Teacher a real hero
Shirley Frew is officially our hero.
She has dedicated her entire life to helping others and now that she is retired from teaching sewing and textiles at Matamata College, she puts the needs of others before herself.
‘‘It makes me really happy to give back what the town has given me.’’
What the town has given her is a prestigious award – the Kiwibank Local Hero medal which was presented to her on Thursday March 10 in Hamilton in a ceremony celebrating Waikato’s local heroes.
‘‘It was quite a surprise,’’ said Mrs Frew.
‘‘I never expected anything like this. The ceremony was quite mind boggling. It was really quite something.’’
She was nominated by senior Matamata College students Lynaire Eccles and Alice Buchanan who took the time to complete all the paperwork and research required.
‘‘When they told me they nominated me, I just laughed but then I got a call saying I was through to the next round,’’ Mrs Frew said.
She taught at Matamata College for 40 years and retired last year. Over her time she has become a community legend and is an extremely skilled clothing designer and tailor.
‘‘ It was the best job anyone could ever ask for. There were a lot of changes while I was there but you could not ask for a better place to work.’’
Mrs Frew said she was a student at Matamata College as a teenager and had no intention of coming back to Matamata at the time, but admitted coming back and living her life here has been fantastic.
Now her time is spent with her husband who is currently in hospital. Mrs Frew is also on various community project boards including the Pohlen Hospital Child Cancer committee.
Besides that she still keeps up the sewing, designing new patchworks whenever she has a second to spare, and keeping them creative.
‘‘There is no point in staying inside the box and making the original things. I think that is what made me a unique teacher, I did not conform and I like to do things out of the ordinary,’’ she said.
Our Hero: Shirley Frew with her Kiwibank Local Hero medal.