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VIDEO: Grandmother’s baking raises over £80,000 for Mary’s Meals charity

A Port Glasgow grandmother has raised over £80,000 for charity by baking and selling a mountain of delicious homemade treats.

Over the past nine years, Bernadette Barr, 65, has baked more than 5,600 portions of cake from her kitchen in Port Glasgow, selling the goodies at afternoon teas in aid of Mary’s Meals.

Barr’s latest event took place in Greenock on April 23, with all 120 tickets selling out as soon as it was announced.

The afternoon tea raised an incredible £3,000 – and the next day Bernadette took part in Glasgow’s Kiltwalk, also for Mary’s Meals.

The money raised will be used to serve meals to 307 children at Tombay Primary School in Liberia, the school that Bernadette sponsors in her mother’s memory.

© Chris Watt Photography
Bernadette Barr

The Mary’s Meals charity serves nutritious school meals in 20 of the world’s poorest countries, many of which are impacted by conflict and natural disasters.

The promise of a good meal attracts hungry children into the classroom where, instead of working or looking for food, they can gain an education and hope for the future.

The charity recently announced that it is now feeding 2,279,941 children every school day.

Barr starting baking for Mary’s Meals after taking her mum, Rachel Stewart, to an event held by the charity. It was here that her mum whispered: “If only I was younger.”

She said: “My mum had spent many years fundraising to help children living in the world’s poorest countries and I wanted to find a way I could continue in her footsteps. I decided to start baking – and then sell the cakes to raise money for Mary’s Meals.”

Barr was determined to carry on her mum’s good work and so decided to start baking, with all profits going to Mary’s Meals. She has been holding her afternoon tea events since 2015, raising more than £80,000 for the charity.

She starts preparing two weeks in advance of each event, baking whipped cream puffs, ginger cakes, old-school cakes and rocky road.

She added: “I am proud to be continuing my mum’s desire to help hungry children around the world – as well as just about anyone who came into our family home!”

Children receiving Mary’s Meals in Liberia

Emma Hutton, head of grassroots engagement at Mary’s Meals, said: “I would like to extend a Hollywood handshake to our very own star baker, Bernadette.

“Bernadette is an incredible woman and a wonderful example of the kindness we see from Mary’s Meals supporters across the UK. Today, more than 2,279,941 children will receive a nutritious school meal because of their generosity. We are so grateful for all these little acts of love.”

It costs just £15.90 for Mary’s Meals to feed a child for a whole school year. To find out more information about the work of the charity, please visit