Group of South Canterbury women join together with a common theme video


There's more to a person than a name, just ask the members of South Canterbury's Shirley group.

A newly formed group of women has joined together with a common theme.

The South Canterbury club's members share fun, friendship, laughter - and the same name.

Members of the South Canterbury Shirley group admit there may be some confusion when they are out together as they are all named Shirley, but say that is all part of the joviality of sharing the moniker.

Celebrating their first name are South Canterbury Shirley group members (back, from left) Shirley Hunter, Shirley ...

Celebrating their first name are South Canterbury Shirley group members (back, from left) Shirley Hunter, Shirley Anderson, Shirley Malthus, Shirley Tily, and (front, from left) Shirley Thomas and Shirley Ellerbroek-Foster.

Group co-ordinator Shirley Thomas decided to set up a group of South Canterbury Shirleys in early April, after seeing a story on a similar group in Christchurch.

"My daughter sent me an email with a story about another Shirley group," Thomas said.

"I thought `why not?', I thought it could be fun."

The name Shirley, meaning bright wood, was popular during the 1930s, after American child actress Shirley Temple.

Thomas placed a classified advertisement looking for fellow Shirleys in the region and was contacted by 14 other women with the same name in Timaru, Temuka and the Hakataramea Valley.

Since then the group has met twice and has decided to meet every six weeks - getting out and about and having fun, Thomas said.

She said people could be forgiven for being confused when hearing the group's members talking to one another while out, but that added to the laughs.

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"If we confuse them that's great - we know what we're doing."

The Timaru Herald met six of the group's members this week - Shirley Tily, Shirley Ellerbroek-Foster, Shirley Malthus, Shirley Hunter, Shirley Anderson and Thomas.

"We've already been having a lot of fun together," Thomas said.

The Shirleys all agreed each of them should have some input into what the group was about.

"We don't want just one person in charge," Tily said.

Members have each adopted a nickname, and all wear name badges with that on, while at their gatherings.

They weren't confident in the name becoming popular again either.

"Shirley's definitely a name for the older generation," Ellerbroek-Foster said.

"We don't notice the name in the birth notices, though at our age we're looking more at the death notices," Tily said.

They hoped to attract more Shirleys to the mix and were happy to hear from anyone with the name, they agreed.

 - The Timaru Herald


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