S1 steps down as W.A. State Co-ordinator

Thanks for messages and cards wishing me well - they are appreciated and our best wishes to all Shirleys who are not well.

Thank you to the Companions for organising the 2007 Itinerary and bookings.

As my health is not improving, S.399 is going to be our new Co-ordinator. Please direct your slips, money, any correspondence and phone calls re the Club to her from the 1st January.

I would like to thank everyone who has helped with the Club over the past 10 years, including S.23 and S.147 who were members of the original Companions. Those who have been particularly active and helpful are listed in this newsletter.

Below, S399 presents to Shirley S1 with Life Membership of the Shirley Club.

Our beloved leader who founded the Shirley Club -- S1

What is now known as the Shirley Club began on 15.11.1996 after several phone calls to 6PR, which is a popular talk-back radio station in Perth. I also wrote to the Sunday Times, as I had heard that they sometimes did FREE letters. They told me that there was a 2-month waiting list -- but I sent it in anyway. I received a phone call the following day, as they thought the idea was hilarious and asked if a photographer could could come and do a story which was to be published in the next Sunday's paper. Sixty-five (65) people responded and said they'd meet me at a restaurant in the city. Just in case even half that number turned up, I booked a separate room (which we also got for free!)

Sixty-two (62) perfect strangers -- none of whom had met me or each other -- arrived, and within half an hour, the noise was atrocious! They chatted and laughed and acted as if they'd all known each other for years. It was then that I realized that Shirleys were friendly, outgoing and fun people -- and so we made arrangements to meet regularly. We each had a number (both for fun and for identification) which has been invaluable to me in organizing activities and recording money. Channel 7 heard about us and asked if they could come along on our Swan River cruise. This segment went all over Australia on the Today Tonight programme and there followed an avalanche of enquiries from all over the place.

From this came the slogan: Join the Fun! How far the Shirley Club has come in such a short time! Whilst most interstate people who inquired did join with us in W.A., it was a long way to come to lunch. I therefore suggested that they find a few Shirleys around them. One person I didn't have to ask but who rang me after the Today Tonight show was V1 in Victoria. On the contrary, she rang and got the information, did some publicity work and is either directly or indirectly responsible for us now being in every state in Australia and also New Zealand (which is why we say that we are an Australasian club). She gave them all numbers after the initial of that state and would ring and say "I've found another co-ordinator! How does Q1 or T1 or NZ1 sound?" The co-ordinators also exchange newsletters so that we can share ideas that others may have.

The club colours are officially PURPLE and AQUA. Purple has always been my favourite colour, and there are very mixed and contrasting opinions about people who have a passion for purple!! We all thought that aqua went nicely with it and so decided on these colours. Members combine these with white for club tee shirts and other clothes. They are also used at our Conventions on the banners and decorations.

So -- why do we have conventions? Because Shirleys everywhere have such a good time together, it seemed a logical idea to all of us that we should get together with the most people of the same name. The first Convention was held in Alice Springs in 2001. The Alice seemed a good place to start, as it is the centre of Australia. This was a very successful event. We established a new record for the Guinness Book called "Same Name Gathering", which can be found on page 94 of the 2004 edition. The second Convention was held in Melbourne in 2003, where we had even more Shirleys. So we are hoping to break our own record of having the most people, with the same name in the one place on the one day. The next Convention is in Sydney in 2005. [BB18: Actually, the next convention is CANBERRA 2013!]

What on Earth is a Non-Shirley? A non-Shirley is anyone who attends these Conventions who is not a Shirley. This can be a husband, friend, son or daughter or lover (just joking!). They attend everything with us except the Convention itself and even provide their own entertainment. Let's face it -- to be married to, related to or even to be a friend of a Shirley, you'd certainly have to have a sense of humour!

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