Shirley, you can’t be se­ri­ous?

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - RHYS CHAM­BER­LAIN Watch and lis­ten to the Shirley song at

Slowly but Shirley the mem­ber­ship of the Otago/South­land branch of the in­ter­na­tional Shirley Club is ris­ing.

Four­teen of the 53 mem­bers met in Roxburgh for one of their ‘‘non-polit­cal, non-re­li­gious’’ quar­terly meet­ings last Wed­nes­day.

The Shirleys wore their tra­di­tional garb of pur­ple and aqua, their num­bered Shirley badges and sang their Shirley song.

The Shirleys drank tea, had a lunch and talked fam­ily and gar­den­ing.

‘‘The com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor is ... we’re all named Shirley,’’ Otago/South­land Shirley Club news­let­ter co­or­di­na­tor Shirley Cranstoun said.

‘‘The main draw­card is, un­like lots of groups ... it’s nice to have a group that’s purely for fun, food and friend­ship.

‘‘We like to just have a laugh and share a song or two.’’

Ac­cord­ing to Cranstoun, the con­cept of a Shirley Club started in Aus­tralia 21 years ago when founder Shirley Brown found her­self go­ing ‘‘through the hor­ror’’ of get­ting her hair styled like the fa­mous child star, the late Shirley Tem­ple.

The leg­end goes that Brown put an ad in the lo­cal pa­per fol­low­ing the or­deal to lean on other Shirleys about her hair hor­ror, and more than 60 Shirleys turned up in sup­port.

Now there are three Shirley clubs in New Zealand, in­clud­ing in Christchurch and Tau­ranga, and mul­ti­ple clubs in Aus­tralia and the United States.

The Otago/South­land branch was formed in 2003 with seven orig­i­nal mem­bers.

Four of the found­ing mem­bers, Shirley Brown (not the Aussie one), Shirley Wright, Shirley Bell and Shirley McGre­gor are still with the group and were in Roxburgh.

Cranstoun said the club had only ever had one male named Shirley but can’t re­call what be­came of him.

Asked about the fu­ture of the club with fewer peo­ple nam­ing their chil­dren Shirley, Cranstoun said: ‘‘Who knows?’’

‘‘It’s not in the top 10 most pop­u­lar names that’s for sure.’’

How­ever, there was hope that with ’’Shirley’’ mid­dle names and sur­names al­low­able, and with ‘‘Shirley for a day’’ events, oth­ers would join in, Cranstoun said.

‘‘It might be on some­one’s bucket list to be a Shirley for a day.’’

Shirleys in the rear: Cranstoun, Brown, Fal­coner, McIn­tosh, Bell, Wright, Morehu, McIn­tosh and Camp­bell. Shirleys in the front: Hack­ett, Miller, Weir and McGre­gor.

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