The Rippers Annual May Luncheon 2024


“These kids have come to the Cottage – they see hope and they see opportunity.” – Phil de Fégely

Today, The Rippers held their Annual May Luncheon at Cottage by the Sea. 75 guests sat in the dining room overlooking Port Philip Bay and the Heads. This picturesque room gives context and richness to the Cottage experience. Visiting children share their meals together in this room – a place of trying new foods, chatting about the adventures of the day, reflecting on experiences, making new friends.

Rippers Committee members and Cottage Ambassadors Ian Cover OAM and Phil de Fégely hosted the exciting event. It was wonderful to see some familiar faces in the room, and just as exciting to see some new faces. This support fortifies the value of The Rippers, which evolved from an idea by the Board of Cottage by the Sea in 2020. The aim of this group is to assist Cottage to increase the number of program participants, largely through facilitating and enabling connections that help to raise funds and spread awareness about our children’s charity.

“It was a great fundraiser,” reflects Phil of the event. Phil shared a special story about the power of second chances – something that not only became a powerful twist of fate in his own family history, but is also reflected each week through experiences at Cottage by the Sea. “These kids have come to the Cottage – they see hope and they see opportunity,” shared Phil in his speech.

The power of opportunity was a theme behind all the stories shared on the day – from Cottage CEO Adam Wake’s speech to a Q&A with Cottage’s Bill Kerr and Cottage Alumni turned Camp Leader Ebony. Ebony first came to Cottage by the Sea on our Take a Break program and then journeyed through the REEF and Mentor programs, becoming a Cottage Alumni after graduating. She now works in our Programs Team as a Camp Leader.

“What’s better – being a Cottage staff member or Cottage kid?” Bill asks Ebony. “Definitely being a Cottage kid,” Ebony responds with a laugh. But, having gone through the programs first-hand gives Ebony more depth and understanding to her work with Cottage participants. “It makes so much more sense now as an adult, reflecting back, so it’s easier to understand now what’s happening with the kids. Back then, I just thought I was having the time of my life, but now I understand why,” Ebony shares.

Thanks to the generosity of everyone on the day, a group of children will get to experience the life-changing impact of a Cottage program. Through an exciting auction, raffle and donations (some made in lieu of guests attending the luncheon), the event raised $21,000, which almost covers the cost of an entire camp at Cottage.

Thank you to everyone who helped bring this special event to life. Cottage by the Sea is etched into the hearts of our supporters. Their generosity enables us to continue the important work of offering opportunities for fun and inspiration to children at Cottage by the Sea.

Here are a few short videos from the day: