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Shirley Margaret BOTHAMLEY 03.11.1923 – 05.12.2018

Shirley McGuinness was born in Christchurch in 1923.  She came from a large, close Irish and English family, and family were forever important. 

Shirley Bothamley

– Photo courtesy of Felicity Bothamley

During the Second World War she worked in the Christchurch Tuberculosis Sanatorium and then moved to Wellington to start her general nurse training. While she was working in the soldiers’ ward she met Jim Bothamley, (ex-Navy), her training stopped, she married Jim and moved to a farm at Te Horo.  She was a city girl on a farm and she wasn't always brave or helpful unless the animal was giving birth. 

Shirley had to go out for the day when the sheep and lambs were separated  and trucked away because she couldn't cope with their desperate cries. 

What she could do was cook up a storm for the hay-makers and other workers, and her motto was: “How would I want my children to be treated?”

Luckily she wanted people to be treated with respect and kindness.  She loved being on the farm and spent many years juggling four children, Robert, Joanna, Felicity and Elizabeth, and the many people who worked on the farm. 

Food came first, and then comfort and then her community.  Shirley started the St Margaret's women's group to address the isolation of women without transport on farms.  This was dissolved a few years ago because the needs of women had changed. 

Shirley and Ynes Blackburn were awarded the Bishop's award for their contribution to the church community.  Shirley loved floral art, china painting and people. Later the farm was sold and she and Jim moved within Te Horo.  They looked at property in Waikanae but there was no room for a tractor or a hen house. A move within Te Horo provided room for both. During this time she worked at the Ōtaki Medical Centre and loved it.

Jim died at only 68 and Shirley stayed in a big property by herself for many years. Her sustenance was people – the more the better. Her life revolved around family and friends of all ages. She was never racist or homophobic, but she did judge people on their manners!

She was devastated when her dear young friend, Steven Strawbridge, was killed and continued to remember this troubled but lovely youth. 

In old age Shirley moved to Winara retirement village in Waikanae, but it was a huge move because she loved Te Horo  and Ōtaki. After a short illness, Shirley died on 15 December 2018 ages 95. She had a special prayer and blessing service at St Margaret's Church with her funeral at Te Horo Hall. This was followed by a wake and her life was well celebrated. Shirley left four children, eight grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.               

City girl on a farm – a life revolving around family and friends



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