Mother’s Day Classic events are powered by volunteers. Year after year, we are thrilled to welcome new and familiar faces of individuals and teams who volunteer their time in support of life-saving breast cancer research.
Gilbert Brogden is one of those familiar faces - so familiar, in fact, that he's our longest-serving volunteer!
In 2023, we're honouring Gilbert's outstanding dedication to the cause by naming one of our merchandise items after him - The Gilbert Navy Cap.
The Chair of our Sydney and Western Sydney organising committee, Mel Warman, met with him to present him with the item, and she has shared his story with us:
He has been volunteering for the Mother’s Day Classic since it started 26 years ago and has been volunteering in some way for many charities for 40 years.
He celebrated his 90th birthday on 16 February (coincidentally, the day our 2023 registrations launched!) but I want to take you back to the start and where his “why” came from.
At the age of 13, Gilbert lost his mum to breast cancer. He has been without his mum for 77 years. I have to say that made me shed a tear. It’s been 15 years since losing my Mum, and like Gilbert, I am continuing a legacy to raise money for breast cancer research.
Gilbert joined the Air Force and was an aircraft engineer. Following in the steps of his father and older brother who both fought in WW1 and WW2 respectively for the AAF. Gilbert was the youngest of his siblings and now sadly the only one left.
Gilbert grew up and lived in the Inner West of Sydney and now lives in the beautiful beachside town of Narrabeen where I met him at his good friend Judy’s unit. I was treated to a cup of tea and I took some cupcakes with me to celebrate Gilbert’s birthday. Judy keeps Gilbert on the road with technology and sorts out his email and diary of volunteering for him. I think she probably keeps the cheeky chap in line too! I hope to have such a good friend when I turn 90.
Gilbert doesn’t drive! But being a “serial volunteer” gets himself out of bed at 1:30am to get ready and heads to the bus stop to get the bus from Narrabeen into the city. Now that’s commitment!
You will see him volunteering at just about every event in Sydney. A great way to keep his mind supple and body moving. He loves the connections he makes and this year will be volunteering on the Merchandise stall at the Domain. So please come and say hello.
I was honoured to hand over the aptly named “Gilbert” cap for his many years of service and support for the Mother’s Day Classic today.
My heart is full.
- Mel Warman, Chair, Sydney and Western Sydney organising committee