Over two decades in the south Lynley McKerrow has near everything packed up and is ready to move to pastures and adventures new.
Our more than personable Town Crier has decided that the time is right to make the break.
Over a quick coffee at her inner city flat Lynley McKerrow told whatsoninvers.nz that she is moving to the Waikato to be with the man who will become her husband and to be close to her son who lives in Auckland.
Lynley McKerrow says while she grew up in Featherston in the Wairarapa she has deep roots in Southland as her dad came from Southland and regards Southland as her spiritual home, something she is extremely proud of.
Ms McKerrow arrived in Southland 21 years ago with absolutely nothing and literally reinvented herself undertaking several vocations including working in rest homes, industrial chaplaincy, foster parenting and eventually becoming a fulltime funeral and wedding celebrant.
She lists working as a chaplain for Presbyterian Support as an absolute high point saying she absolutely loved the people at the rest home.
Getting back to the funeral celebrancy, Lynley McKerrow has officiated at over 14 hundred funerals over 18 years with a few more to come.
Lynley McKerrow says giving up the Town Crier role she has held for the past 5 years has been a dreadfully hard decision to make.
She says the role of Town Crier which goes back to the days of William The Conqueror is largely ceremonial but important.
Quality’s that make a good Town Crier are a good voice, naturally, have a good sense of humour good knowledge of the region and patient, infinite patience as there have been a few that tested that patience. Back in the old days you could be hanged for heckling the Town Crier.
Lynley McKerrow says she had good dealings with the Gore District Council but less so with the ICC and absolutely nothing with the Southland District Council in spite of the three councils agreeing that she would be Town Crier with a certificate to prove it.
She thinks there has never really been an acceptance of the role of Town Crier with the City Council where as Gore embraced the work of previous Town Crier Paddy-Ann Pemberton.
Outside of the work of Town Crier Lynley McKerrow has been active in theatre work with Invercargill Repertory having just finished a season of the sellout season Last Legs.
The role of Town Crier didn’t stop over the Covid Lockdown with Lynley performing a Cry for a man’s 100th birthday and a cry for a young girl’s 13th birthday in which she had to stand outside the girl’s home and announce the cry from the footpath.
Lynley McKerrow says another memorable Cry was for the Queen’s 90th birthday at Wachnor Place, the first cry in the world to mark the occasion.
As for the role of Town Crier of Invercargill / Southland, well that’s up in the air but Lynley stresses that it’s a bit more than just announcing the news and doing birthday cries, when one becomes a Town Crier you become a member of an ancient guild and there are certain protocols that must be observed.
As the Lynley’s last weekend approaches, work continues with a wedding to officiate at and preaching at Tuatapere on Sunday.
On moving north to the Waikato Lynley McKerrow says she’ll definitely take with her the spirit of Southland, something that belongs only to Southland and something she maintains needs to be accentuated.
And yes, Lynley would like to be Town Crier for the Waikato.
Her final wish for us all is for everyone to have enough. Enough of sadness to keep you level and enough happiness to keep you sweet.
Some Town Crier trivia, the term don’t shoot the messenger comes from the days of Town Criers and Post It Notes also comes from those days when the cries where posted on the door of the local tavern or church. And the term Hear Ye, Hear Ye is an Americanisation that came from an American production of the movie Robin Hood.