A really nice note arrived on my desk this week to say thanks.
It was handwritten on pretty pink paper and was addressed to me and the editorial team.
"Thank you so much for all the help and support you have given me over the years," it said. "I'm so grateful and really cannot thank you enough."
It was sitting with three copies of a new CD released this week.
Yes, it was from Clara van Wel, the young woman famous in Marlborough for several years and suddenly launched on the national scene by winning the TV show New Zealand's Got Talent.
Going by the stories I've read and the interviews I've seen, she's hardly had time to breathe properly yet she managed to acknowledge what we've done, which was really just doing our job of covering her achievements.
I am impressed. And slightly embarrassed because I haven't yet said thanks for the CDs.
The three numbers on the CD are good and quite unlike anything I would expect to have been composed by a 15-year-old. The full album to be released in February should be worth waiting for.
I haven't met Clara but have seen her perform a couple of times, once as the winner of the Stars in Their Eyes competition in Blenheim last year. Watching her younger sister Daisy dancing in the dark at the side of the stage showed that Clara is not the only one in the family with talent.
We've had an interesting couple of weeks deciding how to cover Clara's success. During the preliminary rounds of the competition it was impossible to get anything out of TVNZ, who also had the van Wels sworn to secrecy. When she did finally win, we had to compete with all the national media trying to get her attention, but she managed to squeeze in time for the hometown paper.
Since then, our reporters have had a chance to catch up with her a couple of times, and have enjoyed the process.
We like to celebrate our heroes, and Clara is definitely one of them. Even so, we have been worried about over-exposure by putting her on the front page too often, but the reader statistics we get from our website suggest she's still up there.
As she returns to school next year, she will become another one of the successful, busy students at Marlborough Girls' College, just with a slightly higher national profile than most.
Meantime, Clara, thanks for the CDs and feel free anytime to pop in to autograph them.
- The Marlborough Express