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Remembering Fitzroy mothers – one and all


Pat Symonds (nee Ferguson), a lifelong Fitzroy supporter, grew up a stone’s throw from the Brunswick Street Oval in Freeman Street. As a teenager Pat would watch her beloved Roy Boys, when they played at home, from the upper storey of her best friend’s house in Brunswick Street, leaning dangerously over the upstairs balcony. So dangerously, in fact, that her best friend’s mother was wont to caution her daughter to “Hold onto Patty!” to prevent her falling – particularly at heart-stopping moments of play.

On Saturday for our mother’s day lunch, Fitzroy remembered Pat with lapel posies – pastels for the women and dark red roses for the men. This lovely touch came courtesy of Louise Maniatakis and Pat’s daughter Wendy, a stalwart of the club whose lifelong support has been recognised with life membership and, in 2015, as Club Person of the Year.

After she sadly died last August, Wendy and her sister Denise passed on Pat’s arts and crafts box to Louise, a natty craftsperson herself and originator of the fabulous knitted beanies worn throughout the season by players, supporters and volunteers. Louise used some of the contents of the box to fashion the lunch day posies in remembrance of Pat and to honour all Fitzroy mothers, past and present.

Fittingly, the boys in our current team, an artful mix of young and old, bestowed the best gift a Fitzroy mother could want – a win against Ajax at Brunswick Street. The BSO, too, put on a spectacular our rivals envy and can never hope to match – a glorious skyline north and south in perfect autumn weather, hipsters crowding the hill and the old Fitzroy supporters gracing the grandstand and its forecourt.

In the 1944 premiership year Pat, only 18 years old, was known to have danced till dawn in celebration of the grand final win. Let’s hope it’s Wendy and her Fitzroy friends and faithful who’ll be following in Pat’s footsteps when “premiers we’ll be this year”.

Pic 1: Lifelong Fitzroy supporters, Pat and mother Irene Ferguson, outside Pat’s grandmother's home circa 1944 premiership year. Photo supplied.

Pic 2: Wendy Symonds and Louise Maniatakis before the club lunch on Mother’s Day. Photo courtesy Phyllis Quealy

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