Thank you to everyone who entered our Mum in a Million competition. There were so many amazing entries, but the winner is... Trisha Barrett! She was nominated by her friend Patti, who explains why she is so special.
As I dialled the phone, my mind flicked over the past 50 years.
‘I can’t believe we’ve been chatting for over half a century,’ I said to my best friend Trisha, now 76.
‘No wonder my phone bill is so expensive,’ she joked. Trisha and I first met when we were in our early 20s. It felt like just yesterday my husband, Darrel, now 80, introduced me to his mate Tom, now 81, and his then-girlfriend Trisha. Instantly hitting it off, Trisha and I were two peas in a pod. Cheering on the sidelines at footy games, we were our hubby's biggest supporters.
Raising our children together, my four kids and her three spent many days sharing toys.
My second, Lisa, now 56, and her eldest, Paul, now 56, were born just months apart.
However, almost immediately, Paul was diagnosed with learning difficulties. Flooding Paul with love, Trisha sought out the best for her baby boy.
‘I love him no matter what,’ she said.
Enrolling Paul in a special school, Trisha made sure he experienced a normal childhood. She always went above and beyond.
I was never surprised byher positive outlook on life because nothing was too much for Trisha. She was always the first one to put up her hand to help everyone else. After he left school, Trisha encouraged Paul to nd full-time work at the local laundry.
Waking up at 5am, Trisha dedicated her mornings to helping Paul get ready for work, while Tom would drive him there. Not receiving government benefits, they taught their son the importance of contributing to society.
And the laundry was more than happy to accommodate Paul’s special needs. He knew where every towel went and perfected how to fold a pesky fitted sheet.
‘Paul’s not afraid of a little hard work,’ Tom would say.
For 37 years, Paul loved working there, until one day when he had a fall. Searching for answers, doctors uncovered Paul was suffering from motor neurone disease. He was only 55. Hearing Paul’s diagnosis was heartbreaking. Yet Trisha never lost her smile.
Mashing Paul’s food three times a day, with Trisha in charge, he always had first-class care.
Once he was unable to walk, Trisha looked after him in his wheelchair. ‘How are you going?’
I asked my oldest friend. ‘Life is a blessing,’
Trisha said with a smile. What makes Trisha a mum in a million is not just her dedication but her love for life. And she passed that love on to Paul. Paul’s main passion is his beloved NRL team the Brisbane Broncos. Trisha is a generous soul who loves her son and wants to give him the world.
When I phoned Trisha to tell her she’d won, there was silence on the other end.
‘There are other people more deserving,’ she replied.
I had to send her an email from that’s life! to prove she had won. My dear friend would never sing her own praises, which is why I have to do it for her. She has devoted every second of her life to her family without a second thought for herself. Trisha is the silent hero.
"I am only doing what any mum would do. It has been a team effort with my hubby Tom and we have been blessed with our three beautiful children, Paul, Madonna and Steven. When Patti told me I’d won Mum in a Million I couldn’t believe it – there are so many amazing mums out there."
Meet our other mums
These other deserving mums were highly commended and each won a $50 gift voucher to treat themselves.
Helen Birtwistle, nominated by Donna Walters
My mum Helen is much-loved by our community after driving a school bus for 40 years. She supported me and my three kids when I lost my husband, and cares for my dad. She never complains. I’m so lucky to have a perfect mum.
Brony McKenzie, nominated by Georgia Sproule
After a serious accident and brain surgery, my brother Ben was unable to look after himself. Mum retired to become Ben’s full-time carer. She then turned to volunteering at the local Vinnies while supporting her hubby Lindsay, who is battling cancer. No matter what life throws at her, she is always there to help others.
Tracy King, nominated by Emma Winchcombe
At 25 and pregnant with her first daughter, my cousin Tracy, now 43, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She’s since done several marathons, the Kokoda Track, trekked to Machu Picchu and to Everest Base Camp. When my own mum was dying with cancer, Tracy was there for me.
Lorraine McArthur, nominated by Helen McArthur
Thirty years ago, Mum was in a terrible accident on our farm and suffered burns to 75 per cent of her body. Since then, Dad has patiently changed her wounds every day as there’s a large area of her body without pores that can break at the slightest irritation. My mum is amazing.
Vicky Forrest, nominated by Courtney Berry
When my mum’s cancer came back, she had to go through 10 months of chemo and radiotherapy. She lost all her hair and she still went to work to provide for me and my three brothers. Everyone says how strong my mum is and that makes me proud. She is the best.
Robyn Mossfield, nominated by Bronte Ward
A single mum, she’s raised four independent young women. We lived with my grandparents and Mum cared for my grandmother who had Parkinson’s. Working full-time, she completed a degree while we were all under seven. She ensured her daughters had every opportunity.