Due to family commitments I have resigned as the journalist with the Dungog Chronicle.
Over the past 24 years I have been welcomed into the homes of local residents, schools, organisations and business owners and written stories about their achievements, disappointments, joy, sadness and worst of all, tragedy, to share with the local community.
I have recorded the birth of hundreds of babies, photographed them at preschool, their first day of kindergarten and then as graduating students in year 12 at Dungog High School.
There have been many highs in my time at the Chronicle with one of the standouts being the ‘nude’ calendars we published 16 years ago.
The first was the male Men at Work new millennium calendar produced in 1999 and was a complete sellout following other media outlets reporting on its production.
The following year was the controversial women’s calendar which was also a sellout.
Money raised from both productions raised much needed funds for two local organisations.
I’ve seen quite a number of state premiers come to the Dungog shire.
Last year Prime Minister Tony Abbott visited the town to see first hand the devastation of the April 2015 superstorm.
Three people died and numerous families were displaced in a terrifying act of nature never seen before.
More than 18 months later people are still trying to move on with their lives.
I interviewed countless people who poured out their heart and souls to me and trying to put it into words was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.
With people at the lowest point in their lives they didn’t have to share their grief with me, but they did and for this I thank them as it enabled me to let others know of the gut-retching situation they were in.
While I have also seen numerous emergency service personnel come and go over the past two decades, they all have welcomed me into their organisations.
The ambos, police, fire brigades and SES have always accepted my calls and given me the information I needed to report on events happening within the area.
These ranged from good news stories such as ambos delivering babies in cars on the side of the road to tragedies such as fatal road accidents and house fires.
To everyone I have spoken to and photographed, thank you for allowing me into your lives and being able to share your news with the wider community through the pages of the Dungog Chronicle.
While I will miss my role at the Chronicle, it is now time for me to spend time with my husband Barry, our two sons and their wives and our three beautiful granddaughters and another grandchild due to be born very soon.
NOW HEAR THIS
Great to see this new column reporting small but important items of community interest.
I have magpies at Brookfield but they don't swoop. They just call to me for a hand-out. Love them.
My favourite bird.
The most beautiful song in the bush.
Feed them bread. They don't attack you.
The magpies are friendly around my place because I feed animals outside and they help themselves.