Enjoy a cuppa for a friend

Had life’s pathway been slightly more circuitous and led a teenage girl into matrimony with her favourite matinee idol of the time, then today, she might be known as Mrs Ada Gable or perhaps, Mrs Ada Bogart. As it turned out, Ada at age 21 met and married Max, the love of her life, and she became Mrs Ada Staader. Not an unmemorable name you would have to agree. Till Max’s recent passing, the couple enjoyed a happy marriage, celebrating their Diamond Jubilee.

Ada has been an active participant in the life of the Parish of Wallsend-Shortland for over 26 years. Some might remember her in her working-world role as manager of the Student Union canteen at Newcastle University, employment that stretched over a quarter of a century. She has immersed herself annually in a fundraising effort on behalf of the Cancer Foundation since 1999. All these facts are pertinent in that they are pointers to her essential nature.

In 1999 Ada’s brother, Leonard Masters, was diagnosed with cancer and given a very limited time to live. He suffered much during the final twelve months of his life. Only a matter of days following his passing, someone (Ada does not remember who) phoned her to enquire whether she might be willing to involve herself in fundraising to assist cancer sufferers. Ada unhesitatingly said, “Yes!” thus initiating her association with “Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea”, a decision which she describes as, “...the best thing I’ve ever done in my life!” Ada’s home is thrown open for the cause, her kitchen becoming the hub for sometimes frenzied preparation of scones and other delicacies (4 am starts are her ‘norm’ at this time). Her legendary organising and cooking efforts have, in the years since, led to the raising of a sum well in excess of $44,000. While that effort is mightily impressive and testifies to persistent zeal, it is Ada’s generosity of nature which many people find even more remarkable.

In her fundraising efforts (she also supports Daffodil Day and has, in the past, worked for VOCAL) Ada’s family, daughters Kathy, Anne and Linda and, of her six grandchildren, Jessica and Elise in particular, have given their unflagging support. Ada is also quick to pay credit to the help given her by many friends.  I ask Ada what her philosophy in life might be and receive only a stare in reply. The answer is as obvious as the question was redundant: Ada is a ‘people-person’; she is a family person; she likes people; she enjoys helping others. Any regrets? None...wait...one ... she misses Max very much.

I’m tempted to believe that Ada and many of her octogenarian generation who lived through the tough times of the Great Depression and World War II must have learned that while there were relatively few material comforts during those lean years, it was human concern and care for one another that fired spirits and were the cornerstone upon which happy, fulfilled lives were built.

It’s as simple as pouring a great, big, steaming cuppa for a friend.

The Biggest Morning Tea will be held on Thursday 26 May. Please visit www.biggestmorningtea.com.au

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John Murray

John is a member of the Aurora Editorial Team.

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