Jaca festival ‘mother’ on new role
THIS year's Jacaranda Festival Matron of Honour Enid McKew is no stranger to helping the young girls wanting to be involved with the royal aspect of the event, having been a great support to previous junior candidates as part of its subcommittee for the past seven years.
But this year, after being nominated by her fellow members at the South Grafton Bowling Sports and Recreation Club, Mrs McKew is stepping it up as what she described as being like an adopted mother figure for all the 2020 queen candidates.
She said she was looking forward to the chance to get to know the girls and provide support whenever they need it.
"I'll be there to lend an ear, be with them through the journey, try not to interfere and just let them have a lovely experience."
A life-long local of Grafton, Mrs McKew had always enjoyed the special time Jacaranda brought to the place and while growing up was no stranger to getting involved in its magic.
"I always remember the school displays despite mine (Seelands and Carrs Creek) not being involved. When I left Grafton High, I started work the next day at Houlton's Newsagency in Prince St and after a couple of years we plucked up the courage to ask the boss if we could take part in the Gay Staff Competition, as it was called back then," Mrs McKew said.
"We did that for several years. I remember one year we were the Flintstones and I was Pebbles, another year St Trinian's girls and also 20th century bathing beauties, that's just the ones off the top of my head."
Mrs McKew said she first became involved in the behind-the-scenes aspect of the Jacaranda Festival in 2012 when one of her granddaughters, Courtney McKew, was crowned junior queen.
"The following year she sent me a message and asked if I wanted to help with the juniors and I said yes."
She said the past seven years doing that had been a really great experience, "watching the girls come in and grow as people. I also loved working alongside Karen (Hackett) and Leanne (Smith). It's a really special thing to be involved in".
The former Tupperware and Avon lady, who also ran a business with her husband Trevor for many years, said 2020 was certainly going to be a different year for the festival with COVID-19 in our midst, but said it could be extra special in some ways.
"With four queen and four junior candidates it will be a more intimate affair. This will be the first time both groups of girls will be doing all their fundraising together. That will be lovely and quite different to previous years. I think that should work out really nicely for everyone involved."
And with Australia in its own kind of lockdown, people from all around the country are looking to support homegrown events.
"I hope people do come to the festival from south (of the state) and interstate when the borders are all back open.
"I'm really looking forward to it all."