A HEARTWARMING thank you for one of Mount Gambier’s most dedicated volunteers was held last week as Biggest Morning Tea organiser Lois Bayre surpassed more than $150,000 fundraised for the Cancer Council SA over two decades.
Considered the largest Biggest Morning Tea event outside of Adelaide, Ms Bayre welcomed 300 guests to the Italo Australian Club on May 27 for the final time under her tenure as guests enjoyed sweets, coffee, tea and the annual Redgum Fashion Parade.
Originally planning to hand over the event leadership last year, a COVID-19-enforced cancellation postponed Ms Bayre’s last hurrah but the organisation will now be passed on to Karen Petersen.
This year’s event was made extra special for the avid volunteer with a surprise visit from grandson Sam Zobel.
“With Sam coming down it was so special because I had my band of volunteers and my daughter, all of whom I could not do it without,” Ms Bayre said.
“The support from the community and the local businesses over the years has been fantastic and I am so grateful.”
Ms Bayre was motivated to fundraise for the Cancer Council after her mother died from the disease.
“I loved organising it and hope my guests over the years have had wonderful experiences but have also never lost sight of the reason behind it, which is to raise money for cancer,” she said.
Ms Bayre said the only person missing from the special day was her late husband Pete Bayre.
“He was always there at the trading table and it was sad for me not to have him there on Thursday as he was such a big part of my life but he would have been so proud,” she said.
“The trading table was his baby and he loved getting involved so much so it was wonderful to keep that going.”
Ms Petersen lost her sister to cancer over two decades ago and wanted to take on the responsibility following Ms Bayre’s retirement.
“Cancer is something every family is touched by and I usually do the Biggest Morning Tea at work but once I read Lois’s story I thought it could be something I could do,” Ms Petersen said.
“I was walking into a shop not long after and I ran into Lois and asked if she had anyone who wanted to take over.
“When she told me they hadn’t I put my hand up to do it.
“It was as if we were meant to cross paths.
“Lois has done a fantastic job and everyone in the community appreciates the work she has done over the years.”