Retiring secretary loved her 20-year job
She has been secretary for 20 years doing a terrific lot of work: organising ribbons, spot prizes (up to $200 vouchers) and sponsors and sending newsletters to schools.
Margaret Graham stood down as secretary of the Bush District Calf and Lamb Day at the recent annual general meeting after 20 years service.
Her connection with showing calves began 32 years ago when her daughter had her first pet calf.
“There weren’t many calves then at the Woodville School. Nobody was keen to run the event so I started running it in Woodville, boosting the numbers. A few years later I had nine calves at the Woodville Calf and Lamb Day, farmed out to kids around town who were taught how to lead and what to do,” she said.
At that stage there was the Woodville Group Day with Woodville, Hopelands, Kumeroa and Papatawa schools involved.
Husband Stuart was more involved organising then as Margaret was busy raising the children.
In 1992 Margaret decided to join the Woodville Group Day Committee decided to join the Pahiatua Group Day which alternated between Eketa¯ huna and Pahiatua each year.
She organised a venue in 1993 at the Woodville Racecourse but this was not supported by Eketa¯ huna. Pahiatua then became the permanent home for the event, starting at the Pahiatua Rugby Grounds in Hall’s Road.
If it was wet it was held at Hobsons’ Horse Arena. Margaret would decide at 7am where it would be to put it on the radio. Only a few years after that the event moved to Hobsons in paddocks, inside the arena if
wet. For the last eight years it has been inside, after being too hot outside one year.
The event is run like clockwork under Margaret’s guidance, starting the night before setting up the rings.
“This takes the pressure off getting up and running the next day,” explained Margaret.
She has been secretary for 20 years doing plenty of work: organising ribbons, spot prizes (up to $200 vouchers) and sponsors and sending newsletters to schools. In 1998 there were 92 children with nine sponsors, in 2017 96 children with 40 sponsors.
Busy at the desk on the day of the show — helped by her daughter Elise Bilich — Margaret would be lucky to see her grandchildren now and then.
“I’ve been passionate about it, I love it, but now that we’re fully retired, we’re not milking cows or involved with the farm. We want to be free to travel and do overseas trips.” Margaret is still serving on the committee and will show the new officeholders the ropes at the next event.
At the annual general meeting Philip and Rose Fleming from Ballance have taken over the programme and ribbons. Hazel Schroder is the new secretary and Sandra Cannon is the new treasurer. President Dries de Jong was reelected.
Margaret remarked that back in 1983 there were four cups for calves and three for lambs. In 1998 there were eight cups for calves and four for lambs. In 2018 there are 13 cups for calves and 11 cups for lambs.
The club appears to have grown due to Margaret’s passion over the years, despite there being 14 schools originally, now down to eight or nine.
And numbers are also up despite there being fewer farms due to amalgamations and A&P shows disappearing. Margaret has been showing pedigree Ayrshire and Jersey cows over 20 years, stopping about two years ago. Offspring of her stock has been reared and sold, with Peak View Hetty winning Supreme Champion and continuing on the show circuit.
Stuart and Margaret Graham at the A&P Show in Feilding in 2008 with their Supreme Champion Ayrshire cow .
Six calves from the Grahams’ farm with three grandchildren and three Woodville children at the Manawatu Jersey Club Show.
Group Day with three grandchildren: Koben, Allyka and Casen.