A woman with many hats

Clutha Leader - - FRONT PAGE - MARY-JO TO­HILL

She’s a fire­fighter, mother and MP’s wife.

Jude Pat­ter­son wears many hats. Clutha District peo­ple got to know her first in a shiny hel­met when she joined the Lawrence vol­un­teer fire bri­gade eight years ago and even­tu­ally be­came sta­tion of­fi­cer.

When ru­ral and farmer, ur­ban brigades amal­ga­mated last year she be­came the vol­un­tary women’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Fire and Emer­gency New Zealand.

She is now part of Women in Fire and Emer­gency New Zealand - WFENZ, for area 24, which cov­ers Oa­maru to Gore.

The 42-year-old is also head­ing up to Auck­land on May 19 for the an­nual Sky Tower Stair Chal­lenge, for the fifth time.

‘‘I re­ally en­joy the af­ter­func­tion and see­ing where the money goes - that’s my favourite part of the event, that we’re rais­ing funds for leukemia and blood can­cer.’’

In the past three years, the event has raised more than $1 mil­lion be­cause of the ef­forts of brigades around the coun­try. The fundrais­ing target for 2018 is $950,000. About 950 fire­fight­ers will be tak­ing part.

It has been a tricky build-up this year for the Lawrence farmer and mother of two daugh­ters, be­cause she hasn’t had her usual train­ing to tackle those 51 flights of stairs.

Life changed for the for­mer Dunedin-based In­ver­may Agri­cul­tural Cen­tre chem­i­cal tech­ni­cian when hus­band Mark Pat­ter­son be­came a NZ First MP in Septem­ber.

‘‘He’s al­ways fol­lowed pol­i­tics, al­ways wanted to be a politi­cian, and he’s been fo­cused on that for years.’’

So it was no sur­prise to her that he be­came one. How­ever, if life was a bal­anc­ing act be­fore the elec­tion, it’s a jug­gling act now to keep life and fam­ily on track.

Con­tin­ued, page 5.

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