FAMILY: Sonia Butler and baby Emily Butler and sister Belinda Dockrill.
FAMILY: Sonia Butler and baby Emily Butler and sister Belinda Dockrill. Melissa Gulbin

Ladies juggle it all for Casino Beef Week

BEEF WEEK may seem a blokey affair on the surface, but if there is anything to be taken away from the Casino Beef Week Ladies High Tea it's that behind every thriving rural family, chances are there is a capable woman holding the reins.

More than 200 women converged on the Casino RSM Club yesterday to raise money for charity Jodie's Inspiration, the initiative of cancer survivor and tireless businesswoman Jodie McCrae, who is raising money for medical equipment at Lismore's oncology department.

Newly-crowned Beef Week Queen Georgie-Ann King described her whirlwind week with grace and humour.

"I visited the kindy kids and they asked me if I owned a castle. I'm still waiting to hear back from the Beef Week committee on that one," she joked.

Beef Week committee member Sam Chilton said: "I think women in the Richmond Valley excel at juggling work and family.

"Quite often they are running the farm and business, and looking after the children.

"They might also hold down a job in town as well as the farm job, so they are juggling a lot of things."

One such inspirational juggling woman is Jessica Cruikshank, who somehow wrangles five young children while helping on the farm, but can still attend a high tea in a white lace dress and look spectacular.

During her keynote speech, self-confessed "tomboy" and charity powerhouse Jodie McCrae let drop that she had a new wish.

"If we can get enough money, I want to get a Palliative Care House for families in the region," she said.

"This charity will go on after me. I may not see it happen but I want it to happen.

"We are planing for a new family day event, making it three events a year.

"But my stipulation is that all of the money stays around the local area."

I have watched a couple of my friends die with young children and they don't want to stay in hospital in a dingy room.

Jodie's aim was to inspire, celebrate and empower women to achieve.