FAMILY members have thrown a surprise birthday party for a woman who has fostered 100 children and left a mark on many more.
Tess Geary turned 85-years-old on Sunday and her family wanted to spoil her, daughter Colleen Worbs said.
"She's been a great mum, and not just to us but in-laws and the local community," she said.
"Mum said she didn't want a fuss made on her birthday but we felt we needed to," daughter Toni Denson said.
Mrs Geary and her husband Brian's house became a hub for so many children in White Hills that she had to put up visiting hours, she said.
"Dad would come home and have nowhere to sit because the house was full of neighbourhood kids," Mrs Denson said.
"We would have a table tennis table set up and Mum would feed them all."
The Gearys began fostering when they were first married and lived in Melbourne, before having 10 children.
They began fostering a boy in Bendigo, but it was only as their own 10 children grew up that they fostered more.
"My youngest one had asked me 'why do I have to be the last one (of my biological children)' and I said 'well, someone has got to be the last one'," Mrs Geary said.
"But then I thought I would have a go at fostering kids. So that's how we started."
Mrs Geary has 38 grandchildren and 34 great grandchildren.
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