Alfred to get the shot!
In 1995, Toni Stevens presented the inaugural Golden Girl Award to Olive Johnston, who still serves on the committee today at 90 years of age.
In 2019, Toni Stevens took to the podium to present not one, but 6 Golden Girls. This year the recipients were: Coral Roy, Faye Warnock, Margaret Flanagan, Bunny Gibson, Robyn Alexander and Tammy Lind.
Do you have any idea how difficult it is to award the ALVA President with ALVA Honours without her knowledge. To say that the ALVA Girls are great at the “cone of silence” is an understatement. Pat organised Miss Kaye to have the trophy made. She spoke with Lady Joan and asked her to be the presenter and she contacted Lisa and I and told us of her plan. Of course, we thought this was an exceptional idea. Susie has been ALVA President for 15 years and Pat, along with many of the others, (once they found out) all agreed this was a deserving award. However, we had to hatch a plan to sneak it into the program without the Queen Bee’s knowledge.
Susie presented the Garvan Institute with a donation from ALVA and it was here that we saw our opening. As the photo was being taken of Susie, Pat and the Garvan ladies, Donna and Maura, I very quickly took the microphone from Susie, snuck passed her and handed it to Pat. Lisa ran interference with Susie and it was Pat’s turn to surprise. As much to Susie chagrin, it was Pat who then awarded her with the ALVA Honours. All this time knowing it has been decided we were not going to present it to anyone this year as ALVA was to be the recipient. Little did she know that Miss Kaye was organising the trophy and Lisa and I were to distract her from focusing on this award.
Please note: Lisa and I are very good at keeping a Cone of Silence. The senior executive (minus Susie) thought 15 years of Presidency deserved an ALVA Honours Award. Pat organised with Lady Joan to do the citation. Below are the kind words that Lady Joan shared with us on the day:
The lady we are presenting with ALVA Honours today has served on committee first in 1990 and in that year she was assistant to the treasurer Olive Kermond. We know she has received MO Awards and has had much success in a variety of careers from performance and production to presenting fashion. With ALVA she:
- Served on committee from 1993 – 1996
- Secretary to the house, investments and benevolent committee 1996. 2000 – 2003
- ALVA Secretary and ALVA Golden Girl Recipient 2003
- Chairperson of Benevolent and Investments committee 2004 – 2019
- ALVA Royal Bee 2004
- ALVA Queen Bee 2005 – 2019
Congratulations to our recipient of the ALVA Honours Award for our 40th year, Susie Smither.