Dozens of people named Shirley meet in Roxburgh

Members of the Otago/Southland Shirley Club met in Roxburgh on Wednesday.
At back from left are Shirley Cranstoun, ...
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Members of the Otago/Southland Shirley Club met in Roxburgh on Wednesday. At back from left are Shirley Cranstoun, Shirley Brown, Shirley Falconer, Shirley McIntosh, Shirley Bell, Shirley Wright, Shirley Shirley Morehu, Shirley McIntosh and Shirley Campbell. At front from left are Shirley Hackett, Shirley Miller, Shirley Weir and Shirley McGregor.

Slowly but Shirley the membership of the Otago/Southland branch of the international Shirley Club is rising.

Fourteen of the 53 members met in Roxburgh for one of their "non-politcal, non-religious" quarterly meetings on Wednesday.

The Shirleys wore their traditional garb of purple and aqua, their numbered Shirley badges and sang their Shirley song.

Shirley Cranstoun/YouTube

Shirley Cranstoun sings the Otago/Southland Shirley Club song written by her.

The Shirleys drank tea, had a lunch and talked family and gardening.

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"The common denominator is ... we're all named Shirley," Otago/Southland Shirley Club newsletter coordinator Shirley Cranstoun said. 

"The main drawcard is, unlike lots of groups ... it's nice to have a group that's purely for fun, food and friendship.

"We like to just have a laugh and share a song or two."

According to Cranstoun, the concept of a Shirley Club started in Australia 21-years-ago when founder Shirley Brown found herself going "through the horror" of getting her hair styled like the famous child star, the late Shirley Temple.

The legend goes that Brown put an ad in the local paper following the ordeal to lean on other Shirleys about her hair horror and more than 60 Shirleys turned up in support. 

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Now there are three Shirley clubs in New Zealand including in Christchurch and Tauranga and multiple clubs in Australia and the United States.

The Otago/Southland branch was formed in 2003 with seven original members.

Four of the founding members, Shirley Brown (not the Aussie one), Shirley Wright, Shirley Bell and Shirley McGregor are still with the group and were in Roxburgh.

Cranstoun said the club had only ever had one male named Shirley but can't recall what became of him.

Asked the future of the club with fewer people naming their children Shirley, Cranstoun said: "Who knows."

"It's not in the top 10 most popular names that's for sure."

However, there was hope that with "Shirley" middle names and surnames allowable and with "Shirley for a day" events, others would join in, Cranstoun said.

"It might be on someone's bucket list to be a Shirley for a day."

 - Stuff

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