“Then in 1975 Shirrley Mahableshwarwalla became secretary, a lady recently from India, who was very intrigued with the orchestra when she arrived. She remained the secretary until 1997, an extraordinary period of devotion to a task, often very time consuming, that has merited our life long thanks.”
So wrote Geoff Widmer in “A Thirty Year History”, the story of the Orchestra from 1969 to 1999.
Of course, as those who have seen her resplendent in her sari at our concerts since 1997 can attest, Shirrley is still very much with us, and this year celebrates 40 years as a non playing volunteer with the Orchestra. A record that surely will never be broken.
From Secretary to Assistant Secretary, Committee Member and Committee Minder, Providore, Front of House, Council Liaison, Post Box Clearer, Keeper of Keys and Knowledge and Chief Carer for Waifs and Strays, Shirrley has been all things to this Orchestra and has kept us very much on our toes. Every new Committee Member has to undergo a rigorous spelling test – to get Shirrley’s name right.
Shirrley’s indomitable spirit has survived moving to the South Coast, some ill health in 2012 and very sadly, the death of her husband Behram last year. Although any one of these would stop most of us, Shirrley’s commitment remains strong and unwavering.
On 1st April 2015 Shirrley is having a significant birthday. Of course we can’t say which one. And as she still goes to the gym every week, she’s likely to have very many more.
So on this occasion we’d like to pay tribute to someone who has spent half her life serving this Orchestra and this Community.
Shirrley, HAPPY BIRTHDAY and THANK YOU from all of us.
– Bruce Lane