Tiaras and red carpet greet new mayoress
Outgoing mayor Janie Annear had one main piece of advice for Timaru's new mayoress Wendy Odey - be yourself.
Mrs Odey was last week settling into the idea of her new, more public role, and admitted one of the first things she would be doing, with the expectation of more outings, was going shopping for clothes.
"I've got lots of good friends that can help me with that."
Mrs Annear has also been on hand to help. She has advised Mrs Odey to stick to her own style and in all things, to be herself.
Mackenzie Mayor Claire Barlow had also offered to be on hand anytime she needed a hand.
She had received "lots of texts" and calls from wellwishers and when she went into her part-time job as a Timaru Medical Centre practice nurse last week, her workmates rolled out the red carpet - made from tissue paper.
"All the nurses and receptionists had tiaras on and I had to wear a big hat ... it's very embarrassing when the next patient arrives and you've got a hat on your head but it's nice they did that."
The Odeys are already reasonably well-known in Timaru. Mrs Odey has lived here all her life while Damon Odey moved up the road from Pleasant Point.
"We've got a lot of different circles of friends through work and through the kids ... through the patients (at work) and family."
So she doesn't expect to find being recognised on the street daunting.
"I'm a social person anyway."
She also says the change in status won't change who she is, and their three children Olivia, 14, Lucy, 13, and Mac, 10, had been bought up to be down to be down-to-earth that way.
Mrs Odey, 40, and Mr Odey have known each other since, as a Timaru Girls' High School student, she took him to her sixth form ball.
She worked as a Timaru Hospital nurse until she and Mr Odey went on their OE for a year. She worked in England as a nurse, then on returning, they started their family.
With just 10 hours a week as a practice nurse, she has the time to devote herself to her support role as mayoress, and intends to keep the nursing job, which she loves.
With the children getting older, Olivia old enough to babysit, both her's and Mr Odey's parents living in Timaru and a good support network, she is relatively free to get involved in whatever comes along, although her main role will be supporting the new mayor.
Mrs Odey says she hadn't thought too much about it prior to Mr Odey winning the election as "you never know which way it's going to go".
"I'm just going to go with the flow. You can be as involved or uninvolved (as you wish), but I'd like to be involved."
SOUTH CANTERBURY HERALD
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