Teacher a real hero

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - By LAURA McLEAY laura.mcleay@wrcn.co.nz

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.

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