Olivia McDouall (seated) bids for a picnic table as Sarah Morris (left) calls the bid. Photo Andrew Thorpe / Central Telegraph
Olivia McDouall (seated) bids for a picnic table as Sarah Morris (left) calls the bid. Photo Andrew Thorpe / Central Telegraph Andrew Thorpe

'Biggest Morning Tea' raises over $20,000

BROOKE Leo and Sarah Morris joined forces for the third consecutive year late last month to host 'Moura's Biggest Morning Tea', succeeding in raising over $20,000 for the Cancer Council.

"We're still collecting all the cash, but at this stage it looks like we'll be a few thousand over," said Cr Leo.

"We're really pleased with the result, knowing how tight things are for everyone, and knowing we had set such a high target so it was always going to be a bit of a challenge."

Fundraising started in earnest several months ago for the two friends, with a battery drive and bake sale raising several thousand dollars before the main event on Friday May 27.

The morning tea saw over 200 people gathered on Cr Leo's lawn, bidding on auction items, buying raffle tickets and making donations to push the total over the target.

ABC Capricornia's Jacquie Mackay. Photo Andrew Thorpe / Central Telegraph
ABC Capricornia's Jacquie Mackay. Photo Andrew Thorpe / Central Telegraph Andrew Thorpe

"Australia's Biggest Morning Tea has been running in Queensland for over twenty years, so it's one of our biggest fundraising events," said Terri Evans, the Cancer Council's Central Queensland regional fundraising coordinator.

"This year we're aiming to raise $2.8 million across the state - and with events like this we should make the target!"

ABC Capricornia's Jacquie Mackay broadcast her program live from the event, interviewing mayor Nev Ferrier as well as local identities including community advocates Deborah Elliott and John Hempseed and water skier Mel Collins.

Event co-host Sarah Morris said the generosity of the Moura community was outstanding.

"I can't thank everyone enough for being here today," she said.

"My Dad passed away from cancer in 2014, that's what drove me to start and we'll just keep going because it just helps so many people."

It was a common refrain amongst the attendees, with cancer having touched almost everyone in attendance in a personal way.

Olivia McDouall, who won a bidding war for a kids' picnic table, said she was happy to pay more than usual as the proceeds of the event were going to a good cause.

"My granddad had cancer, that's why we're here today," she said.

The spirit of giving seemed to be contagious, with Arthur and Pearl Edwards teaming up with 92-year-old Theodore resident Nell Brownlie to donate a very special garden ornament to Cr Leo for her efforts - a newly restored bright yellow bicycle.

"This was second hand when I got it (as a young child)," laughed Mrs Brownlie.

"We donated it to Brooke because she does the cancer appeal every year, and we thought... she's got such a nice garden," said Mr Edwards.

"I had cancer myself, spent thirteen months in the Wesley Hospital over the last six years."

Cr Leo and Mrs Morris have successfully reached increased fundraising targets each year that they have hosted the morning tea.

From left: Arthur Edwards, Nell Brownlie and Pearl Edwards with the bike they donated to Brooke Leo. Photo Andrew Thorpe / Central Telegraph
From left: Arthur Edwards, Nell Brownlie and Pearl Edwards with the bike they donated to Brooke Leo. Photo Andrew Thorpe / Central Telegraph Andrew Thorpe

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