Sunshine the key ingredient at long lunch

CHAMPAGNE and sunshine proved to be a crowd-pleasing combination yesterday as Rotary Long Lunch attendees enjoyed the event’s nautical setting.

More than 80 people gathered on the lawn beside the Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage at Flagstaff Hill for canapes before heading into the adjacent Pippies restaurant for a three-course meal.

A luncheon is organised by Rotary Club of Warrnambool Daybreak each year to bankroll international projects co-ordinated by the service group, including the eradication of polio in some of the world’s poorest nations.

Organiser Carolyn Monaghan said yesterday’s spectacular sunshine was a welcome surprise for organisers following last week’s patchy rain and gloomy overcast skies.

“You couldn’t ask for a better day really,” Ms Mongahan said. 

“The main part of the lunch is being held indoors because we thought there might be some rain but conditions have been great.”

Seafood canapes and champagne whetted the appetites of participants before the main meal — a flavoursome feast of roast spatchcock, ocean trout and deconstructed cheesecake.

Rotary Warrnambool Daybreak has organised an annual Long Lunch for the past 15 years with prior events held at the Botanic Gardens, the breakwater and several times at the Fletcher Jones garden.

Fellow organiser Barry Brooker said Flagstaff Hill was chosen this year to coincide with the maritime village’s 40th anniversary.

He said the long-running fixture had raised more than $70,000 for various charitable causes run by Rotary abroad.

“When the Black Saturday bushfires occurred five years ago, the money raised then went to help the people affected there,” Mr Brooker said.

“Each year the money is directed towards worthwhile projects, whether it’s here in Australia or overseas.”

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