High tea fit for pink flamingoes

High tea fit for pink flamingoes

The inaugural Snowy Flamingo Afternoon High Tea was held at the Commonwealth Hotel on Wednesday, August 22, and was deemed a success, raising funds for a cause close to the hearts of so many - cancer.

Iconic local ‘crazy bird’, Tracey Barnett, founded the local Snowy Flamingo Cancer Support Group for women who have had any type of cancer, and last Wednesday more than 120 men and women frocked up in their finery to turn the ‘top pub’ into a sea of pink to show their support for Tracey and her flamingoes.

The group of around 45 ‘crazy birds’ continues to grow in members, meeting monthly with a rotation through Orbost’s cafés to share in a cuppa and cake and to support one another through their battles. The aim of Wednesday’s high tea was to raise funds for their annual Pamper Day. Last year’s pamper day, which was the group’s second, included massages, tai chi, food, services such as occupational therapy and lymphedemia from Orbost Regional Health and art therapy, conducted by a local art therapist.

But the success of high tea saw it go far beyond the initial goal of the day... its overwhelming success saw more than $8000 raised, and still rising, the Flamingo group now able to also donate funds directly to the palliative care room at Orbost Regional Health.

“We received an avalanche of donations, which led our auction to go for close to two hours,” organising committee member, Carenza Little, said.

Though unable to attend the event due to ongoing treatment in Melbourne, Tracey was never far from the thoughts of those attending, and they were not far from hers, with the event live streamed during the afternoon so she did not miss out on any of the action. Tracey is not the only one in the group currently undergoing treatment with other members receiving support as they go through radiation, chemotherapy and surgery.

“I express gratitude to the organising committee who forged ahead when I was unable to,” Tracey said, “collecting donations, keeping the Facebook page going, Danielle providing food and donating decorations, the overwhelming amount of donations from businesses and generous individuals, Downer for donating two workers to volunteer at the event, HOF design for providing the fashion parade with the models, Marco Crescenzio for being the auctioneer, and Ben Pyatt for getting the live streaming working so I was able to watch. It was nice to be able to wave to everyone.”

To keep her even more connected to the day, the ward clerk where Tracey is undergoing treatment at Epworth Freemasons, gave her a plush toy flamingo, who Tracey has named ‘Sally’.

The Commonwealth Hotel’s Danielle Hollingsworth and her team prepared the high tea delights receiving rave reviews from across the room.
Carenza came away with a two-night accommodation package at the Marlo Hotel, which included a bottle of champagne and a game of golf. Her winning bid of $170 was reached after the crowd continuously bumped the price up, knowing how badly she wanted it.

While she is not a permanent resident of Orbost, living in town for 12 months while her husband works at the gas plant, Carenza said has been touched by the community spirit she has found in the East Gippsland town.

“This town is an extraordinary town,” she said.

“It is very unique and extremely generous.”

Carenza said she was happy to be a part of something so significant.

“I felt privileged to help with Tracey Barnett, Danielle Hollingsworth and Zoe Crescenzio on the organising committee,” she said.

“It was nice for the ladies of the town to get a chance to take a rest from baking and have a place to come and enjoy some time for them.

“As a town, you are better together than you are apart.”

PICTURED: Snowy Flamingoes Cancer Support Group’s inaugural afternoon high tea at the Commonwealth Hotel was an overwhelming success last Wednesday, organising committee members, Zoe Crescenzio and Carenza Little, thrilled with the results. Carenza was extra excited having claimed the winning bid for an accommodation package at Marlo Hotel in the auction. S324-25