Burramine Sporting Gift era comes to an end | PHOTOS

BURRAMINE Sports Club has brought the curtain down on 62 years of tradition by cancelling its gift meeting.

The club held its first professional footrace at the Yarrawonga Showgrounds in 1952, but the event had its origins five years earlier with an athletics carnival held in a farm paddock to raise money to buy a new set of football jumpers.

The decision to not hold a gift meeting in March next year was made at the club’s annual meeting on Wednesday night.

Burramine Gift secretary Frances Connell says it’s “a sad day” with confirmation the footrace won’t go ahead next year. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

Burramine Gift secretary Frances Connell says it’s “a sad day” with confirmation the footrace won’t go ahead next year. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

Long-serving secretary Frances Connell conceded it was the end of an era.

“It is a sad day, but it is actually a relief,” she said.

“We decided to go out while we were on top rather than leave it for a few months and begin preparations for next year.

“It is better to call it a day now.”

The club will remain as an entity and a meeting will be held next month to form a committee to administer donations to the community.

A competitor at this year’s Burramine carnival, Emily Laracy, was given funds to compete in Canada.

Former gift winners from the Albury-Wodonga area include Ray Thomas, Malcolm Purss, Marcus Arnold, Bill Dinsdale, Adrian Fury, Robin Calleja and Paul Harloff.

Club president Peter Lawless has been in the role since 2001 after taking over from his father, Peter snr, who had been president since 1967.

The club has had only two secretaries — the late Tom Hopkins and Mrs Connell.

She replaced Mr Hopkins as secretary in 1992 after being his assistant since 1986.

The Victorian Athletics League has been notified of the Burramine decision which will rob runners of an important lead-up meeting to the Stawell Gift at Easter.

“The Burramine Gift has been known in Scotland, Europe, Africa and West Indies, where the winners have lived,” Mrs Connell said.

“The Burramine committee is grateful for the support of sponsors over many years.

“That support has helped us to promote local tourism by bringing several hundred people to Yarrawonga-Mulwala in March, each year.

“It has created a venue for local youngsters to begin, and further, their athletic careers and by supporting local charities.”

Barbados sprinter Everton Evelyn, right, wins the 2001 race.

Barbados sprinter Everton Evelyn, right, wins the 2001 race.

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