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.

Bush Telegraph - - Focus On Farming - By STEVE CARLE´

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.

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