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mcCr Garden Party at Shirley, Nimmitabel

From the moment they stepped over the thresh-hold and into the grounds of John and Sally Ann Cottle's stunning property ‘Shirley’, Nimmitabel, guests of the bi-annual Monaro Committee for Cancer Research (mcCr) Garden Party, were transported into a world of calm and tranquillity. Bees hummed through the iris-studded gardens. A light breeze rustled the proud stands of silver birches. All a soul could hear was laugher, music and the sounds of honest and joyful connection.

Sipping effervescent glasses of sparkling wine, guests meandered through the gloriously lush gardens and perused the variety of market stalls dotted throughout the grounds. Glittering trinkets, delicately scented candles, cushions, clothing, hats, handbags, sculptures, sweets, cakes and Christmas treats. There seemed no end to the variety of treasures on offer. It was abundantly clear that the mcCr had organised yet another day of pure pleasure in an effort to raise funds to combat cancer.

After a spot of shopping the 500+ guests relaxed in the shade, sprawling across the soft, manicured lawns and chatted over their delicious lunch boxes created by the incredible local caterers HQ Cuisine, headed by Sean Bradshaw. As the sultry sounds of local artists Michael Horneman, followed by Lucy Fisher drifted through flowers and across the gathering, all I could see was bright hats, sparkling attire and broad smiles soaking up the ambience and sunshine.

As I wandered through this beautiful space, trying to capture the hum, the energy, the story of the day, I witnessed a hundred beautiful moments unfold. Old friendships rekindling, new connections being forged, surprising and joy-fill encounters between young and old, and the dedicated toil of numerous passionate men and women working to make the day as smooth and joyous as possible. Amplified by the superb setting that is Shirley, it was a truly magical experience.

For more sweetness from the day please check out Henry Schofield's gorgeous film here!

Strolling through, something marvellous occurred to me - here on the Monaro we really are a community that cares, and when there is cause we truly band together. The MCCR is a shining example of this. Staffed by over two-dozen incredible women, and growing every year, this community group provides funding for an issue that is very close to many of our hearts.

Cancer, sadly, is something that has, or will affect us all in someway. Whether we’ve known someone who has suffered or have indeed suffered ourselves. It is a disease that seems to touch us all. My own be-loved Grandmother endured multiple diagnoses as well as a double mastectomy, radiation and other various treatments, and was thankfully able to recover. Because of the fundraising efforts of philanthropic groups such as the mcCr, research has enabled technology to evolve in leaps and bounds, improving the recovery, comfort, treatment and lives of everyone involved. For me, it meant that my Grandma lived. And though she was in a nursing home, I was able to share with her the special moments from one of the most important days of my life - the day I married my best-friend.

The funds raised on Saturday day will change lives. In fact it will save lives, and it was abundantly clear that generosity was in the air. Generosity of spirit. Generosity of time. Generosity of place and space and goods. And from this incredibly celebratory and fun-filled affair funds, glasses and spirits were raised for a very worthy cause!

Monaro Committee for Cancer Research, thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of this incredible celebration. Your dedication and hard-work has been a marvel to behold and you have truly created the most beautiful experience for not only the guests of this gorgeous Garden Party, but for the people whose lives are forever changed because of your kindness, compassion, passion and commitment to creating a better world. You are truly an inspiration.

I’d also like to make a special mention of Jacquie Schofield and Karen McGufficke, chief organisers of this amazing event, whose tenacity, benevolence, determination and keen attention to detail created a spectacular legacy for the Monaro region! And additionally to Sue Litchfield, whose longstanding dedication and commitment to the mcCr was recognised on Saturday with gratitude and a life-membership to the organisation. Enormous congratulations to each of you!

The 2018 mcCr Garden Party's Crew :D

Videography: Henry Schofield


McGufficke Sisters

Alpine & Equine